Alanya Gazipaşa Airport serves the southern coast of Turkey and its numerous beach destinations, including Alanya. Sitting on a small peninsula between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, this small city has been fought over for centuries, giving it a modern look and a rich history. Wondering what to do in the area? Check out this Time out Alanya travel guide to Alanya to discover the highlights.
Sights in alanya
Visit the Museum of Archaeology and see the bronze statue of Heracles from 200 A.D., or explore the Museum of Ethnography that displays the local Turkish culture of the Taurus Mountains. If museums are not your thing, Alanya Castle should satisfy your hunger for cultural attractions. The Seljuk castle was built in the 13th century and its walls stretch for 6.5 kilometres (4 miles). The jagged rocks next to the castle have an eerie tale; it was from here that people sentenced to death were hurled into the ocean below. Another Seljuk structure is the Red Tower, or Kızıl Kule, an octagonal tower located on the port that was used for military purposes as far back as the 13th century. The ruined dockyard is also well worth a visit. For natural sights, head to the numerous caves situated around the city, such as Damlatas Cave and Pirates Cave, or to the Dim Stream, an attractive area with picnic possibilities and cool clean water all year round.
Alanya is known for its beautiful Blue Flag beaches. The city is surrounded by white sandy shores that are mostly free of charge. Try Cleopatra Beach with its numerous water sports facilities, or Portakal (Oba) Beach on the east side of the city centre if you want to try wind surfing. Scuba diving provides fascinating glimpses into the underwater world. Other activities in the area include donkey riding, quad biking, go-karting, stand-up paddle boarding and jeep safaris. For some invigorating TLC followed by blissful relaxation, visit a traditional Turkish hammam for a scrub, steam bath and massage. Watching the sun set over the castle and ocean is especially romantic and there are several nightclubs and bars to keep the fun going for longer.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO NEAR ALANYA
Seki – A village near Alanya, the ancient city of Syedra is a highlight of a trip here. Excavations are ongoing at the site and it offers a tantalising peek into the past.
Saklıkent – This ski resort offers winter snow activities from November to May.
Aspendos – Home to a historic amphitheatre, this is an ideal day trip for history lovers.
Termessos – The drive across the mountains to this ancient city is an experience in itself and the destination, with its rock-hewn tombs and ancient amphitheatre, doesn’t disappoint.
Köprülü National Park – A terrific trip for nature lovers, this national park is filled with interesting flora and fauna and there are many beautiful views. An old Roman bridge spans part of the gaping canyon.
Belek – This resort town boasts some of Turkey’s best golf courses.
SHOPPING IN ALANYA
There are many shops in Alanya that cater to tourists, although many sell a similar selection of wares so you’ll only need to look in a few to find local souvenirs and gifts. Typical products include clothing and beach accessories like sunglasses, towels, inflatable toys and sarongs, Turkish tea sets, shisha pipes and trinkets. Keep in mind that haggling is expected at most stores.
Ataturk Boulevard – You’ll find a number of shops along this road, with many selling similar items aimed at tourists.
Alanya Bazaar – A huge market with many vendors, there are plentiful fake designer clothes and accessories here, as well as common souvenirs and packaged spices. The bazaar takes place every Friday.
Deepo Outlet Center – A large outlet centre, which is located right next to the airport. This is a good place to hunt for bargain clothing, homewares and accessories.
FOOD AND DRINK IN ALANYA
Coffee – Strong Turkish coffee can be found in almost every food and drink establishment around the city, from cafes and bars to restaurants and hotel lobbies.
Kebabs – Cheap, filling and omnipresent, meat kebabs are something of a staple in Turkey. The best prices (and quickest eats for busy people on the go) can be found at the hole-in-the-wall establishments and food stands.
Baklava – This sweet and sticky treat is enough to satisfy any sugar craving. It consists of layers of filo pastry stuffed with chopped nuts and bound together with honey or syrup.
Seafood – Fish and seafood dishes are common in Turkey’s coastal areas—look for anchovies and sardines when in season.
TRANSPORT IN ALANYA
The small city is easy to navigate on foot and public transport serves the outlying areas.
By foot – Walking around Alanya is a pleasant way to see the sights. Places of interest are all located in a fairly condensed area and the beach is within walking distance of the city centre. There is little reason to use transportation while staying in the city centre. Summer days can be hot, though, so do carry plenty of water, wear a cap and suncream and stay in the shade whenever possible.
Dolmus – A type of shared taxi / minivan, frequent dolmuses travel on set routes around the city, to and from the airport, and to places a little farther afield. You can wave down a dolmus anywhere on its route and, as long as there is space, it will stop to collect you. Payment is made to the driver. Riding in a dolmus in Alanya is an affordable and convenient way of getting around, though they are often crowded.
Buses – Public buses connect Alanya with nearby towns and cities. Tickets can be bought from the bus station. Alternatively, you can pay the driver on some services.
Scooters – Electric scooters are becoming a more common way for independent travellers to explore Alanya and its surrounds. There are several stations around the city.
Taxis – Taxis are widely available in Alanya. Many drivers will, however, refuse to use the meter, coming up with all manner of inventive excuses, so you will probably need to agree on a price before starting your journey.