Alanya, a gem on Turkey’s southern coast, is renowned for its beautiful beaches and historic landmarks. For those contemplating things to do in Alanya, a visit to the Alanya Castle, perched high on a rocky peninsula, and a stroll along the Cleopatra Beach are essential.
The city’s vibrant bazaars and bustling harbor area offer a glimpse into the lively local culture and traditions. Damlataş Cave, with its unique stalactites and stalagmites, is another of Alanya’s attractions that draws visitors seeking natural wonders and therapeutic experiences.
Beyond its coastal allure, Alanya boasts a rich tapestry of history, from ancient Roman ruins to Seljuk-era architecture. For travelers searching for the best places to visit in Turkey, Alanya provides a blend of sun-soaked relaxation and historical exploration, making it a must-visit destination.
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Attractions and Things to do in Alanya
1. Alanya Castle
Alanya Castle is a Seljuk-era citadel from 1226, standing on the peninsula. It served as both a palace of local government and a defensive structure. Inside the castle, you’ll find the Süleymaniye mosque and caravanserai, built by Suleiman the Magnificent. The castle’s walls surround much of the eastern peninsula and can be explored on foot.
Travel Tip: Visit the castle during the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat, and don’t forget to bring your camera for breathtaking views of the city and sea.
2. Kızıl Kule (Red Tower)
The Red Tower is a 108-foot-high brick building at the harbor below the castle. It houses the municipal ethnographic museum and is one of the finest examples of medieval military architecture. The tower was designed to protect the Tersane (dockyard).
Travel Tip: Consider hiring a guide to learn about the tower’s historical significance, or take your time exploring the museum’s exhibits to understand the local culture and history.
3. Tersane (Medieval Drydock)
Built by the Seljuk Turks in 1221, the Tersane is a medieval drydock divided into five vaulted bays. It’s a unique structure that showcases the maritime history of the region.
Travel Tip: Combine your visit to the Tersane with the Red Tower, as they are close to each other. Wear comfortable shoes as the area may require some walking.
4. Atatürk’s House and Museum
This house, where Atatürk stayed in 1935, is preserved in its historic state and offers a glimpse into the interior of a traditional Ottoman villa. It’s a beautiful example of the “karniyarik” style and reflects the lifestyle of the 1930s.
Travel Tip: Check the opening hours before visiting, as they may vary. The museum offers a unique insight into Turkish history, so take your time to explore.
5. Alara Castle and Caravanserai
Located near Manavgat, Alara Castle and caravanserai were built under Kayqubad’s authority and have been converted into a museum and heritage center.
Travel Tip: Consider visiting the Alara Castle as part of a day trip from Alanya and explore the nearby natural beauty of the region.
6. Damlataş Beach
Named for the famous “dripping caves,” Damlataş Beach is a popular destination for locals and tourists. The beach is known for its clear waters and beautiful surroundings.
Travel Tip: Visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds, and don’t forget to explore the nearby caves for an extra adventure.
7. Alanya Museum
Housed in a 1967 Republican-era building, The Alanya Museum is inland from Damlataş Beach. It offers a wide range of exhibits showcasing the rich history and culture of the region.
Travel Tip: Allocate a few hours to explore the museum thoroughly, and consider visiting during weekdays when it’s less crowded.
8. Dim Cave
Dim Cave is one of Alanya’s most impressive natural wonders, located 12 kilometers east of the city center. The cave is known for its stunning stalactites and stalagmites formations, creating a magical atmosphere.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and bring a light jacket, as the cave can be cool and damp. Guided tours are available to provide insight into the cave’s geology.
9. Sapadere Canyon
Sapadere Canyon offers a breathtaking natural landscape with its crystal-clear stream, waterfalls, and lush greenery. It’s a perfect spot for hiking and enjoying the tranquility of nature.
Travel Tip: Visit during the spring or fall when the weather is ideal for outdoor activities. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning scenery.
10. Alanya Shipyard
The Alanya Shipyard is a historical site dating back to the 13th century. It’s one of the oldest shipyards in the world and offers a glimpse into the region’s maritime history.
Travel Tip: Combine your visit with the nearby Red Tower, and consider hiring a guide to learn about the shipyard’s historical significance.
11. Cleopatra Beach
Named after the famous Egyptian queen said to have swum here, Cleopatra Beach is renowned for its soft sand and clear waters. It’s a must-visit for beach lovers.
Travel Tip: Arrive early to secure a good spot, especially during the peak tourist season. Water sports are available for those looking for more adventure.
12. Alanya Gardens
Alanya Gardens is a peaceful oasis in the city’s heart, offering beautifully landscaped gardens, fountains, and walking paths. It’s a perfect place to relax and enjoy a stroll.
Travel Tip: Visit in the evening when the gardens are illuminated, creating a romantic atmosphere. It’s an excellent spot for a relaxing walk after dinner.
