Road trips in Turkey with HalalBooking: Alanya- Istanbul Route
The third route of road trips with HalalBooking starts from Alanya, the pearl of the Mediterranean, which is home to world renowned halal-friendly resorts, and ends in the Marmara region after passing the most beautiful tourist attractions in Central Anatolia. You will encounter the most breathtaking natural beauties, various elements of cultural heritage and historical buildings.
Get Ready to Hit the Road!
Start your journey by renting a car from Antalya Airport, Gazipasa-Alanya Airport or Alanya city centre.
If you plan to start the trip from Antalya Airport, you will reach Alanya city centre by following the D400 highway to the south for about 1 hour and 45 minutes. If you rent a car from Gazipasa Airport, you will reach Alanya after driving 40 kilometres north on the D400 Highway.
Hosting world-famous resorts perfect for a halal-friendly holiday, Alanya offers its guests a great variety of activities with its magnificent nature and artefacts from the Seljuk period.
The first stop on your road trip is in Alanya - a holiday paradise of the Mediterranean Sea. We recommend you to extend your stay in Alanya for a few days before leaving this beach town. You will gather energy at the beginning of your long road trip by staying in the resorts that offer diverse facilities like a private beach, sunbathing area, indoor and outdoor pools and women-only spa centres.
Choose the most convenient accommodation option for you and your family from the alcohol-free resorts or villas and hotels in Alanya that offer a wide range of women-only and men-only facilities. If you want to enjoy Alanya’s crystal clear waters without any concerns for privacy, there is the Adin Beach Hotel or the Wome Deluxe, both of which have their private ladies-only beach. With options for children, the Bera Alanya Hotel is one of the most preferred resorts in Alanya by families.
Alaeddin Kayqubad I, the sultan of Anatolian Seljuks, conquered Alanya in the 13th century and named the area Alaiyye, meaning Alaeddin's City. As a result, you can see the Seljuk era artefacts in different parts of the city.
- Dating back to the Hellenistic period, Alanya Castle was home to many civilizations from the Seljuks to the Ottomans.
- Located on the way up to the castle, Gemili Mosque is a Seljuk structure that sheds light on the maritime history of the region, with more than 100 ship graffiti lining the interior walls. Although no longer used as a place of worship, the mosque is open to visitors and entrance is free.
- Located in Ickale, the Suleymaniye Mosque was built during the Seljuk period but had to be restored using the original stones after a fire in the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. During your trip to the castle, you can visit the Suleymaniye Mosque and perform your prayers.
- Another outstanding symbol of the Seljuk Empire in Alanya is the Red Tower located at the port. Built in 1226 by Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad, the octagonal tower takes its name from the red colour of the bricks, which are believed to be glazed with egg yolk.
- Another historical building not to be missed is the ancient Alanya Shipyard and Armoury, the first Seljuk shipyard in the Mediterranean. Entrance to the shipyard, which you can easily walk to on the walls of the Red Tower, is free of charge.
Located in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, the city offers a rich selection of caves, rivers and plateaus. Alanya is among the favourite destinations not only for nature lovers, but also for travellers with chronic upper respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis.
- Located on the seashore only 3 kilometres from the centre of Alanya, Damlatas Cave is very popular among asthma patients because of its ideal levels of carbon dioxide, humidity and heat. The history of the cave’s stalactites and stalagmites dates back to 20,000 BC.
- Dim Creek and Dim Cave are located in Dim Creek Valley, around 10 kilometres from Alanya city centre. You can picnic among the lush trees, cool off in the cool waters of Dim Creek and visit Dim Cave - the second largest cave in Turkey.
- Kadiini Cave is estimated to be three times the size of Damlatas Cave, although the exact size is unknown. The discovery of human skeletons belonging to the Palaeolithic and Ancient Bronze Ages proves that the cave was used as a shelter 20,000 years ago.
- Overlooking the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Alanya is surrounded by the Taurus Mountains and therefore offers its visitors a blend of green and blue. The magnificent plateaus of the Taurus Mountains - the leading settlement places of the Yoruk community - enchant nature lovers with their fascinating natural beauty. Take a jeep safari tour on the Turbelinas Plateau where you can eat country chicken served in local residents' restaurants or simply cool off in Derekoy Plateau, where the Kargi Creek flows.
