Holidays to Side are a pick’n’mix of old and new. It’s the sort of place where you can root around Roman ruins by day, and read through cocktail menus at night.
A mix of old and new
You’ll find Side right in the middle of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, about 75 kilometres east of the cosmopolitan city of Antalya. Back in the day, this place used to be a major Roman port but now it’s half historic site and half holiday resort. That means you get nightclubs competing with ruins near the stone harbour in the old town centre, and a top-notch beach that doubles up as an archaeological site.
The old town centre juts out to sea on a small rocky outcrop, with 3 kilometres of golden sand stretching away from it on either side. Whichever you go for, you’ll find calm, shallow waters and gently shelving sands that are perfect for paddling. And if you want to do more than sunbathe, both do a great line-up of watersports.
Side wears its history well. Just north of the old town, the star turns are a huge amphitheatre and a bathhouse where, legend has it, Antony and Cleopatra used to hang out. And if you walk 15 minutes to the south you’ll come to what’s left of the Temple of Apollo.
Daytrips to Antalya
In Antalya, shoppers get the boutiques, and yacht-spotters get the marina. It’s a good place for wandering about, too – the old quarter is all narrow, winding streets and Ottoman-era houses. The city is about an hour’s drive away but if you fancy a more leisurely journey, you can join one of the boat trips that leave daily from Side harbour.
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Where we go in Side