Alanya is a resort town on Turkey’s central Mediterranean coast (also known as the Turkish Riviera). Its wide beaches lined with hotels include Cleopatra Beach, where the Egyptian queen reputedly swam. Alanya Castle, a giant Seljuk-era fort turned open-air museum, stands on a rocky bluff above the beachfront, alongside red tile–roofed Ottoman villas and the octagonal Red Tower, a symbol of the city dating to 1226.
A former seaside bastion for a succession of Mediterranean powers, Alanya has boomed in recent decades and is a densely populated tourist haven for predominantly Dutch and Scandinavian sunseekers. At night, the downtown area can resemble 'Vegas by the Sea' – aside from taking a boat cruise or a stroll along the waterfront, many visitors only shuffle between their hotel's pool and all-inclusive buffet restaurant, perhaps dropping into a raucous nightclub after dark.
But look up from the bars and tattoo parlours for a minute, and you'll find Alanya has abundant charms. Looming high above the promontory, to the south of the modern centre, is an impressive fortress complex with the remains of a fine Seljuk castle, some atmospheric ruins and a sprinkling of traditional red-tile-roofed houses rimming the alleys that climb up the hillside. Alanya is a tale of two cities if ever we saw it.
BEST TIME TO VISIT ALANYA
Alanya has a mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters. If you’re a sunseeker the best time to visit Alanya is between June and September. The hottest month of the year is August with an average daily maximum of 33 C and an average low of 27 C. The coolest month of the year is January with an average daily maximum of 15 C and an average low of 9 C. The driest month is August with 1 mm of rainfall and 31 perfect sunny days. The wettest month is January with 70 mm of rain over 5 days. Best time to be on the beach You should be able to enjoy the beach with sea temperatures averaging 23 C or above from June to October.
GETTING TO ALANYA
Alanya is about 2 hours drive from the nearest major international airport in Antalya and half an hour from Gazipaşa Airport. Gazipasa Airport opened for international flights in 2011, and serves a limited, but growing number of European destinations. Most holiday makers land in Antalya and are then taken to their hotel in Alanya by bus and also you can choose antalya airport transfers to alanya for hassle free arrivals
If your hotel is a bit far from Alanya, you can stand outside the hotel on the road and wait for a Dolmuş to come by and pick you up. You can stop at dolmuş stops anywhere on the road, mostly there are bus stops, rarely at someplaces there are not bus stops, they come in each 10 and 15 minutes and are sometimes quite crowded. Expect to pay around 2 Turkish Lira per person for the ride.
GETTING AROUND ALANYA
Dolmuşes to the otogar (₺2) can be picked up at the Dolmuş station near the mosque behind the Grand Bazaar, north of Atatürk Caddesi. From the otogar, walk out towards the coast road and the dolmuş stand is on the right. Buses 101 and 102 run the same route . A taxi to the otogar from the centre costs ₺15 and takes about 10 minutes. Walking around the town is the best option, except on very hot July and August days. You can take taxis or a Dolmuş to the castle if you don't want to walk all the way up the hill. Also you can rent an electric scooter or a bike.
WHERE TO STAY IN ALANYA
Set in Alanya, just 2.3 km from Mahmutlar Beach, ALANYA GOLD CİTY offers beachfront accommodation with a restaurant, a fitness centre, a bar and free WiFi. This apartment provides a shared lounge, a garden, as well as a private beach area. The apartment is fitted with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchenette, and a balcony with pool views. A buffet breakfast is available every morning at the apartment. With staff speaking English, Dutch and Turkish, information is available at the reception. Guests can enjoy the spa and wellness centre, have a game of tennis, organise trips at the tour desk, or rent a car to explore the surroundings. The property features a kids' club offering various activities, as well as a playground. Kargicak Beach is 2.3 km from ALANYA GOLD CİTY, while Alanya Ataturk Square is 18 km away. The nearest airport is Gazipasa, 33 km from the accommodation, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
Located on the east side of the ancient peninsula, Hotel Kaptan is one of the oldest hotels in Alanya. It offers clear views on the harbour and rooms with free Wi-Fi. The air-conditioned rooms at Kaptan Hotel open onto balconies. They are equipped with satellite TV and minibars. Each has a bathroom with a hairdryer. Kaptan’s renowned restaurant offers an á la carte menu with a choice of international and Turkish cuisine. Guests can enjoy a rich breakfast buffet every morning while admiring panoramic views of the surrounding area. Hotel Kaptan offers an outdoor swimming pool. For indoors entertainment, there is a games room with table tennis. The hotel is located 30 km from Gazipasa Airport and 130 km from Antalya Airport.
