Side is quite a strange tourist machine. Arriving here, grand archaeological fields take up the centre of town. Along a narrow stretch of land between the Roman ruins and the ocean, hotels and shops use every inch of land the best they can.
The shopping quarters are really nice here. The ground floors of the houses are all in all used by shops or restaurants, but lifting your head just a little bit, many fine architectural details can be admired.
Shopping in Side is quite poor, prices are high and salesmen here are profoundly dishonest. The common attitude among vendors is that tourists are foolish and deserve nothing less than being exploited. And this is doubly sad, since Side has a wider good selection of products, better than f.x. Antalya.
Beaches near the central parts of Side are extremly narrow, and not terribly clean. For good swimming, you should make the effort of going a bit east or west of town.
So, Side is clearly a place you either love or hate. Since everything here is fitted the needs of visitors you get all you need within short distance. But stay for a few days, and you may begin to feel claustrophic by the persistency of restaurant and shop marketeers, the narrow streets and the lack of open spaces. Well, one place remains open and tranquil: the trademark of Side, the temples of Apollo and Athena.