Adana is in Mediterranean Turkey.
Lying a fair distance away from the Mediterranean coast, in the centre of huge Cilician Plains and on the banks of Seyhan River, Adana is the fifth most populous city in Turkey with a population of over 1.5 million. It's not much known as a tourism destination, though, especially when compared with its southern and western neighbours. However, that being said there are a number of sites of interest in the surrounding countryside.
Modern Adana consists of two quite separate sections: cramped old city centre and newer, mostly high-rise suburbs overlooking the Seyhan dam to north of the old centre, usually called Kuzey Adana or Yeni Adana (i.e. "North Adana" or "New Adana", respectively).
Despite its location Adana is a remarkably modern and Western city. This is in large part due to the presence of a NATO base in Incirlik, which provides the city with an unusually large population of Westerners, and foreign-educated Turks. Adana is also a destination for dental tourism, owing to a large number of cheap, effective, English-speaking dentists in the area.
As with the rest of the country, another common way of getting here is to use the buses. They arrive here frequently from Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, and several other cities around Turkey. Journey time from Istanbul is around twelve hours, fares starting at 50 TL. Inter-city bus companies includes Varan , Ulusoy , and Metro . Make sure you get off at the right station as most buses also stop at a station in the suburbs, about 4 km west of city centre. Getting off at the wrong station may be frustrating, but not an disaster since a local bus connects them. The bus station in city centre lies close to the Hilton hotel.
Trains are a slightly slower way of reaching places than buses, and for this reason Turkish people will almost always advice against trains for long-distance travel. However trains are cheaper, and arguably much more comfortable than buses, as Pullman cars have larger seats and tend to be relatively empty, allowing travelers to have two seats to themselves, as bathrooms are available, and as on overnight trains sleeping cars are an option, and trains usually have a dining car.
There are currently two overnight trains: the İçanadolu Mavi Tren departs Haydarpaşa station in Istanbul nightly at 11:50PM, arriving in Adana the next evening around 6:40PM, and stops in Eskişehir, Konya, and Karaman. Journey time is just about 19 hours. Ankara is also served by an over-night sleeper named Çukurova Mavi Tren traveling via Kayseri and taking around 12 hours (about 4-5 hours to Kayseri). However, a new high-speed service is being built and travel time from the capital Ankara will be greatly reduced in the near future. Additionally, there is a daytime train (the Toros Ekspresi) from Eskişehir via Afyon and Konya.
Driving to Adana is an option; from Ankara, the national capital, there is highway all the way (European road number: E90) but distances are long. The motorway O-21 will connect the two cities, but it doesn't reach any further north from Niğde for the time being. However, even if there is no motorway for about half of the route from Ankara, the current highway has separated directions all along it, anyway. Once you have passed the pass of Cilician Gates (Gülek Boğazı) through the Taurus Mountains into the Cilician Plains, take O-51 eastwards.
- Walking in Adana — you can explore downtown Adana by walking. It is very easy and enjoyable to walk around city centre.
- City buses — Extensive bus network including city buses and dolmuş.
- Adana Metro — There is also a subway line, which recently opened, though on a short stub of 8 stations.
- Many taxis with prices comparable to the rest of the country.
- Justinianus Roman Bridge
- Seyhan Dam, Love Island and American Island
- Çatalan Bridge (longest bridge in Turkey)
- Old Town and the Clock Tower
- Old Dam and Dilberler Seki Road (riverside)
- Sabancı Mosque — One place you should not miss while in Adana. The mosque was built in 1999 and is the largest mosque in Turkey.
- Central Park
- Archaeological Museum of Adana — this museum has recently re-opened for visits after a restoration work (except for stone monuments section, still under restoration) and is free admission currently.
- Ethnographic Museum of Adana. — currently closed until 2014 for rennovations
- Atatürk Museum.
- Misis Mosaic Museum.
- State Fine Arts Gallery.
- Driving by the lake and seeing the beautiful view is one of the things you can do while in Adana. Most of the locals spend their evenings drinking beer by the lake.
- You can visit ancient cities around Adana, such as Magarsus, Ayas, Commana, Castabala, and Misis.
- You can go to Akyatan Lagoon or Kapuzbasi Waterfall.
- You can swim (in Karataş on the Mediterranean coast, south of Adana), however Turkish residents usually go to Mersin when they want to go swimming.
- You can go to Aqualand (wave pool, lazy river and various slides).
- There are 3 saunas in downtown (Yeni Sauna, Bizim Sauna and Sirin Sauna). Entrance fee is 10 euros, and massage costs a further 10 euros. Also you can go to more traditional Turkish baths.
