Side or Kemer: what to choose
What is better for a holiday – Side or Kemer? We have been to both resorts and compared them. We share our personal experience, where it is better to rest in 2022.
Tours in Kemer are slightly cheaper than in Side, about 5-10 thousand rubles. However, the difference is not so significant that to put the price in the priority when choosing a place to rest. It is better to compare the comfort of the hotels and consider other criteria.
Choice of hotels
I believe that the choice of the resort is not as important as the choice of the hotel. It is from him a lot will depend on the rest. So carefully select the hotel, read reviews and pay attention to the rating.
Can not say that any of the resorts hotels are better. But I have an impression that because of the wider and longer coastline in Side hotels are bigger and have more territory than in Kemer. Almost all of them are first line, so there is no need to cross a busy road like in Alanya. In Side we stayed in the big Bosphorus Sorgun 5* hotel. It has its own sandy beach and water slides, animation, stylish rooms, great food – basically everything every self-respecting Turkish hotel has. See our review of the hotel Bosphorus Sorgun.
In Kemer, however, the mountains come close to the sea, so there are more miniature apart-hotels, but there are also enough large resorts. They are usually located in small villages such as Kiris or Cirali. In the center of Kemer we stayed in a small apart-hotel Orange Garden, and in Kirish – in large-scale Queen’s Park Le Jardin 5* with the beach.
Our hotel Bosphorus Sorgun 5*.
The center of the resort or the villages – what to choose
First determine for yourself what kind of vacation you need. If restaurants, markets and life in general are important, then settle in the resort center. Kemer also has discos! If you want peace and quiet, choose small villages.
For example, in the center of Kemer in the evenings for us it was too lively and noisy, but on the outskirts of the resort you can walk in silence and even climb the mountain. In Kirish and Cirali there is absolutely nowhere to go in the evening, all life is behind the high fences of the hotels. But the only street is quiet and calm, and on the beach we in the company of rare romantics enjoyed the sound of waves and the glow of the sunset on the surface of the sea. If you decide to stay closer to nature, choose the suburbs of Kemer: Tekirova, Beldibi, Kirish, Cirali, Göynük.
The situation is different in Side. The center is not too noisy, and it would be interesting for me to live next door to the ancient ruins, walking among the ancient stones in the evenings. But we lived in the suburb of Titrayengöl, which was also nice: there was a pine forest nearby and a river where we met delightful sunrises. At the same time, the sea is at hand, and there is a big lake with birds nearby. In general, eco district! The suburbs of Side: Titrayengöl, Sorgun, Kızılagach, Kumkoy, Evrienseki, Çolakli, Kizilot.
Idyllic view of the river and sunrise in the mountains from the terrace of our hotel in Side. The beach in Cirali impressed with the picturesque mountain and ancient Olympos.
Where is better to rest by the sea, in Kemer or Side? Each in its own way is good for a beach holiday. It depends on what beaches you like – with sand or pebbles.
In Kemer, the beaches are pebbly, so the water is very clean and without suspended matter. Some hotels have beaches with imported sand. We were also at the most popular sandy beach in Kemer – Moonlight Park. It is a picturesque cove with clear water, surrounded by green mountains.
In Side the beaches are long, wide and sandy, so the resort is loved by families with children. The sand is mostly golden-gold, and it’s nice to walk barefoot on it! The entrance to the water almost everywhere is gentle.
Look, what a beautiful and smooth sand in the village Titreyengel in Side! There are not only pebble beaches in Kemer! This is the sandy Moonlight Beach in the center of Kemer.
Weather and Climate
Both resorts are located on the Mediterranean Sea, but there is a difference in climate: because of the proximity to the mountains the humidity in Kemer in July and August is unbearable, a real sauna! In Side at the height of summer is also hot, but drier. Both resorts are equally warm – the temperature in mid-summer from +35 ° C and above.
In my opinion, in both resorts it is more comfortable to rest in May-June and September-October, when there is no heat. At this time it is nice to go on excursions and sunbathe. You can swim from June to October.
Where better to rest by yourself
For independent tourists there is no big difference between Side and Kemer – in both resorts the infrastructure is poorly developed, but the rest is comfortable enough. There are city and resort hotels, cafes, pharmacies, supermarkets, even shopping centers. However, the center of Kemer seemed to me more developed.
