Turkish Riviera with Antalya, Alanya, Side and Cleopatra

tuerkei mediterranean

The Turkish Riviera is the southern coastal strip of Turkey and one of the most popular summer holiday destinations. The region is particularly popular among all-inclusive vacationers. Between sun, sea and beach, the region between Antalya and Alanya also has numerous ancient sights and natural spectacles to offer.

While the Turkish Riviera is flat and has long sandy beaches, the Aegean coast is characterized by mountainous landscapes and romantic bays.

The city of Antalya also has a beautiful old town to offer - this is called Kaleiçi. The clock tower is located on the edge of the old town, which is why we started our exploration tour from there. Near the clock tower is another attraction, the Yivli Minare - a mosque, which the locals often refer to as the city's landmark. The best views of this impressive structure are from nearby Republic Square. Other sights in the city include Hadrian's Gate, the marina and the Archaeological Museum.

If you are looking for peace and relaxation, Belek is ideal for it, it is also wonderful to hike in the pine forests around Belek. If you want to experience something more than Side has a lot more to offer.

Antalya, on the other hand, is known for its historical and cultural wealth, its magnificent beaches and its luxurious resorts.

Alanya is the epitome of a relaxed and carefree tourist attraction. The choice between Side and Alanya ultimately depends on your personal preferences. If you are interested in history and archaeology, Side might be a better choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a livelier holiday with beautiful beaches, Alanya might suit you better.

In Side, which is characterized by tourism, there are numerous restaurants and cafés as well as many colourful shops and souvenir shops that invite you to stroll around. In particular, the pretty old town and its ancient ruins, along with the picturesque beaches, are among the city's best-known and most popular sights.

Manavgat Channel - Former River Delta is redesigned

Manavgat Channel - Former River Delta is redesigned

The final section, where the Manavgat River flows into the Mediterranean, is called the Manavgat Channel. This is probably because here the river runs for several kilometers parallel to the sea, giving the impression of a man-made artificial watercourse.

Water supply of Ancient Metropolis Side

Water supply of Ancient Metropolis Side

On a beautiful summer evening I set off in order to examine the Roman aqueduct that extends from Oymapınar Dam Lake of Dumanlı Spring, which is a technical masterpiece of ancient age and which has supplied water for public and private water facilities, nymphe pools, fountains, spas and houses, to the walls of Side.

Kargıhan Caravansary under inspection of Kaimakam

Kargıhan Caravansary under inspection of Kaimakam

What a coincidence – while arriving at Kargıhan Caravansary from ancient city of Etenna together with Author Wolfgang Dorn we met Kaimakam Mr Hacı İbrahim Türkoglu from Manavgat together with his staff and couple of mayors from neighbouring towns to inspect Kargıhan Caravansary for later restoration and for small picnic at the complex.

Manavgat - Unspoilt Beauty

Manavgat - Unspoilt Beauty

The Town of Manavgat, being 76 km away from Antalya, is founded on the fertile plains on both sides of the Manavgat River and carries the same name.  

The Manavgat River - in ancient times called Melas

The Manavgat River - in ancient times called Melas

The Manavgat River, which originated in Taurus and was called Melas in antiquity, also formed the eastern boundary of ancient Pamphylia. Today it flows through the large Oymapınar Reservoir, one more smaller reservoir before it reaches Manavgat and flows into the sea a little later.

Manavgat Waterfall - in spring time with plenty of water

Manavgat Waterfall

The various watercourses, which finally form the Manavgat River from the Taurus foothills and the two reservoirs, are fed by many further inlets and underground springs, forming an imposing waterfall before the river flows into the Mediterranean at Side.

Museum of Side - an ancient Roman Center

Museum of Side - an ancient Roman Center

The museum where the finds from the excavations are exhibited is situated in the Agora thermae, a restored Byzantine bathhouse on the columned street opposite the agora. The entrance was from the north west towards the water where there also was a columned sportsground, now a garden.

Side’s ruins - Roman period with theatre building

Side’s ruins - Roman period with theatre building

Side’s ruins outside Selimiye are best reached by using the parking area by the Roman theatre, which is the minimum you should visit. The theatre was erected in the 2nd century BC on top of a former Greek theatre. 

Selge / Altınkaya - Köprüçay and Köprülü Canyon

Selge / Altınkaya in Manavgat

Selge as being an old mountainous city in the vicinity of Köprüçay, about 35 km north of Serik and on the southern slopes of the Taurus Mountains, is reached by following the 14 km stabilized road with sharp bends after the Köprülü Canyon National Park. It is supposed that Selge was built by Kalishes.

Another world - the tourist town Selimiye in Side

The tourist town Selimiye in Side

The truly tourist district of Selimiye lies on a peninsula near the ruins of the southernmost part of the ancient city of Side. Many bars and restaurants, souvenir shops and the harbor make an unbelievable difference to the ancient part of Sides.

Side - Unique Beauty in the Museum and Open Air

Side - Unique Beauty in the Museum and Open Air

The road that turns towards South at kilometre 72nd of the main road from Antalya to Alanya direction, will take you to Side after about 6 km. Side is one of the most famous holiday resorts nowadays. It is supposed that Side had been founded by the Kymellians in the 7th Century B.C., settled on a small peninsula that extends into the Mediterranean. 

Theatre of Side - from Hellenistic to Roman design

Theatre of Side - from Hellenistic to Roman design

The former classsical Greek Theatre of Side was changed and more seats (cavea) were added during Roman period in shape of a bend, a bit bigger than a semicircle, around the circular floor (orchestra) and the stage, where the play was performed.

History of Side

History of Side

According to legend Side is named after the goddess of fertility and nature, Side, which also means pomegranate. The story goes that Side was walking along the Manavgat River with her little daughter and her nymphs. They picked flowers and passsed a tree with thin branches, shiny leaves and colourful flowers.

Taurus Excursion - visit of the Altinbesik Cave

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Taurus Excursion - visit of the Altinbesik Cave

The short holiday visit of Brita and Peter with family appendix in Alanya brought, beside delicious Nuremberg bratwurst and various types of cheese as a souvenir, the idea of a short excursion into the Taurus Mountain, which should be started with a hearty breakfast at Ömer at the lower part of the artificial lake at the Manavgat river, the Manavgat Baraji.

Laurel bushes line the path at Oymapinar Dam

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Laurel bushes line the path at Oymapinar Dam

Once again it was time for a hike. Our dear friend and hiking guide Ömer had invited us to another excursion through the coastal Taurus Mountains near Manavgat high above the Oymarpinar dam.

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