Side is a popular seaside resort of the Turkish Mediterranean. It is located between the larger and no less favorite tourists Antalya and Alanya. The town is small, but on both sides of the center stretches of beaches and hotels. In addition, the nearby resort villages are usually included in this tourist area.
In this part of the country, Mediterranean culinary traditions influenced Turkish cuisine especially strongly – they prepare a lot of unusual fish and seafood dishes.
The main focus is beach vacations. However, a large number of ruins of ancient structures attract fans of excursion tourism in Side. The city was founded by the ancient Greeks, on a small cape there is a lot of evidence of their stay here – an amphitheater, a bathhouse, temples, a market square, fragments of walls and much more.
Turkey is famous for its long sandy beaches. Around the old city of Side are two main ones: eastern and western. And although the beaches are not far from each other, their characteristics vary. The West is considered safe, and the sea is not deep, and therefore it is very popular. A gentle entry into the water makes a comfortable holiday with young children. Almost the entire coast is divided between bars and hotels, but there are also public areas. In the most expensive hotels, the entrance to the beach for outsiders is closed. At municipal, you will have to pay only for using the infrastructure, usually – 5-10 TRY. On private lounges are sometimes free of charge, and if the territory belongs to a bar, you just need to order something.
Both beaches are marked with the Blue Flag, which means that the environment and infrastructure comply with international standards.
In high season, the western beach is filled to capacity, it is always noisy and fun. Many sporting services are offered – you can try sailing and water skiing, go diving, fishing or go on boat excursions. For fans of extreme sports there is parasailing – flying over the sea with a parachute. East of the cape is not so crowded and more relaxed. Coniferous and orange groves grow along the beach. Those who prefer a completely secluded vacation should go away from the crowd of vacationers along the coastline, where one of the most beautiful turtle beaches in the Mediterranean is located.
The coastal waters of Side are not the best place for diving, and of the diving sites closest to the resort, the French ship San Didier, sunk near the pier of old Antalya, is of greatest interest.
200 m from Manavgat are the remains of the American military aircraft Hadley’s Harem, which also sank during World War II. Some of its details were raised from the bottom; they can be seen in the Museum of Istanbul.
The underwater world of the Turkish Mediterranean is inferior in beauty to the Red Sea, however, not far from Side there are several reefs where people who wish to dive are taken by boat. Landscapes are not so bright and colorful, but you can see schools of fish, starfish and other inhabitants.
A diving club is open east of the historical center of Side. Certified instructors work with clients, there is an opportunity to undergo initial training or continue training, as well as special courses for children from 10 years old. The staff of the diving center organizes diving from beaches, piers and boats, which take tourists to distant dive sites. Experienced divers can explore the night sea, and river diving fans can explore sunken objects. Diving will cost 310 TRY, the training course is 800-1000 TRY.
Most of the accommodation options in Side are presented by hotels; there are also apartments and guest houses, but there are very few of them. Almost all hotels are within walking distance from the sea and operate on an all-inclusive basis, some have their own beaches. The resort has many 5 * hotels – large complexes with the appropriate level of service, swimming pools, water parks and various additional options. The price range is large – from 85 to 7000 TRY per night in a double room.
The cost of living in Side is highly dependent on location. Cheaper to settle on the cape, in the region of the historical center, or away from the beaches.
The most budget option is motels, about 85 TRY per day. An inexpensive hotel can be found for 100-150 TRY, without “stars” and food, in some, breakfast may be included in the price. There are fewer middle-class hotels, “triples” and “fours”, in Side, than “fives”. Prices start from 180 TRY per night in a double room, with 370 TRY offers start with the all-inclusive system.
Those who travel to Turkey for shopping should choose another city to relax. There are few shops in Side, the choice is small, and prices are too high. All trade is concentrated on the embankment, Kolonnaya St. and blvd. Ataturk. The first is literally packed with tents with goods for tourists. Traditional Turkish souvenirs are usually taken from Side – carpets, intricate hookahs, all kinds of amulets, ceramics, silk, spices and tea.