Some hotels are open all year round, while others close in the low season. In the off-season, hotels reduce prices.
We did not notice any difference in food prices. In both resorts, it is equally expensive to eat in coastal restaurants and equally cheap to eat in loquats and kebab houses for locals. Find out what the food prices are in Turkey.
The tourist center of Side with stores, cafes and various shops. In one of Kemer restaurants.
Where is cheaper to rent a car
In summer in Antalya you can rent a car from 25 €, and in low season or off-season from only 11 €. Car rentals in Side and Kemer are 10-20% more expensive than in Antalya, and the choice of cars is less. A car is useful for everyone who wants to go to beautiful beaches and interesting sights with comfort and without other tourists. We rented a car for a month and drove 3100 km. We advise to book a car through the service Localrent, as we did. Learn how to rent a car in Turkey.
From both resorts tourists are taken to interesting excursions with Russian-speaking guides. We advise not to buy a cat in a bag excursions from the tour operator, and take them on a proven service Tripster, where there are reviews of tourists. We always take excursions at this service.
In general, on the same Tripster excursions from Side a little bit more – there are 22, and from Kemer – 19. Because of the difference in distance some excursions are cheaper to take from Kemer, others – from Side. For example, a trip to Pamukkale costs a little less from Kemer, but the excursions to Cappadocia cost the same.
We took an excursion to the Green Canyon in Side – we advise you too! Very beautiful epic cliffs, emerald water, and the surrounding scenery brings tranquility. And in Kemer we rented a bike and saw all the surroundings on our own, but with a tour we went to the “Turkish Maldives” – Suluada Island.
Lyosha on a tour in the Green Canyon. Just look at the impeccable purity of the water at Suluada Island!
Nature and attractions
Both resorts are interesting in terms of sights, it’s hard to choose!
Side has a big advantage over Kemer – the ancient ruins right in the center of the resort. The Great Agora, the amphitheater, museums, the Temple of Apollo, the Nymphaeum. But there are not so many interesting places outside Side – the Green Canyon, Manavgat waterfall and ancient Seleucia.
But Kemer has no sights in the city center, but there are many nice places in its neighborhood: the antique towns Fazelis and Olympos, Chimera Mountain, Goynuk Canyon, Cirali turtle beach. Find out what to see in Kemer.
In general, if you are more interested in ruins, it is better to go to Side. And the nature is probably more beautiful in Kemer – the mountains there step close to the sea.
This is me touching the antiquity in Side. There is nothing to see in the center of Kemer, but there are a lot of interesting things to see in the vicinity. For example, the ruins of the ancient cities of Fazelis (on photo) and Olympos.
What is closer to the airport
From Antalya Airport to Side and Kemer are approximately the same distance – about 60-80 km, depending on the location of your hotel. It’s not far from the airport at all, so it doesn’t take long to get there. If you are arriving on your own, book your transfer in advance. We book our transfers at one of these sites: Intui.travel, Gettransfer.com, or Kiwitaxi.ru. We go to each one first, compare prices and choose the most convenient and inexpensive one.
Where is better – in Side or Kemer
We liked both resorts. It is difficult to choose where to have a better holiday, in Side or Kemer! There is no big difference in prices for holidays between the resorts: tours cost almost the same, and the cost of food, hotels and excursions are also not different. Distance from the airport and transfer prices are almost the same.
Side is cozy and ancient, with wide sandy beaches. It is a small town with a long resort coast built up with hotels. Perhaps I would recommend Side to families with children and older tourists, as well as to those who do not plan to travel around the area by themselves, and wants to relax in the hotel and take excursions.
Kemer is a chamber, pine, mountainous, with pebble beaches. It is a small resort, which comes alive only during high season, and the rest of the time it sleeps. The infrastructure is weak, but there is enough for recreation. It is also good to relax with his family, but for the active tourists and young people in Kemer will be more interesting.
Antalya, Belek, Kemer, Alanya, Side – where is better?
On the Mediterranean coast of Turkey there are five major resorts – Antalya, Kemer, Belek, Side and Alanya. Which one is better? On this page we will try to understand.
