Day Trips: 10 Places Worth Visiting Between Antalya and Alanya

We share with you a list of 10 places worth visiting between Antalya and Alanya. Some are historical places such as Perge, Aspendos, Side Roman remains, Alanya Castle, and Red Tower. Others are beautiful landscapes such as Duden, Kursunlu, and Manavgat waterfalls, Dimcay river, Sapadere canyon, etc. On top of that, it is always interesting to visit each of the cities on the way such as Antalya, Belek, Side, Manavgat, and Alanya.
Side Apollon Temple

Day Trips: 10 Places Worth Visiting Between Antalya and Alanya

We share with you a list of 10 places worth visiting between Antalya and Alanya. Some are historical places such as Perge, Aspendos, Side Roman remains, Alanya Castle, and Red Tower. Others are beautiful landscapes such as Duden, Kursunlu, and Manavgat waterfalls, Dimcay river, Sapadere canyon, etc. On top of that, it is always interesting to visit each of the cities on the way such as Antalya, Belek, Side, Manavgat, and Alanya.

Things To Do Between Antalya & Alanya

Our journey starts from the west (Antalya) towards the east (Alanya) and a little bit further eastwards up to Sepadere Canyon. It is a stretch of around 135 km (84 mi) but is extremely rich in history, architecture, phenomenal landscapes, interesting people, and more.

We have drawn the map with all 10 places marked on it, so you can easily follow us on this journey. So let’s get started. Bon Voyage!

10 best places to visit between Antalya and Alanya on the map

1 – Düden Şelalesi (Duden Waterfalls)

Duden Waterfalls are in the northern part of Antalya, or to be more precise, the Upper Duden Waterfalls.

We were on our way to the waterfalls, and we were wondering how is possible to have waterfalls in the middle of the city. There was no clue at all to suggest what kind of transformation we would just experience. Even when we parked the car, there were buildings around us. We were one moment on the asphalt jungle and suddenly in the middle of the rainforest.

Duden waterfalls in Turkey

Imagine that you have been blindfolded and dropped suddenly in the Duden Waterfalls rainforest. You would think that you are miles from civilization when inside, and it was the exact feeling when we were in it. Surprisingly, the city buzz was just a few hundred meters (yards) away.

After this pleasant shock, let us move on to waterfalls info.

Where Are Duden Waterfalls Located?

A group of Duden Waterfalls consists of two waterfalls, Upper and Lower Duden Waterfalls.

The Upper Duden waterfalls are in the northern part of Antalya as we have already mentioned.

Duden waterfalls in Turkey

The Lower Duden Waterfalls are at the river end, where waters drop off a rocky cliff directly into the Mediterranean Sea. The two waterfall groups are a half-hour drive and some 23 km (14 mi.) separated from each other.

The Upper Duden Waterfalls

If one wants to describe this surprising oasis in the middle of the city, probably the best way would be…

A green rainforest with waterfalls, a wild water stream tucked into the small gorge, deep blue patches of refreshingly cool water, and roaring sounds of the waterfalls and streams.

Duden waterfalls in Turkey Duden waterfalls in Turkey

Duden waterfalls in Turkey

We paid a nonexpensive entrance fee for this hidden gem, but we do not remember the exact amount.

The pathway with green wooden and metal rails on the side of the river allows easy access and the best views of the waterfalls and the river. The Upper Duden waterfall is wide and tall. We walked into the cave and had a chance to experience being almost inside the waterfall. It was dark inside the cave, damp from water splashes, and slippery. The drops were falling from the ceiling. Be aware of that when you enter.

Inside the cave of Duden waterfalls in Turkey

The day was hot, and it was pleasant being close to refreshing cool water and in rainforest shades.

The Lower Duden Waterfalls

The Lower Duden Waterfalls are even more spectacular in size but have a different ambiance than the upper waterfalls. The best view over the waterfalls is from the sea, providing you take a cruise ship or tour boat.

A nearby park is an alternative option for enjoying the view over these waterfalls.

Lower Duden Waterfalls in Antalya, Turkey.

2 – Kurşunlu Şelalesi Tabiat Parkı (Kursunlu Waterfalls)

Where are Kursunlu Waterfalls Located?

Kursunlu Waterfalls are 15 km (9,3 mi) and 15 minutes drive from Alanya airport. They are the fantastic oases in the northern suburbs of Alanya.

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10 best places to visit between Antalya and Alanya on the map

Kurşunlu Şelalesi Tabiat Parkı (Kursunlu Waterfalls)

The ambiance outside and inside the Kursunlu waterfalls area is calmer and more relaxing compared with the Duden waterfalls.

