Side, pronounced ‘sea-day’, is one of Turkey’s best summer resorts for the whole family. It’s built around ancient Greek and Roman ruins, and there’s more than enough still standing and in museums for families to get their fill of culture. Perhaps more importantly, though, it’s also a beautiful, sunny location, with a wide variety of activities on offer.
Relaxing and Fun on the West Beach
Opening out onto the warm waters of the Mediterranean, the West Beach is the most popular in the area, and well known for its golden sands. A major redevelopment project over the last decade or so has seen a bustling promenade spring up, packed with great restaurants and shops. For older kids (and adults who are children at heart), there’s also a variety of watersports on offer, including boat rental, scuba-diving, and even parasailing!
Splashing and Slides at Okucalar Aquapark
If you love having fun in the water, and the West Beach (somehow) hasn’t given you your fill, the nearby aquapark at Okucalar is the place to go. It has everything you’d expect from a decent waterpark, including rapids, a wave-pool, and a huge variety of slides. What’s more, the park is easy to access, as it’s served by free shuttle buses from the town centre.
Hiking and Biking in the Taurus Mountains
Visible from all around Side, the Taurus Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop to the town. They’re even more astounding up close, spanning from lush green foothills to snow-capped peaks – in winter, the mountain range even has a couple of ski resorts open! If you’re feeling adventurous in your summer holiday, meanwhile, why not try to tackle these imposing slopes on foot or on wheels?
Sailing and Sightseeing at the Manavgat Waterfalls
If you still haven’t had your fill of natural beauty, follow the River Manavgat towards Koprulu Canyon National Park for a real treat. As the river twists and turns, you’ll come to the stunning, breath-taking Manavgat waterfalls: an astounding, intimidating sight. For the best possible views, book a boat trip right up close.
Sightseeing at Seleukia
The quieter East Beach offers a beautiful, unspoiled shoreline, a rockier beach and calm, shallow waters, but the real attraction here is a surprise you’ll find along the way: Roman ruins! If this piques your curiosity, consider booking a journey to Seleukia, an ancient city a short journey north-east of Side, and the perfect place to learn a little more about the area’s history, from Alexander the Great to the present day.
The Old Town Centre
In addition to these highlights, the town of Side itself has a bustling, vibrant spirit all its own. The old town centre is the place to go, with a wide range of shops selling souvenirs and beach items, as well as cafes and restaurants. There are also minimarkets selling groceries and a local market every Saturday, where you can pick up regional produce. Side is well-known for its garment-making, and fine fabrics and textiles are available in small boutique shops as well as the weekly market. A word of warning, though: be prepared to haggle! Don’t let notions of politeness put you off – even if the vendors are particularly nice to you, they’re always trying to sell, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to pay more for any item. Besides, it’s sometimes considered rude not to attempt to bring the price down. Get into the spirit of things, and you can find some real bargains.
How to Get to Side
Side is easily accessible from Antalya airport, though the 30-45-minute journey can be deeply stressful if you rely on local public buses. Book a Shuttle Direct transfer to get to your hotel on time and stress-free. As for getting to Antalya, many airlines offer flights from London, though layovers in Istanbul can add hours to your journey. Try to get a direct flight if you can, for example through operators like Thomas Cook.
Where to Stay
Hotel Can Garden Beach is a five-star hotel just three minutes’ walk from the beach, and offers outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a spa, a sauna and more. It’s set in a beautiful green location, with three bars and a restaurant serving seafood and Turkish cuisine.
Side Star Beach is even closer to the shore, with the walk from its doorstep to the sands taking just two minutes. It’s also only ten minutes from the Side Archaeological Site, which can complement the ruins at the East Beach and Seleukia nicely. In terms of amenities, it offers two swimming pools, a gym and a spa, and all rooms have private balconies and a flatscreen TV. The restaurant is also well regarded, with a poolside terrace for meals outdoors on balmy summer nights.
Hotel Poseidon Side, only 30 metres from the Mediterranean coast and 110 from the ancient theatre, prizes itself on its lush garden and open terrace. Each room has satellite television and a private bathroom, and a breakfast buffet is available every morning.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is one of the most highly regarded airport transfer operator in Europe and North Africa, with friendly local drivers ensuring safe and easy transport to get you where you need to go with no fuss and no stress. Simply book your journey in advance online, sit back and let us handle the rest.