Perge is, by far, the most stunning historical site I visited in Turkey. Famous for being home to Roman ruins, this fascinating site is a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction. Indeed, Perge Ancient City will amaze you with its well-preserved remains, impressive colonnaded streets, and Roman baths. Perge is one of the best day trips from Antalya and is definitely not to miss if you’re visiting the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Read on to find out more about visiting Perge, including how to get there, what to see and when to go.
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A brief history of Perge Ancient City
Perge was founded in the 13th century following a wave of Greek migration from northern Anatolia (Turkey) to the Mediterranean coast. Perge was the ancient capital of Pamphylia Secunda and reflects the architectural splendor of the Hellenistic Period.
The city surrendered to Alexander the Great in 334 BC, before being invaded by the Romans in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. During this time, Perge played an important role in the expansion of Christianity. In fact, it was the most prosperous period of the city.
After the disintegration of the Roman rule, the Byzantines occupied Perge. Soon after, the city was left in ruins and completely abandoned.
Nowadays, Perge is a large site of ancient ruins and major tourist attraction located in Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Here, you can see stunning and well-preserved remains of the city during the Roman period. The site is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
How to get to Perge Ancient City
If you’re visiting Antalya, I definitely recommend taking a day trip to Perge. Perge is a beautiful ancient site easily accessible from Antalya city. You can access the site by car, public transportation or taxi.
Public transportation: To get to Perge from Antalya, you can take the T1 tram going to Expo and stop at Aksu 1. From there, it’s only a 20 minutes walk to the site. Don’t worry, you’ll see signs pointing you in the right direction.
Car: If you have a car, Perge is only a 20 minutes drive from Antalya city. Follow the road D400 to Aksu. Then, take Atatürk road for 2.5 kilometers. Once there, you’ll find a car park at the entrance of the site.
Taxi: You could take a taxi to Perge if you didn’t want to walk from the tram in Aksu to the site entrance. The taxi ride should cost around 10-15TL. There is also the option to take the taxi directly from Antalya city, which would cost around 80-90 TL one way.
What to see in Perge Ancient City
Perge is a massive site, and you should definitely allow at least 2 hours to visit it. I personally spent half a day there. There are many things to see, and there are also a lot of photo opportunities. Below, you’ll find a list of the main highlights in Perge.
There are many stunning theatres in Turkey, and Perge theatre is no exception. Because it is located right across the road from Perge Ancient City, you can enter it for free. This impressive building could accommodate up to 15,000 spectators, and you’ll see both greek and roman features in this massive theatre. On the stage, you’ll see spectacular sculptures and decorated remains. You can also find some of the sculptures that were found in the theater in the Archeological Museum in Antalya.
The stadium of Perge is one of the largest and best-preserved stadiums in Turkey. It is 234 meters long and 34 meters wide, which makes it a very impressive historical remain. The stadium could accommodate 12,000 spectators and was used for gladiatorial combats.
Perge is home to two colonnaded streets that cross at the center of the city. Many of the colonnades are very well preserved and decorated with reliefs. On top of that, you’ll see canals that supplied water for the fountains and baths in the middle of the colonnaded streets.
Located on the west side of the Hellenistic Gate, the Roman Baths are truly a must-see in Perge. Here, you can see marble slabs that used to decorate the walls of the baths and visit the different rooms (swimming pool, warm water room…). In some of the rooms, you can even see the boiler room which gives you a good insight into how the system worked.
The Hellenistic Gate is quite impressive and remains the most iconic symbol of Perge. Standing on both sides of the city gate, the circular towers built of hewn stones give access to a vast courtyard. By to the towers, you’ll see a big gate that resembles Hadrian’s Gate in Antalya.
The Palaestra consists of an open courtyard surrounded by changing rooms. It was a very important place in Perge, dedicated to physical exercise. The aqueduct that was supplying water to the site is still visible today.
The Agora is a square-shaped area surrounded by spectacular colonnades. Here, there used to be shops where vendors were selling goods to the inhabitants of the city. It’s a great spot to admire the details and reliefs on the colonnades.