Set in Alanya, 150 m from Mahmutlar Beach and 700 m from Kestel Beach, Barbaros Caddesi Apt offers air-conditioned accommodation with a balcony and free WiFi. This beachfront property offers access to a terrace. The apartment has 2 bedrooms, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, an equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave, a washing machine, and 1 bathroom with a shower. The apartment offers a children's playground. Both a bicycle rental service and a car rental service are available at Barbaros Caddesi Apt, while hiking can be enjoyed nearby. Alanya Ataturk Square is 11 km from the accommodation, while Alanya Red Tower is 12 km from the property. The nearest airport is Gazipasa, 34 km from Barbaros Caddesi Apt, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
With Mahmutlar Beach reachable in 1.7 km, Konak Seaside Resort provides accommodation, a restaurant, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and a bar. Both WiFi and private parking are available at the apartment free of charge. Each unit comes with a patio, a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher, a seating area with a sofa, a flat-screen TV, a washing machine, and a private bathroom with bidet and a hairdryer. A microwave, a fridge and oven are also featured, as well as a kettle and a coffee machine. Guests at Konak Seaside Resort can enjoy a continental breakfast. Spa and wellness facilities including a hammam and a sauna are at guests' disposal during their stay at the accommodation. Guests can spend time in the water park or enjoy the indoor pool and garden at Konak Seaside Resort. Alanya Ataturk Square is 16 km from the apartment, while Alanya Red Tower is 18 km away. The nearest airport is Gazipasa, 28 km from Konak Seaside Resort, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
May Flower Apart Hotel has a restaurant, seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and bar in Alanya. All rooms boast a kitchenette and a private bathroom. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk, room service and currency exchange for guests. All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer and a wardrobe. The rooms will provide guests with a stovetop. The resort offers a buffet or à la carte breakfast. May Flower Apart Hotel offers a children's playground. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Kleopatra Beach, Alanya Aquapark and Alanya Archaeological Museum. The nearest airport is Gazipasa Airport, 45 km from May Flower Apart Hotel.
Offering a seasonal outdoor pool and views of the sea, Riverside Resort Property is situated in Alanya in the Mediterranean Region Turkey Region. Alanya Ataturk Square is 5 km from the property. Free high-speed WiFi is available throughout the property. Featuring a terrace, the air-conditioned accommodation is fitted with a seating area with a flat-screen TV and DVD player. Some units feature a dining area and/or balcony. There is also a kitchenette, equipped with a dishwasher. An oven, a toaster and fridge are also offered, as well as a kettle. Free private parking is also available at this apartment. Towels and bed linen are featured. Riverside Resort Property also includes a fitness centre and barbecue. Guests can enjoy a drink at the on-site bar. You can play tennis and table tennis at the property, and bike hire is available. Alanya Red Tower is 5 km from Riverside Resort Property, while Alanya Castle is 6 km away. The nearest airport is Gazipasa Airport, 33 km from the property.
Enki Hotel has a private area at the sandy beach only 350 m away. The hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre and air-conditioned rooms with a private balcony. The rooms of Enki Hotel are equipped with an LCD TV, desk and a wardrobe. The bathrooms come with a shower, hairdryer and a toilet. The restaurant serves Turkish dishes. You can enjoy your meals at the outdoor dining area, next to the pool. You can enjoy your non-alcoholic drinks by the pool during the day. Alanya Castle is within 7 km. The nearest bus station and Alanyum Shopping Centre are both 250 m from the hotel. Antalya Airport is 130 km away.
