What should I pack? An insider’s guide on how to pack for your time in Antalya

Knowing what kind of clothes to pack when you go on vacation can be tricky. Packing for Antalya is no different. Will it be hot during the day, but cold in the evenings? Should I bring a raincoat or an umbrella? Are winter coats ever necessary? Since Turkey is a Muslim country, is it acceptable to wear shorts and tank tops in summer? These are all questions for which you might be seeking answers. After living through each season in Antalya multiple times and exploring much of the province, we hope to provide you with some helpful insight in this post to make your packing less stressful. Read on.

As far as climate and weather are concerned, most people would say Antalya has four seasons: Spring, Summer, Early Fall, and Fall.

Evening swim in early May

Packing for Spring (Mid-March to June)

Spring is our favorite time of year in Antalya. It has cooler mornings and evenings, and warmer days. There might be some unseasonably warm and/or cool days thrown in on occasion. But, in general, you can expect pleasant temps in between 65-78 º F/20-25 º C during the day, and cooler temps in between 50-65 º F/10-18 º C at night. Expect a minimal amount of rain. Pack a light jacket or sweater, plus layers you can start the day with and remove as the temperature rises.

If you are staying in an AirBnB or rental villa or apartment, it is possible you will be colder in the villa than you will be outside. Most places are not well insulated here, and if there is natural gas heating it will be turned off. Pack warm and comfy pajamas or sweatpants and a sweatshirt or sweater to lounge around inside in the mornings and evenings.

Depending on how cold it is from where you are coming, in the beginning of spring the water in the sea might be warm enough to swim comfortably. And, the sun will probably make it pleasant to sunbathe if that is something you enjoy. If you come in May or June, it will be warm enough to jump in the water and soak up some sun. So, be sure to pack your swimsuit.

Simit seller in July

Packing for Summer (Late June to early October)

Summer seems eternal and the days and nights can either be a dry 100 º F (38 º C) and above, or a sweaty, sticky 85 º F (29 º C). We actually prefer the dry heat because you can kind of cool off in the shade. Trouble is, you never know which kind of hot it will be, and it can change from day to day depending on which direction the wind is blowing. Don’t expect it to cool down much at night and be sure the place you are staying has working air conditioning in your bedroom. Definitely don’t count on any rain. If you come and experience rain during this season, consider yourself blessed and lucky. Please, come and visit us again and bring the rain with you in summer.

Pack clothes that keep you cool or wick sweat, and plan on showering a couple times a day if you are out and about. If you live in a warm place and you think you will be just fine here in the heat, you have a leg up. However, if you are coming from the United States, the heat here will be hard on you…even if you live in Texas or the muggy South. Unlike the States, there are very few places you can go here to completely cool off during the day. Vehicles don’t really cool off (especially if you are riding on public transport or in a taxi). Restaurants, shopping centers, coffee shops, movie theaters, and grocery stores are NOT kept cool like in the States. If you are cold-blooded, you won’t need a sweater in the summer to enter here. The only exception we have found to this rule is some Starbucks locations, but even that is not always a given.

Just expect to be hot and sweat profusely in the summer, and plan your clothes accordingly. The good news is, the beach is always close and it is a perfect place to cool down. And, if you are close to the beach, you can throw a cover-up or t-shirt on over your swimsuit to sit in cafes or even go the grocery store.

Evening at the beach in early November

Packing for Early Fall (Late October to late November)

Early Fall is our second favorite season here and lasts for about a month or so. During the day it is similar to spring temperature-wise, but cooler at night. Expect dryer air and temps around 60-75 º F/15-23 º C during the day and colder nights between 50-65 º F/10-18 º C.

Cooler nights and mornings and sunshiny days make for the perfect time to visit if you can’t come in Spring. The same rules apply for this transitional month: pack layers and bring sweats or cozy pajamas. You might also want to include a light rain coat and/or umbrella in case early rains come.

We think it is a little chilly to swim during this time because the wind tends to pick up and there are more clouds hiding the sun. However, if you come from a colder climate, you will be able to jump in the sea with no problem. We would pack a swimsuit just in case.

Crisp January day

Packing for Fall (Late November to Mid-March)

Fall comes in with cooler temps, crazy wind from the north on some days, and a mix of days on end with torrential rain and thunderstorms followed by gloriously dry and crisp days and nights. It’s really anyone’s guess what the weather will hold from day to day.

