Turkey is such a great holiday destination, especially if you have a tight budget but want a relaxing holiday in the sun. The hotels – even the all inclusive ones – are very affordable and even if you eat out twice a day it won’t cost you that much. Now you might be wondering whether you should book a trip to Alanya or Bodrum? Here’s a little information and pictures of both to help you make up your mind.
Alanya and Bodrum as holiday destinations
These two destinations are really different from each other yet I would find it very difficult to recommend one over the other. I’ve visited them both once and really liked both holidays.
If you’re planning a holiday there and are wondering whether you should buy a package holiday or book your own flights and hotels then with these destinations I would definitely purchase a package holiday. They really are that inexpensive and you’re saving yourself a lot of time and can just relax. While on a package holiday I usually make a trip or two through the travel agency but mostly use public transportation to go to places of interest in the neighborhood.
Things to do in and around Alanya
The thing about Alanya is that it’s just a normal town. Obviously there are a lot of shops and market areas that are geared towards tourists but the general feeling of the town is not too touristy in my opinion. And there’s a beach. So you can very well stay in the town and still have a beach holiday. There are also other hotel areas outside the town of Alanya. I stayed in Konaklı which is 11 kilometers (7 miles) from Alanya – an easy 15 – 20 minute dolmus ride from the town.
One of the nicest things that you can do on your own is to take a bus 4 from Alanya town center to Alanya Kalesi, the Alanya Castle. The Castle itself isn’t that spectacular, but the views are. You can easily walk down from there, visit the Damlatas Caves on your way down and end your day relaxing on the Kleopatra Beach.
Our hotel beach in Konaklı (where we stayed) wasn’t as great as the Kleopatra Beach, but we had a great relaxing holiday nonetheless.
There are a couple of other things that you can easily do by yourself while you are in Alanya: visit a hamam (a Turkish spa) and Dimcay. A visit to a hamam is a must in my book when you are in Turkey. We tried one called Cemberlitas and it was quite nice.
For a relaxing day out and a nice lunch you should also visit river Dimcay. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from.
Things to do in and around Bodrum
Bodrum was slightly different. If you want a “proper” beach you can’t stay at the town center. There’s a port- a very pretty port – but the beach is just a couple of sun loungers in one row in front of the restaurants. The town itself is really nice though – there are some charming restaurants by the seaside and bustling local markets. The food market in Bodrum is brilliant and you can also take a dolmus to the Turgutreis market that takes place every Saturday. It’s just a half an hour ride and there’s plenty to see at the market although it gets really crowded.
You should also visit the Castle of St. Peter which is by the port. There are a couple of museums there plus great views of the area.
One of the best things about Bodrum is that it’s not far away from the ancient city of Ephesus and you can make a day trip there. We took an organized tour and it was great. I can definitely recommend it.
There are also a couple of other historic sights in Bodrum: Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and Bodrum Amphitheater. When you go to see the first one, you really have to stretch your imagination to picture its former glory. I mean really stretch it: There are just a couple of stones there. I’m still glad we went though. After the mausoleum we climbed the streets up to the Bodrum Amphitheater. It wasn’t spectacular but it was a nice walk up there, beautiful evening and very quiet so we just sat there for a while.
So… Alanya or Bodrum?
Oh dear. It really depends on what you want from your holiday. If you love history and haven’t been to Turkey before I think you should go to Bodrum, just to see Ephesus.
If you want an easy laid back holiday that doesn’t have to feel luxurious, just relaxing, I’d say go to Alanya.
In my opinion Alanya is better for shopping than Bodrum. They both have the obvious tourist shops with the lamps (I bought a really nice table lamp in Bodrum!), t-shirts and bags. Neither of these towns is really great for shopping but Alanya has a slightly better selection of shops geared for not only tourists. If you’re looking for cheap women’s clothes I can recommend a shop called ATM (Alanya Tekstil Market) in the beach side bazaar area, behind Burger King. I hope it’s still there!
If I went back I’d probably go to Alanya. Maybe. I don’t know.