Enjoying a private stretch of the Cleopatra Beach, this hotel features a seasonal outdoor pool. Relaxation facilities at Xperia include a Turkish bath, hot tub and massage rooms. Private balconies are featured in all air-conditioned rooms. Each comes with satellite TV, free WiFi and a minibar with free soft drinks. Individual bathrooms include hairdryers and toiletries. Xperia Saray Beach Hotel has 2 a la carte restaurants with indoor and outdoor areas. There is also a patisserie, 4 bars and free snack service at the beach. Guests can enjoy live Turkish music and beach parties at Xperia Saray. The hotel is located in Alanya, 40 km from Gazipasa Airport and 120 km from Antalya Airport.
This hotel is located in a quiet area of Alanya with air-conditioned rooms, only 400 m from the sandy beach. It offers 2 outdoor pools, water slides, a sauna and a Turkish bath. The cosy rooms of Club Big Blue Suit Hotel are decorated in pastel colours. They all include a private balcony with views of the garden or the outdoor pool. Turkish and international cuisine is served in the restaurant. The bar offers a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Alanya city centre is 4 km from Hotel Club Big Blue Suit. Antalya Gazipaşa Airport is 40 km away.
Panorama Hotel - All Inclusive boasts a private seafront location in Alanya. This 4-star hotel features a private beach area with free parasol & sun-lounger and a rooftop terrace that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. It has a large freshwater pool, a fitness centre and a tennis court. Rooms at the Panorama Hotel include balconies with pool or garden views. They come equipped with air conditioning and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. The private bathrooms have a hairdryer. The hotel’s restaurant serves buffet dinners with fresh fruit and pastries. There is a kiosk that offers Turkish flat bread and an on-site market. At the hotel’s bar guests can enjoy cocktails and panoramic sea views. Panorama Hotel is 400 m from Alanya’s historical centre. Antalya Airport is 125 km away. The hotel offers 24-hour front desk service and free on-site private parking. Gazipasa Airport is 42 km away.
PLACES TO GO & THINGS TO DO IN ALANYA
Surmounting Alanya's rocky peninsula is its awesome, Seljuk-era castle, girdled by 6km of walls and awaiting Unesco World Heritage listing. Climb to it through the steep streets of the Tophane district to get a sense of its scale, enjoying a wonderful viewpoint across the city and Cilician mountains. Right at the top is the Ic kale, within which are plentiful ruins including some 400 cisterns, the shell of a small 11th-century Byzantine church and a platform over a vertiginous drop to the sea.
A wooden walkway runs south along the old harbour's east wall from the Red Tower to the Tersane, the only Seljuk-built shipyard remaining in Turkey. Antique ceramic shards litter the stones, indicating the succession of civilisations that have built here – with the waves sloshing through its five restored vaulted chambers, it's highly atmospheric. From here the walkway continues further along the shoreline to a small armoury, which would have served as a coastal watchtower during the Seljuk era. It is currently under renovation.
Refurbished in 2012, Alanya's small but excellently curated museum is worth a visit to see artefacts, including tools, jugs, jewellery, letters and coins, from the succession of cultures that have called the surrounding area home. Its prize pieces include a fine 52cm bronze of Hercules from the 2nd century AD and a kind of deed in Phoenician dating to 625 BC. The museum is divided into 20 display rooms and areas, including three outside of sarcophaguses and ostotheks (boxes containing ashes of the deceased). You can also try your hand at navigating Alanya Harbour behind the wheel of an old sailing ship.
This striking five-storey octagonal defence tower, measuring nearly 30m in diameter, more than 30m in height and with a central cistern within for water storage, looms over the harbour at the lower end of İskele Caddesi. Constructed in 1226 by Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I (who also built Alanya Castle), it was the first structure erected after the Armenian-controlled town surrendered to the sultan, and is now the city's symbol. Climb the 70-odd steps to the roof; the views are amazing.
