Sometimes we find ourselves thinking of memories past. Whether it’s perhaps at the office, driving to our local grocery shop or even watching a movie on our sofa wearing our favourite slippers. When looking at what it may be a well established routine we sometimes need to evade this reality.

For us memories of Alanya, Türkiye and the wider resort area nearby, have always reminded us of joyful holidays, picture perfect moments and unmatched hospitality. Now that’s a place worth escaping into!

Read more below to explore with us why your next holiday should be in Alanya and its nearby resorts. You can also check out our article about Kuşadasi if you are considering other places in Turkey.

Overview

Alanya pronounced /əˈlɑːnjə/ is a coastal city in the south-eastern coast of Türkiye located in the Asian (Asia Minor) part of Turkey. It is located in the Antalya Province. According to the 2010 census it has a population of just under 99 000 residents.

The meaning behind the name Alanya comes from Alaiye, a derivative of the Sultan Alaeddin Kayqubad I’s name. The “a” at the end was coined by Atatürk due to a misspelling in a telegram due to Turkey’s recent (and confusing) alphabet conversion to Latin characters. You may be cool but when’s the last time you made a typo that changed the name of a city?

This seaside resort is about 815 km from Istanbul, a good 10h drive and about 63 km from Side.

With an average yearly temperature of 22 °C Alanya is truly a 4 seasons destination. However, most tourists would probably go for a summer holiday there since the average August temperature is 28 °C and in October a mild 20 °C.

Alanya is a great destination for holidaymakers whishing to do a beach holiday but also perhaps experience some of the local attractions and activities. Read more below, some of our recommendations.

How to get there and where to stay?

Alanya is accessible by land, water and air. The best option perhaps if you want to come here and stay in one of the nearby resorts would be to fly with a chartered flight by your travel agency.

We recommend getting yourselves a packaged holiday as tourism in Türkiye is an industry that is well oiled. We believe the do it yourself model might not be very meaningful here and could lead to higher costs.

The airport for Alanya’s most international flights is Antalya Airport (AYT). The airport is about 124 km from Alanya.

Assuming you booked a package holiday, once arrived at the airport be sure to check in with your tour operator so they can guide you to your transfer shuttle/coach.

The travel operator might be a different one than your travel agent – so be sure to double check. The transfer towards Alanya, depending on your hotel’s location could be up to 2 hours.

Since the first motel built in 1958 to accommodate outsiders, the region hosts about 160 000 hotels and accommodations. So there is a hotel there for about every one and any budget. Yes – I’m looking at you Ms. I want a room with jacuzzi, king size bed and peeled grapes.

We booked a package holiday with TUI, but if you prefer to organise your own trip, check our tips on how to plan a holiday. Read more about advantages and disadvantages of package holidays vs. independent travel here.

We’ve always chosen hotels with a front sea location. Meh, what can I say, do you really want to walk to and from the beach with your belly full?

We normally like to go to hotels with aqua parks so some hotels we stood throughout the years and can recommend would be the following:

Some of the things we believe are important when reviewing hotels:

  • Make a shortlist
  • Have a look over the reviews (try and find patterns, not one-offs)
  • What’s included in the all-inclusive programme? (all-inclusive doesn’t just refer to the type of board)
  • Cross-reference your shortlist with unofficial Youtube videos – the lack of effects will reveal the property as-is.
  • Village style hotels offer better value for money as your get to enjoy the beautiful gardens and all hotel amenities spread across the resort. We always go for this type of hotels but this will be down to your individual preference

Happy Booking!

Top things to do in Alanya

Well, to start off, wake up, have breakfast and then head off to the beach. – Relax – . The sound of the waves, the breeze playing with your hair and the sun touching your skin means the process of “holiday-fication” has started. Totally a real word 🙂

Alanya is famous for its clean waters, amazing beaches and great seaside resorts. So you know, you’ve booked the right place.

Hotels here know what to do and how to spoil you as a tourist. Everyone from the room maid making towel swans to chefs coming to greet hungry holidaymakers, all want to make you feel comfortable and forget about your earthly worries.

After a few days of this vacation (yes, let’s use some American terms also!) regime perhaps you might wonder “What can I do in Alanya?” or “What to visit?” or even ” What tours and excursions are in Alanya?”

Check your hotel’s activity board

First of all, we always recommend to start off with your hotel’s activity board. Try and see what things are included. Ping-pong? Tennis? Water sports? how about volley-ball?