Unlike many holiday destinations on the Aegean and Mediterranean coastlines, Alanya offers a greater number of alcohol-free restaurants. Located in the Alanya Bazaar, near Alanya Castle, Ravza Restaurant is very popular among halal-conscious travellers with its rich alcohol-free menu consisting of halal dishes and offers beautiful sea views.
Get ready to set off for Manavgat as you say goodbye to Alanya.
Drive 60 kilometres west on the D400 highway and stop at the Manavgat Waterfall, which will captivate you with its astounding natural beauty. There are many areas nearby where you can have a picnic. You can also eat or have a refreshing drink in restaurants or cafes around the waterfall. In addition, you can feed your adventurous spirit by participating in activities such as rafting and safari.
If you choose to stay in Manavgat, the Selge Beach Resort is perfect with facilities such as a totally secluded beach area, indoor and outdoor pools, a women-only spa centre and many more family and children-friendly facilities popular with halal-conscious travellers.
Follow the D695/ Konya-Manavgat highway and after about 100 kilometres, you will reach the Tinaztepe Caves- the longest cave in Turkey and the second longest in the world. The cave is 22 kilometres long but only a 1.5-kilometer section is open to visitors. The cave, which hosts many underground ponds, is believed to be 230 million years old.
After your stop in Tinaztepe, follow the D695 highway for 60 kilometres and you will arrive in Beyşehir.
Beysehir is one of the most famous districts of Konya among tourists. Being home to the third largest lake in the country contributes significantly to this popularity. You can buy a snack from the stalls or relax at the picnic areas around Beysehir lake. We strongly recommend tasting the delicious zander or carp fish prepared and served fresh from the lake.
Opened in 2021, Karaburun Beach is as beautiful as a sea beach. After the salty waters of the Mediterranean, enjoy the fresh waters of Beysehir Lake. Other places worth seeing on your trip to Beysehir are the Esrefoglu Mosque, which is famous for its wooden minaret, the Hittite spring sanctuary of Eflatun Pinar and the Fasillar Monument, both of which date back to the Hittites- one of the oldest civilizations in Anatolia.
After leaving Beysehir, follow the D330 highway and after driving 90 kilometres you will arrive in Konya and do as the famous Turkish proverb says: "Travel the world, see Konya".
With its natural beauties, quiet city life and historical places, Konya will be one of the most memorable destinations of your road trip.
In 2016, Konya was chosen as the Islamic Capital of Tourism and it is one of the best destinations for a halal-friendly holiday. We recommend you to stay a few days in one of the many halal-friendly hotels in Konya to visit the important places and enjoy the delicious local cuisine.
The 5-star Bayir Diamond Hotel is an alcohol-free luxury city hotel offering two indoor pools as well as spa centres serving men and women in separate areas. The hotel is located in the heart of the city and is very close to shopping centres and main attractions.
Visit the following historical, natural and cultural attractions in Konya, which has been home to various civilizations throughout history:
- The 9,000 year-old neolithic city of Catalhoyuk, which is known to be one of the first settlements in the world, is located in Konya. This archeological site, whose excavations continue to this day, is located just 50 kilometres from the city centre. Artefacts unearthed during the excavations in the area dating back to the Hittites period and antiquity are on display in the Konya Archaeological Museum in the heart of the city.
- Mevlana Museum, which houses the tomb of the famous Sufi mystic Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, was the main Whirling Dervish lodge (dergah) at the time. With its charming manuscripts, miniatures depicting daily life in a dergah and the hall displaying artworks of Mevlana and his family, the museum is among the prominent tourist attractions of the country, visited by more than 3 million tourists every year.
- Located next to the Mevlana Museum, the Selimiye Mosque was built in 1558 by Sultan Selim II. The mosque, which is still open to prayers today, also has its own library of manuscripts.
- While visiting the Mevlana Museum, you can also buy souvenirs from the historical Bedesten Bazaar set up around the museum. Your day at the Bedesten will be busy as you shop at the stores selling hand-woven carpets and rugs, Turkish delights such as Mevlana candies and Konya Sarmasi, as well as felt clothes and ornaments.
