Considered a "restorative gem" by many, Side is a quiet beach village located on the Turkish Mediterranean. Concealed in the centre of an age-old Pamphylian city, Side is pronounced "Sea-Day", which is quite fitting since the pristine coastline is an idyllic setting that attracts sun worshippers from all corners of the globe. The weather is just as pleasant as the temperature of the water and there are plenty of ancient sites to see around Side. Snap a photograph next to a well-preserved amphitheatre, marvel at the intricate architecture of a timeworn classical library and feel the sand between your toes as you walk over an archaeological site buried by sand dunes.
A natural town with a waterfall that attracts year-round visitors, Manavgat is based 72 kilometres from Antalya centre. However, it can be accessed with ease by train or public transport, such as buses and taxis. There are plenty of things to do in this town near Side, including visiting the Greek Amphitheatre, the ancient ruins of the Temple of Apollo, or spending an afternoon browsing one of the speciality museums. Home to a number of Turkish villages, the area has a very traditional vibe and is a good place to add to the itinerary if you’re keen to witness some rustic Turkish charm.
Numerous towns can be found in the Antalya Province, including Serik. This unique town sits along the Mediterranean coast and is a 38-kilometre drive from Antalya's main city. Ruins are scattered around the landscape, which is drenched in sun for most of the year. If you fancy a bit of relaxation and pampering, head to one of the spas for a moisturising Turkish massage. Zeytintasi Magarasi is a natural cavern and cave that can be explored after you’re done strolling around the grounds of the Aspendos Ruins. More ruins are waiting to be discovered at Sillyon Antik Kenti.
If history is your kind of thing, let the fascination wash over you as you step foot on the coastal “village” of Olympos, where Roman ruins indicate ancient settlement. The Mediterranean beach located on Olympos has an isolated feel to it, so do stop by if you are craving a peaceful break from the city. Head to the town to mingle with backpackers or get amongst the lively social scene, but not before inspecting sarcophagi at the ruins of Olympus.
Old Town (Kaleiçi)
Antalya’s historic centre, pronounced as “KAH-leh-ee-chee”, is large enough to wander around on foot and discover new places each time you do. Kaleiçi is a modern city today, but once upon a time, it was home to Roman settlers. Most of the structures date back to this era and interestingly, its name translates to "Inside the Kale". This means “fortress” or “castle” and many of the landmarks which you’ll come across during your time exploring the Old Town certainly match that moniker. Bounded by the Mediterranean coast, Kaleiçi overlooks a yacht harbour area, where the Romans would have been seen transporting and exporting goods back in the day.
If you want to see dolphins in their natural habitat, make sure you visit the Old Harbour. Snorkelling, swimming, and sunbathing can be enjoyed in this area near Side, where laid-back cruises depart from Side to the well-known Dolphin Harbour. Notice the Roman Baths during your voyage and if you look closely, you’ll catch sight of the 2nd-century theatre and the Temple of Athena. Formerly a fishing village with a very tranquil vibe, the area lures in tourists but has not lost its ancient character.
Get a better understanding of where the story of “Aladdin” came from when you visit Yivli Minare. Home to Yivliminare Mosque, it is a historical mosque and a symbol of the city. In fact, you won’t miss it, with its dark blue-tiled fluted minaret, and exterior of stone and brick, which reflects the Seljuk architecture. Built in 1230, the mosque was reconstructed again in 1373. Today, the building is well-maintained and if you step inside, you’ll get to see nomadic tents and ancient embroidery displayed inside the Antalya Ethnographic Museum that the mosque houses. Walk 90 steps to the top if you want to absorb a panoramic view of the city beneath.
Long, sandy, and looking out onto stunning coves illuminated by the hot Turkish sun, Side is just as popular for its main sights as it is for its beaches. Two beaches separate the Old Town and there is no shortage of water sports facilities on offer at either. Don’t be surprised if you catch sight of a turtle when you are paddling in the water, where boat tours and fishing trips frequently take place. Whether you choose to soak up the rays on East beach or West beach, the shallow, swimmable waters will definitely make you want to return.
You won’t have trouble finding a restaurant with an ocean or harbour view when you dine at the local eateries sprinkled around Side. Quaint cafes are the perfect place to stop by for a, whereas a traditional Turkish restaurant will satisfy your appetite for seafood. There is such a wide variety of eateries arranging their menus by price and cuisine type that anyone can tuck into a delectable dish in this part of Antalya.
Craving fresh seafood? Let the chef-prepared delicacies at make your mouth water. Orfoz Restaurant is a must, as is the Beach Restaurant Lounge. Mediterranean, sushi, European, International and of course, Turkish cuisine is dished up at KARMA Restaurant & Night Club, making this a trendy spot for late-night dining and dancing. Aphrodite Restaurant, Cadde Baron Restaurant and Liman Restaurant Lounge Club are worth reserving a table for the picturesque views, friendly service, and beautiful food presentation.
Side is one of Turkey’s most well-known classical sites and since the town is home to one of the country’s deepest cave systems, it is well worth visiting with easyJet holidays. We make the process easy and will make sure you get the best deal on a flight and hotel package.