Ah yes, beach volley-ball, the game where one can win by hiding the court border line in the sand and then “forgetting about it”… the memories that come when you learn the word “line!!!!” repeated in so many languages… A word that unites us all.

Once you are ready to go out of the hotel, be sure to check the nearby town. They normally host different bazars (markets) and could offer good bargains compared to downtown Alanya. Bargaining is a custom in Turkey so all you wolves of Wall street feel free to give it a try.

Depending on the predominant tourists, you can pay with dollars, euros or even rubles and British pounds. I guess for the right deal size they can also accept other currencies. What can I say – good merchants.

One thing you will notice is that once a larger transaction is concluded, normally over 100 euros, the shop owner will treat you to tea as a sign of a good deal and mutual respect. Feel free to accept the invitation. This is a good opportunity to relax and talk personal things. You can learn so much from them.

Going into Alanya is usually easy. Along the coast there is dual carriage way that leads straight to the city. Small shuttles called “dolmuş” pick up people on their way to Alanya. The fare is fairly low (a few euros one way per person) depending on where they picked you up.

You will also note a fair amount of trust during times of high peak times, where the driver might not be able to reach to you for payment. They will rely on you to pay when you get off.


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Alanya marina

Once you arrive in Alanya, head over to the Marina area. The many different tourist themed ships catch your attention and make you wonder if you’ve arrived in Jack Sparrow’s Tortuga Bay or you’re still in Turkey. Who knows?

Red Tower and Alanya Castle

Another top location where you can go in Alanya is the Red Tower home to the city ethnographic museum. It’s a good place to start to understand this jewel of the Turkish Riviera.

From the tower one can head over to old shipyard for a few catchy photos. Although nothing spectacular, it does offer a good resting place and an opportunity for some photos. Once you’re fully rested, start ascending the castle hill where once the mighty Alanya Castle stood.

The view offers the tourist a great opportunity for photos but more importantly an amazing sight of the bay and city. From here you can head down to the Damlataş Caves. This is a healing cave, discovered in 1948, offering special hours for asthma patients also this where you can see different stone formations.

Fun fact – the Damlataş caves were what sparked international tourism in this area due to the cave’s microclimate, with an average of 22 °C sparking a lot of curiosity.

Shopping

When you are ready for shopping head over to Ataturk Boulevard and make your way past the different shops and souvenir shops. They offer a great variety and don’t be afraid to explore the side streets as well. You might find better bargains there! Alanya is a truly safe place and police officers are always nearby.

Your journey should culminate with the Alanya Big Bazaar. Many shop owners will create compelling invites, but feel free to refuse them politely. When you’re tired and feel you’ve seen enough leather jackets or being told you look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, do stop for a typical Turkish ice cream.

The spectacle is just as good as the ice cream itself!

If you are looking for a day trip outside Alanya, there are many local travel agencies and we believe most of them are safe enough and worth booking through them. If you’ve never booked through one in the past feel free to walk in. Review the trips catalogue and choose the ones you want. At this stage, prices are indicative so ignore them.

After shortlisting them, try and negotiate a better price – Yes, you can do that. The more you choose, the better the price. So try and agree beforehand with your hubby on the things you want to do.

Once the transaction is done, they will take your hotel and room number and a deposit (the amount can also be negotiated).

In addition, some trips we recommend doing are:

Boat Trip

Ah – yes! A classic in our book. You can book these from the Marina area or through a local agency or even your tour operator. These trips, we believe are great value for money and offer an excellent experience for all members of the family or any couple.

They normally pick you up in the morning from the hotel. You set sail at about 10 am. The itinerary is more or less the same across. Don’t be fooled by some of the ships. Whilst some look like the Black Pearl straight of Jack Sparrow’s world, the crew is what will make your experience memorable.

Some of the best trips we’ve had were on regular looking boats. Once, we went on a fancy boat trip and the only time they started the “party” was in front of the hotel beaches on the way back for promotional reasons. Now you get me? Here is an example of a Boat Trip from Alanya.

Food and drink is included however, it may differ from boat to boat, be sure to double check before booking. If you are into boat trips, have a look at some other boat trips we have done in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt and in Paphos, Cyprus.

But an all time classic on these boat trips? Jumping off the boat!!! This is where you split the men from the children. For the ultimate “Bomb dive“, be sure to weigh 150 kg and go on the top deck for best results.

To conclude, most boats make their way back around 3-4 pm with you on the shuttle on the way back by 5 pm.