- While shopping at the Bedesten, you will see the most eye-catching structure of the city, notable for its architectural design: the Aziziye Mosque. Built in the Baroque style in the 17th century, the mosque is still open for prayers. Do not miss the opportunity to pray there and take photos.
- With its great location in the middle of the city, Aladdin Hill, an artificial hill, is seen as the city’s landmark. Since Konya was the capital of the Anatolian Seljuks, the most famous buildings dating back to that period are located here. At the top of the hill you can see the remains of Sultan Alaeddin Keyqubad's Palace and the Alaeddin Mosque - the oldest mosque in the city, dating back to the 12th century. Aladdin Hill Park where you can find many tea gardens is definitely one of the places you should visit during your visit to Konya.
- Located 7 kilometres from Konya city centre, Sille is an old Greek village founded between two valleys. The village is an important stop due to its location on the Christian pilgrimage route in Roman times and is host to the Ak Monastery, also called as Hagios Khariton Monastery, which is one of the largest and oldest monasteries in the world and was built into caves. Also, Aya Elena Church, thought to have been built in 327, is open to visitors and the entry is free. Since it has largely preserved its historical texture, Sille has become a favourite place for locals and tourists alike with its cafes, restaurants and recreational area near the Sille Dam.
In addition, Konya offers great places that are especially appealing to families with children:
- Visit the Garden of Tropical Butterflies, also known as the largest butterfly flight area in Europe, and watch the flight of 15 different species of butterflies with their beautiful patterns, as well as 20,000 plants of 98 species, observe the life cycles of butterflies, explore the insects and witness the wonders of nature amidst colourful flowers.
- Located in the park of the garden, the Adventure Tower offers children a great opportunity to have fun on the giant trails. While you are having a picnic in the recreational area, your children can let off steam on the adventure trails and the airship-cable car line.
- There is also a Science Centre opposite Konya Airport where guests of all ages can learn about science and space. You will discover a great many things and have an unforgettable experience with your children in the Science Centre which features: workshops for children in robotics, mathematics, physics, design and invention; exhibition galleries of anatomy, the universe and our world and a planetarium with a capacity of 100 people, where you can observe the sun, stars, planets and many other celestial bodies.
Besides its rich history and culture, Konya charms its guests with its mouth-watering cuisine. It is ideal for halal-conscious travellers to eat in Konya as almost all of the restaurants in the city are alcohol-free. Try the Ferah Etliekmek Restaurant or the Bolu Restaurant to taste etliekmek, which means ‘bread with meat’, the most famous dish of Konya, made with meat and vegetables placed on a thin dough.
To try tirit, a specialty of Konya, which is made with lamb meat and served with yoghurt and a special sauce of butter and spices, we strongly suggest the Tiritci Mithat Restaurant, which is only a 5-minute walk from Mevlana Museum. For oven baked kebab, which is one of the popular dishes of Konya, and takes 7-8 hours to prepare, we recommend the Ali Baba Firin Kebabi or Kebapci Dedeler. In addition, to enjoy the panoramic view of the city while eating, go to the Konya Mutfagi in Akyokus. There, you can try Konya specialities including okra soup, eggplant kebab, leaf wrap, as well as desserts like sac arasi and hosmerim.
After visiting the entire city, get ready for departure to Cappadocia. Take the D300 highway towards Aksaray and drive 107 kilometres and you can have a break in Sultanhan.
The Sultanhani town of Aksaray is home to the Sultanhan Caravanserai built by the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keyqubad I in 1229. It is one of the most stunning examples of decorative art of the Seljuk period. Throughout history it has been a major stopover point for many states, from the Mamluks to the Ilkhanids, who wanted to take a break during expeditions.
After driving 45 kilometres on the D300 highway, you will arrive in Aksaray city centre. From here, follow the signs of the Ihlara Valley and drive another 35 kilometres on the Aksaray-Guzelyurt highway to reach the Ihlara Valley, which has fascinated its visitors for centuries.
