Best Things to Do in Side, Antalya
This content was last updated on 13.10.2022 00:46
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The small and ancient coastal town of Side is located on the Mediterrenian Region of Turkey and between Antalya and Alanya. Side offers a relaxing holiday by the sea and has become one of the most popular holiday resorts in this region. But those interested in history and adventurers will also get their money's worth here.
Those who spend their holidays in the Side region should not forget to plan at least one day for the multitude of sights on the approximately 800 meter long and 350 meter wide peninsula. These can be easily reached by "Dolmuş" from Colakli, Everenski, Kumköy or Titreyengol.
What can you do in Side? You can find top 10 tips for trips to Side Turkey in my following post.
What is Dolmuş? Probably the simplest and cheapest way of getting around in Turkey is the "dolmuş". This is the name of a special type of shared taxi or bus here in Turkey and is used by both locals and tourists. The minibuses run on certain short routes and actually stop wherever passengers want to get on or off on this route.
Places to Visit in Side
1. Apollo Temple
The landmark of Side and probably the first image when you think of a Turkey vacation package: The Temple of Apollo.
At the tip of the Side peninsula are the remains of the ancient city's two main temples, dedicated to Athena and Apollo. While by no means complete, they have a picturesque setting overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and are particularly atmospheric in the evening when the ruins are illuminated.
Side harbor is then a great place for a sunset stroll. Numerous cafes along the coast and near the ruins invite you to linger.
2. Side Ancient City and Roman Theater
Side's theater was the largest in ancient Pamphylia and could seat about 15,000 spectators. Due to extensions and conversions, it was also used as an arena for gladiator and animal fights.
Although some of the supporting arches have collapsed, collapsing part of the auditorium, this is still a remarkable example of Roman architectural skill. In order to be able to take a closer look at the theater from the inside, you currently pay 45 Turkish Lira.
Note: Payment for the entrance to the theatre, museum and other state-controlled sights is only possible in the Turkish currency Lira!
3. Side Agora
This imposing Roman complex functioned as the state agora, also known as the marketplace, and was an important square in ancient times. The Agora was surrounded by two rows of granite columns.
Next to the Agora are the remains of the circular Temple of Tyche (dedicated to the Roman goddess of fortune). As a tip, just continue walking from the agora in the direction of the eastern old town wall.
This will take you to the sprawling ruins of the Byzantine Bishop's Palace, the Warden, and the Baptistery. These early Christian buildings date from the 5th to 10th centuries AD.
4. Side Museum
The Side Archaeological Museum is located just outside the Side city gate. It may be small, but it has a sizeable collection of statues, frescoes, jewellery, coins, utensils from the period and even three sarcophagi.
Entry to the museum currently costs 50 Turkish Lira and provides a good rest stop after exploring the remains of the nearby theater and agora.
If you don't care much about history, you can just admire the building from the outside. You can combine these excursion destinations in Side with a visit to the old town of Side.
5. Side Old Town
You can easily reach the old town of Side with the "Dolmuş". From the bus parking lot you walk along the Agora, the remains of the city walls, past the Side Museum, through the city gate to the old town and can see almost all of the sights I mentioned above right away.
For those of us who are a little lazy to walk, there is also the option of taking a separate bus transfer from the bus parking lot up to the city gate.
Arrived in Side's main street, you can discover isolated glass floors. This glass street reveals the exposed foundations of previous excavations.
Countless shops are lined up one after the other down to the left and right of the street down to the harbour. These sell jewellery, Turkish souvenirs, leather goods, beautiful lamps and much more.
You are definitely in the right place for shopping in the old town of Side. Other Side shopping opportunities include the Side Bazaar, which always takes place on Saturdays. Shopping in Side Kumköy is also wonderful in the Kumköy shopping center.
Once at the bottom, the small port of Side awaits you, which is a starting point for many boat tours. But also some boats of locals are anchored here.
From there you can continue your way to the Temple of Apollo. If you need a breather after all that walking, you won't be disappointed at the harbour. Here, many restaurants and bars with sea views invite you to linger.
