Last minute tour
Turkey is one of the most popular countries for a summer holidays with residents of many European countries. This is the most popular country for tourists from Russia. There is a warm Mediterranean sea, good climate and low prices. In addition, for entry into the territory of Turkey Russian citizens do not need visas. We can assume that most fans of foreign travels in Russia were visited Turkey. But I had never been in Turkey. The offer of a travel company: one week stay in the 4 star hotel near the Alanya city (all-inclusive) at a price less than 15,000 rubles for two in the last week of May. No doubt we should accept this offer.
Prices for “last minute tours” are very tempting. Last minute travel is very profitable, but you have to be ready to take off in short time.
Turkey, Alanya, Mediterranean
May 25. We decided to go on holidays on Wednesday, and we are flying to Turkey on Saturday. Airplane departure was at night. We got by bus to the “Pulkovo” airport before closing the subway. (You need to get to the metro station “Moscowskaya” and then to take bus number 39 to get to Pulkovo airport in Saint Petersburg.) We are waiting the beginning of registration. Prices in “Chocolate” cafe in the airport are too high. There is a “Burger King” cafe where coffee costs about 100RUB the third floor. (It was in the old airport terminal.)
Flight from St. Petersburg to Antalya (by the “Airbus 321” plane of “Ural Airlines”) took about 3.5 hours. There is not international airport in the city of Alanya, so tourists traveling to Alanya serve the airport of Antalya city. Passport control in Turkey organized excellent, very quickly, without delay. Tourists meet a large number of buses and representatives of tourism companies at the airport. The most notable here is the “TEZ Tour” company. Our tour operator, “ALBA TRAVEL”, also met us outside the airport. Trip to Alanya by bus took approximately 3 hours.
Our hotel is situated at a distance about 8 kilometers from the Alanya city, in the Mahmutlar town. We arrived in the hotel at about 12 pm and settled into a room. Room on the second floor is great, spacious, with a good bed. This room has a bath, toilet, fridge, TV, air conditioning, balcony. The view from the window (balcony) is to courtyard (on the higher floors of the hotel view from the window is probably better). Sea is very close. The hotel has a swimming pool and its own sun beds and umbrellas on the beach on the sea coast. The sandy beach (sometimes found pebbles) stretches to the horizon in both directions.
“Ares” 4-star hotel is situated at a distance approximately 200 meters from the beach. There are not many best reviews of the guests about the hotel available in internet. Our hotel experiences for the most part are positive. The room is spacious and in good condition. Noticed drawbacks were immediately corrected. The hotel has a swimming pool, bar, sauna, a place on the beach with sun beds and umbrellas.
Access to the Internet is available in the lobby of the hotel at the price of $ 3 per day. In the basement of the hotel has a sauna with a swimming pool, massage. There is also the room with the three fitness equipments. For those who are used to eating a lot of meat, the food does not seem very good. The restaurant menu have lots of vegetables and greens, fish was given once a week, meat (chicken) was also not every day. The wine is very weak, but thanks to these drunken guests almost was not. In our opinion the hotel staff tried very hard to make us satisfied.
The Mahmutlar town is located about 8 kilometers to east of Alanya. The town has many hotels, cafes, restaurants, shops, banks. There are many places where tourists are offered a variety of excursions (including Northern Cyprus, Israel, nearby attractions). For example: a guided tour on a yacht (boat) lasting one hours near Alanya (including transportation to and from the port and lunch) is about $15. A trip to Antalya with a good excursion program offered at a price of $65. One day trip to Istanbul was offered at price of $300 (Fly to Istanbul and back, sightseeing in Istanbul). Excursions can be purchased from a representative of your travel company in the hotel.
Numerous real estate agents are offering to buy an apartment in Turkey. For example: two-bedroom apartment with furniture for 62,000 dollars. The streets are wide, paved with tiles pavement. There are lots of trees, green spaces in the city. It is pleasant stroll through the town streets in evening.
Along the shore of the sea through the Mahmutlar is laid road to Alanya. There are places with benches for rest along the road (street); at some places are installed fitness equipments. Sports enthusiasts make run here. Parallel to the sea at a distance of about 200-300 meters from the sea passes the second street – “Barbaros Caddesi”. Probably this is the main street in the town. On this street are many hotels, shops, restaurants. There are many ATMs where you can withdraw money from the card.
The further away from the coast passes third street, behind which are plantations of oranges, bananas, various vegetables.
Twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays in the “Baris caddesi” street is held market. In the market are selling plenty of textiles, shoes, bijouterie as well as vegetables and fruits. For example strawberries in May 2013 were sold at a price of about 2.5 lira.
Markets exist in other parts of the city and at another time.
First impressions of Turkey. Not all is as it was expected.
