festivals in Antalya
Antalya, located on Türkiye’s Mediterranean coast, is the country’s capital of international tourism with its luxury hotels, virgin bays, remarkable seashores, and ancient cities. Antalya is home to many important national and international festivals, and hosts concerts by world-famous artists that bring people from all over the world together under the umbrella of universal art. These festivals offer a wide variety of options for both locals and visitors who are interested in culture and art.
Festivals at Ancient Theaters
The Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival, the first opera and ballet festival in Türkiye, is one of the most prestigious and world-renowned events in Antalya. The festival has been organized by the Antalya State Opera and Ballet since 1994 and is held annually each June and July in one of the world’s most well-preserved ancient theaters, the ancient theater of Aspendos. The mystical atmosphere of this magnificent theater combined with the fascinating power of art offer unforgettable moments.
The ancient theater of Side and the Temple of Apollo located in the district of Manavgat host the Side International World Music, Culture and Art Festival, another well-known festival held in Antalya. As a member of the European Festivals Association, the festival welcomes many outstanding soloists, symphony orchestras, ensembles and performers from all around the world alongside the participation of the Antalya State Symphony Orchestra and the Antalya State Opera and Ballet.
Since 2019, the ancient theater of Side also hosts a brand-new festival, the Turkish Russian Classical Music Festival.
The Phaselis Festival takes place in Phaselis, another famous coastal town of antiquity. The festival brings together different music genres from eastern and western cultures in the historical atmosphere of the ancient city each September.
Prominent Art Events and Festivals in Antalya
Without doubt, one of the most significant festivals in Antalya is the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, the oldest and one of the most prestigious international film festivals in Türkiye, which in 2020 celebrated its 57th anniversary. The festival is regarded as the “Oscars of Turkish cinema.” Every year, it hosts international stars and directors at the beating heart of Turkish cinema and leaves its mark on the careers of many outstanding filmmakers. The festival also supports many Turkish and international young and independent filmmakers. Within the scope of the festival, every year various art-related activities take place such as film screenings, concerts, artist talks and panel discussions, workshops and more.
The International Antalya Piano Festival is another famous festival in the region that takes place each November and December at the Aspendos Hall of the Antalya Cultural Center (AKM). The festival hosts many world-famous artists from different music genres like classical, jazz, and soul.
The Antalya International Theatre Festival hosts the most prominent international theater groups and finest plays from all around the world each May. The festival opens its curtains at various venues including ancient theaters and theater halls around the city. Workshops and panel discussions also take place during the festival.
In spring, the festival and events season begins and continues in full swing until October. Some of the remarkable festivals held here are the the Alanya International Tourism and Arts Festival in May; the International Cartoon Mill Festival, the Lycian - Kaş Culture and Arts Festival and the International Artists Gathering Festival (Uluslararası Sanatçılar Buluşması Festivali) in June; the Manavgat Barış Suyu Culture, Art, Tourism and Youth Festival in July; the Olympos Sky and Science Festival in August; the Colorist Holifest in September; and the Kaleiçi Old Town Festival in October.
The Antalya Sand Sculpture Festival is one of the world’s leading and most popular sand sculpture events. It takes place at an area covering about 10,000 square meters with the participation of professional sand sculptors from around the world. The festival is launched each May with a different theme and ends in October. The giant sculptures illuminated by LED lighting create a breathtaking atmosphere that is enhanced by theme-specific music. Visitors have the opportunity to view the artwork while it is being created by the artists. There is also a screening in the exhibition area showing the creation stages of the sculptures. At the Sandland Museum (Antalya Sand Sculpture Museum) visitors can admire giant sand sculptures year-round.
In September, the Akra Jazz Festival, the Alanya Jazz Days and the Kaş Jazz Festival welcome the most prestigious international and Turkish artists, and offer unique jazz experiences to jazz lovers in Antalya.
The Antalya Guitar Festival is another significant international music festival which takes place in Antalya. The festival brings together many Turkish and international classical guitar virtuosos and performers with music lovers every November.
The prominent gastronomy festivals held in Antalya are the GastroAntalya International Antalya Gastronomy Festival, the International Street Food Festival, the Antalya Meze Festival, and the Ernez Honey Festival.
Sporting Events and Competitions
As one of the most popular tourism destinations in Türkiye, Antalya hosts worldwide sporting events and competitions such as the Eurasia Airshow, the International Manavgat Motorcycle Festival, Kemer Sea to Sky, the International Triathlon Alanya Cup, the International Alanya Orienteering Festival, the World Winners Cup, the Grand Prix Velo Alanya, the Antalya Open, and the Tour of Antalya.
Antalya is also known as one of the most famous golf destinations in the world and Belek was awarded the “Best Golf Region of the Year in Europe” award in 2008 by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO). Over 50 national and international golf tournaments are held in Belek throughout the year such as the Turkish Airlines Challenge and the Turkish Airlines Open. The golf courses in Belek fit PGA Tour standards.
Traditional Festivals Welcome Visitors
Festivalgoers can also find traditional festivals in the city. Camel-wrestling festivals are among the most traditional festivals in Türkiye and the Traditional Kumluca Camel Wrestling and Traditional Demre Camel Wrestling are the fine examples of such a festival. Also, the Traditional Elmalı Oil Wrestling, the Kumluca Oil Wrestling, and the Traditional Alanya Gökbel Yaylası Oil Wrestling tournaments and the Elmalı Abdal Musa Festivities are the other attractive traditional events for those interested in Turkish culture and traditions.