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Turkey's beautiful seaside region of Antalya has been a popular holiday destination for over 800 years and it continues to attract tourists to its turquoise seas, sandy beaches and picturesque villages. The town of Alanya is one of the region's most attractive spots and makes an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding area. The climate is lovely all year round, with hot, dry summers and mild winters, so there is never a bad time to visit. The busiest months are between May and August when most tourists choose to visit. The coast to the east and west of Alanya offers some of the finest beaches in Turkey, with the dramatic Taurus Mountains providing a stunning backdrop. The old town itself is a wealth of cultural gems just waiting to be discovered and, thanks to Alanya's well-developed tourist industry, the choice of accommodation options are extremely varied, so there is plenty to suit visitors of all tastes and budgets.
Undoubtedly one of the most relaxing ways to spend a holiday in Alanya is reclining on a beach and there is no shortage of sublime sandy spots from which to choose. To the west of the town you will find the attractive Cleopatra Beach and the pristine sands of Alanya beach stretch out to the east. At both locations you can choose to be as active or laid back as you like, with lots of room to simply soak up the sun as well as a wide range of water sports on offer for the more active visitor.
A good way to get a feel for the history and culture of the region is to take a wander around the old town and chat to the locals. Much of the town is situated on a rocky outcrop jutting into the sea and a stroll through the narrow streets will reveal lots of old houses, mosques and shops to discover. The waterfront is the place to go to for refreshments, with lots of welcoming cafes, bars and restaurants serving up fresh meals and snacks. An interesting excursion takes you above the town and further into the mountains to a fascinating citadel dating from the 14th century. Inside the walls of the ancient fortress you will find homes, mosques and an impressive Byzantine church as well as enticing shops and boutiques selling an interesting selection of gifts and souvenirs.
Erosion over the years has carved a fascinating assortment of caves and grottos into the coastline around Alanya and there are a number of interesting caves that can be visited, some of which can only be accessed by boat. A particularly popular day trip for Alanya holidaymakers is the nearby Damlatas Caves, where you will discover a breathtaking collection of stalactites and stalagmites formed over thousands of years. Also worth a trip is a half day excursion into the Taurus Mountains, where you can enjoy stunning views across the pine-clad countryside and out to sea. Tours can be arranged from Alanya or you can hire a car and drive yourself into the mountains. In just thirty minutes you can find yourself high above the town in mountain villages that feel a million miles from the tourist centre of the harbour.
Alanya has plenty to offer visitors after dark with a well-developed restaurant scene and a range of options for evening entertainment in the heart of the resort. The area around the harbour is the liveliest place to spend your evening and here you will find a large selection of restaurants from which to choose, offering everything from local Turkish delicacies to global cuisine. Look out for local dishes such as fresh meze platters, fish and succulent kebabs. Pastries are common desserts in Turkey and those with a sweet tooth should make an effort to try some baklava washed down with rich Turkish coffee.
For those that want to paint the town red, there are plenty of options to keep you entertained until well into the night. Most of the largest bars and clubs are located near the harbour although if you want to party with the locals, head into the quieter streets of the old town, where you might come across some traditional Turkish folk music. Most clubs around the harbour tend to stay open until around 3am and play the latest international dance music as well as Turkish pop.
The closest international airport to Alanya is Antalya, which is situated around two hours drive to the west. Most tourists arriving in the area are on package holidays so transfers direct to your hotel will usually be included. If you are making your own way, you can catch a bus or taxi to Antalya town and pick up a connection to Alanya from there, or alternatively rent a car and drive the beautiful coastal trip to Alanya yourself. The roads are easy to navigate and generally well signposted but do remember that they drive on the right in Turkey so take extra care and junctions if you are used to driving on the left.
Alanya is connected by public transport to all the major cities along Turkey's southern coast. However if you want to visit some of the more out of the way attractions and historic sights, renting a car for part of your stay might be more convenient and allow you to fit more in. Some nearby attractions worth visiting include the ancient city of Perge and the cool river at Dim Cay.