Click here to see a coastal map showing the resorts and airports.
The obvious winner is Belek.
No wonder, because Belek is an elite resort in Turkey. There are 20 kilometers of beautiful beaches with soft golden sand. Along these beaches a line of 50 five-star hotels, golf courses, SPA complexes.
Belek has one of the best entertainment complexes in Turkey – The Land of Legends, which has a water park, amusement park, a large shopping gallery. Near the resort there are interesting excavations of the ancient cities of Perge and Aspendos.
No doubt Belek is the best resort in Turkey on the Mediterranean Sea. Read more about it in our article “Resort Belek.
However, it is the most expensive. If you want to rest in one of the 5-star hotels on the 1st line, the price below 1200 USD (2 people, 7 nights) will not do. Better yet, get ready for $2000 USD.
Theoretically, there are 2nd and 3rd line hotels in Belek, and the rest in them will be cheaper. However, the guests of these hotels have difficulties with the beach, as the beach is divided between the hotels of the first line, and there are only a few public areas, which are likely to be far to get to.
What is better if you have no money for Belek?
In this case, it is impossible to say exactly. All tourists are different, all have their own tastes. Some like sand, some like pebbles. Someone definitely need All Inclusive, someone on the contrary it is not necessary. We will compare under objective parameters. At the end there is a summary table.
Types and quality of beaches
There are two large resort areas in Antalya. In the Lara area the beaches are sandy, in the Konyaalti area the beaches are pebbly. For a map of the resort please see our article ” Antalya Resort”.
In Belek all the beaches are sandy.
In Kemer all beaches are pebbly, and there are even some with a stony surface. For a map of the resort with zones and descriptions of these areas and beaches see our article ” Resort Kemer.
The beaches in Alanya are pebbly, there are sandy and sandy with a pebble at the entrance to the sea. Alanya is a huge resort, with 75 kilometers of coastline. We have told in detail about all the beaches in the article “The resort of Alanya.
The beaches in Side are either totally sandy or sandy with pebbles at the entrance to the sea. Side is also a big resort, with about 40 kilometers of coastline. Details about the beaches in each resort area we have described in the article “Resort Side”.
|Sand or pebble, depending on the resort area||sand||pebbles or stones||Sand or pebble, depending on the resort area||Sand, with gravel at the entrance to the water|
At the same resort can meet different types of beaches. Moreover, even within the same resort area beaches may differ. Therefore, the nomination “Best Beaches” can only identify the clear winner (Belek) and the clear outsider (Kemer).
Range of hotels
Antalya has a very good range of hotels. There are a few dozen “fives”, there are 4 and 3 star hotels, there are quite inexpensive guest houses and apart-hotels. Whatever category of accommodation is not required, the choice of options will be worthy.
In Belek there are about 50 large 5-star hotels. But there are almost no inexpensive hotels. And even if you can book (buy a tour) of such a hotel, most likely it will be very inconvenient to get to the beach.
In Kemer, Side, Alanya there are more than 500 hotels of all categories, the choice for every taste and purse.
|About 250 hotels – from luxurious 5* to inexpensive guest houses||about 100 hotels, mostly big 5-star hotels||over 500 hotels in all price categories||over 500 hotels in all price categories||over 500 hotels in all price categories|
All resorts are good according to the range of hotels. Only in Belek is a special situation – there are no options for those who want to rest on a budget.
Distance to the airports
Important note! The resort of Alanya has its own international airport Gazipaşa-Alanya Airport (code: GZP). However, the airport is very small and has very few flights. Statistically only 1 out of 5 Russian tourists fly to Alanya through this airport and 4 out of 5 fly to Alanya through Antalya Airport (airport code: AYT).
Therefore, in our table we give travel times to Alanya from Antalya airport. Mentally prepare for a long drive to the hotel. Or purposefully choose a tour with arrival at Gazipaşa-Alanya Airport (code: GZP).
|15-25 minutes||25-35 minutes||40 minutes – 1 hour 35 minutes||1 hour 30 minutes – 2 hours 30 minutes||45 minutes – 1 hour 10 minutes|
* – time is from Antalya airport
Comments to the table are unnecessary, as everything is obvious.
