Alanya Travel Guide: Best Things to Do

Alanya is a popular beach town destination in Turkey that lies on the country’s southern coast, in the province of Antalya. Considered one of the top tourist towns, Alanya provides guests with excellent resorts, a long list of restaurants featuring international cuisine, year-round sun, beautiful beaches, a plethora of shops, and friendly locals.

We made a trip to Alanya with the kids and were pleasantly surprised at a fun day exploring. It’s a great spot to visit for any families who want to enjoy a beach holiday on the Mediterranean coast, explore the area’s history, learn about the local culture, and try traditional Turkish foods.

The below guide takes you through the best things to do and see in Alanya with kids. You’ll also find transportation and hotel options to check out to plan your trip to Turkey.

Some links on this page are affiliate links—that means that at no extra cost to you, we earn a small commission if you book through these links, and that helps keep this blog running.

Table of Contents

Alanya Fast Facts

BEST TIME TO GO
April–October
POPULATION
327,000
CURRENCY
Turkish Lira (TL)
PLUGS
Standard C | 220 V | 50 Hz
CLIMATE
Hot humid summers
Mild spring & fall
Cold rainy winter
BEST TRIP TYPES
Beach
Historical
Hiking

Alanya Travel Essentials

Museum Pass Mediterranean 

Get access to over 40 museums to visit over 5 days in the Mediterranean region. The pass will give you access to the Alanya Archeological Museum and the Alanya Castle. Learn more about the Museum Pass

Download the Museums of Turkey App

antalya to alanya things to do on the way

History of Alanya

The history of Alanya is a bit murky, with some information missing about the beginning stages of the town, such as who was the initial founder. However, it is known that this town initially went by various names, such as Pamphylia and Cilicia, due to its proximity to these ancient towns.

Alanya sits on a peninsula with the Mediterranean Sea bordering on the south and the Taurus Mountains running as the backdrop around the city. While there is not much information on the first settlement, there has been information found that traces its history back to the Upper Paleolithic Era.

In the 1200s, the Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad from Anatolia, took over the town, naming it Alaya. During this time, the Seljuk people used Alanya as a winter destination, considered the second capital after Konya. It was not until 1935 that the town was renamed Alanya. Now, Alanya remains a top holiday getaway.

How to Get There + Alanya Map

Even though the sea and mountains border Alanya, it’s relatively easy to get to this destination. A direct flight will take you from Istanbul to Alanya Gazipasa Airport (GZP) in about 1.5 hours.

Getting to the city center of Alanya from Gazipaşa Alanya Airport is also fairly easy; there are buses, taxis, and car rentals that you can use to reach your hotel. Below, you’ll find more details on each type of transportation.

Also, another option is flying into the Antalya airport and taking the 2-hour transfer to Alanya.

By Bus

The bus takes approximately an hour from the airport to the city center. Buses are available every 25 minutes and are found directly outside the airport. You can also use larger and smaller buses to travel around the city.

You’ll need an “Alanya Kentkart” for inner city travel. These refillable bus cards are available at bus kiosks around the city. You should also be able to find them at local stores.

By Private Transfer

Alternatively, you can opt for a private transfer, taxi or car rental to get from Antalya to Alanya. 

What to Do in Alanya, Turkey

Visiting Alanya provides the opportunity to pursue many activities ranging from historical sites to beautiful beaches, interesting museums, and more. Below, you’ll find a list of activities to keep you busy during your stay.

Alanya Castle

The Alanya Castle is a top attraction for many visitors in Alanya’s Old District. It provides a peek into Alanya’s mysterious history and offers incredible views of the modernized Alanya below. This castle was built by many civilizations, so you can explore Greek, Seljuk, and Byzantine ancient ruins depending on which section of the castle you’re in.