There are no city buzz noises outside and barely any houses around the area. When one enters the complex, it is a calm and relaxing atmosphere.

There is a picnic area where families and friends sit on the benches, barbeque, and enjoy the day in nature.

A concrete pathway and wooden poles connected by ropes as protective rails provide easy and comfortable access to waterfalls. The waterfalls are tucked and blend in with nature, so it can be challenging to find the right spot for taking photos.

Kursunlu Waterfalls in Turkey with concrete pathway and wooden poles Kursunlu lake near waterfall in Turkey

Kursunlu lake near waterfall in Turkey

Kursunlu Waterfalls – Flora & Fauna

We have visited Kursunlu twice, and surprisingly enough, the watercolor was quite different between the visits, from turquoise blue to dark green, as you can see in the photos below.

Kursunlu Waterfalls in Turkey blue water colors

Kursunlu Waterfalls in Turkey green water colors

Nevertheless, the lake water is always clear, refreshing, and full of flora and fauna life.

Fish like to play underwater or splash in the water when looking for food because there are plenty of them. Fish are underwater dancers, and my son loved watching them play.

Kursunlu Waterfalls in Turkey Fish

On the other hand, turtles played both in the water and on the shores of the lake. Some were on holiday and just sunbathed in the mud. The turtles are professional fashion models and like to make postures for tourist photos.

Kursunlu Waterfalls Turtle

Our son likes to feed the birds and play with ducks and swans since we live close to a lake back home in Norway. So when he saw ducks in the lake, he jumped with joy and had lots of fun. The ducks returned the favor and entertained him, curiously checking him and performing their lake ballet.

Kursunlu Waterfalls in Turkey Ducks in the lake

Other ducks were preoccupied with the ongoing lake beauty pageant. The water surface served as a mirror to diligently beautify their feathers and for washing their necks, heads, and beaks.

Kursunlu Waterfalls Duck in Turkey

3 – Perge

Perge – a short history

Perge was an ancient city from the Hellenistic culture in the Anatolia area. It was the capital of Pamphylia Secunda, an Ancient Greek region.

This region included many sites, among others the Aspendos and Side. We visited both locations and described them later in this article.

Perge Theater & Stadion

As we were driving to the Perge parking space we passed by the ancient Perge theater on our left-hand side. However, we must admit that it was a lot less attractive compared to Aspendos or Side theaters.

After the main entrance, on the left-hand side, are the remains of a huge ancient Perge stadion. It was closed on the day of our visit but we had a chance to look at it from a distance once we climbed up Acropolis Hill.

View over Perge Theater and Stadion from Acropolis hill

Perge – Inner Attractions

The wall and small door opening guard the entrance to some of the most attractive architectural pieces in Perge. As soon as we passed the entrance, the door opened the view to the historical locations.

In front of us was a Hellenistic city gate.

Perge Hellenistic city gate wall Perge Hellenistic city gate wall

Perge Hellenistic city gate walls

On the right are the pillars of the agora.

Further into the city is the main street with the pillars columns.

At the end of this long narrow avenue and at the foot of the Acropolis hill, is the masterpiece of archaeological artifacts, the monumental remains of the Nymphaeum fountain.

The water was flowing under the statue and into the long narrow pool that was more looking like a small channel. The water was bringing life and refreshment into the city.

Perge pillars of the agora in TurkeyPerge Nymphaeum fountain remains

Perge Nymphaeum fountain remains

Perge ancient city pillars of the agora in Turkey.

Perge Acropolis

It was difficult to assess the size of the whole location while we walked between the ruins. Everything changed when we climbed the small hill of Acropolis at the end of the Perge. We could just imagine how big and magnificent Perge City was in the most glorious days.

View over Perge Ancient City from Acropolis hill

Imagine dressing in a Roman toga and walking crowded streets, bathing in many baths, and refreshing by the monumental fountain Nymphaeum. Furthermore was entertainment in the theater and watching spectacles in the stadium. It must have been a glorious life when the city was at the apex of its development.

Where is Perge Located?

Perge is just 8,5 km (5,3 mi) and fifteen minutes drive eastward from the Antalya airport and just one kilometer (0.62 mi) from the nearby highway.

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10 best places to visit between Antalya and Alanya on the map

4 – Aspendos Theater

Aspendos Short History

Aspendos was an ancient Greco-Roman city in the Antalya province of Turkey. The city-state belonged to Pamphylia (Asia Minor), an ancient Greek region.

