Choose only all-inclusive hotels for your vacation
Alanya is full of cool all-inclusive hotels, but they are all relatively similar to each other (in terms of cost and star rating).
For the sake of variety, you can live in a designer hotel, for example, in ANJELIQ HOUSE BOUTIQUE HOTEL — that very case when everything is perfect! Every detail of the interior here is a delight to the senses. This is the only boutique hotel in the center of Alanya with the best view of the historic castle, plus it has its own sandy beach.
Even if you don’t stay here, be sure to drop by the hotel’s restaurant for dinner: it has delicious, stylish, international and local cuisine. I tried the paella and it was exactly like in Spain. They also serve the most delicious baklava in the world (well, second after Hafiz Mustafa 1864 in Istanbul, of course). The cherry on the top is the magnificent view of the water and the fortress.
Don’t try traditional Turkish breakfasts
Returning to the all-inclusive theme: if you have an all-inclusive vacation, you miss the opportunity to try traditional Turkish breakfasts, which can be seen as a separate art form.
For those who are not aware: traditional Turkish breakfasts are when your table is filled with small portions of all kinds of cheeses (there are over 30 types in Turkey), olives, vegetables and fruits, sauces and jams, preserves and honey, hot dishes, sweets and baked goods.
Turkish black tea is certainly served along with all this delicious and fresh splendor. Different institutions have their own versions of this gluttony, which differ in scale (it can be a minimal set for breakfast or an overflowing table) and varieties of the above products (some places have three types of cheese, but others have eight; some places have one boiled egg, while another place might have a couple types of omelets). Only one thing is certain—when ordering any variation of Turkish breakfast you will certainly not remain hungry!
Three places where you should try traditional breakfasts in Alanya
- MADO is one of my favorite café chains, and not only in Turkey. No matter which city I visit, it’s always delicious and beautiful in MADO. Here, they offer several options for breakfast; choose according to your mood and taste preferences. The average cost is 50 liras, or about 5 euros.
- VAN KAHVALTISI is one of the best places recommended by locals. Here, they serve traditional, no-frills breakfasts that are convenient to order home or take with you to the beach. It consists of flatbread, a couple of types of cheese, an egg, a tomato, a cucumber, olives, and honey. The price is also very nice—from 15 liras (approx. 1.50 euros).
- GÖL PİKNİK is one of the most spectacular and Instagram-worthy places for breakfast. The restaurant is located in the vicinity of the Dim Çayı mountain river: colorful tents are installed right on the river, and you can even swim while you wait for your photogenic breakfast. Here, breakfasts are served on a grand scale and if you manage to eat even half, consider it a success! The cost of a huge breakfast is 100 liras (approx. 10 euros). I advise you to order one for at least two people because it’s truly enormous.
Limit your shopping to Turkish delight and magnets
When choosing gifts and souvenirs for colleagues and friends, don’t limit yourself to the traditional Turkish delight. In Alanya there is the stylish shop GREEN BODY, where you can buy natural cosmetics, handmade soap (it seems as if there are thousands of varieties), essential oils, and cosmetic items.
The shop’s owner is obsessed with natural ingredients, he makes the soap himself according to old recipes, and, if you’re lucky, he can check your state of health (both mental and physical) by pressure points on your left foot, and recommend vegan recipes if something is wrong.
Here, you can spend any amount from 30 liras (approx. 3 euros) and up. I managed to spend 600 liras (approx. 60 euros)—I got soap for myself and as gifts, several kyose (Turkish peeling gloves for body peeling and separate ones for the face), essential oils and massage oils, which will delight me and my loved ones undoubtedly longer than sweets and fridge magnets.
Don’t check out a Turkish hammam
To my great surprise, not all vacationers on the Turkish coast visit a traditional hammam, although, in my humble opinion, you could sell your soul for a good body peeling and soap massage! First of all, a high-quality body peeling makes your skin healthier and your tan more beautiful. Secondly, visiting a hammam in Turkey is like visiting Red Square in Moscow, it’s simply a prerequisite for a visit. Of course, this all makes sense if you have no health contraindications.
About the Turkish hammam
The Turkish hammam is an eastern steam room that is similar to a Russian banya but has a lower temperature and a higher humidity. A visit to the hammam is an entire ritual that appeared back in the days of the Ottoman Empire, when people went to hammams not only for cleansing and relaxation, but to hold business meetings and festivities, which, by the way, is relevant for local residents to this day.
Traditional hammams are either male or female, but hammams for tourists are often for both sexes. As a rule, the hammam always includes a body peeling and soap massage, other services (massages, masks, aromatherapy, etc.) are available for an additional fee, and their availability depends on how high-class the hammam is.
Perhaps you have been to a tourist hammam, which was recommended to you at a hotel, or maybe even a traditional one. I recommend Caspian Spa Hamam. The charm here is that besides the traditional hammam, body peeling, and soap lather, you will also be given a real Balinese massage. Isn’t two to three hours of a quality mix of Balinese and Turkish spa for 150-200 liras (approx. 15-20 euros) the essence of happiness itself?
