A tourist city on Turkey´s Mediterranean ¨Turquoise Coast¨ (aka the Turkish Riviera), between Antalya and Fethiye, Marmaris is located on a bay and surrounded on all sides by forested mountains, and has an ancient history - the Greek historian Herodotus cites its town walls being built 3,000 years ago. And thanks to a tourism boom it burgeoned from a sleepy fishing village of some 3,000 in the 1960s to a population of around 39,000 today, and during the tourist season that number swells to 300,000 and even 400,000. Though most visitors come for the beaches, it has much more to offer, from culture (museums and archaeological sites) to various forms of adventure, eco, and entertainment activities. And here are several of its top draws:
Some ten kilometres (six miles) of great sandy stretches line this bay, such as Marmaris City Beach, Long Beach (Uzunyali), and Siteler. But my favourtie is Icmeler (above), 8km (five mi.) west of downtown and easily reachable via bus and taxi and larger and features soft, golden sand and a wide menu of water sports and amenities including bars and restaurants. Top choices within a half hour include Cleopatra, Kumlubuk, and Turunc.
Looking out over Bar Street, its origins stretching back to the mid-11th century BCE - yes you read that right - and greatly renovated/expanded in the 1420s under the Ottoman Turks, this evocative stone complex offers great views out over the harbour in addition to artifacts and exhibits ranging back through the Ottoman, Byzantine, Roman, and Hellenistic eras.
This family-friendly complex is packed with fun, including eight water slides; a wave pool; and rides/attractions such as mini golf, battey-powered cars for kids; evening shows (including, interestingly in Erdogan´s Turkey, one featuring drag queens!); and a bar/restaurant. Another good choice nearby is Aqua Dream, halfway up the hill with nice views out over the city and bay, in addition to nine water slides; a wave pool and regular pool; dance activities, a foam party, and a estauant/café.
Marmaris National Park
A ten-minute drive from town, this 334-square-kilometre (129-square-mile) spread is forested with red pines, cypresses, oaks, alders, wild olives, and plane trees, and is home to a wide diversity of wildlife, with mammals including wild goats and boars, caracal wildcats, foxes, weasels, badgers, squirrels, rabbits, and and even jackals and bears. Activities include hiking, biking (both regular and mountain), plant and wildlife-spotting tours, rock climbing, horseback riding, and offoading. There are even some archaeological ruins up here, the remnants of an amphitheatre, temple, and walls fom the ancient Greek cities of Physkos and Amos. And of course the sweeping views fom up here are something else.
How and When to Go to Marmaris
The local airport is Dalaman, about an hour and 15 minutes or so from Marmaris, and in addition to year-round flights to/from other Turkish cities like Istambul and Ankara it also has direct service in summer to/from European cities such as Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, London, Vienna, and Warsaw.
And even though Marmaris is of course open for business all year, many hotels, bars, and restaurants do shut down from November to early April. Peak season is June through September, with high temperatures of 35⁰ Celsius (95⁰ Fahrenheit) in July and August. Spring and fall are also good times to visit, with more moderate temperatures and all activities and facilities still available.
Get more info on Marmaris tours and excursions.