According to Clothesbliss, Side is a popular seaside resort in the Turkish Mediterranean. It is located between the larger and no less favorite tourists Antalya and Alanya. The town is small, but strips of beaches and hotels stretch on both sides of the center. In addition, this tourist area usually includes nearby resort villages.
In this part of the country, Mediterranean culinary traditions have influenced Turkish cuisine especially strongly – many unusual fish and seafood dishes are prepared here.
Beach holidays are considered to be the main focus. However, a large number of ruins of ancient buildings attract fans of sightseeing tourism to Side. The city was founded by the ancient Greeks, on a small cape there are many evidences of their stay here – an amphitheater, a bathhouse, temples, a market square, fragments of walls and much more.
Communication and Wi-Fi
Calling to Russia is cheaper from a local SIM card. There are 3 major operators in the city – Vodafone, Turkcell and Avea. Tourists usually prefer the latter – good coverage and low prices. The prepaid plan will cost 15-50 TRY. You can buy a SIM card at any mobile store, grocery store or newsstand. They also sell recharge cards. The price of a minute or an SMS is calculated in “credits”, the rate of which depends on the amount of funds in the account – the more of them, the more profitable.
Without IMEI registration, a local SIM card in a foreign device will not work (they will block it within 2-4 weeks). You can register in the mobile phone shop. Other options are to buy a cell phone locally or use payphones.
In hotels, most often Wi-Fi is free – near the reception or throughout the territory. In some hotels, in order to have access to the Internet in the room, you need to take a receipt with a username and password from the administrator. You can also connect to the network in many catering establishments.
The beaches of Side
Turkey is famous for its long sandy beaches. Around the old city of Side there are two main ones: east and west. And although the beaches are not far from each other, their characteristics differ. The western one is considered safe, and the sea is shallow, and therefore it is very popular. The gentle entrance to the water makes a comfortable stay with small children. Almost the entire coast is divided between bars and hotels, but there are also public areas. In the most expensive hotels, the entrance to the beach is closed to outsiders. Municipalities will only have to pay for the use of infrastructure, usually 20-40 TRY. On private ones, you can sometimes sit on a sun lounger for free, and if the territory belongs to a bar, you just need to order something.
Both beaches are marked with the Blue Flag, which means that the ecology and infrastructure meet international standards.
In the high season, the western beach is filled to capacity, it is always noisy and fun there. Many sports activities are offered – you can try your hand at sailing and water skiing, go diving, fishing or go on boat trips. For fans of extreme sports there is parasailing – flying over the sea with a parachute. To the east of the cape is not so crowded and more calm. Coniferous and orange groves grow along the beach. Those who prefer a completely secluded holiday should get away from the crowds along the coastline, where one of the most beautiful turtle beaches in the entire Mediterranean is located.
Diving in Side
The coastal waters of Side are not the best place for diving, and of the dive sites closest to the resort, the French military ship San Didier, sunk during the Second World War, located near the pier of old Antalya, is of the greatest interest.
200 meters from Manavgat lie the remains of the American military aircraft Hadley’s Harem, which also sank during the Second World War. Some of its details were raised from the bottom, they can be seen in the Museum of Istanbul.
The underwater world of the Turkish Mediterranean is inferior to the Red Sea in its beauty, but there are several reefs not far from Side, where those who want to dive are taken on boats. Landscapes are not so bright and colorful, but you can see schools of fish, starfish and other inhabitants.
A diving club is open to the east of the historical center of Side. Certified instructors work with clients, there is an opportunity to undergo initial training or continue training, as well as special courses for children from 10 years old. Diving center staff organize dives from beaches, piers and boats that take tourists to remote dive sites. Experienced divers can explore the night sea, and fans of river diving can explore sunken objects. The dive will cost 630-720 TRY.
Those who travel to Turkey for shopping should choose another city to relax. There are few shops in Side, the choice is small, and the prices are too high. All trade is concentrated on the embankment, Column Street. and bul. Ataturk. The first is literally crammed with tents with goods for tourists. Traditional Turkish souvenirs are usually taken away from Side – carpets, intricate hookahs, all kinds of amulets, ceramics, silks, spices and tea. Prices on the waterfront for all merchants are about the same.
Thrifty tourists are better off shopping in neighboring Manavgat. Prices are 2-3 times lower than in tourist Side.
The town has many shops and shopping centers specializing in leather and fur products, gold and silver. However, in the high season, fur coats here cost about the same as in Moscow, or more. There is a chance to buy furs cheaper and negotiate a significant discount only in spring or autumn, when there are not so many tourists here. On Column St. you can find several fashionable shops where prices are obscenely high, but the quality and service match them. Many are ready to deliver the client from the hotel to the store for free and take them back with the purchase. In Side stores, it makes no sense to bargain with sellers, only with the director, and you should not count on very big concessions.
Cuisine and restaurants in Side
Side’s cuisine is not much different from traditional Turkish, but the Mediterranean has left its mark on it – there are many seafood dishes on the menu of local establishments. Otherwise, everything is the same as in any other corner of the country – kebabs, pilaf, vegetable salads with cheese and olive oil, a huge amount of flour products with different fillings. Fans of an invigorating drink should definitely try aromatic Turkish coffee. Everywhere there are restaurants of other cuisines of the world – French, English and Mexican.
Sweet tooth should not pass by goat’s milk ice cream. Even those who do not really like the drink itself will be able to appreciate the taste of a cool, viscous delicacy.
Holidays in Turkey are strongly associated with the all-inclusive system, and many travelers bypass catering establishments as unnecessary. However, choosing a couple of evenings and having dinner outside the hotel is still worth it – for the sake of variety and atmosphere. Thrifty tourists can go to modest cafes, the average check in which does not exceed 150 TRY for a dinner with wine. A street snack will cost less – 40-50 TRY. Vendors offer doner kebabs, lahmacun (the Turkish equivalent of pizza), fish sandwiches, stuffed mussels, and more. Most restaurants can be attributed to the middle class – the cost of dinner varies from 150 to 250 TRY. In expensive establishments, it can reach up to 500 TRY.
In the evenings, some eateries turn into nightclubs where you can drink something strong, smoke a hookah, relax and dance.