13. Alanya Aquapark
Alanya Aquapark offers a wide range of water slides, pools, and entertainment options for families and those looking for fun. It’s a great way to cool off and have fun.
Travel Tip: Bring sunscreen and plan to spend a whole day enjoying the various attractions. Check for package deals that may include lunch or other amenities.
14. Syedra Ancient City
The ruins of Syedra Ancient City are located 20 kilometers southeast of Alanya. The site offers a glimpse into the ancient civilization that once thrived here, with well-preserved structures and artifacts.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes for exploring the site, and consider hiring a guide to learn about the historical context of the ruins.
15. Mahmutlar Beach
Mahmutlar Beach is a quieter alternative to some of the more popular beaches in Alanya. It’s known for its clean, golden sand and a more relaxed atmosphere.
Travel Tip: Consider renting a beach chair and umbrella for a comfortable day by the sea. The beach is lined with cafes and restaurants for refreshments.
16. Alanya Archaeological Museum
This museum showcases artifacts from the region’s rich history, including prehistoric, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman items. It’s a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
Travel Tip: Allocate enough time to explore the museum’s extensive collection, and consider visiting with a guide to gain deeper insights into the exhibits.
Unique Activities in Alanya
1. Rafting, Zipline, Quad, Buggy, Jeep Tour
Experience the thrill of adventure with various activities, including rafting, ziplining, quad biking, buggy riding, and a jeep tour. This action-packed day is perfect for adrenaline seekers and offers a unique way to explore the natural landscapes around Alanya.
2. Pirate Boat Trip with BBQ, Drinks
Set sail on a pirate-themed boat trip with BBQ, drinks, and entertainment. Enjoy the beautiful coastal views, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and immerse yourself in a fun-filled day on the sea. This family-friendly activity is a great way to experience the maritime charm of Alanya.
3. Green Canyon Day Trip and Boat Ride
Explore the stunning Green Canyon on a day trip with a boat ride and lunch. Surrounded by lush greenery and towering mountains, the Green Canyon offers breathtaking views and a serene escape from the bustling city. Don’t miss the opportunity to swim in the emerald waters and enjoy the tranquility of nature.
4. Buggy Safari Adventure
Get behind the wheel of a buggy and embark on a safari adventure through Alanya’s rugged terrain. Navigate through mud, water, and challenging trails as you explore the countryside. This activity offers a thrilling and unique way to see the region’s natural beauty.
5. Captivating Views & Cultural Gems Tour with Cable Car
Discover Alanya’s captivating views and cultural gems on a guided tour with a cable car ride. Visit historical sites, enjoy panoramic vistas, and learn about the rich history and culture of the area. This tour provides a comprehensive and engaging overview of Alanya’s highlights.
6. Turkish Bath and Massage
Indulge in a traditional Turkish bath and massage experience. Relax in the steamy hammam, enjoy a rejuvenating scrub, and unwind with a soothing massage. This activity offers a luxurious and authentic way to pamper yourself and experience a vital part of Turkish culture.
Day Trips from Alanya
1. Manavgat Waterfalls
Discover the mesmerizing beauty of Manavgat Waterfalls, where you can enjoy the serene sound of cascading water and take in the lush surroundings. It is a perfect spot for nature lovers and photographers alike.
Travel tip: Wear comfortable shoes, as the terrain can be slippery, and bring a waterproof camera to capture the falls up close.
2. Aspendos Ancient Theatre
Step back in time at the Aspendos Ancient Theatre, a well-preserved Roman amphitheater that offers a glimpse into the region’s rich history. Attend one of the summer opera or ballet performances for a magical experience.
Travel tip: Arrive early to explore the surrounding ruins and carry a hat and sunscreen to protect against the midday sun.
Experience the otherworldly landscapes of Cappadocia, known for its unique rock formations, underground cities, and hot air balloon rides that offer panoramic views of the region.
Travel tip: Consider booking an early morning hot air balloon ride for the best lighting and fewer crowds.
Where to stay in Alanya
Alanya, Turkey, is a popular tourist destination for its stunning beaches, historical sites, and vibrant nightlife. The city offers various accommodation options to suit all preferences and budgets. From luxurious 5-star resorts to budget-friendly hotels, Alanya’s hospitality industry caters to every type of traveler. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, Alanya has the perfect hotel for you.
1. Best Reviewed Hotel
Ramira Joy Hotel – All Inclusive (★★★★)
- Description: Facing the beachfront, this 4-star hotel offers seasonal outdoor swimming pools, a fitness center, and a shared lounge.
- Price: €71 per night
- Rating: 9.2 (Superb)
2. Most Luxurious Hotel
Museum Hotel Antique Roman Palace – Adults Only Ultra All Inclusive (★★★★★)
- Description: A 5-star hotel that offers an exclusive experience for adults only. It provides luxurious amenities and an elegant atmosphere.