Aspendos Theater is the best-preserved theater in Asia Minor. The theater was built in the Roman period (161-180 A.D.), and it was designed by the architect Zeno.

Roman theaters were usually built on hill slopes. So the slopes as natural support were used for the tribune construction.

Aspendos Theater Impressions

When we arrived at the site, we could see only the big tall wall and stone entrance. It looked more like a fortress wall rather than a theater wall. That is due to the theater shape of a half-circle.

Aspendos theater entrance with stone wall and windows

As soon as we passed the door and entered inside, we could see two-level spectators’ tribunes. The theater capacity is estimated to be 15 thousand spectators.

Aspendos theater with bottom and upper tribunes. Above tribunes are columns with arches at the top.

Even more impressive were the columns at the top and the arches in the back. The theater is very acoustic and even whispers from the stage can be heard at the top. The most talented can try their vocal capabilities.

Aspendos theater upper tribunes and columns with arches on the top.

We visited it on a sunny day, and the light was very harsh for taking photos. However, we have managed to play around with sunlight, top arches, and shadows and take a creative photo of the corridor.

Aspendos theater inside columns with shadows and arch shape

Many have ruled the Aspendos. First ancient Hellenic cultures, followed by Persians. Even Alexander the Great marched in the city. Romans and later Byzantium ruled the city for many centuries. Seljuk rulers repaired the theater in the 13th century. They used it as a caravansarai with some minor additions.

Nowadays, the theater is the location of international opera and ballet festivals.

Aspendos theater inside wall

Besides the theater, remains of a basilica, agora, nymphaeum (fountain), Roman aqueduct, and a Roman Eurymedon Bridge are in the vicinity of the theater.

Where is Aspendos Located?

It is around 40 km (24.8 mi) and 35 minutes drive east of Antalya airport. If one wants to drive from Alanya, it is a one-and-half-hour drive westward and some 95 km (59 mi) between the two places.

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10 best places to visit between Antalya and Alanya on the map

5 – Manavgat Șelalesi (Manavgat Waterfall)

Manavgat waterfall is more of a cascade compared with Kursunly and Duden waterfalls. It is wide but not tall.

The green water changes its color to almost pure white in the wildest part of the cascade. Slowly from white gradually in many shades of green become again dark green.

Manavgat waterfall in Turkey

There is a restaurant with the best view over the waterfall.

It is nice and refreshing to be next to the waterfall on a scorching hot day.

Restaurant near Manavgat waterfall in Turkey

Our son was scared of the waterfall-dropping water noise produced, so we spent as little time as possible there and drove further to the nearby Side.

Women and boy in front of the Manavgat waterfall in Turkey

Where is Manavgat Waterfall Located?

Manavgat waterfall is in the middle between Antalya and Alanya. Manavgat is about 62.5 km (38.8 mi) and is one hour drive west of Alanya. If one drives from Antalya airport, it is also one hour drive and a distance of 67 km (42 mi).

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10 best places to visit between Antalya and Alanya on the map

6 – Side

Side is a coastal town in the vicinity of Manavgat waterfall.

It is a combination of a modern tourist resort and the ruins of the ancient city of Side.

The Side center is crowded with tourists even during midday and in the harsh sun. Why not when has so much to offer to them?

Side main market street with lots of people

Side Bazar

The countless shops in Side Bazar sell clothing, traditional Turkish pottery, kitchen or house utensils, spices, etc.

Spice shop in Side Bazar market shows safran spice in the pot

Buildings in the Side Bazar mimic the traditional Turkish oriental house architecture. A typical Turkish house has two floors. The upper floor is always emphasized and protruded from the lower one. Closed terraces on the upper floor are the most noticeable. These terraces were used to overlook the street without being seen in the past. Stone, wood, and cast iron are building materials for houses.

Old Turkish house in Side with extruded terrace

Even buying traditional Turkish ice cream is entertainment in itself. Try to buy ice cream from these guys and see what kind of show they will present to you. I am sure the smile on your face will stay for a long time after buying the ice cream.

Turkish young men selling traditional Turkish ice cream in Side

Turkish Gulet Yachts

At the port are traditional Turkish gulet yachts waiting for tourist pirates to take new adventures voyage on the Mediterranean Sea. Our son sharpened his teeth as a true pirate to board the boat and search for hidden treasure.

