Picking the ideal location for a family holiday with small children can be tricky; obviously you want sand and sea but you also need to think about paddling depth, play areas and local facilities. Luckily in the Mediterranean resort of Alanya in Turkey, they’ve thought of all these things for you.
A combination of nature and planning means that the beaches in Alanya are soft sand with calm, shallow water and all the facilities you’ll need for a day by the sea with young children. Add to this the perfect summer climate with average temperatures of around 28ºC throughout July and August and 12.5 hours of sunshine, and you’d have to agree it really is an ideal family beach holiday destination.
While there are loads of things for children to do in the town – the waterpark, a castle and caves to visit, the games arcade in the shopping centre, not to mention a bowling alley and indoor go-cart racing – most kids who visit here just want to head straight for the beach. And, let’s face it, it’s what most of us parents want to do too!
So, having been to Alanya with my own young children, here’s my guide to the best beaches in the resort.
While most tourists will head straight to the famous beaches of Keykubat or Cleopatra, I would recommend that anyone with children under 10 head for Damlatas instead. Situated at the eastern end of Cleopatra, there is a huge children’s playground here to keep the kids happy and beautiful parks with shaded areas and fountains for when you want to get out of the sun.
As Alanya’s first fully accessible beach for wheelchair users, there’s also a great network of walkways along the sand, perfect for pushing buggies and pushchairs along.
One of the highlights of Damlatas, quite apart from it’s being quieter than its more bustling neighbours, is that it has a great view of the town’s thirteenth-century castle from the sand. The road up to it is a little steep for little ones but if they want to try, they’ll be rewarded with a great view at the top.
There’s also an opportunity to explore the famous Damlatas Caves. My kids loved the crazy looking stalactites and stalagmites, and it’s a lovely cool space out of the sun if you think they need to cool down.
While Damlatas doesn’t have quite the range of bars, restaurants and cafés of some of the more central beaches, there are still several restaurants and bars serving everything from ice cream to kebabs.
There’s also great snorkelling along the rocky coastline here, if your children are old enough to try it.
Another great stretch of sand for taking the little ones to is the Blue Flag-awarded Keykubat (also known as Eastern Beach). Busier and longer than Damlatas, there are loads of activities on offer here including playgrounds and a shaded park area.
This is one of Alanya’s most popular beaches but because it’s also its longest, at three kilometres, there is usually plenty of room to make a family area with the sunshades and beds available to rent. When the kids get bored, or you want to get them out of the sun, there are a great range of restaurants and bars along the promenade for you to take time out in.
The great thing about Keykubat is the shallowness of the water, making it a good place for paddling with little ones.
Easily Alanya’s most popular and famous beach, it does get very busy here in the summer with tourists seeking the thrills of its watersports and refreshments in the many restaurants and bars.
While the two-kilometre stretch of sand is beautiful, it’s probably best to be avoided during peak times if you’ve got the kids with you. Walk along from here, however, and you’ll reach Damlatas which is a much better spot to settle for the day.
It’s worth making your way back to Cleopatra in the evening, however, so that you can enjoy dinner or drinks by the beach in one of its many restaurants and watch the stunning sunsets.
If you enjoy a little peace and quiet (and are prepared to travel for it) then about 25 kilometres outside of Alanya you’ll discover the one kilometre stretch of sand known as Incekum. Not only is it a beautiful location but the shallow water here makes it an ideal place to come with children, where they can swim and play safely in the water.
How to Get to Alanya
Alanya does have its own airport, but as there are no direct flights from the UK it’s probably easier when travelling with children to fly to nearby Antalya Airport instead. Direct flights from the UK to Antalya are offered by a number of budget airlines including easyJet, Monarch and Thomas Cook; the flight takes around four hours.
To save your sanity at the airport, rather than leave arranging a transfer to the resort until the last minute, book an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct online before you set off. Book a private car to drive you from Antalya to your accommodation in Alanya and you can relax knowing your driver will be there to meet you at the airport the moment you arrive.
Where to Stay:
Millenium Park Hotel – With its own playground, kids club and pool with waterslide, the Millenium Park Hotel is bound to be a hit with the children. All the rooms have balconies with views of the garden and it’s just a short four-minute walk to Begonvil beach.
Kleopatra Fatih Hotel – Bag yourself a good spot on Alanya’s famous Cleopatra shore with the Kleopatra Fatih Hotel’s private beach club with loungers and bar. Although the kids might prefer to stay at the hotel with its pool with twisting waterslide.
Kleopatra Arsi Hotel – Three minutes’ walk from the sands of Cleopatra where it has its own area, the Kleopatra Arsi Hotel has an outdoor pool which the kids can play in while you relax in the Turkish bath and sauna. There’s also free WiFi throughout the hotel for when you want a bit of peace and quiet.
About Shuttle Direct:
Travelling with small children can be stressful (to say the least!) so take advantage of Shuttle Direct’s convenient airport transfers which will sweep you and the kids straight from the airport to your accommodation in comfort and style. Shuttle Direct is the leading provider of private and group transfers across Europe and North Africa; with its simple online booking system, booking a car to meet you at a foreign airport couldn’t be simpler.