As you walk up to Alanya Castle, the road passes a turn-off for the village of Ehmedek, which was the Turkish quarter during Ottoman and Seljuk times. Today a number of old wooden houses still cluster around three-towered Ehmedek Castle, built in 1227, and the boxlike 16th-century Suleymaniye Camii, the oldest mosque in Alanya. Also here is a former Ottoman bedesten (vaulted covered market) and the Aksebe Turbesi, a distinctive 13th-century mausoleum.
Sandy and quite secluded in low season, and with fine views of the fortress, Cleopatra's Beach is the city's best. Alanya's main beaches are also decent enough, although east of the centre they're fronted by a busy main road. The teleferik will deposit you practically on Cleopatra's Beach from the castle.
This large tower would have served as a coastal watchtower and arsenal during the Seljuk era. If you're game you can follow the walls from here towards the East Bastion, then climb them as they scale the seaward cliff towards the castle, with wonderful views on the way. Be warned, though: they are crumbling, very steep and not exactly safe.
The area near this cave is often used for a swimming stop by many of the excursion boats setting out from Alanya harbour. Despite its name, the glittering effect on the water surface inside the cave is actually caused by reflected moonlight not phosphorous.
The İç Kale, or inner fortress, contains the remnants of a Byzantine church and the scattered ruins of cisterns. It's right at the top of the fortified hill that makes up Alanya's old castle district.
Enjoy this wonderful viewpoint looking across the city and Cilician mountains while walking up to the castle through the steep streets of the Tophane district.
According to local tradition, a secret tunnel once connected this cave with Alanya Castle, allowing pirates to secretly spirit their treasures away. Many excursion boats stop nearby so that passengers can swim inside the cave.
This bedesten (vaulted covered market) with a rectangular courtyard in the centre dates from the Ottoman era. For many years it functioned as a hotel.
This fine 16th-century mosque, which replaced a Seljuk structure dating to the 13th century, is the oldest in Alanya.
Close to Cleopatra's Beach and the cable car to the castle, this stalactite-studded cave has humidity levels of 98% and is said to produce a certain kind of air that, if inhaled and exhaled long enough, has the ability to relieve asthma sufferers. Constant temperature is 22° C. It was discovered in 1948 during the construction of Alanya Harbour.
Kuyularönü Camii, renovated in 2005, is a an island of spirituality amid the bland knock-off designer-T-shirt shops and plastic-fantastic souvenir stores of Alanya's centre.
The Akşebe Türbesi is a distinctive mausoleum thought to have been built in about 1230 for a Seljuk commander of the castle, though this has not been properly documented.
Reputed to be an old pirates' lair, Lovers' Cave is often visited by local boat excursions, with braver boat passengers opting to dive from its 8m-high entrance.
This stately mosque sits within the huddle of stalls in Alanya's Grand Bazaar.
Every city in Turkey has its Atatürk statue, and Alanya's presides over the main street on the eastern edge of the central city.
On the east side of the beach is the lower station for a cable car that opened in summer 2017, whisking you up to the castle promontory. The Alanya Teleferik climbs 250 metres on a 900-metre line, and one of its 14 gondolas will depart every 19 seconds. On board you’ll be treated to astonishing 360° views, out over the Gulf of Antalya, across the resort and beyond to the Taurus Mountains.
It’s impossible not to be awed by Taurus Mountains, and if you want to break out and experience this stirring landscape your best bet is the Sapadere Canyon, about 40 kilometres northeast of Alanya. The temperature is a few degrees lower in the mountains, and something that will strike you right away is the lack of humidity. On GetyouGuide.com there’s a seven hour tour taking you into the mountains for a trek via 750 metres of wooden walkways along the gnarled walls of the gorge, past waterfalls with bracing, clear pools that you can bathe in. Afterwards you’ll stop at Sapadere village for lunch and to see rural life in the Antalya Province up close.