One of the largest canyons in the world, the Ihlara Valley is a natural wonder formed by tectonic activity. The Melendiz Stream is another natural beauty that flows through the steep cliffs of the valley. On your way to Cappadocia, do not miss the opportunity to see the Ihlara Valley, breathtaking with amazing geographic details. More than 100 churches and settlements in the caves are located in the mountains of the 14-kilometre-long valley. The first settlement in the caves dates back to the 4th century and the drawings and frescoes on the walls give valuable information about the period.
The valley offers a calm atmosphere amidst lush trees where you can walk through the refreshing cool waters of Melendiz Stream. You can dine and drink your tea at tables placed in the stream and enjoy this magnificent ambiance.
Prepare to head to Cappadocia. Drive towards Aksaray-Nevsehir Highway from Ihlara Valley and follow the D300 highway to reach Cappadocia. Your road trip from Ihlara Valley to Cappadocia takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985, Cappadocia, with its fairy chimneys, is a unique place in the world. About 4 million local and international tourists visit the region every year.
We recommend a stay in Cappadocia to fully explore its charming, unique atmosphere. The captivating cave hotels will take your accommodation to a whole new level by allowing you to watch panoramic sunrises and the flight of hot air balloons from the terrace of your hotel.
Here are just some of the properties you can choose from: Roca Cappadocia, with a great location in Urgup; Cappadocia Cave Lodge, with cave rooms of different sizes in Goreme; Ajwa Cappadocia, with a ladies-only spa centre and an indoor pool that can be rented for private use.
The whole region is known as Cappadocia and it is of significant tourist importance in Turkey. The main districts in the region are as follows:
- Goreme: considered as the capital of Cappadocia
- Uchisar: home to many caves
- Urgup: a tourist attraction where TV serials and films are filmed
- Avanos: offers a special experience to its visitors with pottery workshops
With their fascinating beauty and impressive atmosphere, Fairy Chimneys give their guests the feeling of being in a fairyland far from the world.
But attractive places in Cappadocia are not limited to these, as the ancient underground cities are also worth seeing. Since the region has been a transit point of countless expeditions and raids throughout history, villagers built huge underground cities to protect themselves from looting and attacks. Today the cities are open to visitors. Although a total of 36 underground cities have been discovered, it is estimated that there are at least 150 of them in Cappadocia. Here are some to visit on your trip:
- Kaymakli Underground City: consisting of a total of 8 floors decked out during the Hittites period
- Derinkuyu Underground City: the largest underground city in Cappadocia with 13 floors and 52 water wells
- Ozkonak Underground City: believed to be carved in 400 BC
Riding a hot air balloon is a must for visitors of Cappadocia. You will have an unforgettable experience as the balloon takes off at sunrise. Another interesting activity is going on a horse trip organised by private horse farms, as the region is known as the Land of Beautiful Horses. You can also attend pottery workshops in Avanos, which is famous for its pottery craftsmanship, and try your hand at making your own pottery.
After leaving Cappadocia, head east on the D300 highway and turn towards the E90 highway. After a 150-kilometre drive, you can stop off at Salt Lake - the second largest lake in Turkey.
Salt Lake is frequented by flamingos, demoiselle cranes, wild geese and many other bird species. On a good day you may have the chance to see some of them. Take off your shoes and walk on the lake shore to leave all the fatigue to the serenity of the Salt Lake.
Prepare to head to Ankara. Follow the D750 highway and after 170 kilometres you will reach the capital of Turkey.
Ankara, the capital of Turkey, is a city of politics and it offers its visitors a wonderful holiday experience with genuine beauty and deep-rooted history.
Due to its central location and geographical convenience, Ankara has been home to many civilizations for centuries. That is why you can come across historical buildings from different periods on your trip to Ankara.
- Believed to have been built in the second century BC, Ankara Castle was actively used in the Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods. The castle is now in a large neighbourhood, and there are cafes and restaurants in its garden. Shopping in the antique shops and bazaars on the slope leading to the castle would definitely make your trip complete.
- Located within walking distance of the castle, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is home to historical artefacts from Ankara and different parts of Anatolia. It is a magnificent museum where you can trace back many civilizations from the Hittites to the Sumerians, from the Phrygians to the Urartians.