Women and boy in front of Turkish gulets at Side port

Turkish man dressed as a solder from the Ottoman Empery Turkish gulet docked in the Side port

Turkish man dressed as a solder from the Ottoman Empery

Alanya Turkish Gulet Voyage Map

Vespasian Gate

Regarding ancient history, the Side has even more to offer.

While we were driving to the center, more and more ruins presented themselves both on our right and left.

Vespasian Gate was one of the first locations that we noticed. Roman Emperor Vespasian visited the city, and in his honor, the arch was built.

Vespasian Gate Side Turkey

It is strange, but even modern road winds under the gate arches.

Nearby is the entrance to the Side Museum with a small entrance fee.

Roman Theater

Next to the Vespasian Gate wall is a well-preserved Roman Theater. It has two-level spectators tribunes. The lower Cavea and its 29 steps lean against the natural slope. There were no large hillsides in the Side City to build the upper level against its slopes. Instead, the upper Cavea and another 29 steps entirely rest on archways as the support. The theater capacity is estimated to be between 15 and 20 thousand spectators.

Side theater

It was one of the largest theaters in the Asia Minor region.

Nowadays, it is used as a stage for modern theaters.

Side theater used as modern theater

Side Apollon Temple

The five columns of Side Apollon Temple are everything that is left of it. The Temple’s light color and marble-like material stand out from the rest of the rocks around it.

The remains of Side Apollon Temple are near the port and the Mediterranean Seashore.

Side Apollon Temple Side Apollon Temple

Side Apollon Temple

Side Apollon Temple

Where is Side Located?

Side town is in the middle between Antalya and Alanya, as Manavgat waterfall. It is approximately one hour drive from both sides.

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10 best places to visit between Antalya and Alanya on the map

7 – Alanya Kalesi (Alanya Castle)

The most beautiful view over the Mediterainina Sea is from the Castle in Alanya. The castle is high above sea level on the high cliff of the peninsula.

South side of Alanya castle from the sea

Ehmdek and Suleiman Mosque in Alanya view from citadel

8 – Kızılkule (Alanya Tower)

Alanya Red Tower is a landmark of Alanya and can be seen on many postcards. It represents Seljuq’s medieval 13th-century military well-preserved architecture.

Red Tower viewed from the castle

9 – Dimçayı River

Dimçayı River is another attraction nearby Alanya. Fresh river water is a relaxing spot for tourists who want to refresh and have a picnic, fish, or have fun on the water.

Picnic booths fastened to river bottom with sunshades on Dimcay river

10 – Sapadere Canyon

Sapadere Canyon – Introduction

After several million years, the water won the battle against the mountain and found a way to carve this harsh rocky terrain by creating this wonderful-looking natural gorge.

Sapadere Gorge or Canyon, if you like, is several hundred meters long. However, there is no need for any climbing or hiking skills. Since the area is well covered with wooden bridges above the water that follows the gorge path.

In addition, on the sides of these bridges are metal rails and wire fences so anyone can feel well protected including our son three and a half years old. That doesn’t necessarily mean that parents shouldn’t use common sense and leave their kids without guarding.

Sapadere Canyon in Turkey walking wooden bridges with wire fences Women and a boy at Sapadere Canyon in Turkye

Women and a boy at Sapadere Canyon in Turkye

Sapadere Canyon – Our Impressions

It is refreshing to be in the gorge, even on a scorching day, since the water is cold.

Watercolor changes from white on the wildest part, dark blue in the shadows, and even emerald green in some spots.

At the end of the gorge is a small waterfall.

Sapadere Canyon Waterfall in Turkey

Water follows the terrain. In some spots, the water is fast and falls in several cascades. In the calm parts, the water creates small water pools. There the water is crystal clear, and the bedrock can be seen.

Sapadere Canyon in Turkey water cascades Sapadere Canyon in Turkey water cascades

Sapadere Canyon in Turkey calm and transparent water

The trees were fighting for their spot in this harsh environment. Due to that fact, the trees were creating unusual shapes and forms.

There is a waterfall on one side of the gorge, washing the mountainside.

Sapadere Canyon waterfall on the mountain slopes on Turkey

After a long day running up and down, our son deserved rest while we were on lunch break.

Boy sleeps on the chair at Sapadere Canyon in Turkey

Where is Sapadere Canyon Located?

Sapadere Canyon is 44 km (27.3 mi) south of Alanya and is one hour drive. Half of that distance follows the road down the coastline while the other half is inland.

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10 best places to visit between Antalya and Alanya on the map

Getting Around between Antalya and Alanya

Foot: Some of the attractions such as Alanya Castle or Red Tower are accessible by foot, providing you have accommodation in Alanya.

