A trip through time: Historical places in Side
It is believed Side was founded in the 7th century BC by Greek settlers from western Anatolia; evidence suggests that the Neo-Hittites also had a presence in the area. Side was occupied by Alexander the Great during the 4th century BC and later came under the dominion of the Ptolemaic dynasty and the Seleucid, Roman and Byzantine Empires.
The Ancient City of Side
The Ancient City is most definitely worth a visit. Highlights of the numerous preserved ancient structures include the Historical Gate, the Agora, the Agora Bath, the Ancient Theater and the Temple of Apollo. And yet, there’s even more to see in this remarkable Ancient City, with structures dating from nearly every civilization.
The Temple of Apollo
The Temple of Apollo is a stunner. Erected at the height of the Roman Empire – the Pax Romana – the Temple was dedicated to Apollo, the Roman god of light, art and beauty. During the advent of Christianity, parts of the Temple were dismantled, and those materials used for basilicas. However, the Temple of Apollo was restored in the 1990s. Set close to the coastline, it features a magnificent view worthy of its namesake.
The Museum of Side was established in 1960. Although it is on the smaller side, the Museum features a number of impressive sculptures and artifacts. Entry is free of charge with a Turkish museum card.
Nature discovery: Side’s natural beauties.
Side’s location offers plenty of activities in nature. Swimming, rafting, diving…even 4-wheel drive safaris! As well, the sheer area of Side ensures that you’ll never feel overwhelmed by crowds of people.
The beaches of Side
Side offers splendid options for summer holiday enjoyment, with beautiful sandy beaches set along the Mediterranean Sea. These include Big Beach, Side’s public beach, Sorgun beach and Kumköy beach. Group and private boat tours are also available.
Located 8 km from Side, Manavgat Waterfall is visited by almost a million people each year. But don’t let the crowds discourage you; the site is expansive, with tea houses overlooking the falls. Rafting in the Manavgat River is also quite popular.
Köprülü Canyon National Park
Carved over millennia by the waters of the Köprüçay River, the Köprülü Canyon is a highlight of natural Side. In addition to its sheer beauty, the 14-km-long canyon offers opportunities for rafting and other water sports.
Though not as well-known as some of the area’s other natural beauties, Titreyengöl Lake (Shivering Lake) is a lovely place to spend several hours. The Lake is usually quite calm, but it appears to ‘shake’ in even the lightest breeze – thus the name!
Set in Altınbeşik National Park, Altınbeşik Cave – also known as Düdensuyu Cave –was opened to tourism in 1994. The Cave’s exceptionally large size is complemented by its location near the Manavgat River. With numerous walking and hiking routes, it’s an ideal day trip for experiencing virgin nature and fresh air.
For first-time visitors to Side: Transport and accommodation
Side is 78 km from the Antalya city center and easily accessible via road or air. Public transportation is available from the Antalya Airport, as are rental cars. As well, there are regular minibus services between Manavgat and Side.
Side offers a range of accommodations, from modest pensions to all-inclusive 5-star hotels. Campsites are also available. It is advisable to book in advance during high season months such as July and August. Enjoy your holiday!