The range of entertainment
Antalya has the most attractions, and this is logical. After all, Antalya is not just a resort, but also the provincial capital and a city of millions. The locals also want to have fun. Antalya has a water park and dolphinarium, a large oceanarium, Sand Sculpture Park. A well-deserved 5 points out of 5 possible.
In Belek, only one entertainment site, but what! One of the largest amusement parks in Turkey, “Land of Legends”. There are water park with dozens of water slides, an amusement park, a large shopping gallery, over a dozen bars and restaurants, and there is even a circus big top. We rate Belek 4 only because there is only one park.
There is a water park DolusuPark in Kemer, it is possible to go up on mountain Tahtaly or to look a mountain Chimaera. A solid 3 points.
There are several local water parks in Alanya, you can see the Dalmatas Cave and Sipadere Canyon. The range is weak, so 2 points.
There is a big water park AquaJoy in Side. For entertainment you can go to Manavgat waterfalls. Therefore only 2 points out of 5 possible.
|5 points||4 points||3 points||2 points||2 points|
On the other hand, to go to a good water park in another resort is now no problem. You just need to buy a tour guide at the hotel. Prices are quite affordable – usually $ 30-40 dollars per person.
In Antalya there are few cultural attractions. You can see only the old town and the ancient Hadrian’s Gate. The situation is saved by the Antalya Museum, which gathered interesting archaeological finds from all over the province. Therefore, 2 points out of 5 possible.
There are no cultural attractions in Belek, except for the Park of Religions. However, very close are the excavations of Perge (30 kilometers) and Aspendos (20 kilometers). It is convenient to get there by cab. 4 points.
Kemer has small and moderately interesting excavations of Faselis and Olympus. Therefore 2 points.
In Alanya there is a lot to see for lovers of antiquity. It used to be the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate. The Kizil Kule Tower, the medieval fortified shipyard, the Castle of Alanya and the Archaeological Museum are worth a visit. 5 out of 5 possible.
In Side there is a rich cultural program as well. There is a partially preserved Temple of Apollo, it is very interesting to see the local amphitheater, there is a magnificent museum in the building of the ancient baths. 5 out of 5 possible.
|2 points||4 points||2 points||5 points||5 points|
In this table we evaluated the local attractions. However, many tourists prefer to go on long excursions, such as Pamukkale, the Temple of St. Nicholas, Ephesus or Troy. If you prefer long-distance excursions, then it does not matter – which resort to rest.
Where is the best climate?
Everywhere is the same. Everywhere the holiday season starts in late April and ends in late November. Read our article “Weather in Turkey by Month”.
As the proverb says, “There is no match for taste or color”. Each tourist has its own criteria for choosing. Our job – is to “lay out” all the pros and cons of resorts. The results are summarized in the table below.
Read more about the pros and cons of each resort in our articles: “Antalya Resort”, “Belek Resort”, “Kemer Resort”, “Alanya Resort”, “Side Resort”. And also take a closer look at two more resorts in Turkey on the Mediterranean Sea – these resorts of Kash and Demre.
|Beaches||Sand or pebble, depending on the resort area||sand||pebbles or stones||Sand or pebble, depending on the resort area||Sand, with gravel at the entrance to the water|
|Choice of hotels||About 250 hotels – from luxurious 5* to inexpensive guest houses||about 100 hotels, mostly big 5-star hotels||around 250 hotels in all price brackets||about 500 hotels – all price categories||around 250 hotels in all price brackets|
|Travel time from the airport||15-25 minutes||25-35 minutes||40 minutes – 1 hour 35 minutes||1 hour 30 minutes – 2 hours 30 minutes||45 minutes – 1 hour 10 minutes|
|Entertainment||5 points||4 points||3 points||2 points||2 points|
|Cultural program||2 points||4 points||2 points||5 points||5 points|
– Even if you go to the All Inclusive, there will still be additional costs. For example, for souvenirs and gifts. What kind, what prices, how to choose? Read our article “20 best gifts from Turkey;
– And do not forget about the costs of communication, read our detailed reviews of “cheap internet in Turkey” and “How to make cheap calls from Turkey;
– If you’re going on vacation by yourself, we recommend our article “To Turkey by yourself”.
Have a great holiday in Turkey, and read our articles about this country (list of articles below).