Alanya is one of the favorite beach destinations in Turkey. Its golden beaches and affordable prices have attracted tourists for decades.
While the numerous all-inclusive hotels attract families with children to the Turkish Riviera, the busy nightlife of the city can’t be resisted by the young adult vacationers. Alanya is a great choice for anyone looking for an easy holiday!
Where to stay
There’s a good selection of hotels in Alanya. Most of them are situated close to the beaches.
If you prefer lodging close to the buzz of the city, the Güzelyalı street between the Damlataş beach and the main street, Atatürk, is packed with hotels with a great location. Alternatively, areas close to the Keykubat beach, east of the harbor, offer good selection of hotels in a busy neighborhood. In addition to the beach, there are good shopping and restaurant options, as well as the best-known nightclubs of Alanya, nearby.
Alanya becomes more quiet towards the outskirts of the city. Oba and Mahmutlar, some 5 and 10 kilometers eastward from the center, respectively, are quiet districts with high-end hotels and a great selection of restaurants. Both areas are well connected to the center via public transportation.
Alanya - Attractions and things to do
The Dim River, which is situated 15 kilometers away from Alanya, is a fantastic day trip destination. In addition to beautiful nature, the river and its surroundings offer great possibilities for hiking and taking a swim in the refreshing, turquoise water. The Dim Dam, which produces water and electricity for Alanya, is an excellent hiking destination.
In the area, there are several restaurants, which actually let you borrow fishing equipment to catch trout. If you succeed, the restaurant will prepare a tasty lunch of your catch. A rich breakfast or lunch is available for about 10 euros - not requiring you to catch the fish.
The Dim River can be reached both by public transport and by taxi, which costs about 20 euros per leg.
The Alanya Castle, which is surrounded by stone walls, is located on a peninsula at the southern end of the city center. During its long history, the castle has witnessed the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras.
Today, the castle and the areas inside the walls compose an open-air museum, available for visitors to stroll around for free. However, to the actual castle, an entrance fee of 10 lire (approx. EUR 2) is charged.
You can get to the castle conveniently by bus or cable car departing from the Damlataş Cave.
One of the landmarks of Alanya, the octagon-shaped Red Tower (Kızılkule), is situated between the Alanya castle and the harbor. The tower, which was completed in 1226, houses the Alanya Ethnographic Museum, representing the history of the city. There is plenty of climbing to do to get to the tower, but the views from high above are great. However, Alanya looks even more impressive from the nearby castle. The entrance fee is 10 lire (about 2 euros).
Seyir Terası - breakfast or sunset picnic with panoramic views
The Seyir Terrace, located north of the city center, offers great views over the city, the castle and the harbor. The place is ideal for a Turkish breakfast or a picnic at sunset. There are several restaurants and cafés in the area, all with great views. The terrace is situated some four kilometers away from the center, and thus hiking there is a good choice to get some exercise.
The Phosphorus Cave, which is situated adjacent to the Damlatas Cave, gets its name from the phosphor glow illuminating the cave in the dark. The Phosphorus Cave can be accessed by a small boat, and it is a common attraction during boat trips.
The Damlatas cave was discovered in 1948, while the port of Alanya was being constructed. This small but magical stalactite cave is situated in front of the Damlatas Beach. The cave is said have asthma curing effects. The entrance fee in 2020 was 7 lire, equivalent of about one euro.
Alanya Archaeological Museum
For anyone interested in history, Alanya Archaeological Museum is a fantastic place to visit. The museum is situated near the Damlatas Beach, next to the starting point of the cable car.
Among other things, the museum displays objects from the Bronze Age, from ancient Urartus and Lydia. One of the highlights of the museum is the bronze statue of Hercules dating back to the first century.
The entrance fee in 2020 was 7 lire, equivalent of about one euro.
Things to do for families with children
Sealanya Dolphin Park
Sealanya Dolphin Park, which is situated 20 kilometers away from the city center, provides plenty of fun for the whole family. In the park, you can enjoy seal and dolphin shows or even swim with them for an extra charge.
Every trip to Alanya should include a traditional boat trip on the turquoise waters surrounding the city. Boat trips are a great way to get a different perspective to Alanya.
Boat trips are available on various types of ships ranging from glass-bottomed catamarans to "pirate ships" with plenty of activities on deck. The pirate ships offer dance performances, foam parties and much more.
For most excursions, the routes and schedules are the same. The 6-7-hour long trips navigate via the caves of Alanya, such as the Phosphorus, Pirate and Lovers' Caves. Usually, the prices include meals on the boat and hotel transfers.
Boat trips are being sold all over Alanya, and often intrusively, but convenient online booking is also possible. For example, Nasa Tour offers a wide variety of different excursions.
Alanya Aquapark is conveniently located along the Atatürk Street near the Damlatas Beach. The water park is rather modest and thus appealing for younger children mainly. If you have enough time on your hands, you should head to Water Planet, which is situated farther away from Alanya.
Water Planet is situated 30 kilometers from Alanya towards Antalya. It is the largest water park in the area and has 24 slides - fast, slow and everything in between. Several travel agencies in Alanya, such as Alanya Tours, sell tickets including entrance fees and transfers to and from Water Planet.
