Had enough of those well-known destinations everyone is talking about? Feel like discovering new places and finding yourself surrounded by beautiful landscapes with a touch of history? If so, then Alanya – a Mediterranean city on the Eastern coast of Antalya Bay, in the Anatolian Peninsula – should be on your travel list.
140 km east of Antalya, Alanya is one of the biggest and most popular holiday destinations of the Mediterranean. Taurus Mountains (over 2000 meters high) rise behind the city and the total coastline of Alanya to the Mediterranean is about 100 km. The natural well-kept beaches extend along the coast. Alanya has a typical Mediterranean climate, with wet humid winters and hot dry summers. The average winter temperature is 14ºC and the average summer temperature is 27ºC. In winter, the water averages 18º C, while in summer it reaches 25ºC. Though snow in the city centre is an extraordinary event, the peaks of Taurus Mountains are covered in white during winter. At the beginning of the spring, the 20 rivers of Alanya carry the melting snow on the Taurus to Mediterranean, creating wonderful picnic areas and rafting rivers. Moreover, plateaus on Taurus Mountains offer many routes for trekking and safari. Today, Alanya – with its rich history – is a nominee for UNESCO’s World Heritage Cities.
Beaches and nightlife
The coast of Alanya is famous for its natural wide beaches, which extend 24 km to the East and 36 km to the West. In Alanya, the colour of the sea turns from blue to turquoise. Provided the weather is good, you can even catch a glimpse of the fish deep in the crystal-clear waters. On the West side we find Damlatas and Cleopatra beaches, as well as Alara, İncekum, Avsallar, Türkler, Payallar and Konakli. The East of Alanya includes Keykubat and Portakal beaches, as well as Oba, Tosmur, Kestel, Mahmutlar, Kargıcak and Demirtas.The entrance to the beaches and the showers are free, with deck chairs and beach umbrellas available for an extra charge. Helping tourists unwind even more, no boats and water sports vehicles are allowed within a certain distance from the beach.
After a day spent relaxing and getting that perfect suntan or enjoying a wide range of activities, sunset signals the beginning of Alanya’s nightlife. Bars, lounges and discos await tourists with pop music, Turkish tunes and live entertainment. Whether you’re a teenager or an adult young at heart, you’ll find that perfect track and spend some memorable evenings with your family, friends or people you’ve just met.
While in Alanya you have to taste Turkish food – exotic types of “Şiş kebab” and traditional Alanya dishes. You can also delight your taste buds with fish, brought from the deep blue seas of the Mediterranean, or a slice of white cheese, melon and “Raki”. Rakı, a strong drink which should be enjoyed slowly, goes well with good conversation. Because of the anise it contains, raki changes colour and becomes milky white when water is added. An additional glass of pure water to go with it gives a refreshing taste. There are some people who drink rakı straight, so the choice is yours. It is customary to eat meze (various foods served in small plates) while drinking rakı. Raki is usually drunk with cold dishes and seafood. You can also enjoy the best of Turkish coffee, where roasted coffee beans have to be grinded just before making it.
Museums, art and culture
Alanya can also be seen as a centre of culture and art activities. One can find himself in the middle of a documentary film festival while passing by the Alanya Culture Centre. Just as well, he may listen to a harp performance at Red Tower when going up to watch the unique scenery of Alanya from above. You may also meet a post-modern paint exhibition in a room of Alanya Fortress during your visit or witness one of the symphonies of Beethoven while wandering in the harbour. A cultural or art activity may be announced anytime during the stay in Alanya and you can enjoy it free of charge.
There are five museums in the city: Alanya Museum, Red Tower Museum, Inner Fortress Museum, Middle Fortress Museum and Atatürk’s House. They are all open to visitors during the week (except for lunch breaks) with paid entrance. The most important artwork in Alanya is the statue of Heracleus, exhibited in the Alanya Museum. Located in the harbour, Red Tower has been designed to reflect the culture of Seljuk’s. The Inner Fortress, built as the palace of the Sultan Alaaddin during the reconstruction of the city in the 13th century, is now a museum and open to visitors.
Alanya, a city of caves
One can call Alanya like that without the fear of mistaking. The city boasts numerous land and sea caves which tourists can discover while wandering. Step into a world of stalactites and stalagmites formed in thousands of years in land caves, where you will also witness the birth of new ones. Kadıini Cave, which is not open for visit yet, was the settlement for the people of Alanya 20,000 years ago. In addition, the sea caves under the peninsula are the birth places of ancient mythological stories. www.visitalanya.com