Holidays to Alanya offer sandy beaches, a vibrant shopping scene and chic terrace bars. Then there’s the ancient city of Side, just an hour away.
The city of Alanya, on Turkey’s southwest coast, grew up around a fortified harbour and castle. These Medieval buildings are perched on a rocky peninsula that splits the town’s sandy beach into two. A cosmopolitan mix of lively bars runs along the waterfront and you’re an easy drive to the area’s top sights, too – the Roman ruins at Side and the famous waterfalls at Manavgat.
A beach double act
Alanya’s two Blue Flag beaches are separated by a towering peninsula. Cleopatra Beach, on the western side, is the more popular of the two. It’s a two-kilometre stretch of sand with a dramatic view of the castle. The Eastern Beach has a slightly rockier water’s edge, which suits snorkelling – it’s easy to spot octopus, eels and black scorpion fish in these waters.
Alanya’s nightlife is famous in Turkey. The disco bars are a good place to grab a drink in the evening before the major clubs along the harbour get going around 11pm. The music in these huge venues ranges from electronic to techno to modern pop. If you still want to dance after 3am, there’s a shuttle bus from the harbour that goes to the super-club just outside town.
You can drive to ancient Side in just over an hour. The Roman ruins are the centrepiece of the town – a 10-minute walk takes you from the huge amphitheatre to the 2nd-century temples of Apollo and Athena. About 20 minutes north, you’ve got Manavgat, where the towering minarets of the opulent central mosque are a highlight. And just outside the town, there’s a pretty waterfall with shady tea gardens on the side.
Things to See and Do in Alanya
There are two large sandy beaches: Cleopatra's beach - two kilometres of pale sand with shingle - is one of the finest in Turkey; Alanya beach is almost as impressive but with rocky areas at the water's edge in many places. Facing south, both are sun kissed from dawn to dusk, and there are a variety of watersports on offer. For a change of scene, check out Ulas and Incekum beaches which are well worth a visit.
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