One of Turkey's favorite tourist spots, the town of Marmaris in the western province of Muğla, continues to capture the hearts and minds of its visitors. With its white houses, blue water, fun days and nights, no town deserves the "most charming holiday spot" title than Marmaris. Being especially popular among British tourists, Marmaris is one of the few places where you can find entertainment and serenity at the same time. Marmaris was established by Turkmens during the Byzantine era, and its name means "Marble City" due to the beautiful, high quality marble produced here. It was a significant port town, which is why many civilizations passed through here many years ago just like today's tourists. My first ride to Marmaris was like a journey into a dream. While we were heading to Marmaris, driving down from the mountains surrounding the town, the pure blue Marmaris night with the new moon and Venus shining upon the town welcomed us. The scenery was so mystical it felt like Marmaris was saying: "I am not an ordinary holiday spot." It was not, indeed.The bazaars, beaches, friendly shopkeepers, a scene that seems like a colorful memory during daylight but a romantic drama at night, makes Marmaris an ideal holiday destination. Even though the center is very crowded with tourists looking for some fun, the outskirts of the town belong completely to you to discover during your holiday.
The center is highly developed due to the increasing number of tourists. While you stroll around the town, you will be amazed by the coastal strip, which is embellished with palm trees right next to the Aegean Sea. Downtown is where you can find many luxurious hotels, as well as some boutique hostels. But you must keep in mind that since the best season for a holiday in Marmaris is between May and September, you need to make an advance booking. There are also many villas around the downtown area that you can rent during your stay. If you expect your holiday to be filled with vivid nightlife, music, dancing and crowded places giving you an opportunity to socialize and be full of fun, the downtown is a perfect choice for you. During your stay in the center, you can visit Marmaris Castle and the Archaeological Museum to understand the town's history. Another place to see in Marmaris is the marina, which is right next to the castle. The joy of watching the beauty of the Aegean, while sipping your drink in the marina is beyond words. To purchase souvenirs for your loved ones, you can visit the Grand Bazaar, which is located in the downtown area, where many accessories and natural foods can be bought before returning to your hometown. You must taste two traditional natural foods in Marmaris: Various types of honey produced in Marmaris, such as lavender honey and pine honey, and orange jam.
While downtown has its own magical atmosphere, to experience a real holiday in the middle of nature you must see the area surrounding Marmaris. In fact, one day discovering the natural beauties of this lovely town is never enough; thus, you should either list the primary destinations you want to visit or spend more than two days there.
The touristic town of Dalyan, only an hour away from Marmaris, is renowned for its mud baths, which hosted Cleopatra on her legendary beauty trips. With its hot sulfur springs and famous mud baths, Dalyan is a unique spot that attracts tourists' attention. Because it is located on the far side of Lake Köyceğiz on the outskirts of Dalyan, the baths are usually reached either by private boat, which costs around TL 150, or by a guided tour.
The surrounding region includes other attractions that make the place worth spending a day: Ancient Lycian rock tombs, the ruins of the city of Kaunos, Lake Köyceğiz and a protected beach where the endangered loggerhead sea turtle lives.
Being a popular health spot, Dalyan's mud baths have been visited by celebrities such as Dustin Hoffman, Sting, Jack Nicholson, David Bowie, Robert Maxwell and Prince Felipe De Carlos of Spain in recent times. The Köyceğiz and Dalyan area has been protected since 1988 as part of the Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area (SPA) by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Another popular destination around Marmaris is Cleopatra Island, which is also known as Sedir Island in Turkish. Named after the beautiful and exotic queen of Egypt, Cleopatra looked for eternal beauty on the sands of this island. Cleopatra Island is still among the top 10 destinations in the country, and legend says that the natural landscapes and turquoise water of the island put a spell on her. Cleopatra Island is unique and under protection due to its sand formations that are made from dissolved seashells. The government ruled that removing any sand from this unique place is illegal, which is why visitors are not allowed to carry beach towels and bags to the shore. Visitors are also required to take a shower before leaving the island. What makes this island special – apart from its unique and magical sand that amazes visitors – are its numerous historical structures waiting to be visited. Dating back to the Greek Spartans, there are Greek and Roman remains on the island. For those who are looking for a serene, peaceful atmosphere with some fresh air, Bozburun, a small seaside town located in Marmaris, is a great choice. Even though first-time visitors may not like Bozburun, one night is enough to fall in love with this small town. While it is a popular destination to visit in the summer, the village, still harboring its Mediterranean ambiance, offers the most incredible scenery and serenity that will satisfy everyone's desires. Bozburun is renowned for its flower honey and thyme honey, the taste of which is completely different to any other honey you may have tried. To get an adrenaline rush, you can visit the Fosforlu Cave around Marmaris and jump off the rocks when the boat trip takes you inside the cave. This majestic cave has various colors in the moonlight and sometimes in the daylight too, thanks to its geological structure. While some of these hidden treasures around Marmaris are destinations easily reached by car, you have to rent a boat or choose a boat tour to reach others.
What to do around Marmarİs?
To experience action-packed sports and feel an adrenaline rush in your veins, Marmaris has a variety of adventurous sports to give a different taste to your holiday. The closest destination for rafting around Marmaris is the Dalaman River. Dalaman is one of the best-known rafting destinations in the country. While visitors enjoy rapids graded three and four for their difficulty, they also have a chance to see traditional villages, ancient ruins and natural wonders around the river. The river offers two different courses to follow along its 229-kilometer length. Amid eight different waterfalls and huge rocks surrounding the river, you will experience intensity and adrenaline at the same time. A rafting route on Dalaman River takes nearly three hours, which means that you should fill up on energy before your tour as you are going to need it. Diving is another popular activity in Marmaris, enabling you to enjoy exploring the blue Aegean Sea and attending events held around Marmaris. Generally, diving fans and tourists are organized on one-day diving tours. As diving tourism is highly popular in the region, there are many diving schools that offer you the chance to experience the mysterious world under the Aegean Sea. A safari in an SUV is another option for those looking for something other than water sports in Marmaris. With a safari tour, you can discover the green forests and hidden natural beauties around Marmaris. Before partaking in a safari tour, you should ask for the route to enjoy it the most.
How to go?
You can either go by bus or catch a plane to reach Marmaris. If you go by plane, the closest airport to Marmaris is Dalaman Airport, and there are many buses going to Marmaris on an hourly-basis since it is a very popular tourist destination. When you reach Muğla city center by bus, you can take minibuses going directly to Marmaris, which is nearly 55 kilometers away from the city center.
When to go?
The best time to spend a holiday in Marmaris is between early May and early September. But if you are one of those who are looking for a quiet atmosphere, the holiday season is still open in late September and October.