In August 2014 I visited Turkey for the second time. Just like the first time we were in Alanya. A busy, but beautiful and versatile city.
Alanya, like many Turkish coastal cities, is full of luxury resorts. The first time in Alanya we also stayed in such a gigantic 5-star all inclusive resort. We mainly lay all day at the pool and / or the beach and ate / drank unlimited throughout the day.
I loved it as a child. You really feel that you don’t have to do anything. But now I don’t like it anymore, not at all to be honest! The last time in Alanya we were in a 3-star apartment. That actually appeals to me more because I am no longer so much interested in ultimate relaxation, but mainly in enjoying the culture and discovering the surroundings.
In August it can get terribly hot in Turkey. Temperatures sometimes rose to above 40 degrees. We thought this was just a bit too much. But it did not stop us from discovering the beautiful culture and nature. We have discovered much of the inner and outer city by foot. We also went on several organized tours. I recommend to go as little as possible with organized tours when the distances are walkable. You quickly pay too much and they treat you as one of the many paying tourists.
In Turkey people pay with the Turkish Lira. Prices in Turkey are generally lower than in the Netherlands. It is wise to only withdraw money from the machines in Turkey because you get more Liras in exchange for euros. Some items are priced in euros as well as in Liras. But beware, it is better to choose Lira because you are often cheaper this way.
In some parts of Turkey (especially some villages) you will find unfinished houses. The rule is; as long as your house is not finished, you do not have to pay tax on it. Well, that will save a lot of money!
Our hotel wasn’t quite in the center (which was better in the end because we were not in the tourist area) so the castle was a short walk away. Definitely worth it, because the view is fantastic. Especially at sunset it’s a wonderful place to be.
Sapadere is located about 40 km from Alanya (More than an hour by car). We had booked a tour and so we went by bus. The bus ride to the Sapadere Canyon is already beautiful, but the Canyon itself is also a great attraction. Continue along a wooden footbridge to the end where one of the many waterfalls awaits you. The ending wasn’t even that spectacular, but the road to it is more special.
The Manavgat waterfall is very beautiful and therefore terribly touristy. Still recommended! Forget the tourist tents around it and enjoy the clattering sound of the waterfall and the beautiful view of the river.
We’d booked a trip to a hammam through our travel company. Special to experience once (right?). Mixed feelings … On the one hand, it was special to see such a hammam from the inside and to get a scrub and soap wash. However, this hammam was completely geared towards tourists. You were sent from room to room in a group, a kind of conveyor belt work.
In the hammam you walk in your swimsuit. It started in a salt room where you could exfoliate yourself with salt. There we were with 15 people. Then in a mud room, a cold bath, a sauna and in the shower. Then you were picked up one by one to enter the real hammam room. That was a large decorated marble room, very beautiful. You were asked to lie down on a heated marble slab and without any further communication you were scrubbed and lathered. You could not choose whether you want to be washed by a man or a woman, although this was indicated in advance. The power went out continuously and then you were really in the dark. Finally, you could choose from different massages. If you wanted a good massage you had to pay a lot extra.
This does not really give you a good idea of how things work in a ‘good’ hammam. Maybe another hammam would have been a better choice.
Turkish cuisine is very versatile and very tasty! In most restaurants you get a kind of inflated bread (lavas) with different sauces. Note: People eat very late (as in many warm countries). If you want to sit in a restaurant at 18:00 Dutch time, you are often the only one or they are not even open yet. Many employees also often try to lure you into a restaurant. When they do this, you may wonder how good the quality actually is … Therefore do not let yourself be drawn into a restaurant, but find yourself a nice place.