Alanya Travel Guide
Overview Situated on the Gulf of Antalya on Turkey's Mediterranean coast,
Alanya has been a favoured seaside holiday resort for over 800
years. Today's European package tourist is drawn here for much the
same reasons as the Seljuk Turks all those centuries ago: the sea
is warm and gentle, the beaches stretch for miles, and the town has
an interesting history.
The southern part of the town is the most tourist-orientated,
although, fortunately, a height-restriction has limited the sprawl
common to resort towns. There is, however, the usual collection of
resort-style hotels and tourist-orientated fare in Alanya. The
harbour is a hub of activity, particularly at night, and when tired
of relaxing on the beach, there are several sites such as the
Damlatas Caves, Alanya Castle and the Red Tower to visit.
Alanya is also backed by the pine-forested Taurus Mountains and
while on holiday there, a half hour's drive out of town allows
visitors to enjoy spectacular views, as well as the charm of small,
rural villages where life continues much as it always has.
Alanya © Vitalis Eichwald
Shopping Alanya has a range of good shops, and part of the fun is
perfecting your haggling skills. Barring food items, bargaining on
everything is expected and patience is key. One can usually expect
to get prices marked down by 30 to 50 percent. Touts can get
annoying and it is best to avoid shops with aggressive salesman.
Alanya offers some excellent jewellery stores, as well as leather
goods and clothing stores, a local market, and the usual tourist
tat. Hookahs (water pipes) and tobacco are popular souvenirs from
Alanya, as well as Turkish tea sets.
Restaurants Alanya has a large range of restaurants, catering for a variety
of tastes, from traditional Turkish food to McDonalds. Some
favourites include Memos, serving traditional Turkish dishes such
as a delicious Ottoman stew, and Big Ben's for more English-style
breakfasts and Sunday roasts. Try a kebab or mezze platter,
followed by a cold Efes beer for an authentic Turkish experience.
If you eat from street vendors, remember that you can haggle the
price of your meal; haggling is frowned upon in restaurants and
grocery stores, however. Try local specialties like baklava and
thick, sludgy Turkish coffee.
Nightlife Much of Alanya's nightlife is centred on the harbour, but
several more locally frequented bars and clubs can be found tucked
away in the side streets. Many of the clubs close relatively early,
but a free shuttle ferries serious partiers to Auditorium, an
enormous venue that stays buzzing until the wee hours and is away
from the town centre. Other favourites include James Dean, Robin
Hood, and Bistro Bellman. Several venues also provide more
traditional entertainment such as belly dancing, fire shows, and
traditional music. Beers in Turkey can be expensive, especially in
nightclubs which may charge up to €4.50.
Activities There are several interesting sights to explore while on holiday
in Alanya, including the medieval Alanya Castle and remains of a
Seljuk village, the Red Tower, and nearby Damlatas Caves. A
favourite is also the Dim Valley and Dim Cave. Other than
sunbathing and good swimming, there is also a water park, golfing,
mountain biking, bungee jumping, river rafting on the Alara River,
and excellent diving on offer. You can also take boat trips to
explore nearby caves.
Negatives Alanya is a popular holiday resort and can get very noisy and
crowded. The busy main highway runs through the resort, and causes
pollution, noise, and congestion. An ancient lava field just below
the water line can be hard to negotiate while swimming.