Holidays to Side – pronounced see-deh – tick all the boxes. The restaurant-lined harbour’s hemmed in by beaches, time-frozen temples sit beside chic boutiques, and the city of Antalya’s an hour away.
A Roman-inspired resort
Antony and Cleopatra used to love Side. Set on Turkey’s south coast – about an hour from Antalya – the place hasn’t really changed a lot since when the Romans were here. There’s an untouched old town and crumbling ruins flanking the sandy beaches. Modern luxuries get a good look-in, too, with a chic harbour, waterfront restaurants and lively bars.
Side sits on a peninsula, flanked by two sandy beaches on either side of the old town. West Beach is sheltered and has shallow water so it’s popular with families, while East Beach is a windswept stretch of sand, sandwiched between the River Aras and the Med. On both sides, banana boats and jet-skis up the tempo off-shore, while sunloungers and beach bars keep things going on dry land.
Side’s sights are quite something. Dominating the resort is a huge amphitheatre that’s still used today for summer concerts. And one of the most-photographed structures is the 2,000-year-old Temple of Apollo – sunset is a particularly good time for pictures. Elsewhere, there are Corinthian columns and a museum set in a restored Roman bath.
Daytrips to Antalya
An hour’s drive – or ferry trip – gets you to the regional capital, Antalya, with its snow-topped mountains and flat, white beaches. The old quarter, Kaleiçi, has an ensemble of knick-knack shops and characterful cafés. Meanwhile, the hip Konyaalti district is the place for designer shops and pampering hammams.
Things to See and Do in Side
Side has two shingle beaches on either side of the peninsula and a small sandy cove in the town centre. There are also fine beaches at Sorgun, Kumkoy and Colakli, just a short walk or taxi ride away.
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