We suggest packing lots of layers, including a sweater and a warm jacket. If you are staying in a hotel, we suggest bringing lighter pajamas because it can get warm if you cannot control the thermostat in your room. In AirBnB’s or rental apartments and villas it is easier to adjust the temperature, but if there is not natural gas heating, it could still be cold during the day, and especially at night. So bring warm and cozy lounging clothes or sleepwear, as well as warm socks or slippers.

If you plan on exploring and being outside a lot, pack a rain jacket or waterproof coat. And, plan on either bringing rain boots or purchasing a cheap pair when you get here if you hit a rainy week. The water collects on the streets and sidewalks here in no time, and when we say torrential rain, we mean it. It can be a deluge!! And, side note, if you are a pedestrian along the street, stay far away from the road or you will get sprayed and soaked by passing vehicles!!!

As far as the beach goes, we do see people swimming in the water year-round. But we would venture to guess the people who take a dip in the sea during this season are from much colder climates. Bring a swimsuit just in case, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t use it.

Cultural Considerations for Dress

If you will be sticking to resorts and touristy areas, shorts and tank tops are acceptable in summer. You will see all kinds of people wearing them – even Turks. Once the temperature drops below 75 º F/ 23 º C, you won’t see the locals wearing shorts anymore. But, it is still okay for you to wear them.

Outside of the touristy areas and in the more conservative parts of town or villages surrounding the city, ladies should always wear longer capris or a skirt. On the top you should wear a short or at least cap sleeve top that does not show any midriff. Men can wear shorts pretty much anywhere in the Antalya city center and major tourist destinations in summer. If you explore in some of the cities outside these areas (Elmalı, Korkuteli, Kumluca, etc.) you won’t stand out as much if you wear pants.

If you plan to visit any mosques while you are here, women must have their heads covered to enter. A long scarf does the job and is good to have with you in transitional seasons to wrap around your shoulders when it gets cold, anyway.

Other Miscellaneous Tips

  • The sun in Antalya is always hot, regardless of the season. We recommend wearing sunscreen on your face and any exposed skin year-round. We have gotten sunburned faces in January while sitting outside at a café. You can buy sunscreen here in the summer, but it is more challenging to find in other seasons. We recommend packing your own if you can.
  • We also suggest both adults and children wear hats outside in the Spring and Summer.
  • Be sure to find out how the place you will be staying is heated and cooled so you know how to pack for your time there. As already mentioned, it can be really hot in the winter in a hotel room, or really cold in a villa or apartment in transitional seasons. It can also be warm in the summer at night in large hotels. If there is only a klima (or wall air conditioner) in your villa or AirBnB, it will cool off that room well. The heat, however, will only be felt right in front of where the air blows. This means it does not warm up the entire room very well. If there is a doğal gaz kombi (natural gas hot water heater) and radiators, it will only be turned on during the coldest months. But, it will heat your space very well. If you are coming in November or March, ask if the kombi will be turned on. If the answer is no, bring some warm clothes for night time just in case.
  • You can find most medications and over the counter drugs at the local eczane (pharmacy). Even without knowing Turkish, most of the time you can show them a picture or give them the name of what you want and they can figure it out. But, in case of emergencies and just for ease, here is our must have list:  a thermometer, a small amount of Ibuprofen or Tylenol, Children’s Ibuprofen or Tylenol, Tums (which you cannot find here), anti-nausea meds, and Benadryl (which we have not found here). One of our children has a nut allergy which is problematic in Turkey. You can assume there will almost always be hazelnuts in anything chocolate here. Benadryl has come in handy multiple times.
    • Side note: Hotel doctors and clinics are typically outrageously expensive. If you have time and can get there, choose a local hospital or doctor and pharmacy instead.
  • Floors in hotels and rental villas tend to be made of tile or other very hard materials. It is not polite to wear shoes inside, contrary to what some people might try to tell you. So, as we are getting older and our backs are sensitive to this kind of thing, we like to bring slippers or comfortable flip-flops just to wear inside.
  • We will be writing a more detailed post eventually on what to bring to rental villas when you stay there for more than a few days. For now, it is important that you know most places (even hotels) do not use top sheets in beds. There will be a fitted sheet to lay on and a duvet to cover your body. If this is a problem for you, pack your own top sheet.
  • If your phone is unlocked, it is relatively inexpensive to get a SIM card and a decent phone plan here to use during your stay.
  • Even if you don’t plan on going to the sea or your hotel does not have a swimming pool, bring a swimsuit. You never know when you might need it. Ladies might want to bring a bikini to wear to a local hamam. On the Konyaaltı side, we recommend Falez Hamam & Spa.
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