Alanya is well-suited for swimming all year round. The Kleopatra Beach is the most famous and popular beach in the city. This magnificent beach starts west of the historic peninsula and ends in the center, near the Damlataş Cave. Obviously, the name of the beach originates from the Egyptian queen Kleopatra, who is said to have swum there with Emperor Antonius.
Towards the peninsula, there's another natural attraction, Kleopatra Bay, which is surrounded by large cliffs. This bay has crystal clear water and busy underwater life, which attract snorkelers to the area. There is no entrance fee to the beach.
The wide, fine-sand Damlataş beach is located in front of the Damlataş cave next to a range of services by the city center. There is no entrance fee to the beach, but the rental costs of sun loungers are about 15 lire, equivalent of about 2 euros. Changing rooms and showers are free of charge.
The Keykubat Beach, which starts east of Alanya Harbor, is very popular due to its proximity to the center. The beach consists mainly of sand, but there are rocky areas along the lengthy stretch. The beach has free access.
The Incekum Beach, which is situated some 26 kilometers towards Antalya, is an idyllic, well-suited day trip destination for families. At Incekum, the shallow, clear-water beach merges with the adjacent forest. Incekum is often listed among the best beaches in Turkey. There is no entrance fee to the beach, but sun loungers are rented for 10 lire.
Alanya is a fantastic shopping destination, since the price level of clothing is the lowest in Europe and the selection of available brands is extensive. In Alanya, there are shops with fixed prices as well as bazaars involving price negotiating.
The best selection of shops is to be found at the center along the main street, Atatürk. The bazaar area is situated along one of the side streets of Atatürk. The only actual shopping mall of Alanya is the three-story Alanyum, which contains clothing, shoe, electronics and cosmetics stores, as well as a large Carrefour grocery store. Alanyum is situated near the River Oba along the Keykubat Street.
Food and restaurants
The spicy Turkish cuisine is well known all over the world, thanks mainly to Kebabs (grilled meat). Meat dishes are playing the main role in the local kitchen. While Döner, i.e. thinly sliced meat in a roll or an iskender kebab, is certainly familiar to everyone, the Turkish cuisine has much more to it than that. For example, the Turkish pizza versions, Lahmacun and Pide, are surely appealing to all meat lovers. Turkish spicy meatballs, Köfte, are also very common in Turkish restaurant. Ahmet Tokus Street has a wide range of restaurants serving local dishes.
You shouldn't miss fish (Turk. Balık) or shellfish either in Alanya. The best selection of fish restaurants is to be found in the harbor, in front of the Red Tower. Compared to other types of restaurants, dinner at a fish restaurant may be a bit more expensive, about 15-20 euros per person.
To the delight of vegetarians, there's also plenty of vegetarian dishes available in the otherwise meat-focused Turkish restaurants. In fact, the Turkish cuisine is largely reminiscent of the Greek cuisine, where, for example, stuffed peppers, zucchini, salads or stuffed vine leaves, Dolma, play an important role.
Quick local snack bagels, called simit, are being sold in every corner shop for about 1 lira, equivalent of 15 cents.
Alanya is famous for its busy nightlife. The area above the harbor is the center of nightlife, with clubs on both sides of the streets. The 3-storey Robin Hood is the city’s most famous nightclub, with even the rooftop terrace serving as a dance floor.
Locals tend to favor clubs on the Iskele Street next to the harbor, with raki flowing freely. This area is a great option, if you need a break from tourist crowds.
The price level in Alanya
In Alanya, the price level for accommodation, shopping and food is among the cheapest in Europe. The prices of accommodation rise somewhat as the high season begins in June, reaching the highest levels in July-August. Below, there are examples of restaurant prices in Alanya.
Pizza in restaurant
Steak in restaurant
33 cl beer in restaurant
Hotel room, 3-4* (July)
Hotel room, 3-4* (September)
From the airport to Alanya
There are two airports near Alanya: Gazipasa (GZP) about 40 kilometers to the east, and Antalya (AYT) about 120 kilometers to the west of Alanya.
From Gazipasa Airport, Alanya can be reached either by HAVAS shuttle connection or by taxi. A taxi ride costs about 50 euros and the HAVAS connection 7 euros.
From Antalya Airport, Alanya can be reached either by taxi or by private boat. For reservations and price information check, for example, 724transfer.com.
Alanya - weather
Winter: The winter climate is warm but rainy, and windy days occur occasionally. The highest average daytime temperatures during the winter months are just under 20 degrees. Similarly, the seawater temperature is just under 20 degrees all winter long, so the bravest swimmers can swim all year round in Alanya.
Spring: Alanya is an excellent travel destination in spring, since the temperature is warm compared to e.g. northern parts of Europe. The highest daytime temperatures are about 25-30 degrees, and the average seawater temperatures is over 20 degrees.
Summer: The summer months are very hot. Temperatures rise well over 30 degrees, and seawater temperatures approach 30 degrees.
Autumn: Weather-wise autumn is also a great time in the city. Suitable beach weather lasts easily through October. In October, the highest average daytime temperatures as well as the seawater temperatures remain still at 25-30 degrees.
Text: Erol Tasgit
Images: Adobe Stock