Side, Turkey

The town of Side in Turkey has been many things to many people. It is known to have been once an ancient harbour. The name 'Side' pronounced 'see-day' is of Anatolian origin. It means pomegranate, a fruit symbolic of abundance.

Side is approximately 50 miles from Antalya airport. The road is mostly dual carriageway and takes around 45 minutes by car or taxi and abouMap of Turkeyt an hour by coach. It lies on a promontory nestled between two sandy beaches located on Turkey's Mediterranean shore known as the Turquoise Coast or Turkish Riviera. 

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Side has a turbulent history and has been the focus of different people and cultures throughout the centuries. Its strategic location attracted attention from far and wide. Hittites, Persians, Egyptians and Romans were some of the former tenants. Perhaps the most infamous occupation was by pirates a little more than two centuries ago. During that period the harbour was used as a port for slave trading and the town a slave market. The pirate occupation was later ended by the Romans. However, because of the profitability of slave trading, it was some time before the practice ended.

Side Information

Today, Side harbour is a place to take a pleasant stroll or relax with a cold drink in one of the restaurants around the harbour and watch the world go by.


Side Harbour

Side Harbour

Side prospered under Roman rule and much of the old Roman walls still remain. During the Roman occupation it was rumoured to have been the secret rendezvous of Anthony and Cleopatra. Now a popular resort, the town is a mix of old and new, integrating shops and restaurants with streets from an ancient past. Some parts of the town exude an atmosphere that feels timeless and magical. There's no doubt that Side town is a special place.

There are an abundance of shops and stalls that cater for tourists. Both genuine and counterfeit goods are available, although the introduction of the euro has led to significant price rises for some items. You may also find haggling less prevalent than it once was. Remember that it is a busy tourist resort with lots of eager buyers.


Shops in Side Old Town

Shops in Side Old Town


For cheaper goods and a much greater selection, I recommend that you take a trip to Manavgat. You will find banks, offices, supermarkets, and all types of shops and businesses that are similar to those in the UK.

Every Monday there is a market in Manavgat. It is absolutely huge. The town is always busy but on a Monday it is chaotic. If you go by car don't expect to find a parking space immediately. It took me almost an hour to find a space one Monday afternoon and another half hour to later find the car.


If you have the opportunity, the Museum of Side  is worth a visit. It is located on the right hand side of the road opposite the amphitheatre before reaching the archway that leads to the old town. You enter the museum through the main gate off the road. It is a very small museum with only a few rooms but with some interesting artefacts. One of the rooms contain burial pits and skeletal remains and another contains sarcophagi.

The main city gate was originally defensive. There were sally passages around the bastions and a semicircular court between the inner and outer gateways, flanked by two large towers in the city wall.

Near the main entrance gate off to the left is a work area where restoration work is carried out. If you are lucky, you may get the opportunity to see some of the remains pieced together by experts.

Side Museum

The Museum of Side


At night, Side town comes alive with many of the shops, bars and restaurants open until late evening or early morning. It is ideal for couples and families.

For the more energetic there are several nightclubs. The Lighthouse at the harbour and Oxyd disco outside the old town are both worth a visit. For those looking for a livelier holiday with more clubs and discos, the busy resort of Alanya is the place to go.

OXYD Disco

OXYD Disco

Sadly, the OXYD disco is no more. Another hotel is being built in its place (2012). I'll leave the photo here for now as a reminder until I re-visit the area.

On the right,  approximately 10km south of Manavgat on the main road towards Alanya is a club called Club TRUVA. This is busy during the high season and is open most nights of the week.




With the Truva's prominent position, it was once a pretty landmark in the area. However, this has now been spoiled by the nearby building of a well known supermarket chain.

It is a bright orange building that has been built next to the Truva and blocks the view from the main Antalya to Alanya (D400) road. Having said that, it brings the benefit of low cost shopping to the area although there has been some debate amongst locals on the impact on local businesses.

I have uploaded photos of the Truva and its next door neighbour here.

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Video of Side




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