The Nymphaeum also called the Fountain of Hadrian, lies at the northern end of the main street. Being the starting point of the water canal that distributed water to the city, this structure is quite impressive. There are steps on both sides of the fountain that lead to the viewpoint terrace.
A short walk up to the viewpoint terrace will give you the opportunity to see the beautiful ancient city of Perge from a different perspective. Indeed, it’s a stunning viewpoint and you can really see the greatness of Perge. There is a bench where you can sit and enjoy the view.
Visiting times and tickets
Perge is open daily from 9am to 7pm in summer months (April-October) and from 8:30am to 5:30pm in the winter season. In 2019, tickets to enter Perge are 35 TL per person.
Many statues, sculptures, and sarcophagi found in Perge can also be seen at the Archeological Museum of Antalya, which I definitely recommend visiting.
Where to stay around Perge Ancient City
There isn’t much to do directly around Perge, so I recommend staying in Antalya city, which is only a short tram ride from Perge. Here are some of the best hotels in Antalya:
Located right in the heart of Kaleiçi, Casa Sur is a spectacular hotel with stunning decor. The property is close to all the main attractions including Hadrian’s gate, the clock tower, and the yacht marina. Casa Sur offers concierge service, free bike hire and free wifi, all of this for an affordable price. If you’re looking for a spectacular getaway in Antalya, Casa Sur is definitely one of the best places to go.
White Garden Hotel
With its outdoor swimming pool, courtyard, and rooftop terrace, the White Garden Hotel is a beautiful property located only 250 meters from the beach. Offering an exceptional breakfast, free wifi, and free parking, this hotel is great value for money. On top of that, their friendly staff will do everything they can to make your stay comfortable.
Luna Hotel Kaleiçi
Luna Hotel is a stylish hotel located in Kaleiçi. Each room offers a flat-screen TV, a wardrobe and a private bathroom with a hairdryer. Luna Hotel also has friendly staff and proposes a delicious à la carte breakfast. With its perfect location and affordable prices, this property is one of the best in Antalya.
Elegance East Hotel
Elegance East Hotel is a spacious and spectacular hotel located in the heart of Antalya. With its amazing palace-like decor, luxurious furniture and outdoor pool, this hotel is a great choice for travelers looking for a unique experience in Antalya. The staff of this idyllic hotel always go the extra mile for their guests, and the breakfast they offer is delicious. On top of that, the hotel is located near all the most popular attractions and only 10 minutes walk from Mermerli beach.
Kervan Boutique Hotel
Offering a swimming pool, a garden, and a restaurant, Kervan Boutique Hotel is a cozy accommodation for those looking for a quiet stay in Antalya. Each room has a flat-screen tv with satellite channels, and the hotel is very clean. Additionally, the property offers a fabulous breakfast and is located near all the major points of interest in the city. Kervan Boutique Hotel is a beautiful hotel in Antalya, and I definitely recommend staying there.
Best time to visit Perge Ancient City
Perge can be visited year-round. Most people go to Turkey during the summer season (June-august), when it’s quite hot and sunny. Visiting Perge at that time can be a good idea, however, there aren’t many shady areas on the site, so a morning visit would probably be best. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a hat. It can get really hot during the day.
If you can’t stand excessive heat, you should definitely visit Perge and Antalya in spring (March-June). Plus, the tourists aren’t there yet at this time of the year so you’ll have the site to yourself.
I personally visited Perge in winter (December-January), and I had exceptional weather. There were no tourists around so it was a great time to visit. However, there is often rain on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey in winter, so I wouldn’t recommend visiting at this time of the year if you only have a few days there.
Perge is a fantastic ancient city to visit in Turkey. If you’re looking for the perfect day trip from Antalya, look no further and head to Perge. You won’t be disappointed by this incredible site, with an impressive history and well-preserved remains. Have you ever been to Perge ancient city? Let me know in the comments below!
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