For those who don’t know, this is my second round in Turkey. The south of Turkey is a beautiful area, with stunning beaches, delicious food and super friendly people.
Last time I visited was seven years ago and oh boy, has things changed (as I suspected). Huge hotels and western food chains and coffeeshops has taking over. But you can thankfully still catch the Turkish vibe. Last time, I spent most of my time in the tiny village of Belek (about an hour from Antalya). This time me, my dad, mom and youngest brother Younis stayed in popular Alanya right by beautiful Kleopatra beach.
Our first (and only cloudy) day was spent exploring the city of Alanya. We started off by visiting the medieval Alanya castle. Alanya castle was built in 1223 and is located on top of a hill easily accessible by cable car (it’s possible to drive or walk up). Within the walls of the castle you have access to panoramic views, cute paths all over and a mosque from 1230 (which was destroyed by a storm then rebuilt with the same material in 1600).
Alanya and surrounding areas are filled with extraordinary viewpoints, waterfalls and caves so we decided to join a jeep tour and spend half a day exploring.
I remember the first time I visited Antalya, the main city of the south. I was blown away by its beauty so I convinced my parents head over and spend a day there. The bus from Alanya to Antalya takes about 3 hours and cost 75 turkish lire. We started off by a stroll in the old town then the harbor area. We finished off our little day trip with a boat ride around sunset time, before heading back to Alanya.
Next up was Side. Side is a historical town squeezed right between Antalya and Alanya. I’ve been here previously and if I recall correctly there was only a tiny outdoors market place by the water and ruins. Side still has a small town vibe to it but the market is now replaced by stores and plenty of restaurants to choose from. For those interested in history there is lots to discover here! They’ve been able to maintain and preserve ruins from ancient Side founded by Greek settlers (7th century BC).
You can’t talk about Alanya without mentioning The red tower, the symbol of Alanya city. We saved the visit to the red tower for last. I’m happy we did, because unexpectadly, it ended up being the highlight of our stay. The medieval military building was built in 1226 and the name originates from the color of the bricks. There is not much going on inside except the feeling of traveling back in time. The narrow stairs all the way up to the top is no joke. I’m so proud of Younis wanting and able to go all the way up with me. Castle is 250m high and for some reason we had the luxury of having it all to ourselves. No tourist in sight.
So what happened between all activities? Obviously, I was hanging out at the beach!