- Kizilay Square is the heart of Ankara and offers a great variety of shopping options. You can also walk along the crowded streets and listen to street artists.
- If you are looking for somewhere to rest among the colourful and lively shops, restaurants and cafes on Tunali Hilmi Street, Kugulu Park is the place to be. Enjoy the peaceful and calm atmosphere in the heart of the city.
- The Museum of the War of Independence is located in Ulus Square and served as the building of the first Turkish Parliament. The personal belongings of well-known commanders who served in the War of Independence, their national medals, tools used in the war and the old assembly hall are on display in the museum.
- The Kocatepe Mosque is one of the largest mosques from the Republican period. It was architecturally built in the style of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in 1944. Do not miss the opportunity to see this magnificent structure, which is an important icon in the city's skyline.
- Another iconic building of Ankara is the 125-metre-long Atakule Tower with a bazaar and restaurants inside. The rotating platform of the tower completes one rotation in 1 hour. Enjoy the enchanting experience of viewing Ankara from above.
If you are tired of seeing buildings and ready to explore the nature of Ankara, there is also a great variety of options. Here are some of the key destinations to include in your day trips:
- Located inside the forest where the Middle East Technical University campus is located, Lake Eymir welcomes its visitors with its amazing nature. You can rent a bike or ATV from the companies in the parking lot and take a tour around the lake. Or you can go to a tea garden, cafe or restaurant with a lake view and observe the extraordinary blend of blue and green.
- Lake Mogan in Gölbaşı is another marvellous natural tourist attraction in Ankara. You can have a picnic at the recreation area near the lake or enjoy your tea while resting by the lake.
- Genclik Park is a stunning amusement park that is especially appealing to families with children. There are also benches, tea gardens, a theatre and an opera in the park, making it attractive for both children and adults.
As you get to the end of your trip in Ankara city centre, get ready to head to Kizilcahamam and relax there for a few days. To get to Kizilcahamam, located only 90 kilometres from Ankara, drive about one hour on the D750 highway.
Kizilcahamam is one of the main thermal tourism attractions in Ankara. Thanks to its spring waters, it has lush forests covered with pine trees. With its serene atmosphere, it offers its guests a great environment in which to relax and unwind.
You can stay at the Cam Termal Hotel & Spa, a 5-star and alcohol-free hotel and one of the best properties in Kizilcahamam. The hotel hosts 7 pools in total, including ladies-only, men-only and mixed-use pools, as well as two spa centres serving men and women in separate areas. With a kids' club, a game room and an aqua park, it is popular with families with children.
Another thermal resort with spacious accommodation in Kizilcahamam is the 5-star, alcohol-free Eliz Thermal & Spa. The property offers two ladies-only and two men-only pools. There are also two spa centres - one for women, one for men.
After feeling relaxed and refreshed with the healing waters of Kizilcahamam, prepare to depart for Safranbolu. You will arrive there after a 2-hour drive on the Ankara-Bolu road.
Taking its name from the saffron plant growing in the region, Safranbolu will add colour to your trip with its lush nature.
Safranbolu offers its guests a trip intertwined with history, culture and nature.
- The Safranbolu Houses are famous for their architecture. The mansions, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, shed light on the city’s history, culture and lifestyle.
- Safranbolu is home to one of the few functioning clock towers that visitors can still enter and explore. The historic Safranbolu Clock Tower was built between 1794-1797 by Sultan Selim III.
- Another popular tourist attraction is the City History Museum, where traditional goods, handicrafts and local historical artefacts are exhibited. Located on the same hill as the old castle, the museum was built in 1904 as a government building.
- The miniature clock towers from different corners of the country are on display at the Anatolian Clock Towers Miniatures Park Museum. You should definitely visit this open-air museum where you can see 12 towers that vary between 1-3 metres in length.
- While in Safranbolu, you can also shop for the nicest souvenirs. The best places to shop are Safranbolu Blacksmiths Bazaar, Yemeniciler Arastasi and Old Safranbolu Bazaar.
- To see the natural beauties of Safranbolu and observe its breathtaking nature, you should definitely go to the Crystal Glass Terrace above Tokatli Canyon. Enjoy the fresh air and an enchanting view of the canyon while sipping a cup of tea.
