AAlanya is like a small city but offically has more than 200 thousand inhabitants. Unoffically it has twice more.
From April until October Alanya changes into a Big City which is famous for Kleopatra Beach, the Castle and its night life. Alanya seems to be the most loved Turkish resort.
Long time ago, it was a fishing and agricultural village but in the 80’s it started changing 20into a vibrant city. It is still developing to make the lives of both inhabitants and tourists easier. It’s so unusual that many foreigners (thousands of them!) actually live in Alanya.
As a representative of the Europeans living here I admit that it is really nice living here, and as a Pole, I add: it could be better :)
I want to present you a list of the most interesting places:
What to see in Alanya
Kale, the Castle
Kale literally means “a castle”, a fortress in Turkish. It is located on top of the 250-meter-high hill, where the oldest footprints derived from Roman Empire are (named Coracesion).
Sultan Kayqubad I (Alā ad-Dīn Kayqubād) settled here in the 18th century (his monument is visible when entering Alanya). He built a fortress and its surroundig wall. The Old City’s name comes from the name of sultan – it was Alayie, later became Alanya.
The wall is more than 6 km long. There is an amazing view from the fortress on all of Alanya and its two beaches: Kleopatra (West) and Keykubat (East).
You can take a bus line 4 from the Main Dolmus Station or Damlataş Cave and go straight to the castle on top of the hill. After you visit the remains of the castle, just walk down on foot, which takes about 1,5 hours. You can also stay for a little while in one of these small cafes with amazing views. When walking down, just choose the second way to İskele (means “a harbour’; there will be a sign) – and you will be just in the harbour.
Entrance to the Castle: 15 Turkish lira
Bus for Kale (line 4): 2,5 Turkish lira
Teleferik (cable car to the top) – COMING SOON :)
The Harbour (İskele)
Harbour is a big attraction and it is the heart of Alanya. During the day you can visit the Red Tower (Kızılkule; with the Etnographic Museum inside) and the renovated Seljuk shipyard/dockyards which I am a fan of (Tersane).
Both buildings are constructed by Seljuk Turks. In the evening the harbour changes into a sin city… :) About 11 p.m. crazy parties start. There are a lot of clubs that are frequented by foreigners. If you are calmer kind of person, you can go to one of really pleasant authentic cafes with live music.
In September, the Jazz Festival takes place next to the Red Tower – entrance is free!
Entrance to the Red Tower : 4 TRY
Entrance 2 in 1 (Red Tower + Docks): 6 TRY
Entrance 3 in 1 (Red Tower + Docks + Damlataş Cave): 10 TRY
Damlataş Cave (literally tapping stone) is guilty of this whole Alanya’s disturbance. It was dicovered in 1948 by mistake by a local school group.
Alanya got famous because this cave was known for healing respiratory system sicknesses, for example asthma. That’s why visitors started coming there for longer times (not only passing by).
It is located in the centre of Alanya (on the western side of the Kale Hill). The cave isn’t that big, though: it’s 45-50 m long and 15 m high. There is about 23 degrees Celsius inside (constantly throughout the year) and a very high (98%) humidity which causes liquefaction. But a note to hypertensives: be careful as you may feel weak inside the cave.
The Dim Cave is even more impressive but also hidden in the mountains. It is located beyond the city (an hour walk from the Alanya-Mersin highway). Its altitude is 232 meters and it was discovered only in 1999!
Dim Cave is 410 m long (but only 360 m is available for tourists).
There are two corridors. The left one has a two-meter-deep lake at its end.
Both Damlataş and Dim Cave are nicely lit and have beautiful rock formations inside. It is only 18 degrees Celsius in the Dim Cave. But when you get out of the cave, you will be amazed by the beautiful landscapes of the Taurus mountains and Alanya in the background.
You can get there by car, taxi or dolmus (line 10) but it gets you only to “the first stop” and not further – you have to go on foot then.
Entrance to Damlataş Cave: 4 TRY
Entrance to Dim Cave: 13,5 TRY
Alanya Archaeological Museum
It is a small museum near the beach, close to Damlatas Cave and the tourist information office and has been in operation since 1967. It showcases archaeological treasures from different periods and many etnographical facts about the past life in Alanya. The most valuable exhibit is a miniature bronze sculpture of Heracles from the 2nd century.
