Side Travel Guide
Hagia Sophia at night © Moyan Brenn
Situated on a peninsula and flanked by two stretches of golden beach, the pretty holiday resort town of Side is a jumble of old and new, with an extensive range of tourist accommodation, shops, late-night bars and restaurants mixed in among the ruins of the ancient city.
In the centre of town is the magnificent 2nd-century theatre with beautiful views towards the sea, and the remains of the Roman Baths houses an impressive collection of artefacts.
The shopkeepers in Side have a reputation for pestering tourists, especially in the city centre. Many shops will not display prices, so be prepared to ask and haggle. Busy streets that lead down to the sea are lined with souvenir shops selling typical Turkish handicrafts like carpets, jewellery and leather goods. You can take a bus to the Manavgat market on Thursdays, which has the usual souvenir options like t-shirts and leather goods. The main markets are fun and have a lively atmosphere, but the best deals can usually be found in quieter areas.
Side has a variety of restaurants, ranging from Western style food to local delicacies like dolmades and kebabs. Anatolia Cafe is a popular place for English breakfasts and roasts.
Most of Side's nightlife is concentrated along the beachfront. There are a few lively bars and clubs, but they don't stay open very late.
Side is full of antique ruins, but the Aspendos theatre and Apollon Temple are the most popular. The harbour is full of interesting boat tours and activities, including trips around Side or to neighbouring towns. The turtles can be visited on a daily tour, and the white sand beaches provide activities like scuba diving, parasailing, horse riding, and swimming. Nearby Manavgat has some beautiful natural sights, including a beautiful waterfall.
Side can be very crowded on weekends, when many local tourists visit.