- Enjoy the panoramic view of Safranbolu from the Hidirlik Hill.
There is a wide range of alcohol-free restaurants in the city, offering delicious cuisine full of great local flavours. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Iki Kasik Restaurant: serving local delicacies like banduma and various breakfast options
- Yoruk Sofrasi: serving Yoruk-style Turkish pancakes, ayran and homemade baklava
- Haci Erol Kebap: famous for lahmacun and grilled dishes
- Atis Boutique Restaurant: popular for its delicious local dishes
- Safranbolu Zencefil: with a menu rich in local dishes
Get ready to set off for Zonguldak as you say goodbye to Safranbolu. Follow the D330 highway and turn right onto the D750 highway. After a 1.5-hour drive , you will reach the city centre of Zonguldak.
As one of the largest cities in the western Black Sea region, Zonguldak is also one of the leading port cities and famous for coal mining. In addition, its impressive nature and geographical beauties contribute to its touristic charm.
- The Zonguldak Mining Museum should be one of the stops on your trip as you can learn a lot about the city’s history and techniques of coal mining.
- The Goldagi Nature Park, which is ideal for families who want to spend time with their children in a natural environment and the Citdere Nature Reserve in Yenice are two great options for those who want to have a picnic, observe wildlife or go for long forest walks.
- Just 5 kilometres from the city centre, the Gokgol Cave is 3350 metres long and has 4 floors. An underground stream flows inside the cave, which has become one of the favourite haunts of nature lovers.
- Another popular stop in Zonguldak among nature lovers is the Harmankaya Waterfalls, which consists of 3 separate waterfalls. Close to the city centre, the waterfall is the right place for cooling off and relaxing.
- The Canakcilar Zoo and Botanic Garden in Gokcebey is a favourite among families with children living in Zonguldak, and entry is free. You can have a pleasant time in the park, see animals of different species and enjoy the natural environment.
It is time to say goodbye to Zonguldak and head to Eregli. After driving 48 kilometres on the D010 highway you will arrive in Karadeniz Eregli.
Karadeniz Ereğli (Eregli in the Black Sea Region)
The coastal town of Eregli on the western Black Sea region has 80 kilometres of coastline and a welcoming atmosphere. The reason it is called Karadeniz Eregli is to avoid any confusion with Konya Eregli and Marmara Eregli. This small beach town offers its guests a serene and friendly atmosphere.
- The Cehennem Agzi Caves consist of 3 separate caves: the Church Cave, the Ayazma Cave and the Cehennem Agzi (Turkish for Hell's Mouth) Cave. They attract tourists because of a legend from Greek mythology.
- Cinaraltı is another tourist attraction which has become an icon of Eregli. It is home to 6 sycamore trees which are around 600 years old, planted by order of Fatih Sultan Mehmed after the conquest of Istanbul. This is why the place is also known as the Fetih Cinarlari, literally meaning the "sycamores of conquest". You can sip your tea under the shade of giant plane trees.
- Located in a port, the Gazi Alamdar Ship Museum is a replica of the Ghazi Alamdar Ship which played a major role in victory during the War of Independence. The replica contains many official documents from that period.
If you want to stay in Zonguldak or Karadeniz Eregli, you can search for properties in Zonguldak and choose the one that best suits you and your family.
Leaving Eregli, follow the D010 highway and after 40 kilometres you will reach Akcakoca.
Akcakoca, a town in Duzce, is a seaside city popular among travellers due to its proximity to Istanbul and Ankara.
Perched on a high hill by the sea, the Genoese Fortress is both a tourist attraction and a picnic spot, notable for its magnificent sea views among lush trees, and often visited by local residents. It will be one of the most inspirational stops on your itinerary.
Serving women separately, the blue-flagged Women Beach is right next to the Genoese Fortress.
You can choose the most suitable option among the available hotels in Akcakoca and enjoy mesmerising sea views.
Get ready to head to Istanbul. The North Marmara Highway takes you to Sabiha Gokcen Airport in about 2.5 hours. You can end your trip here or add a visit to Istanbul on your road trip.