The ancient ruins of Ephesus

The ancient Greek colony of Ephesus is another great opportunity to explore the local history. The area has been populated since 6000 BC and has a vast history throughout the ages and different rulers.

It became famous because of the Temple of Artermis completed in 550 BC. It constituted one of the seven Wonders of the Ancient world.

Like with other trips they will pick you up in the morning, normally before 9 am. So, try and see if your hotel can arrange from a take away breakfast. Not all hotels do. Also get your sun cream as you will arrive there mid-day during the scorching hot sun.

You should be back at the hotel in time for dinner, depending on where your hotel is.

Trip to Antalya

If exploring Antalya is your thing, then go for it. It’s the nearby large city along the coast and offers tourists great opportunities to try different restaurants and also do some shopping. The Bazar here is more extensive but you’ll also find it pricier.

There are also many historical aspects that you can visit including local museums, mosques and architecture.

These trips normally include different stops along the route at either jewellery shops, goldsmiths or even leather shops. Some can offer good discounts and can offer good products but beware of fake leather or jewellery.

The trips should finish in the afternoon, with you back at the hotel by 5pm.

There are many other trips you can make including swimming with the dolphins. Let us know in the comments what trips you made and your experiences.

Food and drink

Turkish food encompasses typical Mediterranean ingredients with a blend of oriental and middle eastern dishes. The food typically is bright, fresh and vibrant with many dishes incorporating mince meat in one way or another.

At your hotel, the chef will try to include a wide variety of dishes to please all tastes. You will have typical Turkish dishes ranging from starters to deserts, and yes baklava isn’t the only desert Turks know. Go in with an open mind and an empty plate.

If you ever wondered how food is prepared at an all-inclusive hotel, then read our article “Inside an All-Inclusive Kitchen” for more details.

If you want a little bit more, sometimes, hotels can have a la carte restaurants that can come at a cost or may be included in your all-inclusive package. Feel free to also explore the nearby gourmet landscape. I’m sure you’ll find a pub serving fish & chips somewhere in Alanya.

A good restaurant with a view in Alanya is Sütçü İmam Pastanesi. This is a pastry shop that offers savoury snacks also but some really good baklava and kunefe.

Tips are always welcomed and Turks really appreciate when you show that you know a bit of Turkish. To this I am reminded of my uncle who on my first trip to Turkey asked whether I know how to recognise the Turkish language. To which I said no. He then replied: “Shoo-boorloom boo-boorloom”. It’s funnier in Romanian.

The truth is that the language is very different from many European languages. Letting that aside, a few words are worth knowing:

  • çok güzel – very nice/beautiful
  • merhaba – hello
  • arkadaş – friend
  • teşekkürler – thank you

In terms of drinks, Raki is one of the national drinks which is an aniseed based drink. And you might say, but isn’t this a Muslim country? To which I say yes, but, it has a secular state which is what makes Turkey in my eyes a really modern society.

The Alanya night life is equally great and whether you party at your hotel or want to go out, you won’t be disappointed. Turks are massive fans of techno music and house.

If raving isn’t your thing you can always go to a shisha café and sit down and relax with a blend of your choice of shisha tobacco. Backgammon is a must!

Final thoughts

Alanya is a pearl along the Turkish Riviera. It offers something for anyone. We would definitely recommend this place as a family destination but not only.

Its sandy nearby beaches and crystal clear waters offer holidaymakers everything you would expect from a decent summer destination. Whether you want to enjoy your time at the beach or pick from a wide catalogue of activities to do, Alanya has it all.

We recommend that you truly consider this destination as your next holiday adventure.

Ready to book? Below are some recommendations to get your trip started:


  • Accommodation – would recommend booking your accommodation through an aggregator such as Booking.com or Agoda to get the best rates. We also use TripAdvisor to read reviews.

  • Transport – consider Rentalcars.com for car renting or if you rely on public transport, you can use Omio for trains, coaches, ferries, airport transfers and even flights.

  • Activities – a great option is GetYourGuide or Viator for tours, excursions, experiences and tickets to many tourist attractions.

  • Luggage storage – if you need to store your bags whilst exploring the destination, you can use Radical Storage to find your closest luggage storage and enjoy your journey until the very end.


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Paul Nabosnyi

I am Paul and together with my wife, Hristina, we love travelling. I am originally from Romania. I am an IT sales professional. We enjoy city breaks and long haul destinations. We also like cooking and my passion is baking! In order to burn the calories from all that eating (hehe) we also cycle.

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