One of the biggest attractions in Alanya is the hilltop citadel of Alanya Castle. This historic monument is viewable from every corner of the city and is widely considered the best thing to do in Alanya.
But is it really the best attraction? Is it worth going inside the castle or just exploring the citadel ruins outside?
In this guide, we answer the question; is Alanya Castle worth visiting and what there is to see and do there.
Planning a trip to Alanya last-minute?
Make sure you book your tours, places to stay, and airport transfers ahead of time to ensure availability!
Here is our recommended airport transfer from Antalya to Alanya:
- Airport Shuttle From Antalya Airport (Best way to get to town!)
Here are our recommended tours in Alanya:
- Sapadere Canyon (A must-do in Alanya!)
- Pirate Boat Trip (Ideal for swimming and snorkeling)
- Traditional Turkish Bath with Massages
Here are our recommended places to stay in Alanya:
Is Alanya Castle Worth Visiting?
There can be no doubt that Alanya Castle is a striking structure and dominates the landscape when you look up at it from Cleopatra Beach. The sheer size of the city wall, and how it perches precariously on the edge of the cliff, all while knowing that it was built several centuries ago – makes it a pretty impressive monument.
However, when we visited Alanya Castle, we found that up close it was quite an underwhelming experience. The citadel is largely in ruins, and what’s left has either been turned into a market, hotel, restaurant, or left to ruin.
Not many people are aware that Alanya Castle has two parts; there is the fortress, also known as the citadel, and the castle, known as Ehmedek Castle.
The citadel is free to visit and is where you will find the restaurants, hotels and markets, and then there is Ehmedek Castle, which is a ticketed open-air museum at the furthest point of the citadel, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
We contemplated whether it would be worth it to pay for the Ehmedek Castle museum, since it was about $10 USD for a ticket (as of November 2023). The ticket does come with a free audio guide, which you have to leave your passport for as a deposit.
Well, the audioguide didn’t reveal much about the history of the castle, and would reference things that we couldn’t see. For example, it said to look for the “star-shaped emblem” which we could not see anywhere in the complex.
We were also in and out of the museum in about 20 minutes. Much of the actual castle complex is a ruin and it’s hard to see what it would have looked like, and there is a lack of signage in English explaining what you are looking at.
After visiting ourself, we can say that the fortress is definitely worth heading up the hill to see, but it’s not worth paying the entrance fee and entering the castle. The best part of the castle was the views, which you can also see from outside the castle in the fortress area.
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Alanya Castle History
The history of Alanya Castle is not well documented, which we learned by the thin content of the audioguide. However, what we do know is that it was constructed primarily in the 13th century under the reign of Seljuq Sultanate of Rûm.
The origins of Alanya Castle, also known as Ehmedek Castle, have been traced back even further by archeologists excavating the site, linking the site to the Hellenistic period, around the 1st century BC. Over the centuries, the castle has witnessed the rise and fall of various civilizations, including Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman.
The castle played a significant role in the region’s strategic importance throughout history. It served as a stronghold against invasions and pirate activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Romans captured the castle in 64-65 BC, disturbed by the piracy prevalent in the area.
Under the Seljuq Sultanate, Alaeddin Keykubad I conquered Alanya in 1220, leading to the extensive construction of the castle. The fortress was fortified with walls spanning approximately 6 kilometers and encompassing an expansive area of 10 hectares.
Over the years, Alanya Castle has undergone several restorations and additions, including the addition of the Süleymaniye Mosque, which was originally built in the 13th century and later reconstructed during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
How To Get To Alanya Castle
Alanya Castle is really easy to access, but the way that you enter will largely depend on your budget and how much walking you want to do.
Alanya Castle Cable Car
The most popular way to get to Alanya Castle is by cable car. The cable car costs 220 Liras ($7.75 USD) for a one way ticket, or 240 Liras ($8.45 USD) for a return, and departs from the cable car station at the end of Güzelyalı Cd. 6 opposite Cleopatra Beach.
The cable car takes around 5 minutes to reach the top, and from there you must walk along a series of wooden boardwalks around the citadel walls and through the gates. The walk is not long, and is a great way to take in the views and appreciate the enormity of the city walls.
There are some steep steps on this walk, so the cable car is not the best choice to get to Alanya Castle if you have strollers or mobility issues.
Walking to Alanya Castle
If you’re up for a hike, then walking to Alanya Castle is the best way to get there. It’s not a difficult walk, though is uphill all the way.
The hike follows the road all the way to the fortress, but there is a lovely viewpoint near the top called Alanya Castle Panorama Observation Deck, as well as many cafes and restaurants along the way. If you feel tired, we recommend stopping for a drink in one of these restaurants which have lovely views overlooking Alanya Harbor.
If you do plan to walk up, we recommend walking up in the late afternoon when the road is shaded by the mountain, as it can get quite warm in Alanya, even in the winter.
The benefit of walking is that you also get to see the East Gate, and you can also combine a trip to Alanya Castle with a visit to the Red Tower.
Bus to Alanya Castle
There are four bus routes in Alanya that take you to Alanya Castle. They are bus numbers 101, 202A, 2B, and 50 and they run every 20-45 minutes, depending on the route.
