The Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival is staged in Aspendos’s theatre every year, over a three- to four-week period starting in mid-June. Both Turkish and foreign companies perform, and the programme consists of popular and experimental opera, ballet and classical concerts (Madame Butterfly and Swan Lake feature regularly). With an inflow of choreographers and musicians from the ex-Soviet Union, Turkish opera and ballet companies have improved out of all recognition, and stage design and costumes match the standard of the performers.

Tickets (TL30–60 for foreigners, less for Turks) are available both in advance and on the night from the theatre, and you can also buy them in Antalya and Side, though the booking office seems to switch venues each year – ask at the tourist office and check waspendosfestival.gov.tr for programmes. Cheap city buses run here from Antalya and Side, and most festival-goers bring along supper to while away the time before the start of the 9.30pm performance, as well as cushions to sit on, and an umbrella or waterproof in case of a thunderstorm.

A number of year-round shows, including the popular Fire of Anatolia (waspendosfestival.gov.tr) dance troops, are performed at the Aspendos Arena, a nearby modern facility erected to help preserve the original arena. While many of these shows are excellent, if you are going in order to experience the ancient theatre, be sure your tickets are for the right place.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Turkey features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook