Costal Town twists on top of a historic core
Flights from £221
Alanya, a city in the Turkish city province of Antalya and is a costal hub of activity that balances the rich culture of Turkey’s history with the fun, modern twist only a coastal town can provide.
Like most holiday destinations in the world, Alanya is not directly connected with an airport meaning that getting off the plane doesn’t mean you’ve arrived.
Thankfully, this isn’t too much of an issue as Antalya International Airport is only an additional two hours on top of your four-hour flight, with a number of transportation options ranging from rental car to taxi being on hand to take you to your hotel.
The most popular way to travel is by ‘shuttle’, though the ‘cheaper’ shuttle choices which take you from the airport to your hotel may take considerably longer.
Upon arrival into Alanya itself, you quickly notice that there is a huge difference between the rural Turkey many have come to expect in recent years and the highly developed coastal city Alanya has become, with sprawling tower blocks and freshly paved boulevards and avenues that could grace the cover of any in-flight magazine.
It may seem low-tech with the general lack of neon-lighting, but during the day when you’re on the strip, holding hands; the general vibe given by the area is one of underrated class with a clear emphasis on peer-to-peer sales rather than flashy lighting and over the top sales.
It means that should you decide to shop or dine out on your trip, you will most likely experience the animated excitement of the store managers coming out to try and literally pull you into their stores; a technique seen in many parts of the world, though a surprise to the uninitiated.
However, shopping is not all you can do here and it is in fact one of the lesser attractions to the area as Historical sites and water activates ranging from boat rides to natural springs, with many of them targeted at family fun rather than romance.
It means that whilst romance may be something the two of you have to create between yourselves, the options to unwind and de-stress are abundant with things like Pirate themed party boats, Catamaran tours, Waterparks and Waterfalls accompany the usual water activities such as Banana Boats, Paragliding, Jet Skiing, Scuba diving and Snorkelling.
Yet Alanya understands that not everyone is a fan of getting wet and as such has plenty of land based activities to offer; with the most popular of them allowing you to bask in the rich history Turkey has to offer.
Harbouring several historical sites that date back to the Ptolemaic Empire of 305BC right up until the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent creation of the Turkish State in the 1940’s & 50’s, Antalya promises to keep you busy and the cameras flashing no matter how long you choose to stay, whether that be for a day or a week.
It’s also relatively easy to ‘blend’ in with the locals whilst making your hotel in Alanya your home as pretty much everyone excluding the hotel staff choose to go casual in how they dress; opting to combat the sweltering 31°C on average heat using T-shirts and jeans, swapping the t-shirts for shirts at night-time to hit the bars on the strip in what proves to be an equally balmy 26°C nigh time temperature.
If you’re afraid of melting in the heat though, you shouldn’t. Most of the establishments in Alanya are air conditioned, with those who don’t have Air-con making do with a selection of fans dotted around their stores.
It means that should you want to try something different from what is on offer at your hotel, eating whilst out on the town is a largely comfortable experience, even when there is a variety of dishes at your disposal.
Because whilst Turkish cuisine is rich and diverse in flavours, dishes and presentation; almost every Alanyan restaurant recognises that it may not be to every visitors’ tastes; meaning that every menu comes with a mixture of Turkish and pan-European foods.
However, despite the city’s close proximity to the sea and all the fish who live within it, the food here seems to favour that of the animals on land, with Beef and Chicken dishes taking up most of the menu whilst Fish, Lamb and Pork fill in the blanks.
And this pan-European flavour is felt in the Language. Now whilst many people visiting turkey are supposed to learn Turkish before arriving, the stress of not being able to communicate once you arrive should dissipate as the overwhelming majority of people speak English as well as Turkish with those who don’t speak English speaking another language too such as French or German, though to what level I cannot say.
If you are finding yourself struggling to get past the language barrier though, help is at hand as many restaurants come with free Wi-Fi for patrons, supplementing any gaps in your cell coverage should you come without an international allowance on your sim and want to use a translation device or browse the web.
But free Wi-Fi is almost all you will get, as whilst food comes in relatively cheap due to the Turkish Lira being weaker than the Pound, drinking is not.
In our findings during several attempts to buy alcohol, every place seemed to place a greater charge on alcohol here than in the UK despite the currency difference. For example, a 1L bottle of Smirnoff cost us L300, or £70 in the club, whilst the shops were offering bottles ¼ bottles of Absolut Vodka for £20, where here in the UK it only costs £8.
Your relatively trouble-free stay in Alanya might mean that you fall into a false sense of freedom when going to the airport though, so be prepared for the number of security checkpoints dotted around the terminals.
For example, on your return to Antalya International Airport expect an additional entrance and waiting lounge search to accompany your usually hand luggage and passport control checks and due to the current electronic ban imposed on the country, electronic devices other than your phone is prohibited, so keep them safely stored within your main luggage.
To conclude then, Alanya and in fact Antalya as a whole proves itself as an engaging, light feeling and truly relaxing holiday destination with lot of emphasis on the fun. With plenty of opportunities for the two of you to get out and hit the dance floor or to even spend a few hours on the beach and do something extreme. It’s diverse selection of things to do coupled with the easy going and laid back attitude of the locals means that Alanya should be considered as your next baecastion destination.
Food really shows the rich history of the region.
Amazing weather no matter what time of the day it is.
So many water activities!
- A city happy to share with you its past.
- Most things are close by, so if you aren't getting a pre-planned bus or car there, you can walk to the majority of destinations.
- Air-con. Air-con everywhere.
- Free Wi-Fi!
- No roaming charges for a number of phone carriers (i.e. Vodafone.)
THE PRICE OF ALCOHOL IS EXTORTIONATE.
- Handsy shop managers can be off putting for the uninitiated.
- Not exactly a romantic destination as much of the emphasis is placed on Families and Friendship groups looking to have a good time.
- Food is not to everyone's tastes.
- The driving is a trip. You won't need to visit a roller coaster once you get into a taxi.