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Timeless fun in the Turkish sun

This blessed spot on Turkey’s southern coast has attracted and bewitched visitors since the dawn of recorded history. Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian and Ottoman travellers have all laid claim to the town of Alanya at various points in time, and it’s not hard to see why, sandwiched as attractively as it is between the sparkling Mediterranean Sea and the magisterial Taurus Mountains.

A lot of the joy of Alanya holidays comes from exploring its history – fairy-tale castles, ancient shipyards, rustic architecture – but there’s a whole lot more than dry relics on offer here. Seemingly endless expanses of sandy beach, warm seas, fragrant citrus groves, heart-stoppingly beautiful caves, high-end shopping streets, cutting-edge cuisine and a lively nightlife scene combine to create a holiday destination that is much more than a fun escape – it’s actually a really special slice of Turkish life.

Your Alanya questions, answered

Kleopatra Beach, named for the noted Egyptian queen who (possibly) bathed here, strikes a nice balance between prettiness, good location and convenient access to amenities and refreshments.
For best results, head to the harbour area just after the sun goes down – you’ll find loads of places to go, from casual bars to full-on multistorey nightclubs.
Alanya will be busiest from May until November when the sun shines and there’s hardly any chance of rain. Expect it to be blisteringly hot in August – you’ll probably spend as much time in the sea as out of it. Even in the coldest months of the year, it’ll rarely fall below 14ºC, so it’s a warming escape all year round. In the first few months of the year, the beaches and hotels will be quieter and you’ll likely find some good discounts. Nearby caves and canyons are still open to visitors during the winter months.
Kids are very much welcome in the seaside resorts, and as Alanya is a big, busy town, you’ll never be short of activities to keep the little ones amused.
It’s primarily known as a popular tourist destination with perfect summer weather and two beaches for enthusiastic sun-worshippers. But there’s more to come away with than just a fetching tan. Alanya’s old town is a charming network of eclectic cafes and bars. The climate means there’s an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables all year round. The tower on the coast is the symbol of the city and the harbour area has lively nightlife. Head inland for verdant valleys and ideal Turkish villages, where life is all about tradition and peace.
Couples will have a good time in Alanya. There are enough restaurants and bars to visit a different one every night, and you'll have many fun watersports to enjoy. Jeep safaris head off into the nearby Taurus Mountains, bouncing along dusty roads past banana plantations to reach the idyllic Dimcay River. Romantic waterfalls complete a memorable day away from the beach. Alanya is the perfect place for you to relax and enjoy life. Sunset strolls along the boardwalk and local Turkish wines are your ideal accompaniment to warm summer nights.
Alanya is a popular holiday destination on the Turkish Riviera, a blend of modern tourism infrastructure and enchanting traditional architecture. Fronted by two beautiful sandy beaches separated by an iconic tower, it’s the perfect place for couples and families to holiday. With everything from cosy coffee shops to lively dance-till-the-sunrise clubs, there really is something for everyone. Head inland to see citrus groves or launch yourself behind a boat for some parasailing. Time here can be as hectic or relaxed as you wish.
Along with the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Alanya castle with its six kilometres of ramparts, there’s plenty of historical sites for you to visit. You can check out the Pirates’ Cave that apparently had secret smuggling tunnels across to the castle, or visit the thirteenth century Red Tower. There’s a small archaeological museum with a wide range of ancient items, and the Armoury watchtower has wonderful views across the bay.
Alanya is just an hour by car from Side and its extraordinary historic sites. These include the white marble columns of the Temple of Athena, a startling sight when viewed alongside the turquoise sea. A second-century Roman theatre here once accommodated up to 15,000 people and was the site of gladiatorial combats and shows with wild animals. Side makes a wonderful day trip from Alanya; take time to explore beautiful old shops and chic cocktail bars surrounding Side’s picturesque harbour.

Best things to do in Alanya

Explore Damlatas Cave

A couple of kilometres from the city centre is a giant cave that boasts impressive rock formations and air that’s reputed to have respiratory health benefits.

Climb up Kizil Kule

Make your way to the observation deck of this 13th-century octagonal red tower to grab a knockout photo of Alanya, the Taurus Mountains and the sparkling sea beneath you.

Visit the Old Shipyard

Discover the waterside workshops where ancient shipwrights built their boats, get a feel for the tools and materials they used, then chill out on a secret beach.
Beaches