Beautiful Alanya, for fantastic Turkey holidays

Alanya is THE resort for holidays on the Turkish Mediterranean coast. It 's miles of sandy beaches have long been popular with the British, German, Scandinavian, & domestic holiday -makers. More recently Russian & Polish tourists have discovered the charms of this bustling city.

   According to Turkey's Daily News, the countrey's tourism revenue rose to £15billion in 2012(January 30th,2013).Antalya is the main destination for most of this tourism,and Alanya is the busiest resort area in the region.

  The resort is about a 2 hour drive from Antalya airport; just over 70 miles(110kms).The coastal highway is an almost continuum of sandy stretches of beach, much of it deserted.5 star hotels "litter" the highway & coast en route to the resort .Many are well away from towns, shops, & other facilities.

      Since July 2010 the resort has been serviced by a second airport, Gazipasa, with the first international flights landing in April 2011.This airport is only 40klm from Alanya,but international flights are still few at present.


 In many ways Alanya has outgrown itself. There are too many hotels. Too many shops. Too many restaurants. Too many workers chasing too few dollars. Yet this can also be a part of the attraction. It's a bit like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. Personally I love it.

   In recent years things have got a lot quieter in the resort. All sorts of things have been blamed; Kurdish conflicts & terrorism, bird flu, Turkey-Israel relations, border  skirmishes, etc.

The popular Cleopatra Beach

I think the reasons are a lot simpler. Turkey wants to get in the EU & is trying to come into line with EU regulations. As such, rules & regulations  have been tightened up & this  means added costs for businesses. Result: increased prices & greater competition for the tourist dollar.

  Prices have increased considerably, & tax collection has become far more efficient & effective. Pressure on operating costs such as water & electric, staff & wages have become more significant. Many workers operate on a commission-only basis; thus the urgency to get you into their restaurant or bar.

     BUT, don't let this put you off. There are some really good restaurants and bars that you will enjoy. In fact, the better places do not hassle you too much; it tends to be the struggling places that are more aggressive. 

   Turkish people in tourist areas seem to have an incredible capacity for  remembering faces (if not always names) ,learning multiple languages, & even copying accents & dialects. Our favourite is Crusoe's but the  Istanbul Restaurant is also very popular &great value.


Alanya's attractions

The Beaches

Alanya's beaches are the main attraction for most  tourists. Long sandy beaches  leading into the  warm Mediterranean Sea. In August & September the Med on the Turkish coast can be like a warm bath,with the water temperature getting up to 28C.The beauty is the Med has no tide. It's always there; no long walks to have a swim.

      There are two main beach stretches;  Cleopatra  beach as you enter Alanya, and Eastern  Beach at the other end.Cleopatra tends to be the busier beach,but it is no better than the other one.The beaches are basically separated by the peninsular that is home to the amazing  Castle.

Spectacular view of Cleopatra Beach from the castle.

The Castle

The  castle is the dominant feature of the city,clearly visible from much of Alanya.It is a must visit part of your Turkey holidays.Apart from it's historic interest,Alanya Castle provides some stunning views across the resort.

The Kizil kule (The Red Tower) is at the foot of the castle,as is the ancient dockyard.There is a good road leading to the summit,though some of the twisting bends  can be very tight for coaches.If you've got the energy and the desire,walking is the best way to enjoy the many  quirky buildings and the differing views across the resort bay.It takes about one hour and twenty minutes to walk up steadily,stopping for the view or to take photographs.

Damlatas Caves

  These caves are also situated at the base of the castle road,but on the other side of the hill.

    Spectacular stalactites & other formations adorn the caves , believed to date from 10,000 to 15,000 years B.C.

Dimcay

Not strictly Alanya,but  something a little different from your Turkey holidays. To the east of the city,the government is constructing a large dam.In the meantime the Dim River is an attraction as a cooling place to relax & have a traditional Turkish meal.Keith Floyd even did one of his TV chef programs from this spot.

The Harbour & promenade

Alanya has a very good bus service(Dolmus),& taxis are quite reasonable. But the sea front is so beautiful & picturesque, walking is by far the  best way to enjoy  this lovely city.

   Boat trips  are an integral part of a Turkey holiday in the Med and there are some nice short trips if you don't feel up to a whole day trip.

The resort's seafront is big & long enough that you won't be bumping into people or queuing  for food,drinks,trips or anything else.There is just so much to photograph and admire,you won't get too far before you're thinking of some refreshment, and there's plenty of choice.

Alanya dining.

