Anyone visiting the Alanya area of Turkey can look forward to gorgeous beaches, stunning Taurus mountain views, historic ruins, and a vibrant social scene. This colourful city centre and smaller family resorts, situated around two hours’ drive east of Antalya city, includes highlights like the impressive 13th-Century castle and Red Tower, and on the peninsula’s eastern side, the historic fortified harbour.
Alanya, surrounded by white sandy beaches and fascinating ancient sites, is one of Turkey’s top tourist destinations luring in thousands of visitors every year. This fast-growing popularity is impacting the real estate market as an ideal expat destination. If it is on your travel radar, you can’t go wrong.
Guide to the Alanya Area of Turkey
Where is Alanya?
Alanya sits at the far eastern Mediterranean coastline. Also known as Turkey’s south, it belongs to the larger Antalya province, although in recent years, stands alone with pride thanks to a growing tourism trade. Its location is the endpoint for the Turkish riviera stretching around from the northern Aegean. Sitting between Gazipasa and Side coastal resorts, the city centre and surrounding towns and villages cover 1500 square kilometres.
How to Get There
If coming in by road, Alanya’s D400 highway position makes it easy to get there. The coach system with cheap, frequent schedules connects to other places in Turkey, although on occasions, bus passengers must travel to Antalya bus terminal first. Alanya is also an official seaport of entry for yacht owners to register with customs, the police and harbour authorities.
Otherwise, a vast majority of residents and holidaymakers use the state-of-the-art Antalya Airport, two hours’ drive away. As Turkey’s top touristic air travel hub, frequent flights run throughout the year to different countries. Operating on a smaller scale, Gazipasa Airport is another accessible air travel choice.
Weather and Climate: Best Time to Visit
Mild winters averaging temperatures of 20 degrees, and sizzling hot summer explains why foreigners live there all year round. The rainy season lasts from January to February, before temperatures climb to peak at a high in August and September. Beach lovers prefer June to September, while those who like to get out exploring attractions and nature enjoy cooler months like March to June and October to December.
Alanya Castle and Red Tower
The well-preserved mascot and significant old city landmark is a stunning ancient castle sitting on top of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Surrounded by a four-mile-long wall comprising 140 towers, the fortress features old buildings, baths, Byzantine churches, houses, and 400 cisterns. The Red Tower nearby is also a famous monument with five floors. To escape the midday sun, visit lower ground floor exhibitions.
Natural Landmark of Damlatas Cave
With 90% humidity, the Damlatas Cave boasts of beneficial qualities for people with respiratory problems. The interior stalagmites and stalactites are stunning, and despite being uncomfortable, it is one of Alanya’s top tourist attractions.
Cleopatra's Beach: Turkey’s Best Stretch of Sand
Alanya’s biggest attraction is gorgeous beaches, many of which have Blue Flag status. Cleopatra's sandy beach is the most picturesque with soft sand and clear blue waters. Often ranking first in Trip Advisor’s list of top beaches in Turkey, a blue flag certification means cleanliness and sustainability shine through.
Different urban legends make the story of how it got its name confusing, but yes, it is named after the famous Egyptian queen. Sitting near the castle, beachgoers rent sunbeds and umbrellas, and local eateries provide refreshment and food, so all you need is sun cream and a towel. At the far tip of Cleopatra beach, is wheelchair friendly Damlatas, of which locals say is best for snorkelling.
Other Beaches and Waterparks
Other famous stretches of sand include 5-kilometre Mahmutlar, 3-kilometre Keyubat, which then stretches into Portokal beach, and its wide range of water sports. Ulas attracts picnic makers, and families prefer Incekum because of shallow waters. Some places offer a variety of water sports and facilities but for children who want water slides and fun, Aqua Park Water Planet, 30 kilometres from Alanya in Okudzalar is a great family day out.
Packed with an array of colourful shops in and around the old town, lots of bargains await holidaymakers looking for souvenirs like leather, shoes, clothes, spices, and jewellery. For those after a more modern shopping experience, Alanyum Mall in the Oba district, includes a cinema, children’s activity centre and supermarket. For fresh food, a farmer’s market sells the best at affordable prices every day. Taking place on Fridays, Turks call it Cuma Bazaar.
Restaurants and Nightlife
A vast range of restaurants and cafes offer a variety of food from fast-food joints to more fine dining and everything in between. Eateries in the old town lure in many diners with scenic views overlooking the harbour. The buzzing nightlife scene with plenty of disco bars and nightclubs is busiest by the dock where significant nightclubs and bars all sport original décor and themes so you will never be bored with choices. For quieter bars and cafes to relax and enjoy your evening, stay around the main drag.
Things to Do and Excursions
As well as the castle, red tower, Damlatas cave and old harbour districts, popular excursions include quad biking, jeep safari tours, and a boat trip around the coastline to stop at various bays for swimming sessions. Dim river and Sapadere canyon, two stunning places of natural beauty are worth stopping by; otherwise adventure sports lovers enjoy white water rafting, paragliding, or scuba diving. A must is the Friday market, even if you don’t plan to buy anything, but just to soak up the vibes of Turkey’s famous tradition that happens across the country.
To experience Turkish culture, indulge in a stress-free, local hammam, and men should go to a barber’s shop for a closer than close Turkish shave. Tea gardens are great family places at weekends while lokantas serve delicious plates of Turkish cuisine for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. Local tour shops also sell overnight excursions to famous sites further afield including Pamukkale and Hierapolis, the ancient city of Ephesus, and delightful Cappadocia boasting of underground cities, cave churches and a fairy chimney landscape.
After the main city centre, Mahmutlar heralds the way for holidaymakers thanks to its long beach and laid-back atmosphere. Low property prices have lured summer holiday home, and rental investment property buyers as well as expats who live here all year round. Mahmutlar also sits just 25 minutes from Gazipasa Airport. Meanwhile, sitting in between the city centre and Side holiday resort, Avsallar, and Tosmur, next to Dim river, are two growing beachside destinations thanks to large hotels and property buyers.
Buying Property and Living in Alanya
For foreign house sales across Turkey, Alanya attracts a large proportion of buyers, and this is little wonder given the exceptional prices per square meter. With districts like Mahmutlar and Kestel leading the way, an established expat community spreads its reputation around the world. If you are looking to buy property, see our full range of apartments and villas for sale here.
The Alanya area belongs to the Antalya region covering 500 kilometres of Turkey’s Mediterranean region, also called the Turquoise coast or the Lycian way. Our Antalya area guide includes further information and details about prominent towns and villages, major attractions, the lifestyle, culture, and heritage.