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ADARAS guide to Alanya – Attractions & Adventures in the Turkish Riviera

ADARAS Travel guide to Alanya - Attractions & Adventures in the Turkish Riviera

With over 300 days of sunshine a year, fine sand beaches, vibrant nightlife, fantastic food, genuine hospitality and a lot of adventures around the corner, it's no surprise that Alanya is a magnet for tourists. 

Located on Turkey's beautiful “Turquoise Coast,” Alanya is a perfect holiday getaway. Swim in the bay where Cleopatra once bathed, enjoy the sun, explore mysterious sea caves, go on a pirate cruise, explore the mountains by jeep and relax with hammam. Alanya offers something for everyone.

My little sister Sanna and I went to Alanya in April for our first taste of Turkey. With both relaxation, adventures, and a trip to one of my dream destinations, Cappadocia, on our itinerary, our expectations were really high.

And we were not disappointed. This beach resort has a lot to offer. And with that being said, here is our travel guide to Alanya!

Palm trees against sunset in Alanya, Turkey


Damlataş Cave

Damlataş Mağarası Cave

Damlataş Cave in Alanya, Turkey
It doesn't matter if you are here in the middle of the summer or winter. The temperature in the Damlataş Cave is always 22,3 °C (72,14°F).

Damlataş Cave in Alanya, TurkeyOne of the must-see attractions in Alanya is this monster-like cave, discovered by accident in 1948. The cave is called Damlataş Cave and is conveniently located right next to the beautiful Damlataş beach.

Entering the cave is like stepping into some kind of sea monster. Thousands of stalactites and stalagmites that were formed over a period of 15 000 years stand out as fearsome fangs. And to further enhance the creepy factor, the cave is lit up by lamps placed on the ground.

When Sanna and I entered the cave, we were alone, except for a friendly old lady sitting on a bench and pointing out the best photo spots for us. She was here on her doctor's recommendation for her asthma. This cave is actually known as “asthma-cure cave” and has been found beneficial for people who suffer from non-allergic asthma and rheumatism related disorders. These health benefits make Damlataş one of the most cherished caves in the region.

Damlataş Cave in Alanya, Turkey

If you like to explore caves, you should not miss the Dim Cave either. It's situated 12 kilometers east of Alanya and is believed to be approximately 1 billion years old. This cave is on my must-see list for my next trip to Alanya!

Click here for more attractions, tickets, and tours in Alanya

Alanya Castle (Alanya Kalesi)

Alanya Castle - with flowers in the foregroundView from Alanya Castle (Alanya Kalesi)

Old cannon - at the Castle of Alanya, Turkey

When in Alanya, it is impossible to miss the massive fortifications that have dominated the skyline, since it was built in the 13th Century.

Alanya Castle along with the Red Tower is the city's most iconic landmarks. It's also the first thing I would recommend you to visit on your trip.

Not only is it fascinating to wander along the impressive defense walls that stretch for nearly 6,5 kilometer, but the fortress also offers the best 360-degree panoramic views. It's stunning and certainly made for some impressive photos.

The hill up to the citadel is steep, so take a taxi or bus up to the fortress. Once you are done, head down to the harbor and continue your historical explorations by visiting the Red Tower and The Old Shipyard.

Entrance fee: 10 TL

Alanya Castle viewpoint

Purple balayage & #Colorfulhair with L'Oreal Professionnel
There are also other fantastic viewpoints located around the castle

The Old Shipyard (Tersane)

The Old Shipyard (Old dockyard) in Alanya, TurkeyGirl with purple hair in The Old Shipyard

Alanya Castle (Alanya Kalesi) by night
The shipyard was constructed in 1227 by the Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat and consists of five bays.

The Old Shipyard (Terasne or Dockyard) is also an attraction not to be missed. It is such a beautiful place with fantastic photo locations – as well as a peaceful and lovely atmosphere.

Feel the smell of the wild thyme that grows along the castle walls. Bring a picnic basket and enjoy the view on a cliff – or relax at the Terasne beach. Nearby The Old Shipyard is also a cozy little cafe where chickens stroll around freely and where you can buy freshly squeezed orange juice.

Entrance fee: 5 TL

Red Tower (The Kızıl Kule)

Red Tower in Alanya
The Red Tower – seen from The Old Shipyard
Castle view from The Kızıl Kule (The Red Tower) in Alanya, Turkey
View from The Kızıl Kule

Red Tower in AlanyaThe five-storey octagonal defense tower, which looms 30 meters over the harbor is also a must-visit. The historic red tower, The Kizil Kule, is considered to be the symbol of Alanya and is also decorating the city's flag.

Take the steep stairs to the top of the tower and enjoy another stunning panoramic view over the city.

