Sightseeing around the Turkish coast is a great way of seeing more of this beautiful country and Side is often said to be an idyllic family friendly destination, ticking all the boxes for a safe, charming beach resort without being too large and noisy. Side is a laid-back, family friendly resort on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, around 45 minutes east of Antalya Airport and a couple of kilometres from the town of Manavgat, with its famous waterfalls. The nearby River Manavgat means the area is lush, green, fertile and excellent for exploring.
Highlights of Side (which means pomegranate in Ancient Anatolian and is pronounced “sea-day”) include the pretty seafront and harbour area, long sweeping beaches and Greek and Roman ruins, around which modern-day Side has been built. The magnificent Taurus mountains are the backdrop to its lovely beaches with an ancient harbour, cosy water-front restaurants, cobbled streets lined with interesting shops, heaps of history, golf down the road at Belek and, to top it all off, it’s only a short 45-minute transfer from Antalya Airport, accessible via a bus service or shuttle transfer.
Golf is another popular activity for residents or visitors in Side. Half an hour west is Turkey’s golfing hub Belek, home to a selection of PGA championship courses – it’s not unusual for families to stay in Side for the facilities, but visit Belek during a stay for a round or two of golf.
That said, there is a golf course even closer to Side – namely the Lykia Links club at Gundogdu, which combines an 18-hole course with a nine-hole Academy course. Golfing in southern in Turkey is ideal not only for the exciting courses and affordability but also thanks to the balmy climate.
More adventurous people could consider going trekking or mountain-biking in the nearby Taurus Mountains, rafting down the River Manavgat in the stunning Koprulu Canyon National Park, also home to the ancient city of Selge, or going horse riding in the nearby Sorgun Forest. It’s even possible to ski in the nearby mountain resorts of Davraz and Saklikent – it is said you can ski in the morning and be sunbathing on the beach in Side in the afternoon at certain times of year!
As you would expect, the old centre of Side has a good selection of beaches and tourist shops. In terms of groceries, there are mini-markets in the resort but for a more substantial store, head to the Migros supermarket in Manavgat. Migros offers everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to meat and fish, to all kinds of household products. Side has a local market every Saturday opposite the mosque; while Manavgat’s larger market is every Monday and Thursday. Of course there is an excellent array of restaurants, cafes and bars serving authentic Turkish cuisine along side seafood caught locally plus international favourites. Enjoy a glass of chilled white wine or sip on an ice cold beer alongside the harbour whilst taking in the views of this beautiful resort its ideal for absolutely everyone!