Sunbathe and swim only at Kleopatra Beach
If you ask anyone who has vacationed in Alanya where the best beach is, the answer will most likely be Kleopatra Beach. It’s true! This picturesque beach is considered to be one of Alanya’s most beautiful sights and top attractions.
Legend has it that the ancient Roman ruler Mark Antony gave this beach to Queen Cleopatra as a gift. Snow-white sand was brought here from the Nile Valley to make this place absolute perfection. The sand is still white and beautiful, the views are postcard-perfect, and the beach holds the international Blue Flag distinction for many years now. Besides this, the beach is very spacious and a bunch of cafés, restaurants, and all kinds of entertainment are here for vacationers. However, it’s unforgivable to come to such a beautiful Turkish region and spend time on the same beach every day, so I will share some alternatives.
Which beaches you should go to
Ulaş beach: A wild pebbly beach, which means it’s not crowded. The nature here is straight from a fairy tale: the purest sea with sky-blue water is embraced by cliffs. This beach is mostly visited by locals. If you drive forward and descend along the alley from the parking lot, you will find a natural jacuzzi: gentle cliffs spread out along the coast in such a way that the waves fill them with water and you end up with shallow-water baths—the water heats up and you can lie there nonchalantly, just like in a jacuzzi!
This is also the location of the atmospheric Heaven Beach bar, which just opened in 2021 and delights with Balinese motives and Instagram-worthy settings. The beach is not far from the exit from Alanya; you can easily get there by taxi (50-60 liras, or approx. 5-6 euros).
Incekum beach is perfect for those who are vacationing with children and traveling by car because the beach is located 25 km from Alanya. This beach’s name translates as “fine sand” and this is its main advantage: it’s shallow here and the sand is as fine as powder—things you won’t find on the beaches within the city limits.
Gazipaşa Delikdeniz Kral Koyu Bay is one of the most fantastic natural pools I have ever seen in my life! The wild bay near an ancient city located 67 km away from the center of Alanya is a natural pool surrounded by rocks with a huge arch in the rocky cliff that leads to the open Mediterranean Sea. The water here is absolutely clear and shimmers from azure-emerald to deep dark blue. Such beauty even brings tears to your eyes.
The place is wild, there are no beach chairs or toilets, and you need to bring your own food and drinks (although there is one small café at the entrance to the beach). It’s best to arrive early in the morning to get this heavenly place all to yourself. The road passes by small towns and the sea, and the seascapes are replaced by banana plantations as you get quite close to the beach.
By the way, I do not advise cycling enthusiasts come here using this method of transportation. Also, be sure to wear comfortable footwear: from the parking lot, you will need to walk down a rocky dirt path for about 10 minutes and this will not be possible in flip-flops and sneakers.
Not see Alanya from above
Alanya is a charming town, especially in the evenings and when you view it from above. It’s unforgivable to miss such views, so go to several must-visit locations where you can enjoy a delicious dinner, a couple glasses of wine, and admire the view.
The Rabbit Alanya has several advantages over other restaurants: the best view is from here (the restaurant is located on a mountain with the inscription I LOVE ALANYA), and here, you can stroll through the beautiful amphitheater, then have dinner, and later sit outside on soft pillows and listen to live Turkish sentimental music and conclude a wonderful evening on a high note with cocktails or karaoke at The Rabbit Lounge.
The view from Kurşunlu Seyir Restaurant shows Alanya from a slightly different angle, and it also has an excellent wine selection, which is a rare thing for Turkish establishments.
Alanya Castle is the third option. I really love to come here by cable car (32 liras/approx. 3 euros one-way and 39 liras/approx. 4 euros round-trip) and just wander around, observing the splendid views from different angles.
Only hang out in “popular” places
Besides having the purest sea, lots of natural beauty, and historical locations, Alanya is famous for parties—music is thundering from clubs nightly, and tourists and locals from the entire region come here to spend a fun night.
There are tons of clubs, but where do the locals go? If you are fond of clubs in the classic sense, then head to Havana Club or Club Summer Garden. And if you are a fan of live music, like I am, then boldly go to HARRY’S PUB ALANYA. There is live music here every night, there are few tourists (mostly locals), and famous musicians perform on weekends!
Keep in mind that nightclubs are now working as usual and without any restrictions, but only until midnight—this is due to the government’s ban on loud music at night. However, some clubs (for example, Havana Club) give out headphones to guests and the party legally continues until 2:00 a.m.
Get a tattoo in memory of your trip at an obscure tattoo shop
There are a lot of tattoo shops in the center of Alanya. This is logical for a resort place, but I don’t remember so many tattoo shops in any other city.
If you have beautiful drawings or inscriptions on your body and want to supplement your collection or get a tattoo for the first time, look for the right shop! Nobody needs disappointments, especially in such an important thing.
I can boldly recommend Alanya Ink Tattoo, since I myself am their regular client. The tattoo artists here are professionals and overall nice guys who will help you with the design and serve you Turkish coffee—as a bonus, there’s an iguana and a snake living in the shop as part of the entourage.
As a final point, bear in mind that Alanya has an amazing feature: having been here once, you will certainly return again. I hope you will find my recommendations useful. Görüşürüz!
Photos by Ksenia Syomkina