Entrance fee: 5 TL

The Kızıl Kule (Red Tower)
The upper floor of the Kızıl Kule (Red Tower)

Archaeology Museum

If you are interested in the Roman Empire and Greek mythology, you should visit the Archaeological Museum. The museum exhibits artifacts belonging to both the Roman and Byzantine periods – as well as the archaic and Classical ages.

The most famous work in the museum is the cast bronze statue of the mythological hero Hercules, dating to the 2nd century BC.

Entrance: 5 TL

THINGS TO DO & Adventures in Alanya

Go on a Jeep Safari in the Taurus Mountains

Jeep Safari Tour in Alanya, TurkeyAlanya MountainsJeep Safari Tour in Alanya, TurkeyJeep Safari Tour in Alanya, Turkey

Exploring the stately Taurus mountains in a jeep – to the beat of party music is something I can recommend everyone to do. It's so much fun!

Waterfall by Camlibel Piknik
Camlibel Piknik was one of the stops we made during our jeep safari

Keep in mind, however, that it might get quite bumpy when the land rover goes off-road – but that's a part of the fun. We spent a half-day in Alanya with Elit Tuzim Tour and discovered a lot of magical and hidden places we had never found otherwise (more about that later!).

For example, what about eating Nutella pancakes in a hidden cafe in the woods or taking a cooling dip in a park – with the sound of waterfalls in the background?

The journey with Elit Tuzim Tour costs about 115 TL. Do not forget to bring water, sunscreen – and a bathing suit if you want to take a dip.

SUP – Stand Up Paddling Tour

Alanya Stand Up Paddle (SUP) tour

Sup Tour in Alanya - Stand up Paddling
Photo: Barış Dülgar

Another fun activity that involves both sightseeing and some exercising is stand up paddling (SUP). Even though the weather was not on our side and the sky was gray, it was a wonderful way to start the day!

Sparkling blue Mediterranean water and Alanya castle and red tower in the background – it's a perfect setting for SUP. With some luck, you might also spot sea turtles swimming alongside you in the water.

Barış from Alanya Surf Team made the experience extra fun. He's a fantastic guide who also happens to take the coolest underwater images (just check his Instagram, and you'll see what I mean!). A two hours SUP tour costs around 50 TL and includes both equipment and images.

Go to the beach

Beach life in Alanya - Girl wearing Hunkemöller bikini

What would a trip to Alanya be without sunbathing? With its kilometers of fine sand beaches, clean sea, and glorious sun you have many options.

The most famous beach is Cleopatra Beach which is a 2 kilometer long light sandy beach. As the story goes, Cleopatra, the powerful Queen of Egypt, stayed here for a dip.

Unfortunately, we did not visit this gem of a beach, but the picture on the left is from the beautiful Damlataş beach, and the picture to the right is taken by the beach next to our hotel.

Relax with a Turkish hammam

Spa at Sunprime C-Lounge
Relaxing with Turkish tea between our hammam and massage treatment at Sunprime C-Lounge's spa

A trip to Turkey is not complete without a Turkish bath, hammam. Hammam is the Turkish variant of the Roman bath, steam bath, sauna, or Russian banya. And it's all about cleaning and relaxation!

You get an exfoliating scrub from head to toe and a lovely foam massage that makes the skin smooth and fine. A better and more relaxing start of your holiday is hard to find (as a bonus you also get a tan that lasts longer).

Sanna and I had an amazing 2-hour hammam treatment at our hotel (Sunprime C-Lounge) – which ended with a heavenly 1-hour body massage. The entire treatment costs around 280 TL. It's not cheap, but it's worth every lira.

Sail with a pirate ship in Alanya

Alanya Pirate Ship Boat TourAlanya Pirate Ship Boat TourAlanya Pirate Ship Boat Tour

So touristy but so cool! The pirate ship is neatly lined up in Alanya's port and is just waiting to be boarded. Jump on board for sun, bath, chill, and for the opportunity to explore sea caves and take in Alanya's beautiful coastline from other angels.

Our boat trip in April was unfortunately canceled due to strong winds. But if you travel to Alanya, during the summer months it's more unlikely that the boat trips get canceled. They also depart every day.

Go on a trip to Cappadocia

Cappadocia Hot Air BalloonsHot Air Balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey

If you are planning a trip to Alanya I would definitely recommend you to set aside at least two or three days for a trip to Cappadocia as well. It's about a six hours bus drive from Alanya and is one of the most magical places I have ever visited. It's not only the historical and surreal landscape that is worth visiting. Here you can also soar in a hot air balloon and see the whole sky filled with balloons in the sunrise light. It's MAGIC.

There are also a lot of other historical and breathtakingly beautiful places to discover in Cappadocia. From “Fairytale chimneys” to underground cities.

