Like my solo trip around India, my decision to backpack Turkey was questioned by my parents since the beginning.
And to be honest, I can see why.
Online articles highlighted women’s safety issues, and news outlets stressed the need for female travelers to cover up. Be the people or the culture, my parents and friends all shared similar views Turkey’s conservative nature. Of course, I’m not saying that one should forgo all forms of safety measures while traveling.
But after two months teaching in and backpacking across the country, I can say that the Turkey I experienced was completely the opposite of these tales. In Alanya, many won’t even bat an eye to tourists wandering the streets in their two pieced bikinis!
As a beachside haven that sits in the province of Antalya, Alanya quickly became one of my favorites within the country. From its clear blue waters to caves and castles, below are some of my favorite things to do in this charming city!
The Best Things to do in Alanya Turkey
5. Visit Red Tower (Kızıl Kule) Lookout Point
The Alanya beach had it all–breezy sea breeze, bikini tops, bars, clubs, and happy,
often sometimes drunk, crowds. Although the city has a grand party reputation, I opted for night swims in the sea as opposed to nights out at clubs. Sounds of the city are muffled by the Mediterranean waves while a clear view of the golden Alayna castle is visible just above the cliffs.
Clearly, Alanya is a city of contrast. Rows and rows of red-bricked houses sat along the crystal clear sea, forming a beautiful variation in colors and mood. Its harbor is full of nightclubs and bars, the loud and vivid atmosphere contrasts the serenity of adhan, the Islamic call for prayers by residing mosques.
One of the best viewpoints of this site is at the Red Tower. The Kızıl Kule is not only a historical site in Alanya, but also a symbol of the city. There are a number of public buses that stop at the Red Tower. It is best to ask your hotel for the most optimal route. Alternatively, private cars and Blablacars can be hired without much trouble.
The combined tickets for Red Tower and Shipyard cost TL 8 and can be purchased from a booth at the base of the tower. There are a few levels to explore inside the structure. As the tower was built for defense purposes, most of the interiors were decorated with weaponry and artifacts.
The views on top were gorgeous and can be best enjoyed during the day time.
4. Wander around Alanya Castle, Turkey
Following the Red Tower, we went up to the Alanya castle. As one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the castle has a long history. Parts of the fortification on which the castle is built dates back to the Byzantine Empire. After being occupied by the Ottoman Empire, the castle was built atop the rocking peninsula as a defense post against three sides, especially that facing the Mediterranean Sea. As such, it offers a great view of both the town and the sea.
Just a bit down the road from the actual castle gates, we found the most beautiful, secluded place by the walls. It overlooked the cliffs into the sunset.
Besides reaching the Alanya Castle with buses and taxis, the Alanya Teleferik is a new addition that’s added to the ease of accessing the top of the mountains. This cable car began operations in 2017 and is a great way to see the whole city. The ride begins at Damlatash beach and costs TL 18 for a round-trip adult ticket, and TL 10 for students.
3. Dine at Kale Panorama Restaurant in Alanya, Turkey
After wandering around the castle for a few hours, we decided to have dinner at Kale Panorama Restaurant. The restaurant is definitely one of the best in Alanya. Halfway down the hill, it is a place most locals go for a night out. The price is very fair, with the chicken burger costing a mere TL 8. For US 2 we were feeding ourselves AND getting a view! I ended up going back three more times, for both the sunset and its night views.
We spent the next few days hitchhiking around Alanya, visiting places such as the Damlatas Caves (which I loved) and the Dim Cave. Hitch-hiking in the area was really easy. People gladly picked us up, even in secluded regions up in the mountains. Not everyone spoke English, but my friend spoke some Turkish, so we didn’t have a hard time getting to places we needed to go 🙂
1. Sing-Along at Damlataş Cave & Dim Cave, Alanya, Turkey
Damlataş Cave and Dim Cave are both places worth visiting in Alanya. The former is close to the city and costs TL 5for entrance. The latter is bigger but further away from the city center. To reach Dim cave, grab a taxi for TL 45 or hire a private car for the day. The return trip can be completed with bus #10, which runs hourly back into Alanya town center.
A walk around Dim cave lasted an hour, and the views outside are absolutely breathtaking!
While visiting the Damlataş cave, my friend began belting. His vocals, with all the echoes and whatnot, was absolutely mesmerizing. We did get the security’s attention, but he was kind enough to just warn us against it. (Apparently, the vibration is terrible for the walls).
Alanya Turkey Weather: When to Go
Alanya sits along the coast of the Mediterranean. Along with beautiful views, it enjoys pleasant weather consisting of sizzling summers and mild winters. However, Alanya’s cooler climate comes with rain and humidity, meaning that the best time to visit this city is between June and September.
Alanya Turkey: How to Get There
Depending on which city you are leaving from, there are a few options to get to Alanya Turkey. The bus ride is between US 5-10 from Antalya and approximately US 30 from Istanbul. From Antalya, the journey is around 2.5 hours and operators such as Akdeniz will depart from Antalya Otogarı. Flights and private transfers are also available.
We stayed in Alanya for 3 days. The accommodation was free as we couchsurfed. However, hotels and hostels are generally pretty cheap in Turkey.
Since we hitchhiked almost everywhere, we spent little to nothing on transportation. I would assume around TL 20 (US 6) were spent on buses around town. We opted for groceries and home cooking as opposed to eating out every day. In addition to the nights spent at Kale Panorama Restaurant, I paid around TL 40 (US 11) on food and wine.
My host from Side, being the amazing person that he is, drove us to Antalya. In total, I spent no more than US 30 during my 3-day stay in Alanya. After this trip, my friend and I went separate ways. I began my solo trip around Turkey, with the first stop in Cappadocia to see the famous hot air balloons (for free).
Happy Travels xx
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