- Price: €146 per night
- Rating: 7.7 (Good)
3. Budget Hotel
Kleopatra Carina Hotel (★★)
- Description: Situated less than 100 meters from Cleopatra Beach, this 2-star hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and has a restaurant with a sun terrace.
- Price: €26 per night
- Rating: 6.4 (Review score)
4. Hotel for Family
Kleopatra Ramira Hotel – All Inclusive (★★★★)
- Description: Centrally located in Alanya, this 4-star hotel is family-friendly and offers all-inclusive services close to the famous Kleopatra Beach.
- Price: €95 per night
- Rating: 8.6 (Fabulous)
5. Hotel for Couples
En Vie Beach Boutique Hotel – Adults Only (★★★)
- Description: Set in Alanya, this 3-star hotel is designed for couples, featuring a terrace and hot tub, and is located 200 meters from Alanya Ataturk Square.
- Price: €85 per night
- Rating: 7.2 (Good)
6. Hotel for Solo Travelers
Sunway Hotel (★★★)
- Description: Sunway Hotel features free bikes, a garden, a shared lounge, and a terrace, making it a suitable choice for solo travelers.
- Price: €42 per night
- Rating: 8.5 (Very good)
Did you know? Facts about Alanya
- Alanya, formerly known as Alaiye, is a beach resort city located in the country’s Mediterranean Region on the southern coast of Turkey.
- Due to its strategic position on a small peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea, Alanya has been a stronghold for various Mediterranean-based empires, including the Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires.
- Alanya’s significant political influence peaked during the Middle Ages under the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm, particularly under the rule of Alaeddin Kayqubad I, from whom the city gets its name.
- Landmarks such as the Kızıl Kule (Red Tower), Tersane (Shipyard), and Alanya Castle were constructed during Alaeddin Kayqubad I’s reign.
- The Mediterranean climate, natural attractions, and rich history make Alanya a sought-after destination for tourism, contributing to nine percent of Turkey’s tourism sector.
- Alanya’s tourism industry has grown since 1958, significantly increasing the city’s population.
- The city’s history is marked by its change of hands among various empires, and its name has evolved accordingly. For instance, under the Byzantine Empire, it was known as Kalonoros or “beautiful/fine mountain” in Greek.
- The Kızıl Kule (Red Tower) is a prominent brick structure at the harbor below the castle and is one of the finest examples of medieval military architecture.
- The Tersane, a medieval drydock constructed by the Seljuk Turks in 1221, is another significant historical site in Alanya.
- Alanya’s Castle and Tersane have been proposed for inclusion as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, showcasing their historical and cultural significance.
FAQ about Alanya
What Are the Must-Visit Historical Sites in Alanya?
Alanya is rich in historical landmarks, including Alanya Castle, a Seljuk-era citadel dating from 1226, the Kızıl Kule (Red Tower), and the Tersane (dockyard). The Alara Castle and caravanserai near Manavgat are also significant sites, along with Atatürk’s House and Museum.
How Has Tourism Shaped Alanya’s Economy and Real Estate?
Tourism is a dominant industry in Alanya, responsible for nine percent of Turkey’s tourism sector and thirty percent of foreign real estate purchases in Turkey. The growth in tourism since 1958 has led to a significant increase in the city’s population and infrastructure modernization.
What Is the Climate Like in Alanya, and When Is the Best Time to Visit?
Alanya has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate with long, hot, and dry summers. The average sea temperature is 21.4 °C annually, making it a popular destination for beach lovers. The slogan “where the sun smiles” reflects the city’s pleasant weather.
What Are the Unique Geographical Features of Alanya?
Located on the Gulf of Antalya, Alanya is situated between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. The town occupies roughly 70 kilometers of coastline and features a distinctive rocky peninsula that divides the city.
How Can Travelers Explore Alanya’s Rich Cultural Heritage?
Visitors can explore Alanya’s cultural heritage through its well-preserved Ottoman villas, the municipal ethnographic museum in the Red Tower, and the Alanya Museum. The city is also a European Association of Historic Towns and Regions member.
What Are the Popular Beaches in Alanya for Sunbathing and Swimming?
Alanya offers beautiful beaches such as Keykubat Beach, Damlataş Beach, and Kleopatra Beach. The latter is named after a visit by the Ptolemaic princess or its inclusion in her dowry to Mark Antony.
How Has Alanya’s History Shaped Its Modern Identity?
Alanya’s history as a stronghold for various Mediterranean-based empires and its strategic position has shaped its modern identity. The city’s landmarks, such as the Red Tower and Alanya Castle, reflect its rich historical heritage.
What Are the Opportunities for Outdoor Activities in Alanya?
Alanya offers a variety of warm-weather sporting events and cultural festivals. The Mediterranean climate and natural attractions make it a popular destination for outdoor activities, including exploring the Alanya Massif and enjoying the Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forest.