The area outside the castle ruins is also impressive, featuring ancient homes and buildings in an Ottoman-era style. If you have extra time, explore this area near the castle entrance, also known as the Ehmedek neighborhood.

red tower castel alanya in turkey

Red Tower

The Red Tower was built while the Seljuks inhabited Alanya. This 30-meter-high tower was created as a tool for defending the harbor. Inside the tower, you can explore the area’s history and learn more about the Red Tower’s importance.

This tower also features a walkway that stretches alongside the fortification walls, offering exquisite water views. This path leads to a shipyard built during the Seljuk era, the last of its kind.

Cleopatra (Kleopatra) Beach

A trip to Cleopatra Beach (aka Kleopetra Beach) is a top priority if you’re visiting Alanya for its beautiful beaches. This is the primary beach available in town, providing a white sandy area where you can swim or sunbathe during the day.

You’ll have to pass Alanya Castle before arriving at the beach. During peak season, this beach is quite crowded. If your travel plans are flexible, aim to visit the beach later in the spring or early in the fall to avoid the crowds.

damlatas cave

Damlatas Cave

The Damlatas Cave is also nearby Cleopatra Beach, making it a convenient stop while exploring the area. These caves were uncovered while the harbor was built and are said to have healing powers. During WWII, German soldiers found the Dalmatas Cave an ideal hiding spot. Afterward, they claimed that their respiratory issues were healed by breathing the air in the cave.

The Damlatas Cave is relatively small, so you can explore it in about 30 minutes or less. If you enjoy your time in the cave, there are benches to take in the surroundings.

Alanya Teleferik

One of the most exciting attractions in Alanya is the teleferik, aka the cable car. This cable car offers incredible panoramic water views as you travel from Cleopatra Beach to the Ehmedek neighborhood. Here, you’ll find the entrance to the castle, making it a convenient stop on the way to explore Alanya Castle.

You’ll catch views of the Mediterranean Sea, the lush cliff facing the castle, and the Toros Mountains during your ride. The rides are available every day from 11 am to 9 pm, so you can catch incredible sunset views during the ride.

sapadere canyon turkey

Sapadere Canyon

This incredible canyon is a short trip from Alanya and sits on the outer edge of the town of Sapadere. Because of the tall canyon walls, the temperature inside the canyon is substantially cooler than in the surrounding areas. This temperature difference makes it a popular activity for locals and visitors during the warmer months.

While walking through the canyon, you’ll find various cafes and restaurants that you can stop at for a bite to eat. There’s also a stunning lagoon and pretty waterfall at the bottom of the canyon, where you can cool off after exploring. Tours are available through Sapadere Canyon from May through October.

Alanya Archaeological Museum

The Alanya Archaeological Museum has been open since 1967 and holds important artifacts from the Anatolian Civilizations Museum. Later, the collection expanded to include local artifacts found in the area.

The artifacts range from bronze statues to weapons, clothes, rugs, jewelry, manuscripts, and more. This museum is found in the heart of Alanya and is closed during major religious holidays.

shipyard

Alanya Shipyard

As mentioned, the Alanya shipyard was built during the Seljuk period. This shipyard sits right next to the Red Tower. It’s created from five sections of arches and vaults built in layers to help it stay sturdy throughout the years.

It’s a permanent structure used year-round as a holding spot, ship repair area, and shipbuilding location. It was in use until the mid-1900s. This area now holds a maritime museum that you can visit during your time in Alanya.

Alanya Harbor

Visiting Alanya Harbor offers pretty views of the clear water and the option for day trips on the water. Many cruises and ships take off from the harbor, especially between May and October, offering views of the area’s various caves. You can take a leisurely sail around the harbor during a sunset cruise.

Alanya Boat Trip

As Alanya is right on the water, taking a boat trip is a top choice for many visitors. There are many boating experiences you can have while in the town. You can opt for a more party-like boat trip, a leisurely tour of the harbor, a pirate boat trip, or a day trip that takes you through the various sea caves, like Dim Cave.

For a more relaxing trip, opt for the smaller boats as they do not usually have lively dance parties. Your hotel can also recommend boat trips depending on your interests and who you’re traveling with.

