This stylish resort is squeezed into Antalya Bay by the dark slopes of the Taurus Mountains.
The landscape is defined by a 250-meter high promontory jutting into the Mediterranean Sea, fortified since ancient times.
In Alanya, you’ll be lounging on stunning beaches, passing through those towering castle ruins, accessible by a cable car that opened in 2017. This is one of the few projects helping Alanya become a seaside resort in the 21st century.
The city is also a starting point for scuba diving, cruising and trips to the Taurus Mountains, where you can hike canyons, explore caves and bathe in cool mountain streams.
1. Alanya Castle
The city’s steep peninsula is protected by the Mediterranean on three sides and is topped by a 13th-century castle with 6.5 kilometers of fortified walls.
The rock was a natural defense, and today’s castles are built on early Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine walls.
In total, there are 83 towers and 140 towers on the walls, and many of the 1,200 original cisterns continue to function in their original roles.
Alanya Castle is a massive archaeological site worth hours of exploring.
The starting point must be the Castle or Kale on the southwest side, where you will come to the Byzantine Church of St. George, later converted into a mosque.
On the north side of the cape is the scene of the Seljuk Fortress of Ahmedek, which was built on Hellenistic ruins and held military fortresses, arsenals and the Sultan’s treasury over the centuries.
Here, you’ll find countless ruins, as well as historic 19th-century houses that rose after the castle fell out of defense.
2. The Red Tower (Kızılkule)
Alanya’s symbol is a 13th-century Seljuk defense tower, named for the red bricks that make up the building’s upper floors and balustrades.
The footprints of the Red Tower are octagonal, 33 meters high, with marble blocks on the lower walls.
This rare medieval fortified building was built to protect Alanya’s port and shipyard and has welcomed people to the city over the centuries.
There’s a cistern inside that still collects rainwater, and you can make out the historic knockback kill holes from which boiling water and asphalt would drop onto helpless intruders.
On the first floor is a small ethnographic museum, which displays tools and handicrafts reflecting the Turkmen culture of Jinniushan.
3. Cleopatra Beach
From the west foot of that promontory is Alanya’s main beach, a long, gentle arc of coarse sand bathed in low to medium waves.
Kleopatra Beach is wide and narrows further north, giving you unobstructed views of the castle and the Taurus Mountains.
There are beach clubs with loungers at intervals along the beach, and between the sand and Ataturk Avenue is a wide promenade with the same panorama, under swaying palm trees, a strip with playground and The greenery of the flower beds is separated from the street.
4. Alanya Teleferik
On the east side of the beach is the lower station of the cable car that opened in summer 2017 and takes you to the castle promontory.
Alanya Teleferik climbs 250 meters on the 900-meter line, and one of its 14 gondolas will leave every 19 seconds.
On board, you’ll enjoy stunning 360-degree panoramic views from Antalya Bay, opposite the resort, to the Taurus Mountains.
When we wrote this in March 2019, the round trip was 28TL (~$4.50). Sunset is of course a great time to travel, and from the street, the gondolas are lit up in green and blue at night.
5. Sapadere Kanyonu
It’s impossible not to be blown away by the Taurus Mountains, and if you want to break through and experience this breathtaking landscape, your best bet is the Sapadre Gorge, located about 40 kilometers northeast of Alanya.
Temperatures are a few degrees cooler on the mountain, and what will strike you right away is the lack of humidity.
On GetYourGuide.com, there is a 7-hour tour that takes you into the mountains, along the craggy walls of the canyon, past 750 meters of wooden walkways, and past a buttressed waterfall where you can bathe in crystal-clear pools.
Afterwards, you will stop for lunch in the village of Sapadere and get a close look at rural life in Antalya province.
6. Damratash Cave
In 1948, while the Alanya Peninsula was quarrying for the harbour, workers stumbled across a cave full of stalagmites and stalactites.
At the foot of the stairs, the Damratash Cave is 50 meters long and reaches a height of 15 meters, and those bizarre nodules are carefully illuminated.
Now, the things to note about this chamber are its high humidity (96%), elevated carbon dioxide, and a constant temperature of 22°C.
This may turn off some tourists, but since the first discovery of Damlataş Cave, it has been acclaimed for its therapeutic effects on patients with respiratory problems.
Tens of thousands of people with asthma visit each year and receive a 21-day course of 4 hours a day in the cave.
Their time slot is 06:00-10:00, before the caves are opened to the wider public.
7. Port of Alanya (Limani)
Alanya’s tourist cruise and diving excursion port is guarded to the south by Kızılkule, which is a great place to wander around and see where your curiosity takes you.
There is a promenade along the water’s edge, surrounded by palm trees, lawns and manicured gardens.
There’s plenty of space to park and enjoy the ocean views, down to the castle or up to the Taurus Mountains, all the way along the coast.
