travel guide: side, turkey

A travel guide for visiting the beautiful old town of Side, Southern Turkey. My recommendations of where to eat, stay and things to do.

A guide to visiting Side in Southern Turkey, with my suggestions on places to visit, things to do and some of the best places to eat!

I first visited Side, Turkey in August 2019 as part of a 10 day trip with my family and I absolutely loved the ancient town and its beautiful harbour. This year I visited for one week in September with my boyfriend and this trip was perfect and he also absolutely loved Side!


On both my trips to Side, Turkey I stayed in ‘Side Star’ hotels and I couldn’t recommend them more. On my previous visit to Turkey we stayed in the Side Star Elegance hotel and it was so beautiful, this hotel had many swimming pools and 2 waterslides so it is suitable for everyone. (The inner child in me and my cousins was evident during the amount of time we spent on the waterslides haha!)

The Side Star Elegance is a close to Side old town with being only 1 mile away in a taxi. But there are many bars, restaurants and steakhouses nearby.

For the adults staying at this hotel, there are many bars all around the hotel in extremely photogenic backdrops where you can watch the sunset over a margarita, a mojito or whatever takes your fancy. We loved a bar hidden away on the balcony of the Patisserie.

On my most recent trip to Side, Turkey we stayed in the sister hotel called the Side Star Resort which was beautiful. The decor all around the hotel was beautiful and authentically Turkish. The Side Star Resort is located in the Gundogdu area and many bars, shops and restaurants are only a short bus journey away costing 2€. On the bus from the hotel you can visit Side and the city of Manavgat.

The Side Star Resort has it’s own private beach with comfortable Sun-beds, a delicious Beach Bar which we spent far too much time at ( I would recommend the chicken Kebab!) and many water sports for an extra price!

places to visit, eat and drink.

During our trip we visited pretty smaller villages such as Kumkoy and Evrenseki, which are home to the Mall of Side and some lovely bars, restaurants and shops selling some lovely cocktails at reasonable prices.

During the day we visited Side Old Town and even though I had visited before, the ancient ruins still continue to take your breath away of how authentic they are. You feel like you are walking through a piece of history. My boyfriend loved it and even if you aren’t particularly interested in history you will still be taken aback by the natural beauty of Side Old Town.

Once you have walked through the ruins of Side you are greeted by the glass covered ruins that you walk across into the shops and bars.

Each time we visited Side we tried out a different bar on the harbour and explored different shops. On our last night of our holiday we visited Orfoz Restaurant for a leaving dinner and we both loved it. It was nice to have a date night on the harbour.

Orfoz is a restaurant that I would recommend to anyone who is planning on visiting Side, me and my boyfriend absolutely loved it. As this meal was our the last of our holiday we decided to go big or go home and we shared a lot of food as it was a special night.

That being said we ordered 3 starters to share of Garlic King Prawns which were so lovely and fresh and my boyfriend got to pick them out himself! (He said these were the best prawns he has ever had!), also, as someone who has never been the biggest fan of seafood ( I am coming around to it after being convinced by my boyfriend), I agreed that the King Prawns were really good! We also ordered a Halloumi Salad, and some Tomato Bruschetta. I would highly recommend these starters if you ever visit Orfoz!

For our main course we both ordered a steak, however I ordered a Peppered Steak which I really enjoyed and my boyfriend ordered a Gorgonzola Steak which if you are into blue cheese he would highly recommend.

Images below in order:

3 starter dishes- Garlic King Prawns, Tomato Bruschetta, Halloumi Salad

Peppered Steak

Gorgonzola Steak


Manavgat Waterfall:

I would highly recommend a trip to the Manavgat Waterfall. I visited on my first trip to Southern Turkey and we all really enjoyed it. The waterfall is so tranquil and relaxing to watch. Additionally, the waterfall is surrounded by small juice stands, gift shops and food stalls. The Manavgat Waterfall is a must see if you are planning a trip to Side/Manavgat.

Manavgat Mosque:

We visited the Manavgat Mosque on the same day as the Manavgat Waterfall as they were both part of the same day trip. This visit was my first visit to a mosque and it was amazing. We all really enjoyed learning about different religions, cultures and learning methods. We got to go on a tour of the Mosque whilst the school day was going ahead. The interiors of the Mosque were so beautifully designed and intricate.

I would highly recommend a visit to the Manavgat Mosque, if you haven’t visited one before. During the trip to the Mosque the women had to cover our heads, shoulders and legs with covered fabrics with gorgeous patterns.

Manavgat River Boat Trip.

The main part of the day trip was a three hour boat trip along the Manavgat River and honestly we all loved it. During the trip you get your lunch included which is BBQ chicken, spiced rice and bulgur wheat and salad and it was lovely! ( We all wanted the salad dressing recipe!!)

Part of the boat trip you visit a small beach that separates the fresh water river and the sea and you stay here for an hour. During the hour you can enjoy a camel ride or just a sunbathe or a dip in the sea.

Images below in order:

Manavgat Waterfall

Manavgat River Boat Trip

Manavgat Mosque

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