6. Manavgat Bazaar
One of Manavgat's sights is definitely the Manavgat Bazaar. It takes place twice a week in the center and is one of the largest trading centers in the region.
A visit to the market should therefore not be missing among the Manavgat sights.
Of course, the focus is on fashion. You can find everything from underwear, socks and sweaters to pants, jackets and shoes. The selection is just huge. In addition to all the clothing, there are also fresh fruits, many spices and fruit to buy.
Even if there are already fixed prices at many stands, bargaining is still allowed and encouraged. Remember, tourists generally pay more than locals, so it's worth negotiating a fixed price for a second or third piece.
By the way, you can always score with a few words in Turkish . This could come in handy when negotiating the price. You'll also put a smile on everyone's face, from hotel maids and waiters to market stallholders and shopkeepers.
Brief information about Grand Bazaar Manavgat:
When is the market in Manavgat?
On Monday and Thursday the big bazaar takes place in Manavgat. Turn right behind the bridge on Monday and right before the bridge on Thursday when coming from Side.
Manavgat Bazaar Address
Monday: Aşağı Pazarcı Mah.1010 Sokak, 07600 Manavgat/Antalya
Thursday: A. Hisar, No:, Gülveren Cd. No:21, 07600 Manavgat/Antalya
- From Side to Manavgat you simply take the "Dolmuş" again. You can tell the driver "Manavgat Bazaar" when you get in.
It is advisable to visit the bazaar in the morning when it is not too hot and crowded.
Note: At the bazaar you will find all kinds of clothing, handbags and other accessories from well-known brands. However, these are mostly fakes. We felt the need to state this in order not to encounter any bad surprises later on.
7. Manavgat Waterfall
Of course, this point should not be missing among the Manavgat excursions. About 13 kilometers northeast of Side, the Manavgat Waterfalls are located directly on the Manavgat River, which rises in the east of the Taunus Mountains.
You can walk through a network of passages all the way to the falls. Set in landscaped gardens with restaurants and a picnic area, the area is popular with both local families and tourists on sunny weekends.
In view of this, I recommend that you prefer to visit the falls during the week.
If you prefer to do your Side day trips on your own instead of booking a tour, you can again choose the inexpensive "Dolmuş" transport option.
This drives from Manavgat directly to the door and even has a card in the windshield with the German word "Waterfall" posted. So you won't miss the little bus
The beautiful remains of the ancient city of Seleucia (part of ancient Pamphylia) lie one kilometer above the village of Bucakseyler and about 15 kilometers north of Side (accessible from Side via the Manavgat waterfalls).
Seleucia is situated on a hill with escarpments on several sides, which formed a strong defensive position at the time. There are remains of an agora with a series of two-story and three-story building facades, a gate, a mausoleum, a Roman bath, a necropolis, and several temples and churches.
The sprawling ruins are surrounded by a pine forest, giving the place a charming lost-in-time ambiance.
The ruins of Aspendos are located between Manavgat and Antalya and were built in the 2nd century AD. The theater is considered the best preserved Roman building in the world.
The stage house of the theater has been preserved in its original height. Other sights of the cities are the Acropolis with the Nymphaion (city fountain), the market halls and the well-preserved aqueduct.
Up until about 10 years ago, concerts, operas and the famous dance show “Fire of Anatolia” still took place in Aspendos. However, in order not to further jeopardize the preservation of the building, these events have been discontinued and are now being performed in the nearby Aspendos Arena in Belek.
High up in the Taunus mountains about 50 kilometers north of Aspendos lies the village of Altinkaya Köyü and the ruins of Selge . The district in which the city was located was extremely fertile, producing copious amounts of oil and wine.
Until Roman times, the remote location of the settlement protected the city from foreign rule, but trade flourished thanks to good relations with the coastal cities of Pamphylia.
The extensive ruins contain many interesting remains. History buffs could easily spend the whole day here.
For those with a little less time, the 10,000-seat Roman theater and adjacent stadium are the main attractions not to be missed. These can be visited for a small fee.
Today, Altinkaya is just a small, poor village settlement in which women sell handicrafts they have made themselves to tourists. I always like to support the craftsmanship of such villages and thus have a holiday souvenir right away.
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