Sanna and I went on a 2 day trip to Cappadocia with Kitabus Tour. The prices vary from different tour companies, but the price for a 2-day trip is from around 200 TL.

Shopping in Alanya

Shopping in Alanya

Avoid the tourist traps and head to the back streets and more local stores. Turkey is known for its textiles, and there are a lot of places where you can buy Turkish clothing (with excellent quality) and Turkish carpets. Also check out local handicrafts, Turkish lamps, and jewelry. And don't forget to haggle!

A local shopping tip in Alanya is Green Body which sells handmade multifunctional soaps (sabun), that can be used as a shampoo, shower gel – and lo and behold – toothpaste!

Turkish soap (Sabun) at Nature Han StoreNature Han Store

Visit Cuma Bazaar (Alanya Friday Market)

Alanya MarketAlanya Food Market

A visit to a bazaar or a local market is a must. There is a farmer's market every day in the town. But if you happen to be in Alanya on a Friday you can check out the popular Friday market Cuma Bazaar. Here you can find everything from fresh fruits, teas, vegetables, and spices to fresh pomegranate juice.

Mingle with the locals and get your must-have beach ingredients like watermelon and strawberries.

Compare prices at different stalls and try to knock at least 30 percent off the price.

Taste the Turkish cuisine

Turkish Food in Alanya

The food in Turkey is really amazing. So tasty, rich and varied. Sanna and I were especially obsessed with Turkish apple tea and said yes every time we were offered a cup (which was several times per day as they even offer you apple tea in the stores).

Turkish Apple Tea

Being a vegan (like my sister) is no problem either – even though she had to explain what it meant it several times. But with a lot of fresh vegetables, fruits and rice to choose from it were easy for her too to get delicious meals.

As a dinner place, we highly recommend the Kaleici Meyhanesi restaurant, located near the Red Tower, offering a wonderful view and really impressive meze.

Another hot restaurant tip is Dicayi Pinarbasi Alabalik Restaurant located in the mountains, 22 kilometers from Alanya. Here you can have lunch on pillows in a cozy pergola – with a waterfall in the background. If you need to cool down, you can take a dip in the Dimclay River, and if you get too cold, you can take a table indoors next to a fire.

Lunch and Apple tea at the restaurant Dicayi Pinarbasi Alabaliks cozy paradise-like place
Dimcayi Pinarbasi Alabalik Restaurant
A cooling dip in the river or a place by the fireside in Dicayi Pinarbasi Alabalik?

Some ‘Delights' to try when you are in Turkey:

  • Turkish apple tea (YUM!)
  • Dondurma (Turkish ice cream)
  • Turkish delight
  • Baklava
  • Meze (small dishes)
  • Dolma (stuffed vegetable dish)
  • Seafood
  • Döner kebab
Turkish Ice Cream
Don't go home without trying Dondurma

Where to stay in Alanya

Sunprime C-Lounge in Alanya

Sunprime C-Lounge in Alanya

There are a lot of wonderful hotels to choose from in Alanya and you get a lot for your money. During the summer months, you may have difficulty finding a room unless you have made a prior booking.

We checked into the 4-star all-inclusive Sunprime C-Lounge. It is a really excellent and clean hotel located on the outskirts of Alanya.

The hotel is just two years old, has a cool retro-modern design, fantastic staff, a private beach, and an absolutely amazing buffet. The hotel is child-free (age limit is 16 years old) and it is perfect if you want some peace and quiet.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability for accommodation in Alanya

Sunset at Number 1 Beach in Alanya

Getting to Alanya

Turkish Airlines in Sunset at Instabul airport

The closest airport is Gazipasa International Airport which is about 45 km from the city center. Alternatively, you can fly to Antalya International Airport, which is located about 125 km from Alanya.

Sanna and I flew with Turkish Airlines to Istanbul and then directly to Gazipasa. It was a very smooth and pleasant flight (they even served food and gave us pillows on the short domestic flight).

Book a trip to Alanya here (compare cheap flights, trains & buses)

Facts about Alanya

Population: around 100 000
Valuta: Turkish lira (TL – Türk Lirası)
Province: Antalya
Best time to visit: May to October
Time zone: UTC +3

Do you have any travel tips in Alanya?

Is there something I forgot in my guide or something I have to check out next time? Please feel free to share your best Alanya tips in a comment.

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ADARAS Travel Guide to Alanya - Things to do and fun adventures in the Turkish Riviera

We went to Turkey in cooperation with Kultur och Turism Ministeriet i Turkiet, Turkiska Ambassadens Kultur och Turisminfo, Alanya Tourism & Promotion Foundation, and Sunprime C-Lounge Hotel. All opinions and tips are, as usual, my own.