We had some ideas about what we can expect (obtained from the Internet and from personal experience) before the trip to Turkey. Last year we were a few hours in the Turkey Marmaris town. We did not like the behavior of sellers who persistently wanted to sell us something in the “Grand Bazaar” market place there. It was hard to get rid from them.
This time it was the opposite. Our hotel staff, the sellers in shops and market while walking around the city behaved absolutely correctly, politely. No one invited too aggressively in the shops, travel agencies, or in restaurants. The only too pushy seller was representative of our travel company that persistently wanted to sell us excursions (which are not included in our plans). He spoiled the mood of two women from our group for the whole day (even during dinner they could not calm down after a conversation with him.)
One week in Alanya
Our plans for this trip did not include excursions and trips to other cities. For morning and evening were planned trips to the beach. Unfortunately, the waves on the sea were quite large in the first days. Red flags were posted on the beaches. By the middle of the week sea has calmed down. It was possible to bathe and swim in the sea. But at the end of the week the waves of the sea have increased. The sea water temperature was very comfortable. In the evening, after dinner, we walked around the city, and sat at the bar near the pool. The weather was great: in the morning and in the evening warm, the day was a little hot, after sunset was very comfortable for walking around the city temperature. Afternoon (the hottest time of the day) the air temperature was about 28 - 30 degrees.
We took a trip to the city of Alanya on Monday. Easiest way to get from Mahmutlar to Alanya is by bus. Many bus stops are on the “Darbaros Caddesi” street (stop often identified with the letter D, for some there is a canopy and bench). Buses run frequently. In front of the bus should be the inscription “Alanya”, “Mahmutlar”. You need to wave hand to the driver tTo stop the bus. Travel to Alanya from Mahmutlar cost 2.5 Turkish lira, or $ 2, or 1.5 euros (2013). To pay by lira is clearly profitable.
The bus trip from Mahmutlar to Alanya takes about 30 minutes. We got off the bus at the last stop and went along the street down to the harbor. There are a lot of goods solding on adjacent to the harbor of Alanya streets. The whole area is a large market with many small shops. Many restaurants are just on the waterfront. No one did not bother us annoyingly, tried to persuade to buy goodson on the market in Antalya in contrast to the market in Marmaris
A lot of tour ships moored at the waterfront in the harbor of Alanya. Many of the ships have old sailing ships style. You can buy boat trips, lasting from one to five hours here. The organizers of trips promise to deliver you from the hotel to the ship, to show you the sights, to offer you a dinner, to give time for swimming and drive you to the hotel. We chose a tour on the sea lasting 1 hour (which actually stretched to two hours).
Hour trip on the sea offered on the waterfront at the price of $ 20 per person. A similar trip in located next to our hotel travel agency we were offered for $ 15 per person, including transfers from the hotel to the port and shipping back to Mahmutlar after the tour. Buying a tour of the harbor should be possible to bargain and reduce the price.
In the end we paid for a sea voyage 15 Turkish lira for two persons. During a tour the ship arrived to located nearby old shipyard (one of the attractions), then rounded the peninsula (on which is the fortress of Alanya) and went to the beach “Cleopatra Beach”. One of the team members showed a jump to sea from a cliff along the way. In three places along the tour boat stopped, and anyone could swim. As a result, a very pleasant sea trip lasted nearly two hours and cost a little more than 200 rubles for two persons.
A little about shopping. Shopping in Turkey has not made particularly positive impression. Maybe, because nothing was planned to buy. The stores sold a lot of goods for tourists. Quite a lot of summer clothes at reasonable prices. There are also shops with fur coats. We also visited the “Alanyum” shopping center in Alanya. Sales in Italy and in Finland we liked more.
Before leaving to home, we've got two lire. We decided to buy a box of “oriental sweets” for this money. Do not buy candy in a closed box. Box was empty by 80%. Several small, sweet pieces of something were lying in a pile of starch in the middle of boxes. It is better to buy candy in blister pack or sold by weight.
During a trip to Turkey we used the Mastercard, euro account, the card issued by a bank VTB-24. Twice we paid with cards in stores. Euros per lira changed on an acceptable rate. Once removed the money from an ATM. ATMs in Alanya are available in many places. The menu has English translations. The exchange from us took a commission of 10 euros! Total for 50 Turkish lira was paid 31.22 euros (including commission). The result was the exchange rate 0.6244 (at the rate of the central bank of about 0.4). This is certainly not profitable.
Alanya - Saint Petersburg
Week of vacation in Turkey passed very quickly. Flight home was early in the morning. The bus was on time. The way home went smoothly. In St. Petersburg was heat weather. In our opinion, traveling to south is more interesting in winter (spring or fall).
Thanks to the staff of companies “Ambassador”, “ALBA TRAVEL” and “Ares” hotel for organization of our holidays.