Museum’s garden is also really worth to see as there are rock excavations from the Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk periods there. Another attraction is that peacocks walk there proudly – representing „live” exhibits :)
Admision fee – 5 TRY
Closed on Mondays
Dimçay River – Alanya’s picnicking
Dimçay literally means “Dim stream”. You can go there for only few hours or for the whole day. You can go there by yourself but you can also take an Alanya City package tour.
It is a lazy mountain river located in the East part of Alanya with local restaurants on the water. There are wooden or metal platforms with comfortable patterned pillows in the Turkish style. There are also many slides, fountains, pools and fresh grilled trouts – so we are in heaven!
Turks go there almost every other weekens and they love that kind of things. Well, who doesn’t? :)
Dimçay is best in the summer when you can simply run away from hot and humid Alanya. Only a few kilometres away from the city and you can feel the fresh air from the Taurus mountains and enjoy the freezing water!
Bus ticket from Alanya to Dimçayi (bus line 10): 2,5 TRY
Some restaurants offer free pick up service.
It is known that when in Turkey, one can and should visit as many mosques as possible as it is them that give us the opportunity to “touch” other cultures. Merkez Camii (central mosque) is the most impressive of all in Alanya.
It is located in the city centre, on the way to Iskele (Harbour). It is embellished with azure colours inside. When you go there alone, you can be taken care of by a lovely man who would give you a tour, show Quran or present imam’s attire. You may give him a kind of tip (bakshish) to the box next to the exit.
Of course do not forget to switch your phone off, to not take photos of people during prayer and to cover your shoulders and knees (both genders). If you are a woman, wear some scarf covering your head and neck as well. And of course do not enter the mosque with your shoes on – the dirt of our shoes should be left outside!
Luckily, as we are not muslims, we don’t have to clean ourselves before entering the mosque (FYI: special fountains for doing it are located in front of each mosque).
Alanya city park
It is a hidden lovely place in the middle of the loud centre of Alanya. You can get there if you go right from Atatürk’s monument (towards the harbour). From Monday till Friday it is a really quiet place but on the weekends there are many people spending time together there. Most of them are Turkish men and women (mainly elderly people) who go there to meditate in silence. It’s a good observation point ;) I like this place also because Kedi Evi – “Cats’ home” is located just next to it. Kedi Evi was built by the Alanya municipality and it aims to help stray cats from Alanya. If you are a cat person like me, go visit this park now! :)
It is hard to name a beach a place to visit but it is worth to write little about them because they are amazing. They are not sandy (like in Poland or in Maldives :)) but fine-rocky and gravely.
They are quite wide with gentle descent to the water, and the water is so clear! Especially the four-kilometre-long Kleopatra Beach (west side of Alanya) is very picturesque. It has a Blue Flag sign – an international symbol of quality beach.
For the east parts of Alanya there is a Keykubat Beach, also a pleasant one.
Beaches are public and free, only umbrellas and sunbeds are not free of charge.
A sunbed + an umbrella cost about 12 TRY per day.
I really recommend visiting Turkish markets, for example the one in the place called Hal. The best bazaar is on Tuesday in Hal and on Friday in the city centre when the vegetable tradesmen comes there too. It is worth not only to walk in the open-air area and buy fresh products there but also to go to places under the roof where villagers stands with lots of goodies on the ground and where small cafes with fresh produce (in reasonable prices!) are. It is open from morning till evening.
Terrace (Seyir terası)
The landscape of Alanya is really different from this perspective. It is hard to not to fall in love with that city when you are there :) You can also see the real size of this city there.
This terrace is popular especially among single girls that come there with Alanya’s Boys who want to impress them.
Normally, tourists can get there with package tours or alone with the bus line 8.
Package tour cost: 25€ for quality day tour with lunch on the river, antry fees and guiding included [Book here]
City bus line 8: 2,5 TRY
Sanayi Sitesi – the industrial quarter
Hm..Industrial is maybe too big a word… but it is Sanayi Sitesi.
I just like this part of Alanya too and I really want to show it to you. It is an unusually picturesque place, especially on the weekends when all of garages are closed. There are carwrecks, motorbikes, tractors and broken buses.. or cars being renovated. You can walk between all garages, services and car parks – if you are interested in old cars or if you just like taking photos of strange, old things. I really love the ambience there!
The place is easy to find (it is close to the sea, on the east of Alanya, towards the Oba quarter).
And what are your favourite places in Alanya?
Translated from Polish by Wiktoria Janowicz