You can find the bus stops and timetables via the Moovit App.
Taxi to Alanya Castle
Finally, there is the option of taking a taxi. This is the best way to get to the fortress if you have mobility issues since they can drive all the way to the top.
What is There to Do in Alanya Castle?
As well as see the castle in Alanya, there are several monuments and attractions to see within the fortress walls. Here are some of the top things to do at Alanya Castle.
1. Walk Around the City Walls
Perhaps the best thing to do at Alanya Castle is walk along the ancient city walls which offers awe-inspiring views, as well as appreciate the engineering of this enchanting fortress.
Walking around the city walls of Alanya Castle offers a unique perspective of the surrounding landscape. From high vantage points, you’ll be captivated by the panoramic views of the azure Mediterranean Sea, the bustling harbor, and the picturesque town below.
Amidst the rugged beauty of the castle walls, you’ll encounter remnants of towers, gates, and defensive structures that once guarded against invasions. These architectural marvels stand as a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the civilizations that called Alanya Castle their home.
2. Visit Suleymaniye Mosque
The Suleymaniye Mosque is one of the newest structures (though still old) in the fortress complex. It’s worth checking out for its historical significance and architectural beauty.
As one of the oldest mosques in the area, it holds a deep sense of heritage and cultural importance. The intricate details and grandeur of the mosque’s design are awe-inspiring, showcasing the skilled craftsmanship of centuries past.
From the moment you step inside, you’ll be enveloped in a serene atmosphere, allowing for peaceful reflection and spiritual connection.
3. Shop At The Old Bazaar
If you’ve left it late to shop for souvenirs on your trip, head into the Old Bazaar, a treasure trove of unique finds, where history and culture intertwine with every step you take.
As you wander through its stalls, you’ll discover a kaleidoscope of clothing, jewelry, ceramics, spices, and more.
Engage with friendly local vendors, haggle for a bargain, and immerse yourself in the authentic Turkish shopping experience.
4. Admire the Views from Alanya Castle Panorama Observation Deck
If you want to see some incredible views, walk to the Eastern side of the fortress to the Alanya Castle Panorama Observation Deck.
Perched high atop the hills, this spot offers an unrivaled vantage point to soak in the beauty of Alanya’s Harbour.
As you gaze across the expansive panorama, you’ll be greeted by a tapestry of azure waters, rugged cliffs, and the charming Turkish coastal town below.
The harmonious blend of nature and ancient architecture creates a picture-perfect backdrop that is nothing short of breathtaking.
5. Visit the Old House
This is really only for those who paid to enter the castle, since the house is included on the ticket. Otherwise, it’s not worth visiting. This small, two-storey house has only 3-4 rooms and are full of random items that would have once been used by Turkish people from a time long ago.
There was everything from furniture to clothing, though we can’t tell you anything about the time period or why the house exists since there are no signs with information or any guides.
The architecture of the house is cool though.
6. See the Cemetery
Across the path from the mosque is the cemetery from Alanya Castle. This unconventional yet intriguing site offers a glimpse into the storied past of Alanya, where generations of souls have found their final resting place.
The cemetery’s serene ambiance creates a solemn atmosphere that invites introspection and contemplation. As you stand on the cobbled streets of the fortress, surrounded by ancient stones and breathtaking vistas, the juxtaposition of life and death becomes apparent.
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Alanya Castle Opening Hours
Alanya Castle is open every day of the year, though may have differing hours on public and religious holidays.
In the summer, Alanya Castle is open from 8.30am – 7.00pm (1st April until 31st October). In the winter, Alanya Castle is open from 8.30am – 5.30pm (31st October – 1st April).
Alanya Castle Entrance Fee
As of November 2023, the price to enter Alanya Castle (Ehmedek Castle and the Inner Fortress) is 280 Turkish Lira, which is around $10 USD. The price may vary at the time of your visit, due to the fluctuating value of the Lira.
Note that this is only for the Ehmedek Castle section, and the outer fortress and castle walls are free to visit.
Audio guides are free but require a passport as a deposit. You should also factor in transport to the castle, either by bus, taxi, or cable car. There is not a combined ticket for the cable car and castle.
FAQs About Visiting The Castle of Alanya
Is Alanya Castle free?
The fortress is free to visit, but the castle section, known as Ehmedek Castle, requires an entrance fee.
How high is the castle in Alanya?
The castle is located 249 meters (820 feet) above sea level and is perched on the top of a rocky peninsula overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Who conquered Alanya Castle?
Alanya Castle was conquered by Alaaddin Keykubat I, who was one of the Seljuk sultans. He defeated the Kyr Vart dynasty in 1221.
So there you have it, this is everything you need to know about visiting Alanya Castle. We hope this guide helped you understand more about this historic landmark and gave you some insight about visiting it.
Although we mentioned that we don’t think it’s worth going inside the open-air Alanya Castle museum, we do think it’s worth making the journey up to the citadel and wandering around the ruins there, if not only for the views.
If you have any questions about visiting Alanya Castle, let us know in the comments!