ALANYA or SIDE? Where is it worth going on holiday to Turkey?
You are planning to spend your holidays in Turkish Riviera and don‘t know which resort is better to choose?
You are in the right place, because in this post you will find the answers to all your questions. Turkey is an ideal country for lovers of sunbathing on the sandy beaches or by the hotel pools, history and nightlife enthusiasts. You can choose according to your taste, everyone will find something to their liking, be sure!
Maybe we'll start with what Turkish Riviera is about?
The Turkish Riviera is the number one tourist destination in Turkey. It is a several hundred kilometers long coastal strip, which stretches in the southwestern part of Turkey on the Mediterranean Sea. The Riviera is popular at any time of the year, although the most popular time for tourists is, of course, summer (May - September), when the temperature reaches 35 degrees!
We will focus on two cities that are very popular among tourists, namely Alanya and Side.
Alanya is often confused with Antalya. That's right - both city names are very similar to each other. It is worth mentioning that Antalya is a city with an airport where you start and end your vacation. Antalya is extensive, is the capital of the whole province, has more than 2 million inhabitants.
Alanya is a resort with 200,000 inhabitants, surrounded on one side by the Taurus Mountains and on the other by the warm Mediterranean Sea. It is the most popular resort on the Turkish Riviera, located about 140 km east of Antalya.
- It is a big city with busy streets, shops, bars and cafes.
- Nightlife lovers are welcome here!
- For shopping enthusiasts, Alanya is also an important point - you have more choice here and the prices are definitely better than in hotel shops.
- Even though the city is large, it can be reached quickly - on foot, by bus or taxi.
- Alanya lives all year round - so if you want to come here out of season, don't be afraid of empty streets and closed shops! Alanya is not only a tourist city, but also a university city - there are two large universities and in the streets you will see a lot of modern Turkish youth sitting in cafes, parks and shops.
- Great choice of hotels- from luxurious 5 * hotels on the outskirts of the city, through small hotels in the center to hotels that are cheaper at a price.
What places are worth to see in Alanya
- Cleopatra Beach - it is a long and wide beach in Alanya, located in the western part of the city, it is 4 km long. The beach is sandy and rocky and the sea has a beautiful azure color. There is a legend that Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, bathed right here - hence the name of the beach! The beach is marked with the Blue Flag award, which confirms the purity of the water.
- Alanya Castle (Alanya Kalesi) - this is the most important monument of the city! The 14th-century castle is located on top of a 250-meter high hill. From the top it is a beautiful view of the beaches and the whole city. The ruins of the fortress are accessible to tourists and the cableway (teleferik) has been operating for 3 years and takes tourists up the hill.
- The port (Iskele) - is the party center of the city. The port of Alanya consists of several important points. These are: the restored and picturesque shipyard Seljuk (Tersane), the Red Tower with the Ethnographic Museum (Kızılkule) or the entire historic district "Old Town" (Tophane), where there are stylish cafes, hotels and renovated stone houses. It is also worth a walk to the lighthouse (Deniz Feneri), from where you can admire the view of the harbor and the Taurus Mountains - and capture it all with a camera. In the evening, the port of Alanya becomes a lively entertainment destination.You can hear music from everywhere - there are restaurants, bars, pubs with live music and popular discos. This place is perfect for nightlife lovers!
- Damlataş Cave - located in the western part, near the beach Cleopatra. The name means "Dripping Stone" and got it because of the water dripping from the stalactites. The microclimate inside has healing properties, especially for people with respiratory diseases such as asthma. The cave has a constant temperature throughout the year - 22 degrees.
- Traditional Turkish Bazaar - Bazaars are an undoubted attraction of Alanya. Each district has a place for a market that takes place on a specific day of the week. You can buy various delicacies here: fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, olives, countless spices and Turkish sweets. Of course there are also various souvenirs and of course the famous Turkish clothes. The most famous market in Alanya on Friday is Cuma Pazari. It is located in the city center by the dolmus loop of city buses.
- Dimçay - a place in a few kilometers from the center of Alanya. Dimcay is also a mountain river, along which restaurants are arranged on the plateaus, so that they are almost on the water! Here you can get away from the heat in the city. We recommend you to go there for the whole day, take a rest and eat delicious Turkish food, including the trout that kept here. If you love cold water and hardening of the body, then you will definitely like the temperature of the water in the river (around 10 - 12 degrees), if you prefer more standard water temperatures, then we recommend using the pools that are located here. You can also visit this place during the optional trip “Alanya City Tour“!
- City Mosque (Merkez Camii) - on holiday in Turkey, it worth to go to the mosque - at least once - to get to know another culture and religion up close. The city mosque is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, it is characterized by beautiful blue decorations. The entrance to the mosque is open to everyone! However, do not forget to prepare properly before entering: you should walk barefoot, without shoes. The shoulders and knees should be covered (for both women and men). Women should also cover their hair with a scarf.
- Observation deck (Seyir terasi) - for several years is a very popular place from which you can see the whole of Alanya from a completely different perspective. It worth to go to the viewing platform during the day, but also during sunset. There is also a huge sign "I LOVE ALANYA", which can be seen from almost every place in the city. There are also restaurants where you can enjoy typical Turkish cuisine and enjoy beautiful views of Alanya.
Halfway between Alanya and Antalya is our next tourist resort - SIDE. It is the second most popular destination, which is chosen every year by Slovaks planning a holiday in Turkey. Side is a picturesque city located on ancient ruins. Much more intimate than Alanya party because it is also much smaller but very charming. There are many luxury hotels and also small hotels.
The beaches here are long, wide and sandy, with a shallow drop to the sea, ideal for families with children. The region is characterized by the blue sea and the ridges of the Taurus Mountains. Antalya Airport is only an hour away, which is 60 km, so it is closer than from Alanya.
- It is a small town for lovers of peace and quiet.
- There are a lot of new luxury hotels.
- The beach in Side is ideal for children or for those who are just starting to swim - there is a wide shallow shore, a gradual descent into the water and fine sand.
- The buildings in the center are low and the streets are wide, there is much more silence than in Alanya.
- Side is located near the large city of Manavgat, where you can go shopping at the famous bazaar or the shopping center.
- From Side is closer to the airport than from Alanya!
- Side after the season is quieter, but many hotels and places are still open.
- It's not as humid as in Alanya, so the weather is a bit more pleasant in the high season.
What to see in Side - Attractions in Side
1) The old town of Side, the so-called Antik Side - There is the famous Temple of Apollo. You can see it in all brochures or postcards from this city. This is an icon you must see!
2) Side Archaeological Museum - located in the old town.
3) Side theater - beautifully preserved ancient theater.
4) Theater in Aspendos - located further outside the city towards Antalya, one of the best preserved theaters in Asia Minor! It has amazing acoustics - even if the theater is huge, you can listen to concerts here without any additional sound support, even if you are sitting in the top rows! The famous Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival takes place every year in this theater.
5) Manavgat Waterfall - a small but pleasant waterfall located on the river Manavgat near Side. Good attraction for children, because there are also stalls of sellers of the famous Turkish goat ice cream!
Is it easier for you to decide after reading this text? We hope so! If you still can't decide whether Alanya or Side, we recommend you return to Turkey - and visit both resorts :) This is probably the perfect solution!
Also remember, whether you are in Alanya or Side, you can visit both cities with our optional trips!