Pristine sandy beaches and strikingly blue waters welcome visitors to Alanya, once gifted by Anthony to Cleopatra for its beauty and today one of Turkey's finest beach resorts. Lying on the southern coast facing Cyprus and the Mediterranean, the town is divided into eastern and western halves by the square, rocky headland on which it sits – and offers visitors a great mix of historical sites, stunning beaches and fantastic places to eat and shop.
There is certainly no shortage of attractions for those taking a trip to Alanya. Many of the town's historic landmarks are actually inside the town's castle grounds, or within walking distance from it:
Read More Alanya Castle
Dominating the hills over the eastern headland is Alanya Kalesi (Castle), the perfect place for visitors to enjoy views of the surrounding hills and the town proper. The cream-coloured stones of the citadel and its surrounding defensive walls were first laid in the 1200s and still stand in remarkable condition today. Inside the castle grounds are a number of old stately homes, a traditional inn for weary travelers in ages past, and the Byzantine-era ruins of a building used as both a church and a mosque.
Sitting down the hill from the castle is the monolithic Red Tower, which has stood by the sea overlooking Alanya Bay since the early 13th century. As important to the town's identity today as it was to its protection in early medieval times, the icon of the red tower features on the town's flag, and has also previously been included on the back of Turkey's 250,000 lira banknote. Built by Ebu Ali, an expert in fortress and tower construction, the 30m-high Kizil Kule had fallen into disrepair over the years but was faithfully restored in the 1940s. It now features a museum inside its walls, where visitors can see works of art from Alanya and the surrounding area. The fortress was originally constructed for the defense of the town's shipyard, which was completed just five years earlier and would have been a hugely valuable asset to the town's prosperity. The tower's thick walls and crown of crenellations make it an incredible example of medieval architecture – but it's only once inside, surrounded by arches, stairs, walkways and murder holes, that visitors can really appreciate the red fort's sheer scale and original grizzly purpose.
What better way to relax after your sightseeing trip than on one of Turkey's most beautiful beaches? Framed by hills to the north and the stunning rocky outcrop of the peninsula on its eastern side, the beach's bright sand and clear blue-green waters are a huge attraction in the area for locals and visitors alike. Be sure to bring enough sun lotion though, because after one quick look you just won't want to leave…
Shopping in Alanya
Alanya is something of a shopper's paradise, where you can pick up leather, gold and silver for great prices – so long as you are prepared to get into the spirit of the shopping culture in this part of the world and haggle with the shopkeepers, of course. The colourful, modern shops of the city's bazaars sell everything from clothes, bags and jewellery to traditional musical instruments and sacks full of exotic spices.
Eating out in Alanya
Those looking for a place to eat out in Alanya will find themselves spoiled for choice – the town's location in the heart of the Mediterranean means a great mix of food styles, from traditional Turkish cuisine to sushi and fish and chips. Locals and visitors alike may often visit eateries in the Tosmur area, which are well-known for the quality of their food, service and ambience.