You’ll never be far from a café for a Turkish coffee, and for the best view, stroll along the south arm of the harbour, contemplating Alanya and its mountainous hinterland.
8. Alanya Archaeological Museum
In ancient times, the surrounding area known as Pamphylia was home to a cluster of cities, many of which are striking archaeological sites today.
So it’s always worthwhile to visit the Archaeological Museum when you’re on the Turkish Riviera.
Alanya’s is famous for the bronze statue of Hercules, which dates back to the 2nd century AD and is just over half a metre high.
Also on display are a complete amphora from the 2nd century BC, coins dating back to 700 BC, an inscription from 625 BC with a Phoenician inscription, and the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus’s 46 lines of letters.
The museum also has an ethnographic section detailing the local way of life, as well as an outdoor space that showcases ancient agricultural techniques, as well as funeral customs from antiquity to the Islamic era.
9. Alanya Tesanesi
In 1228, Seljuk Sultan Kaikubad I of Anatolia ordered the construction of this extraordinary shipyard, which faces east across the bay, just south of Kızılkule.
During medieval times, Alanya was the main shipyard of the Seljuk Empire in the Mediterranean, the remaining shipyards are in good condition and open to the public free of charge along the boardwalk.
A row of five pointed arches with a total length of more than 55 meters, these arched bays are 44 meters inland.
The shipyard faces east to get as much sunlight as possible, and is flanked by a mosque and guardhouse.
A little back on the rock on the south side is a defensive tower that was once armed with a cannon.
The Dim River winds down the eastern side of Alanya from the Taurus Mountains.
In addition to nourishing the rich vegetation on the banks, the river is also very cool, even in the hot summer months.
A local family tradition is to cruise the river below Dim Dam, paddling in the calm channels, fishing and barbecues on the banks.
Serving many day-trippers are dozens of restaurants, many with shaded patios on small wooden piers or even pontoons that float above the water.
Some of these riverside restaurants have pools, slides and diving boards by the river, and some will give you a fishing rod to catch your own trout.
Upstream of Dim Dam, you can raft on the 5.5 km route from Akköprü with plenty of places to stop for a picnic on the shore.
11. Dim Mağarası (Dim Mağarası)
As you cruise the Dim River, take time to visit the largest cave system in the Alanya region, carved out of water over millions of years but not discovered until 1999. Dim cave is 360 meters long and deserves many nodules.
Keep in mind that there are lots of steps and narrow walkways, so not everyone has access to the dark caves.
Like Damlataş Cave, the humidity here is as high as 75%, although the cave does offer an opportunity to escape the heat, the temperature never exceeds 19°C.
12. Alanya Belediyesi 100. Yıl Atatürk Parkı
A highlight of this park is its location, right next to the cable car station at the eastern end of Kleopatra Beach, the Tourist Office, the Damlatas Cave and the Archaeological Museum.
Walk a few steps north along Güzelyalı Cd. There are dozens of places to eat.
As for the park, it’s a place to cool off for a few minutes under palm trees or a giant banyan tree.
There is a miniature golf course, a fish pond, flower beds and public artwork such as a stately statue of Cleopatra.
This is also Alanya’s favorite place for stray cats, who roam freely on the lawn and have special wooden shelters and feeding stations.
13. Seyle Tracy
For those in the know, the best panoramic views of Alanya can be obtained from this observation deck at the foot of Mount Taurus.
You can get to Seyir Terasi in 15 minutes by car or taxi, and once you get there, you probably don’t want to leave.
From this leafy vantage point, you can enjoy the best views of the Castle Peninsula, the mosaic white blocks of modern Alanya, and the aqua blue expanses of the harbour and the Mediterranean Sea.
There is a telescope on the terrace, and there is a cafe-restaurant above, and in the evening the family will come to the park to light a barbecue.
14. Alanya Boat Tour with BBQ Lunch and Drinks
Among the many sights to cherish in Alanya, some of the best are from the water.
On the cruise leaving the old harbour, you will see the castle, the shipyard, Kızılkule and the Taurus Mountains through the eyes of medieval sailors.
The coastline of Antalya Province is also beautiful, and there are three sets of caves in Sail Alanya.
During this six-hour voyage, sometimes the boat breaks down and you can lie down on the deck or plunge into the cool turquoise sea.
Cold drinks are served, and there is also a BBQ lunch on board.
This outing is available on GetYourGuide.com.
15. Scuba diving trip with lunch
You might want to spend the whole day diving into the crystal clear waters near Alanya.
Open to divers of all experience levels, this experience includes hotel transfers and a boat trip from the harbour to both dive sites, with a cooked lunch on board the yacht on the way to the second dive site.
Beginners are well taken care of and group dives of no more than two people per instructor.
Non-divers can also accompany them, bring their own snorkel and mask, or rent them from the boat, and spend a carefree day swimming and sunbathing in the crystal waters.
Book Online: Scuba Diving Tour with Lunch
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Alanya, Turkey
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