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Alanya Hotels

There are many resorts, hotels, and top choices for accommodation while visiting Alanya. These stays range from budget to luxury hotels, depending on the type of accommodation you seek. You’ll find a hotel within your budget, from luxurious to cozy.

Big Blue Sky All-Inclusive Hotel

Those seeking a hotel that offers a resort-like experience can spend the evening at Big Blue Sky All Inclusive Hotel. This hotel is a short walk from the beach (about one minute) and boasts a rooftop bar with a view of Alanya Beach.

Newly renovated spacious rooms are available for rent, with private balconies, complimentary Wi-Fi, and ocean views (from most rooms). This hotel is only a few miles from the Alanya Castle, Damlatas Cave, and the Alanya Archeological Museum.

Twin Apart Hotel

Twin Apart Hotel is located in the center, near the beach and Damlatas Cave. You’ll find convenient airport transportation here, with a shuttle service that runs to Antalya and the Gazipasa Airport.

The rooms are similar to apartments at this hotel, with full kitchens, impressive balconies, and private bathrooms. This hotel also has a restaurant with outdoor seating, providing stunning city views.

En Vie Beach Boutique Hotel

The En Vie Beach Boutique Hotel is ideal for a romantic getaway, as it’s an adults-only hotel. This stay features a beautiful terrace where you can sunbathe as you enjoy views of the Mediterranean Sea. Multiple restaurants and a bar are available onsite, ensuring you have many meal options during a stay.

Livaneli Boutique Otel

The Livaneli Boutique Otel is a mid-tier hotel that provides a comfortable, amenity-laden stay. It’s a short one-minute walk from Kleopetra Beach. This hotel also offers a bar, hot tub, and seasonal outdoor pool for those seeking a relaxing getaway.

The rooms at this lovely hotel include air conditioning, a kitchenette, a dining area, and a TV. While staying at this hotel, you can choose between a continental breakfast or an a-la-carte breakfast each morning.

Maldives Apart Otel

The Maldives Apart Otel is a budget-friendly hotel is only about a mile from the city center and a six-minute walk from the nearest beach. Its proximity to top attractions makes it an excellent home base for visiting Alanya. Each room includes a kitchenette, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom.

HMA Hotel & Suites

The HMA Hotel & Suites is also budget-friendly and offers exquisite city views. A seasonal outdoor pool, sun terrace, bar, and garden are available during a stay at this hotel. The rooms include amenities such as a balcony, TV, and kitchen with stove (in some rooms). Nearby, you’ll find Kleopetra Beach, the Red Tower, and the Alanya Ataturk Square.

When to Go

While you can visit Alanya any time during the year, it has varying seasons that make traveling to this destination more desirable during certain months. The peak season is between May and October annually, and this time offers the most pleasant weather and the largest crowds.

Spring and fall also offer pleasant weather, though there is a higher chance of rain. Even though more people visit during the summer, it’s still a preferable time to visit.

alanya shipyard

Final Thoughts on Alanya, Turkey

Ultimately, Alanya is a stunning spot to visit in Turkey on the Turkish Riviera. Its vast array of activities in varying categories makes it a top choice for people of all ages and interests.

Visit other Turkish Beach Towns

First-time Turkey visitors can look through our Turkey Food and Drink Guide to learn about the must-try food and drinks available in the country. For more unique things to do in Turkey, learn about the top things to do in Cappadocia and Cappadocia travel

Some links on this page are affiliate links—that means that at no extra cost to you, we earn a small commission if you book through these links, and that helps keep this blog running.

Best Things to Do in Alanya Turkey

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Family Travel to Turkey: Enes and Dania

Hi, we're Dania & Enes

We’re an American Turkish couple who’ve worked in the tourism industry and traveled extensively in Turkey. We understand that it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to Turkey when you don’t know where to go, where to stay and the best way to get there. We’re dedicated to helping you confidently plan a trip to Turkey and have a more authentic experience when you get there.

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