There isn't much that you can't get in the multitude of restaurants that  are on offer.There are too many,but the good ones do tend to stand out.It's the old adage: customers attract customers.A busy restaurant  attracts more customers.Having said that,it can be the atmosphere  as much as the food that is the attraction.There are very few,if any,really bad restaurants in Alanya.

Restaurants are ideal for "people watching".

  Most double up as bars or cafes,and, with outside seating,they are ideal for people-watching or catching any evening breeze.Turkish mezes are a good way to sample a variety of the country's cuisine in small ,sharing quantities.

   Mezes can include salad dishes,humus (a kind of dip), fetta cheese, pides (pronounced peedays),fruit, koftas etc. A bit like Spanish tapas, almost anything can be classed as meze.

   Turkish food is not especially spicy.The emphasis is more on freshness of ingredients; beautiful, tasty  vegetables, fruit & salads. With fresh baked breads, fresh fish, rice & vine leaves, cheese & dairy making up the bulk of meals.

Light,airy breads accompany most meals.

Meat plays less of a role in food as it's  fairly expensive.Chicken(TAVUK) is quite reasonable but beef & lamb tend to be used sparingly due to their high cost. Of course, as a predominantly Muslim country, pork & pork products are hard to come by, though not impossible. Some supermarkets are now starting to stock small ranges of bacon ,ham etc.

     Most restaurants label themselves "International".You'll have a selection of mezes, kebabs, chicken dishes, a few grilled fish dishes, a few steak dishes, and the usual array of pizzas, spaghetti Bolognese, and salads.Generally they are all pretty good, but the best restaurants usually offer something a little different or better.

As you'd expect, you'll probably pay a LITTLE more in the better restaurants, but not a great deal  more.The TYPICAL  price for a main course meal in Alanya is between 15 and 30 New Turkish Lira.(Approx. €7 to€13, £6 to £10). Your Turkey holidays don't have to be expensive.

    If you are totally unadventurous, there is always the Mac Donalds & Burger King options.And Jacket potatoes are an absolute delight,as the potatoes seem to have so much more flavour than we are used to.Well worth a try.

  So,plenty of restaurants and plenty of choice.Eating out will be a highlight of your holidays.


Shopping

 Shops,shops and more shops.What's more, most of the shops have very similar gear for sale.However, you can get some bargains if  you go about it in the right way.

Shop owners or salesmen operate under legal guidelines, and are not allowed to unduly harass people passing by or browsing.

     On the flip side, the shops are there to make money and the welfare of many Turks is dependant on making a sale. Bartering is an important aspect of shopping in Turkey, but in my experience some tourists try to force ridiculous bargains. Understandably, the salesman sometimes gets a little frustrated when the process breaks down.

   There are certain things to bear in mind when shopping that should make it a pleasurable and profitable experience for both parties. We'll look at these in a bit more detail.

  Even the weekly markets have changed somewhat over the years, but bargains are still available and of course they are still the best place to get fresh foods,spices,nuts and more. Important if you're Turkey holiday is self-catering, in an apartment or villa.

  Alanya even has it's own FISH MARKET, although you can also buy meat and fresh vegetables in there.

  So shopping can and should be a pleasure. Let's take a closer look.

Day trips & excursions.

   Your Turkey holidays need not be confined to Alanya alone. Boat tours, jeep safaris, and rafting trips are all offered as organised tours.But public transport is very good in the region,so places like Manavgat, Aspendos, Side , even Antalya itself are quite easily accessible.

 If you want to make the most of your Turkey holiday you could even opt for trips further afield, requiring over-night stays. Such trips can include Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Phaselis & even Cyprus.

Alanya Castle, Red Tower,

 There is just so much to see and do, if only you can drag yourself off those lovely beaches or away from the hotel pool.If you are on a package tour, your travel representatives normally offer trips & excursions, but be aware that you might well pay a higher price than if you booked with a local tour operator.Keep a watch on exchange rates too, as you may get charged in euros or Turkish lira.

To book your Fairways Villa16 holiday,contact  Jeff at :

contactus@turkey-holidays-made-easy.com

Winter Special
at Aroma Restaurant Kadriye

Fridays from 7pm,Asian and Oriental buffet. 50tl per person.                               Includes:                                onion bahjies, samosas,    Chinese spring rolls,Vegetable Roti, Chicken satay.                        Types of " hoppers".           Main courses include Birianies,Chicken and lamb curries,Butter chicken,Vegetable noodles,sweet and sour chicken, and chicken devil.                                      Booking required, see Kadriye Restaurants for details.