Anamur is located between Alanya and Mersin and it is the southernmost point between these cities by the Mediterranean. This little town has a very special place in my life as I have been coming here since I was 2 years old. I just wanted to share some information about this place and ease your logistics in case you want to visit.
When to Visit?
The high season is between June end of September. But my personal preference is visiting in May or October. In October it is still really warm around 85F (30C) but if you visit in July the temperature can shoot up to 107F (42C). Only catch with October is, rarely, you might get some storms but would not last more than a day or two.
How to Get Here?
When I was a kid, it was a pain to get Anamur from Bursa, which is my hometown. However, now it is much more simplified. There are frequent flights from various different companies (Pegasus, Turkish Airlines etc) to an airport called Alanya – Gazipasa (GZP). Most of the flights are from Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) and it will take around 1h 15mins. Once you get to the Gazipasa airport, right at the entrance you will find people waiting with signs in their hands saying ‘Anamur – Bozyazi’. These are the shuttle buses that you can use to get Anamur. As of 2016/October, there are two main shuttle companies Kas Turizm and Guzel Anamur Tour. I have been using Kas Turizm without any problem but did not try Guzel tour yet as they are relatively new in the business. With these shuttle buses, you just let them know where you are going and they charge the same amount anywhere in Anamur (25 TRY as of writing) and it should take around 1h 15 minutes. If you decide to come from Istanbul by bus there are companies with direct buses to Anamur, such as Metro Turizm however it will take around 15.5 hours and sometimes you can even find cheaper flight tickets.
What to Do Here?
First of all, we need to set the expectations right. Anamur is not a party town. If you are looking for big clubs and bars, you should probably stick with Antalya or Alanya. Also, it is not a big town either (relatively of course). This is a place where you usually want to disconnect from the busy city life and relax with nice weather and great food. Let me just talk about couple of the main turist attractions.
You can get some idea about the site by checking some of the pictures here. The main attraction of Anemurium is the bay for me. As I have enjoyed the clear waters in this bay and some small pieces of the ruins under water in the see. I have not visited recently but the site was not offering extensive information in English about the ruins. Also the site was not well groomed I am hoping that has improved a little bit. This site is at city entrance, if you arrive Anamur from the west, so transportation is might be tricky without a car. The entry ticket to the site should be around 2 dollars.
Ala Bridge (Alaköprü)
Alakopru is an ancient roman bridge, we used to go to some fish restaurants up in the mountain after passing this bridge, as of 2016 due to a dam construction most of the fish restaurants around the river bank is closed but there are more restaurants and activities near Alakopru. To be honest, there was almost nothing around Alakopru back in 2012 but it has changed drastically since then.
Kosekbuku Astim Cave (Köşekbükü Astım Mağarası)
First things first, the cave is closed as of writing this. It is really unfortunate that they could not maintain this cave and keep it open for public. I did not visit it in the last 8 years but we used to go there a lot. The road to the cave was not that great as some of it was not paved. I heard that the pavement is better but they moved the signs as the cave is closed so it should be tricky to find it nowadays. During a warm summer day, this cave will be chilling cold. You will see the stalagmite and stalactites in this cave. I hope they open this cave again soon, it was one of the main tourist attractions in Anamur. As a side note, it is almost impossible to get there without a car.
Mamure Castle (Mamure Kalesi)
Again, first things first, the castle is under renovation and it is closed to public. This is a medieval era castle, located towards the east end of Anamur. There is an entrance fee but if you want to wave it you might want to visit it on a Friday where the castle is open to public as there is a mosque in it. Hoping that after the renovations, they will open a museum inside the castle and put more signs (especially in English) to explain the history behind the museum.
What Do I Do Here?
I have been coming to this little town since I was 2 to spend time in our family business Anamur Dragon Motel. This motel has an interesting history that I want to share with you. Current location offers 10 hut style rooms, a restaurant and a camping area. But 25 years ago, Dragon Motel was a 50 room hotel with a huge restaurant (well, I was little so everything I remember was massive) and a disco where I used to go and sleep there (I loved sleeping with loud music). Sadly, we do not have this motel as the land was leased from the city and due to some disputes they demolished the whole establishment. My grandfather was the owner of that motel and he also bought the land for the current motel around 30 years. My grandfather is not with us right now but the second motel is still managed by our family. And I am proud to stay that it is managed by a whole women crew (my mother, grandmother, aunts etc.).
Before I started collage, I used to work and have my holidays in this place. One of my favorite activities was hanging out in the port area (İskele) with my bike. I many great friends here, where I was influenced to learn playing guitar, socialize with people, train myself on how to start conversations and of course practice my English. Anamur is still very small and quite when you compare it to other southern cities in Turkey. There is a large scale tunnel construction is going on right now between Gazipasa and Anamur. Half of the construction is completed and my worry is Anamur will turn into one of those cities filled with five star hotels once the construction is completed. I believe that there are certain type of people that does not enjoy all inclusive vacation packages and need places like Anamur. In our motel, we are really fortunate to be situated next to a castle where it is not possible to have any kind big construction. This also gives us access to an almost a mile ‘private’ beach. In addition, the beach that we are facing is a breeding area for Caretta Caretta turtles. I am hoping that we will be able keep this place as is.