Adana has four malls (Optimum, Galleria, M1 and Carrefour). Optimum Outlet and M1 Shopping Centre are the largest. Optimum was opened in mid 2011 and is the newest. M1 and Optimum share many of the same stores where you can find almost all of the world class brands. (Real Hypermarket, Praktiker, Media Markt, Zara, Mudo City, Cinebonus, Tepe Home, Toys R'Us, Gap, US Polo)
- Adana Kebab — Delicious and famous Adana Kebap and mezzes, usually accompanied by Şalgam (turnip) juice and/or Raki (traditional Turkish alcoholic drink).
Adana has a lot of famous restaurants that serves the region's specialties, especially famous Adana Kebab:
- Kazancilar (S.Demirel Avenue)
- Sercan (S.Demirel Avenue)
- Hasan Kolcuoglu (Lake)
- Yüzevler (Ziyapasa Avenue)
- Park Zirve (Lake)
- Elem Restaurant (website in Turkish only).
- Bici Bici
Cafe Ora is located on Baraj road, very close to bus station, place also has a bar on second floor. You can have a bici bici (traditional Adana sweet) for 3 TL there.
- Mado's — a sweet shop located on Cemal Paşa. More high class than your regular street vendor and a little pricey, but delicious food. You should eat special Turkish ice cream. Mado shops are located on Cemalpasa, Kurttepe, Toros Street, Carrefour Mall and M1 Mall.
- Starbucks — There are 4 Starbucks Coffee shops in Adana (Ziyapaşa Avenue, M1 Shopping Centre, Cukurova University Campus, and New Adana), in addition to one in Incirlik. The one on Ziyapaşa is a popular hangout for expatriates and English-speaking Turks.
- The North Shield — Located on Ziyapasa avenue, generally a quiet atmosphere that is good to take a few friends too.
- Istanbul Bar — In Cemalpasa. A cool, chill out bar with groovy music with a wide selection of unusual but fun cocktails! Open until the last customer leaves.
- Pickup Rock Bar — Downstairs in the Cemalpasa area, this bar usually has live Turkish bands covering American rock on weekends. Closed early in the week, on the days that it is open, you can get in until late in the morning. Crowds usually start showing up around 11:30PM, the time the band starts playing. Efes on tap can be bought here for 6 TL a pint.
- Nargile Bar — A downtempo place located in New Adana, this is more for a young working class. Many of the patrons are between 20 and 30, and for the most part are out of university. Live Turkish music is played here almost every night, and Tuborg Green can be bought on tap for 4.50 TL a pint. Hours are generally 4PM to 3AM.
Hilton Adana is the tallest building in town situated close to the Seyhan river and city center. Looks quite strange in a not that big town to have such a huge Hilton Hotel. Prices from 100 € (internet) up to whatever.
Seyhan Hotel and Sürmeli Hotel are other 5 star hotels in Adana.
There are some very cheap hotels near the big mosque. At Konya Hotel, normally the price is 20 TL non-A/C, 30 TL for rooms with A/C, but if you insist, they can give you a cheaper, small room. The rooms are clean but there is no heater. At Garajlar Hotel, the price is 15 TL, however, you will have to pay extra for the bath (5 TL)
Adana's telephone code is (+90) 322.
Some of the towns and sights around Adana include:
- Tarsus — St. Paul's Well is in a courtyard long believed to be the site of St. Paul's house. You can also visit The Cleopatra Gate, Roman road and Tarsus Museum in Tarsus
- Mersin — situated 65 km west of Adana, another large city in the area, although this one is on the coast.
- Incirlik — situated 10 km east of Adana, site of a NATO base with a majority U.S. presence.
- Antakya — a few hours to south, with lots of history.
- Kizkalesi — about 100 km to west, a castle on an islet off shore.
- Karatepe — ruins of a Hittite city in the pine woods near a dam lake northeast of city.
- Anavarza — ruins of a small Roman town with a ruined bath turned museum about 30min north of Yilan Castle. You can also hike up the lengthy stairway to reach a large Crusader castle atop a high rock outcropping overlooking the ruined city.
- Yılan Castle — Crusader-era castle on the top of a rocky hill surrounded by endless flat plains east of city, on the road/railway to Osmaniye. Catch a minibus heading for Ceyhan to get there, and tell the driver that you will get off at Yılan Kale. On your way back, wait for one that is returning to Adana.
- Misis Mosaic Museum — On the historical Silk Road, at a distance of 26 km. from Adana. The admission is normally 5 TL, but it is sometimes for free, as was the case in Sept 2012.
- Kahramanmaraş — a small city in the hills with an impressive archaeological museum, famous for it's ice cream (roughly a 2 1/2 hour bus ride).
- Gaziantep — Turkey's sixth-largest city, visited mostly for its mosaic museum and the copper-workers around the castle (roughly 2 1/2 hours by bus)
|Routes through Adana|
|Mersin ← Tarsus ←||W E||→ Gaziantep → Şanlıurfa|
|Ankara ← Aksaray ←||N E||→ Gaziantep → Şanlıurfa|