Alanya, Turkey, is a laid-back city along the coast of the Mediterranean. I was pleasantly surprised by how relaxed the town was.
To be honest, my entire trip around Turkey had been incredibly eye-opening.
Before coming to this country, many warned me. Online articles highlighted women’s safety issues, and blogs stressed the need to cover up, especially for solo female travelers. Whether it be the people or the culture, my parents and friends all shared similar views on the conservative nature of a near East state. Of course, I’m not saying that one should forgo all forms of safety measures while traveling. In fact, as a solo female traveler, I often take a number of precautions.
But the Turkey I experienced was just not that dangerous. In Alanya, many won’t even bat an eye to tourists wandering the streets in their two pieced bikinis.
The Alanya beach had it all–breezy sea breeze, bikini tops, bars, clubs and happy,
often sometimes drunk, crowds. Although the city has a grand party reputation, I opted for night swims in the sea as opposed to nights out at clubs. Sounds of the city are muffled by the Mediterranean waves while a clear view of the golden Alayna castle is visible just above the cliffs.
Clearly, Alanya is a city of contrast. Rows and rows of red-bricked houses sat along the crystal clear sea, forming a beautiful variation in colors and mood. Its harbor is full of nightclubs and bars, the loud and vivid atmosphere contrasts the serenity of adhan, the Islamic call for prayers by residing mosques.
Alanya Castle, Turkey
On the first day, we went up the Alanya castle. As one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the castle has a long history. Parts of the fortification on which the castle is built dates back to the Byzantine Empire. After being occupied by the Ottoman Empire, the castle was built atop the rocking peninsula as a defense post against three sides, especially that facing the Mediterranean Sea. As such, it offers a great view of both the town and the sea.
Since it was a rather hot day, we chose to hitchhike up the mountain. Just a bit down the road from the actual castle gates, we found the most beautiful, secluded place by the walls. It overlooked the cliffs into the sunset.
Kale Panorama Restaurant, Alanya, Turkey
After wandering around the castle for a few hours, we decided to have dinner at Kale Panorama Restaurant. The restaurant is definitely one of the best in Alanya. Halfway down the hill, it is a place most locals go for a night out. The price is very fair, with the chicken burger costing a mere 8 lire. For US $2 we were feeding ourselves AND getting a view! I ended up going back three more times, for both the sunset and its night views.
I doubt many know of the place since it was rather quiet for a restaurant with such a sight.
We spent the next few days hitchhiking around Alanya, visiting places such as the Damlatas Caves (which I loved) and the Dim Cave. Hitch-hiking in the area was really easy. People gladly picked us up, even in secluded regions up in the mountains. Not everyone spoke English, but my friend spoke some Turkish, so we didn’t have a hard time getting to places we needed to go 🙂
Damlatas Caves, Alanya, Tueky
My friend began belting in the caves and the sound effects, with all the echoes and whatnot was mesmerizing. We did get the security’s attention, but he was kind enough to just warn us against it. (Apparently, the vibration is terrible for the walls).
We stayed in Alanya for 3 days. The accommodation was free since we couchsurfed. However, I believe hotels and hostels are generally pretty cheap in Turkey.
Since we hitchhiked almost everywhere, we spent little to nothing on transportation. I would assume around 20 lire (US $6) were spent on buses around town. We opted for groceries and home cooking as opposed to eating out every day. In addition to the nights spent at Kale Panorama Restaurant, I paid around 40 lire (US $11) on food and wine.
My host from Side, being the amazing person that he is, drove us to Antalya. In total, I spent no more than US $20 during my 3-day stay in Alanya. After this trip, my friend and I went separate ways. I began my solo trip around Turkey, with the first stop in Cappadocia to see the famous hot air balloons (for free).
Happy Travels xx
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