The Side(SEE-deh)peninsular is only about 1km long and 400m across but it’s packed full of interesting places to visit and flanked on either side by beautiful sandy beaches and the warm waters of the Mediterranean. On the peninsular you will find an interesting mix of old and new with modern nightclubs situated within the ruins of the ancient Side settlement.
Side (meaning pomegranate) is a highly successful resort town and it’s not hard to see why its perfect white sand beaches attract both international and domestic tourists. Around the pedestrianised peninsular there is a good selection of eateries, accommodation, bars, shops and lodgings. Side’s true success lies in its universal appeal achieving a little bit of something for everyone and also being suitable for families at the same time.
It is easy to lose a few days here just relaxing, meandering around the small backstreets exploring the boutiques, sipping iced cocktails on the beach staring over a glittering Mediterranean view, watching the sunset over the pillars of the Apollo temple then walking the illuminated ruins at night is certainly not to be missed. At the end of the peninsular there is a small but picture perfect harbour, water sports are available including boat cruises, parasailing, diving & snorkelling. Among Side’s impressive list of historical attractions are the ruins of the Hellenistic Amphitheatre, Roman Temples of Apollo and Artemis, The Aqua Ducts, The City Gates and a Museum of archaeology.
Side’s success as always has its downside as Side can become overly crowded in the high season particularly at the weekends.
The city was founded by settlers from North West Asia Minor (Turkey) in the 7TH century BC and quickly established itself as a centre of commerce, in 333 BC it was conquered by Alexander the great hence the Hellenistic influence. Later it fell under the control of the Ptolemaic dynasty then the Seleucid Empire, Side managed to remain relatively autonomous throughout this period and reached an economic peak in the 1st century BC when it became a centre of slave trading and a haven for Cilician pirates. In 78 BC the pirates were driven from Side by the Roman consul Servilius Vatia and Side came under the control of the Roman Empire it continued to be one of the most important slave trading harbours in the Mediterranean and its considerable commercial fleet still committed acts of piracy. Many of the ruins still visible in Side are from this period of History. In the fourth century Side was repeatedly invaded by raiders from the Taurus Mountains, this continued throughout the 5th and 6th century until Arab raider eventually burned and sacked the city in the 7th century. The city lay abandoned by the 10th century and was not re-inhabited until the 12th century when there was a considerable Jewish population; again the city was sacked, burned and abandoned. It was populated again in 1895 by Greek Muslim refugees from Crete.
Side is approximately 65km east of Antalya Airport, a transfer will take about 50mins, alternatively car hire is readily available. It is also easy to get the bus from either Antalya or Alanya.