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Alanya

A former seaside bastion for a succession of Mediterranean powers, Alanya has boomed in recent decades and is a densely populated tourist haven for predominantly Dutch and Scandinavian sunseekers. At night, the downtown area can resemble 'Vegas by the Sea' – aside from taking a boat cruise or a stroll along the waterfront, many visitors only shuffle between their hotel's pool and all-inclusive buffet restaurant, perhaps dropping into a raucous nightclub after dark.

But look up from the bars and tattoo parlours for a minute, and you'll find Alanya has abundant charms. Looming high above the promontory, to the south of the modern centre, is an impressive fortress complex with the remains of a fine Seljuk castle, some atmospheric ruins and a sprinkling of traditional red-tile-roofed houses rimming the alleys that climb up the hillside. Alanya is a tale of two cities if ever we saw it.

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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Alanya.

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