Alanya’s port for tourist cruises and diving excursions is defended to the south by Kızılkule, and is as good a place as any to potter around and see where your curiosity takes you. Along the water there’s a promenade, hemmed by gardens with palms, lawns and topiaries. There are lots of spaces to just park up and soak up the views out to sea, down to the castle or up to the Taurus Mountains, a constant, imposing presence all along the coast. You’ll never be far from a cafe for a hit of Turkish coffee, and for the best views you can walk along the harbour’s south arm to ponder Alanya and its mountainous hinterland.
Of the many views to cherish in Alanya, some of the very best are from the water. On a cruise departing the old harbour, you’ll see the castle, shipyard, Kızılkule and the Taurus Mountains through the eyes of a Medieval sailor. The coastline in the Antalya Province is also fabulous, and there are three sets of caves within a short sail Alanya. Occasionally on this six-hour voyage the boat will drop anchor and you can lie back on deck or plunge into the cool turquoise sea. Cold drinks are provided and there’s also a barbecued lunch on board.
You may want to spend a whole day descending into the clear waters off Alanya. This experience is open to divers of all experience levels, and includes hotel pick-up and boat trips from the harbour to two dive sites, with a cooked lunch aboard the yacht on the way to the second site. Beginners are well looked after, diving in groups no larger than two per instructor. Non-divers can also come along for the trip, and you can bring your own snorkel and mask, or rent them from the boat, and pass a carefree day swimming in the crystalline sea and sunbathing.
Morning sunshine, amazingly clear waters, and the backdrop of the stunning Alanya castle and Red tower – what a perfect setting for paddling around! One great thing about this activity is that you don’t need any special skills besides a bit of balance. It is actually pretty relaxing, with plenty of time to enjoy the ocean views and get a tan!
This might not be the best for you if you are not into group excursions, but going on a jeep safari is nevertheless a cool option for enjoying the mountain wilderness. The trip starts in Alanya city and takes you up to the Taurus mountains (east of the city) 1200 meters above the sea, with several stops in mountain villages. The whole excursion is in a 4 x 4 Landrover Safari Jeep. The ride is quite bumpy especially when it goes off-road sometimes, but it is part of the fun. The vehicles feature an open top, so you can always stand up and take pictures or just enjoy the wind in your hair.
The Turkish bath or hammam is a part of Turkish culture and yet another unique thing to do in Alanya. Ottoman Turks inherited the bath concept from the Romans and adjusted it to their own tastes. It is all about cleansing and relaxing.
Alanya is incredibly photogenic and there is no better way to enjoy its scenery than from the bird’s eye view. Paragliding is really one of the most adrenaline-pumping things to do in Alanya. The flight is relatively long – about 20 minutes.
WHERE TO SHOP IN ALANYA
Alanya has become one of Turkey’s most prized beach destinations and appeals to jet setters as well as shoppers with its all-inclusive resorts, seaside villas and high-end outlets. With an influx of well-heeled visitors, this has transformed Alanya into a popular retail spot along the Turkish Riviera. Many world-famous retailers have stores inside shopping malls in Alanya and Turkish brands have also seized the opportunity to dazzle visitors. Chic fashion, elegant boutiques and high-quality products have made Alanya a competitive market. Although you’ll find plenty of modern shops, the boisterous bazaars still allow you a wonderful chance to embrace the local culture. Check out the options for the best places to go shopping in Alanya below.
The Alanyum Shopping Mall is a great place to find the widest variety of stores in Alanya. Shop for clothes, shoes, electronics, cosmetics, glasses, books, toys and anything else you might possibly need during your visit to the resort town. There are tons of world-renowned brands alongside local boutiques for a diverse selection of items. The moment you step inside the mall, you’ll find a Carrefour Superstore where you can pick up fresh fish, Turkish sweets, and a colourful variety of fruits and vegetables. Alanyum is conveniently located along State Road D-400, on the eastern side of town. Don’t fret about getting a ride as the local bus service drops you off directly across from the mall.