Public transport: Others can be visited by public transport, such as the Dimçayı River.

View over Alanya from Seyir Terasi

Airplane: We arrived in Turkey at the Antalya International Airport by charter flight. After arrival, the run-through border and passport control were swift. Shortly after, we boarded our tour operator’s bus heading to our hotel in Alanya.

Renting a car: We rented a car for several days to take tours and visit suggested places. The car is by far the best way to explore this region. However, we have to point out a few facts from our own experience that might be useful to you.

Turkish gulet just about to leave Side port full with tourists

Rent A Car Information

The first is that a rented car will be filled with a small amount of petrol. So it would help if you refill the tank immediately. We guess this is a way for renting companies to make an additional profit since you will never return a car with an almost empty tank.

Second, make sure you have excellent insurance coverage. There was a case of one Norwegian woman who ended up in jail due to a traffic accident. The insurance company first refused to assist in the case. However, after the TV exposure, the insurance company helped with the issue be resolved.

Driving Tips In Turkey

First, the driving culture in Turkey is very different from west Europe. We noticed that some are very aggressive drivers, making overtakes from left and right, which can be very unpredictable.

Second, at traffic lights, some drivers move to the less busy lane just to be in front of the other drivers, and they speed up very fast to overtake the cars in another lane.

Lots of slippers and Turkish fez hats

Third, make sure you have enough time to stop at traffic lights on some motorways since the driving speed can be very fast on them. One should be extra cautious on the road between Antalya and Alanya.

Where to stay between Antalya and Alanya?

We visited Alanya twice, as we have already mentioned. So we can share personal experiences about these two hotels. There are plenty of accommodation offers for every budget and need. We are sure you will find a suitable hotel or resort in Antalya & Alanya regions.

Parador Beach Hotel

Parador Beach Hotel is a nice hotel almost on the beach. There is only one street crossing to reach Portakal Plajı (Portakal Beach) in the southeast part of Alanya. We had a great time, a nice room, delicious meals, and entertainment in the hotel.

Parador Beach Hotel Alanya building

The hotel provided sun loungers on the beach for free, a sand volleyball court nearby, and showers. This side of Alanya is less crowded compared with the Kleopatra beachside.

Azak Beach Hotel

Azak Beach Hotel was a budget hotel but upgraded after our visit. It has a fantastic location right on Kleopatra Beach. There was no need for a long walk or crossing over traffic roads to reach the beach. It was important since we were on a summer holiday with a three-year-old son, for the first time.

Azak Beach Hotel Alanya view from the balcony on the Alanya castle and Kleopatra beach

The personnel was fantastic, the room was ok but with a perfect view over Kleopatra beach, restaurant with good food, but a little less evening entertainment. We spent a half-day on the beach just a few meters from the hotel and another half on the small swimming pool at the back of the hotel.

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Best time to visit Antalya and Alanya region

We were not in the high season between July and August on our two visits to Alanya & Antalya.

The first visit was in September, almost at the end of the summer season. However, the water was nice and still warm. We experienced only one rainy day.

The second visit was at the beginning of June and the start of the summer season. The tourist workers were fresh and entertaining, bumping up the mood for the upcoming high season.

Traditional Turkish gulet boat

The high season in July and August are the best months to visit Alanya if you do not mind mingling among the crowd and hot temperatures (68-109°F or 20-43°C).

June and September are better options if you prefer less crowded streets and not too hot temperatures (59-100°F or 15-38°C) but warm enough seawater.

Costs of traveling between Antalya and Alanya

We have created a budget estimate that might be helpful while planning your trip to Turkey.

USD ($) – Budget

  • Hotel: 12 - 35 USD / night
  • Price per meal: 3.4 - 8.5 USD
  • Rent a car: 37 - 62 USD / day
  • Gas: (Diesel) 1.49 USD per litre
  • Road Toll: HGS system

EUR (€) – Budget

  • Hotel: 10 - 33 EUR / night
  • Price per meal: 3.2 - 8 EUR
  • Rent a car: 35 - 60 EUR / day
  • Gas: (Diesel) 1.42 EUR per litre
  • Road Toll: HGS system

GBP (£) – Budget

  • Hotel: 8.5 - 25 GBP / night
  • Price per meal: 2.7 - 7 GBP
  • Rent a car: 30 - 50 GBP / day
  • Gas: (Diesel) 1.2 GBP per litre
  • Road Toll: HGS system

Boy and mom in the park garden

We wish you an epic trip!

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