Sillyon: Ancient City near Antalya, Turkey

Sillyon is an off-the-beaten path hike for adventure kids and experienced hikers. It is only 30 minutes from Antalya and a great stop if you’re looking to have the place to yourself to explore. In the warmer months, the best time to visit is in the morning, as the noon sun can give you a beating. In the winter, you’d be better off in the afternoon when it’s a bit warmer. We recommend at least 2 – 3 hours because of the difficulty of the hike. We would not recommend this hike for kids under 6. 

While this site wouldn’t be for everyone, we recommend seeing it if you have an extended stay or return to visit Antalya with kids.

Know Before You Go

COST

Free

HOURS

Daylight Hours

BEST TIME TO GO

March - May

LOCATION

32km from Antalya

PARKING

Free

TIME NEEDED TO VISIT

2-3 hours

hiking with kids

How to Get to Sillyon

To get to the ancient city of Sillyon when you’re traveling with kids, you’ll need a car. Coming from Antalya, you’ll take D400 east towards Alanya about 20km. You’ll see the brown signs for Sillyon, signifying an ancient site. You’ll follow the signs about 11km towards the sign of Asar Koy village. As you approach the city, you’ll see the plateau with everything clearly visible from the road. The best place to park is near the Sillyon Market at the bottom of the plateau. 

History of Sillyon

Sillyon dates back to 500 BC and was part of the Athenian-led Delian League.  Alexander the Great tried to conquer the city but like Termessos, was unsuccessful in his first attempt and moved on to other cities like Perge and Aspendos

The ancient ruins of the city are dated to the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Sillyon fell to the Seljuks in 1207.

Sillyon plateau

What to See at Sillyon

The Plateau of Sillyon

We wanted to go on a hike close to Antalya and decided on the site of the ancient city of Sillyon. It sits on top of a plateau just 20 minutes from Antalya. The only people we typically see at the site are the local villagers or shepherds that live in the area. Since the site sits on top of a plateau, it’s a unique feature of the area’s landscape and has some great views of the greenhouses and villages around the plateau. 

As you get closer to the site, you’ll see the Sillyon Market Cafe. If you need to get water or go to the restroom, this is your chance. Unfortunately, the market is not always open, so if they are closed there are no restrooms or other markets in the area. You can park in front of the market or right across the street is a small gravel lot where you can park. 

ancient ruins of sillyon

Ancient Ruins of Sillyon

To get to the trail you’ll pass a local house and then see the signs and trail to start making your way up to the top of the plateau. There are some ancient ruins and walls at the bottom of the trail. There is a slight incline as you start out and it will get rockier and steeper as you make your way up. Our kids did great walking up the trail and would say at times it was difficult because it was steep or you had to climb some rockier areas of the trail.  We took frequent water breaks on our way up and enjoyed the views. 

Local Greenhouses and Antalya Mountains

Once we reached the plateau top, there are so many amazing views of the flat landscape and greenhouses with the Tarsus mountains as the backdrop. All the greenery on top of the plateau is quite overgrown and we had to find good paths to make our way around, especially for the kids. One of the kids had on pants and did well walking through everything. However, our youngest had on shorts and came out with quite a few scratches and knicks. 

There is a section of the plateau that has collapsed on one side due to an earthquake in 1969, where you’ll see part of the amphitheater still on the side of the plateau with the rest of the theater collapsed on the ground. There are some areas with deep crevices that did not collapse, and we stayed clear of those areas as we weren’t sure how safe it was to be walking on them. 

Picnic at Sillyon

We found a high point on the plateau and sat enjoying snacks, water, and the views. It is so quiet and peaceful from the top. It’s a great place to enjoy a picnic if you wanted to hike up the trail with your food. 

There’s not any shade up at the top, so be sure to wear a hat and bring plenty of water for everyone. Even for a hike on a nice spring day, we got hot as the sun is still quite intense. 

spring water ancient city near antalya, turkey

Sillyon with Kids

On our way down, our 6-year-old was tired and her legs were scratched up, so Enes ended up throwing her over his shoulder as we made our way down. He made it look so easy! I’ve always called him a goat because he has unbelievable balance and grace as he climbs and hops from rock to rock and bounds down the trail. 

We stopped and talked to an 80-year-old shepherd on our way down that lives near the plateau. He was on his way up to go find his sheep and bring them back down. We were so impressed with the ease in which he took off up the trail. We hope we are doing that well at his age! He said that typically there are more people there during the weekends and it is very quiet during the week. 

Sillyon Spring Water

At the bottom of the trail on the other side of the main city walls, we found a fountain with cool spring water running out of it. We stopped and splashed our faces and neck with the water to cool down and then took a break in the shade. 

Sillyon Ancient City Near Antalya, Turkey

Final Thoughts on Sillyon

Ultimately, this is a moderate to difficult hike, especially for the kids. Be sure to have the proper gear when you go to Sillyon, such as:

  • Closed-toed shoes
  •  long shorts, capris or pants depending on the weather
  • hat and sunscreen
  • plenty of water & snacks

Afterward, we went to the Sillyon Market Cafe at the bottom of the plateau and had tea before heading back to Antalya. We loved that it is off the beaten path. You may very well have the entire site to yourself. 

For other areas to explore near Antalya, plan on visiting Kursunlu Waterfalls and the ancient cities of Perge and Aspendos. 

hike to sillyon

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Family Travel to Turkey: Enes and Dania

Hi, we're Dania & Enes

We’re an American Turkish couple who’ve worked in the tourism industry and traveled extensively in Turkey. We understand that it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to Turkey when you don’t know where to go, where to stay and the best way to get there. We’re dedicated to helping you confidently plan a trip to Turkey and have a more authentic experience when you get there.

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