What You Need to Know
Up until the tourism boom of the 1950's and 60's, Side was a
peaceful fishing village known as Sellmiye. Undergoing what we
would now call a 'rebrand', the city reverted
to the name which the ancient Roman city that once stood there
was known by, and the tourist resort of Side was born.
Pronounced 'see-day' (rather than rhyming with 'ride' as you
might expect from the spelling), Side is named in honour of the
mythical goddess Anatolia, and the name literally translated
means 'pomegranate', which was her symbol.
Upon opening up to tourism and changing its name, the once
tranquil city of Side began to grow fairly rapidly, and now, it
is a vibrant town offering plenty to do during the summer
season. In addition to everything you would expect from a modern
resort catering to sun seekers from all over Europe, Side also
retains a lot of what made it appealing to the first wave of
visitors, in the form of Roman ruins dating back 2000 years, and
a very nice stretch of beach.
When to Visit
The main holiday season in Side, as in most Mediterranean
resorts, begins around the end of May and lasts through to mid
September, with a few weeks on either side where some
attractions are still open. Outside of this period, many
businesses stop operating and you will find there is not much to
do. The most popular time to visit is during school summer
holidays, so if you are not travelling with children, avoid
these weeks for the best prices on flights and accommodation
(and fewer kids around during your stay!). June, early July and
early September are all good periods to go if you are visiting
alone, as a couple or with friends.
| You can expect good weather throughout this period of the year in Side, and the sea temperature
will also be warm making it very pleasant to go swimming off of the beach. It can get very hot,
especially in July and August, so if you are planning to walk around sightseeing rather than staying by
the pool or the sea where you can cool off then take care to protect yourself from the heat and drink
plenty of water.
How to Get There
The nearest airport to Side is Antalya, which is 78 km away. You can either fly there, or get an
internal flight there from Istanbul. Once you are in Antalya there are regular buses to Side itself. It
is also possible to get all the way from Istanbul to Side by bus, or you can hire a car and pick it up
at the airport. Generally, if you book a package holiday that includes flights and accommodation in
Side, a transfer from the airport to your hotel or apartment by coach or minibus will be provided so
you won't need to worry about getting there under your own steam.
BeachesThe main beach in Side is the Western beach. This can get quite crowded at peak times, but is a fun,
family friendly beach with plenty of places to get refreshments. There is also the smaller Eastern
beach. While these offer everything you need for a pleasant time sunbathing, swimming or playing
games, there are other, quieter beaches to explore along the coast if you don't like your beach to be
too chaotic or commercialised.
From the beaches it is possible to swim in the calm, warm water, or try out different fun water
sports activities. You can hire things like windsurfing boards, kayaks and peddle boats from various
places on the main beaches.
Side Antique Ruins - from: flic.kr/p/dNbvXN
Side Beach Photo : flic.kr/p/pZywD
Attractions in Side
One of the main sights you should make sure you take a chance to go and see while on holiday in
Side are the temples of Apollo and Athena. These ruins are illuminated at night and look especially
beautiful and dramatic after dark. Even if history isn't your thing and you are mainly looking for a fun
week of partying and going to the beach, you will be glad you visited this attractive and surprisingly
romantic historical site.
Another of Side's ancient attractions is the theatre, which is from the 2nd century and gives a real
feel of what it would have been like to watch an outdoor performance in Roman times.
If you want more history, Side also has a small but interesting museum, which holds various old
statues and sarcophagi and is set inside a 5th century bath house.
Language and Communication
As you would expect, the official language in Side is Turkish, however due to its thriving tourist industry you will find English spoken anywhere where you need to ask for things, for example in shops, hotels, restaurants, and, should you need them, places like pharmacies. You will also find most signs written in English, as well as English menus available in restaurants and bars. If you venture outside of Side into areas less familiar with tourism, language may become a problem, but while you are in Side you should find it easy to talk to people and ask for anything you need.
Currency and Money
The currency in Turkey is the Turkish lira. Up until 2005 this was one of those bizarre looking currencies where there were about 2 million of them to the pound (literally) but in 2005 they simply knocked 6 zeros off the numbers, leaving what was called the 'new Turkish lira', which has a format similar to what we see with pounds, euros or US dollars. The value of the Turkish lira fluctuates as with any other currency so it is hard to say how many you will get to the pound when you go, but you can look out for the best deal out of exchanging currency with a money changing service or simply withdrawing money in Turkish lira from cash machines when you are there.
You can get all kinds of food in Side, including typical British food, but if you want to try out more local dishes there is plenty of opportunity for that too. Turkish food is an interesting blend of the kind of food we associate with other Mediterranean countries (for example, olive oil is often used, and there are a lot of simple meat dishes and fresh salads), and more Asian flavours. While some dishes are very similar to Greek food, others are quite spicy. Of course, the best known export to the UK when it comes to Turkish food is the doner kebab, and you will be able to find some very good examples of this in Side, should you want to!
All in all Side is a really good place to visit on a summer holiday, with a great mixture of the modern and fun and the interesting and cultural. With friendly people and delicious local food, you are certain to have a good time during your stay in Side.