Once the secret rendezvous of Anthony and Cleopatra, Side stands on a promontory flanked by two excellent beaches of golden sand – Kümkoy to the west and Titreyengöl to the east. Most of the tourist accommodation is situated in these
areas, which have easy access to the resort centre by dolmus. If you don’t feel like venturing too far, they have a range of bars, shops and restaurants.
The ruins of the ancient city mingle with the new, and despite its development as a resort, it retains its own very special atmosphere and charm. Its impressive second century theatre, supported by arched vaults, offers fine views towards the sea and you can still see the remains of an ancient street lined with pillars and arcades and the market place where slaves were once sold. Nearby the Agora Baths Museum contains a beautifully restored fifth century bath house and some interesting statues and artifacts.
The bustling, colorful streets leading down to the sea offer bargains galore. There are shops selling Turkish Delight, designer jeans (both fake and real but all at lower prices than at home), handcrafted embroidery, lace table cloths and
serviettes, carpets, leather goods and a wonderful selection of gold and silver jewelery. The Saturday market is also worth a visit for clothes, lace, fresh fruit and vegetables.
The two most popular beaches are a short distance from the centre – but if you prefer some peace and quiet, walk a little further and the crowds thin out. There is no shortage of places to go after sundown and many bars stay open until late. Set in a little side street, Café Dreams serves cocktails, wines and spirits in comfortable, relaxing surroundings with live music most nights. The atmosphere and good music of Stones near the temple of Apollo makes it popular with the British, while the Temple next door is frequented by Turkish and British alike. The resort’s two night clubs are Lighthouse, by the harbour, and Oxyd on the edge of town – a large open air venue with a laser show and swimming pool.
An excursion to Kursunlu waterfalls makes a refreshing change from the heat of the beach, and the Manavgat waterfalls and river are close by and well worth a visit.