Location: Cumhuriyet, Keykubat Blv. No. 219, 07400 Alanya, Antalya, Turkey
Konakli Time Center in Alanya boasts a fabulous collection from a wide range of brands. There are plenty of local brands to pique your interest with superb quality for a fair price. Some of the highlights include LC Waikiki, DeFacto and Lufian. Also, you’ll find a toy store for the kids, small grocery stores and even a tattoo shop here. Konakli Time Center is just a short walk from Alanya’s beachfront resorts and is easy to reach for an afternoon of shopping. Pick up some Turkish sweets or grab a coffee to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Air-conditioned and pleasantly laid out, the mall is a great place to seek refuge from Alanya’s scorching summer temperatures.
Location: klı Mah, 100. Sokak 23/13, 07400 Alanya, Antalya, Turkey
Neva Outlet is the place to be for fantastic deals on all the biggest brands. The store takes pride in its warm hospitality and even provides a free shuttle from some hotels. There are top-quality brands available for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing at a reasonable price tag. You might even find some discounts on your favourite items. Positioned right along State Road D-400 in the Konakli area, Neva Outlet is a quick stroll from the coast. The store is only located on the 3rd floor and customers often make the mistake of thinking the entire complex belonging to the company.
Location: Konaklı Mah. Saat Kulesi Karşısı, Çevre Yolu Cd. Üzeri, 07400 Alanya, Antalya, Turkey
Bounoa Boutique has some of the most stylish and elegant items you’ll find anywhere in Alanya. With a central location in town next to the Çamlıca Dondurma ice cream shop, this is a great stop for wonderful accessories. Find towels, silk scarves, handbags and other great products for a comfortable visit to the beach. Buy decorative items for the living room back home such as candle holders, cushions and vases. Part of the exquisite furniture collection includes bamboo stools and marble side tables. Make sure to check out the store’s baby blankets if you or a friend have a toddler at home. If you wish to redecorate the house, there are plenty of home accessories to choose from.
Location: Saray Mahallesi Yunus Emre Caddesi, Elite Marine Residence No: 26/E, 07400 Alanya, Antalya, Turkey
Cuma Pazari is the hottest place in Alanya on Friday mornings for the freshest fruits and vegetables. Residents of the local villages gather at the bazaar and sell the organic products grown during the week. Not only will you find mouthwatering food at the bazaar, but also an eclectic array of clothes, ceramics and handmade crafts. This is an ideal spot to pick out a souvenir for loved ones and to immerse yourself in Turkish culture. The bazaar stretches from the harbour to the town centre and there are plenty of buses that can drop you off right next to the action. Although negotiating the price for items is a common practice, be respectful and courteous to each vendor.
Location: Şekerhane, 07400 Alanya/Antalya, Turkey
WHERE TO EAT IN ALANYA
Three generations of the friendly Öz family run this restaurant, uphill from the harbour. There are never less than 10 mezes on at once – perhaps girit ezmesi, an unforgettable mash-up of feta-like cheese, walnuts and olive oil. All the usual grills and loads of seafood headline the menu, but special lamb hotpots (kuzu güveçt) can be cooked with a day's notice.
This Turkish-Dutch operation occupies possibly the most handsome of Damlataş Caddesi's remaining Ottoman houses. It's beautifully restored inside, while outside a spacious terrace allows tables of merrymakers to tuck into good Turkish and European dishes without getting in each other's way.
Perched just above the harbour, the 'Inner Town Alanya Tavern' is more restaurant than boozer, with at least 30 types of meze to choose from by the entrance and an enormous selection of fish and shellfish. It's one of the few large restaurants on the waterfront that we'd recommend.
The 'Mini Kitchen' is a rare and refreshing thing in central Alanya: a traditional Turkish lokanta (eatery serving ready-made food) with unfussy, home-cooked food made by people who make you feel genuinely welcome. Lamb kebabs, slow-cooked white beans, cabbage rolls, zucchini fritters… It wouldn't raise excitement to the same degree elsewhere in Turkey, but here it's a godsend.
This classy waterfront fish and steak restaurant has been in operation since 1947 – quite a feat in fly-by-night Alanya – and offers a good selection of homestyle Turkish dishes as well. In this part of town, it stands out – in a good way.