Discovering Belek & Side: Two Jewels of Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast

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Turkey’s Mediterranean coast harbors countless natural and historical treasures. Among these, Belek and Side stand out as two must-visit destinations. With a blend of sandy beaches, age-old ruins, and a host of modern amenities, they offer the quintessential Turkish experience. Let’s delve into the world of these two fascinating locales.

Geography

Nestled in the province of Antalya, both Belek and Side offer visitors panoramic views of the azure Mediterranean. Belek, though more inland, is surrounded by lush pine forests, enhancing its verdant charm. Side, taking pride in its position on a peninsula, offers a unique blend of land and sea, where the waves kiss ancient ruins.

History

Belek: Beyond its contemporary image as a luxury resort town, Belek has historical layers dating back to the Hellenistic period. Ancient roads, aqueducts, and bridges highlight its significance as a past crossroad.

Side: Founded by the Greeks and later dominated by the Romans, Side’s ruins tell tales from epochs long past. Its archaeological sites are a maze of ancient history waiting to be explored.

Economy

Tourism is the lifeblood of both towns.

Belek: Often referred to as the “Golfing Mecca of Turkey”, Belek boasts of numerous internationally recognized golf resorts. Its luxury hotels and resorts are another significant economic pillar.

Side: Besides tourism, Side thrives on local handicrafts, artisanal products, and fisheries. The bustling markets and souvenir shops offer travelers a slice of local life and crafts.

Population

By 2023, the combined population of Belek and Side hovers around the 30,000 mark. However, during peak tourist seasons, this number can easily double, thanks to the influx of international and local tourists.

Cuisine

The gastronomic delights of these towns are heavily influenced by the Mediterranean.

Local Delicacies: Fresh seafood platters, ‘Mezes’ featuring the likes of ‘Hummus’ and ‘Tzatziki’, and the ever-popular ‘Shish Kebabs’ are must-tries.

Sweet Treats: Don’t leave without tasting ‘Baklava’ and ‘Künefe’, two dessert staples.

Beverages: Enjoy a glass of ‘Raki’, Turkey’s iconic anise-flavored drink, ideally with a plate of Mezes.

Transportation

The primary gateway is Antalya Airport, linking both towns to international and domestic destinations. Within the towns, minibuses (‘dolmuş’) offer local connectivity, while taxis are perfect for more personalized travel. For adventurous souls, bike and car rentals are available.

Top 10 Places to Visit in Belek & Side

1. Aspendos Amphitheater (Belek)

This Roman masterpiece, still hosting events, offers a journey back in time with its majestic architecture.

2. Temple of Apollo (Side):

The pillars of this ancient temple, against the backdrop of a setting sun, create a mesmerizing spectacle.

3. Side Museum

Set in a restored Roman bath, it’s a treasure trove of artifacts and sculptures.

4. Troy Aqua Park (Belek)

Beyond the slides and pools, it’s the ambiance that captivates visitors here.

5. Belek Beach Park

Beyond relaxation, this destination offers a variety of water sports.

6. Manavgat Waterfall (Near Side)

The roar of water cascading is both visually and audibly enthralling.

7. Titreyengöl (Side)

The tranquility of this lake offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle.

8. The Land of Legends Theme Park (Belek)

A fantastical journey awaits with themed rides and captivating shows.

9. Side Old Town

The heart of Side, where ancient architecture meets modern cafes and shops.

10. Belek Public Beach

Miles of golden sands paired with crystal clear waters, making it a haven for sun-seekers.

Feel free to explore these pages as well:

Map of Turkey ↗️

Top 15 Places to See in Istanbul, Turkey – Ancient City Constantinople↗️

Antalya: Turkey’s Jewel of the Mediterranean ↗️

10 Best Attractions in Mugla ↗️

Discovering Ankara ↗️

With the magic of Belek and Side beckoning, it’s time to answer their call. Let the pristine beaches, ancient ruins, and delectable cuisine carve unforgettable memories in your heart. Dive deep into these Mediterranean wonders, and cherish the experiences they offer. Safe and unforgettable travels await!

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