By Farah Sheshani
Itwas the clear beaches and small-town feel that drew me to Alanya. This city is at the center of the Turkish Mediterranean coast known to be a resort town, it is a province of Antalia.
During the summer I could not help but to notice the huge surge of tourists who are coming to this growing town, I really mean it, you can hardly find an empty room to book for your stay if you haven’t done arrangements beforehand, spontaneous travelers might have difficulty in finding a room at a hotel, perhaps hostels is another option, called in Turkey as “Pansiyon”.
The Alanya center known as Cleopatra beach is where the ancient Egyptian queen is said to have enjoyed swimming, today, the beaches are open to the public and anyone can go there, unrestricted to the hotel you are staying at that’s in the city center area. Beware this area more often has high waves so you’re going to have to do a different kind of swimming, which I called “Me Against the Wave” kind of swim. You can rent a chair on the beach for 5-10 Turkish Lira and buy a drink for 20-35 Turkish liras. You need to know there are two beaches separated by a mountain the one with a castle, it happens that one has calmer waves than the other.
According to a guy working at a nearby restaurant I go to, 2018 is Alanya’s hottest summer ever, also, while chatting with a Swedish tourist he explained to me even in his country they are having an unprecedented wave of hot summer.
Other places you can visit is the Castle which you can’t ignore it when at the beach. The Harbor area is one of the places to hang out at night, you can have a boat trip as well, which takes off from the harbor. Ataturk Street is where you can do some shopping.
Where can you stay? I really was amazed to see the big resorts, especially, this is considered a small town compared to its parent city ‘Antalya’, there are big resorts where you can do everything and spend most of your time in them, other options include renting a furnished apartment, the third option is the apartment hotels, these are serviced furnished apartment buildings, many of them are located in the city center, some offer options depending on your budget, you can rent an apartment which can accommodate 4 persons for 250 Turkish Lira per day, at some of these apartment hotels you get to choose whether to include meals and an air conditioning, which are paid separately from the original apartment rent, I highly recommend having an air conditioning, you will need it, as temperature can get as high as 37 degrees in the summer.
There are various neighborhoods in Alanya, here I am naming few, Cleopatra city center, with apartment rents, considered the highest, Oba, Kestle and there is Mahmutlar which many Arab families prefer to live there as foreign residents.
What You Can Visit While in Alanya?
The castle was built during the Seljuq dynasty on the remnants of a Byzantine and Roman era fortification. The castle’s purpose was to defend this coastal area, today it is an open air museum. The castle is located on a 250 meters high rock and surrounded by 6.5 kilometers wall.
A 360 meter long cave that has been formed over millions of years by carbonic acid rich rain and snow waters running through joints and dissolving the limestone rocks, tectonic movement has contributed also to the formation of the cave, towards the end of the cave you will find a small lake, despite the high temperature outside during the summer you will find inside the cave a constant 18-19 degrees which make visiting it very enjoyable. It is 232 meters from sea level and is at the western slope of Cebel Reis Mountain. During prehistoric times the cave was used as a shelter by hunters and Shepards.
Mostly known as “Dim Çay River” [Çay pronounced Chay which means stream or river in Turkish ], this is a refreshing place that you can go to in order to cool yourself after a hot sunny day. I went there with a couple of friends for lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking, actually on the river. The water is super cold and you can swim if you want and have Nirgeleh.