The Old Town of Side (Top Things to Do & See)

If you’re looking for a destination that seamlessly blends history, culture, and natural beauty, then the Old Town of Side is the perfect place for you. Situated on the picturesque coast of Antalya, this enchanting neighborhood offers a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved ruins, ancient architecture, and charming streets. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey through Side’s Old Town and highlight the top things to do and see, ensuring that you’re inspired to plan a visit during your holiday in Side, Antalya.

What to Expect?

The impressive Old Town of Side is situated on a headland right by the sea and is home to the very important archaeological site on the Antalya region with ancient structures and ruins coming from the 2nd century AD.

The region also houses several beautiful beaches, impressive beachfront and some high quality hotels. You’ll also find a range of trendy bars, shops, cafes and restaurants.

Things to Do & See

You can start your day here by strolling along the narrow streets and head up to the Roman amphitheater that is a unique part of the ancient city of Side. The structure has a half moon shape and features good samples of the Roman architecture.

Ancient city of Side –

The Roman bathhouse is a 2nd century structure and comes next. It was converted into Side Museum in 1959-1961.  The Museum exhibits variety of artifacts and findings from the excavations made on the archaeological site.

Temple of Apollo

Following the road to the coast along the peninsula, you’ll reach to the world famous temple of Apollo & Athena. The Temple of Apollo and Athena is the most visited and the most popular landmark here. It dates back to the 2nd century and has been dedicated to the Greek god of light and sun.

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The Temple of Apollo is one of the most iconic landmarks in Side. As you walk through the ancient ruins, you’ll be awe-struck by the towering columns that stand proudly against the backdrop of the azure Mediterranean Sea. Marvel at the intricate carvings and imagine the grandeur of this once-magnificent temple dedicated to the god of light and sun.

The area is also great place to watch the sunset. Many visit here, sit between the marble arches and watch the sunset in the company of scenic views of the Mediterranean and take photos.

You can continue strolling to the Monumental Fountain (the Nymphaeum) which is an eye-catching structure situated right at the entrance of the city. It is also accepted as the biggest fountain from ancient times on the Anatolia region.

Here you’ll see the ruins of a fountain with a 3-storey plan. Several sculptures taken from the site are currently displayed at the Side Museum.

Side Museum

The Roman bathhouse is a 2nd century structure and comes next. It was converted into Side Museum in 1959-1961. The Museum exhibits variety of artifacts and findings from the excavations made on the archaeological site.

For a deeper understanding of Side’s rich history, visit the Side Museum located within the Old Town. Explore the exhibits that showcase archaeological finds from the region, including sculptures, mosaics, and ancient artifacts. Gain insights into the lives of the people who once called Side home and appreciate the intricate craftsmanship of the past.

The Three Beauties Sculpture dating back to 2nd century is a must see piece at the museum. It symbolizes the elegance, beauty and abundance, and represents Hera, Aphrodite and Athena.

Roman Theater

After the museum visit, the road will take you back to the Roman amphitheater. Here,  you can enjoy the beautiful views of the Mediterranean on one side and the view of the Old Town on the other.

Step back in time as you enter the Roman Theater of Side. Built during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, this well-preserved amphitheater was a venue for theatrical performances and gladiator fights. Climb to the top tiers to enjoy panoramic views of Side and the surrounding landscape, and imagine the echoes of the past reverberating through the ancient walls.

Wander Through the Charming Streets

Agora Street

Stroll along Agora Street, the main thoroughfare of Side’s Old Town, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere. Admire the well-preserved Roman arches, browse through the shops selling traditional handicrafts, and sip a refreshing beverage at one of the cozy cafes. The narrow streets lined with whitewashed houses adorned with colorful flowers create a picturesque setting that’s perfect for leisurely exploration.

Side Harbor

Make your way to Side Harbor and soak in the maritime ambiance. Watch the fishing boats bobbing in the turquoise waters, listen to the seagulls overhead, and take in the panoramic views of the harbor and the Mediterranean Sea. Sit at a waterfront cafe, enjoy a delicious meal, and feel the gentle sea breeze on your face as you unwind in this idyllic setting.

You’ll also may come up to several cultural events such as music concerts especially during summer months. Most of them are free of charge.

When you’re done with exploring the historical sites here, you can reward yourself with a very nice meal with some authentic Turkish mezze, or have a resting drink in one of the beach cafes and restaurants around the old town.

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