15 things to do in Marmaris (Turkey)

At the end of the bay surrounded by wooded hills is the resort of Marmaris.

To give you an idea of ​​how this place has taken off over the past 50 years, the population, which was just 3,000 in the 1960s, swells to over 250,000 in the summer.

And for good reason, too, because Marmaris has everything a Mediterranean vacation has to offer.

There are blissful natural landscapes on uninhabited islands, bays and pine-clad hills, but you can also indulge in intoxicating pleasures in modern resorts filled with bars, nightclubs and countless dining options.

There’s also culture at the archaeological sites, great museums in town, and boats sailing from the resort’s chic marina to coastal nature reserves and remote islands.

1. Marmaris Castle and Archaeological Museum

Marmaris Castle and Archaeological Museum

The town was fortified as early as 3000 BC, but the castle on the small peninsula between the main beach and the marina originated in the 16th century.

Marmaris Castle was remodeled at this time by the magnificent Suleiman (1494-1566) during his campaign of Rhodes.

The building was severely damaged by French warships in World War I and underwent a decade of restoration in the 1980s.

You must visit the extraordinary Archaeological Museum, a treasure trove of artifacts from excavations around the Marmaris and Mugla areas.

There are pottery, glassware, architectural fragments, coins, amphora and more from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.

The museum also has an ethnographic section that showcases local handicrafts and way of life from the Ottoman era.

2. İçmeler Plajı

izmail prai

While Marmaris has a very functional beach, if you’re willing to walk the extra mile, your reward will be the kind of beach that photos can’t do justice to.

A good starting point is İçmeler, 15 minutes from Marmaris Bay and surrounded by pine-covered hills.

This slightly smaller resort has a fabulous 500m long beach tucked away in a cove, buffered by the sea just off the coast by the island of Keçi.

İçmeler Plajı is a perennial blue flag beach because of its hygiene and facilities, mostly soft sand, light brown.

The water is just as clear as a swimming pool, allowing children to play safely.

3. Cedir Island (Cleopatra Island)

cedil i.

Modern and bustling Marmaris contrasts sharply with this beautiful uninhabited island on the north side of the peninsula.

To get to Sedir Island, you need to make a relatively easy trip to the village of Çamlı, from where you can take a short boat ride across.

The island is often named after Cleopatra, where legend has it that Cleopatra and Mark Antony bathed here 2,000 years ago.

A few minutes’ walk across the island, a small cove on the north side is the paradise Cleopatra Beach, with a large expanse of shimmering turquoise waters shallow nearly 100 meters.

Sedir is also home to the ancient settlement of Cedrae, the remains of which can be found throughout the island, including a bazaar and theatre.

4. Marmaris National Park

Marmaris National Park

If resorts in Marmaris have ever felt chaotic, you’re always surrounded by nearly 30,000 hectares of protected nature.

The national park surrounds Marmaris on land and includes islands in the bay.

The landscape is one of tall rocky hills covered with pines, sweet gum and eucalyptus.

Wild boars and wild goats are common, while the Eurasian lynx has been recorded in the national park, where a variety of kestrels, falcons, hawks and hawks roost.

The panoramic views of the park’s hills are stunning, and the terrain attracts walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders (more on that later). If you have a car, Turunç on the west side of the bay is near the ruins of the ancient city of Amos, and in a beautiful coastal setting, the ruins of temples, theatres and sculpture pedestals are clearly visible.

5. Marmaris Marina

marmaris marina

Any self-respecting 21st-century resort can’t do without an upscale marina, but Marmaris’ harbour is even more enchanting with the castles and hills of Marmaris National Park.

The marina and breakwater are paved, and you can stroll through the mast forest, super yachts and rough terrain around the bay.

The main wharf, with its array of cafes, boutiques and restaurants, stretches along the west bank of the river and then along the action-packed Pub Street, which we’ll get to later.

The marina is also a stepping stone for your boat trips to Marmaris Bay and to the Dalyan River Delta.

6. Dancing Fountain

Dancing Fountain, Marmaris

A hallmark of Marmaris’ rapid revival is Youth Square, a plaza at the center of the resort that replaces a dilapidated 20th century building.

At the lower end of Ulusal Egemenlik Cd., what catches your attention is the circular fountain.

This has two basins and draws crowds at 21:00 and 22:00 in high season, with automatic light and music shows.

The dancing fountain at night looks particularly beautiful against the clock tower on the north side.

7. Turunç Plajı

Turunç Plajı

Half an hour’s drive south of the resort is the village of Turunç, east of Marmaris Bay, on a forest-covered rocky hill.

The beach is far from the shoreline, in the bay, and the water is deep blue and as calm as possible.

Turunç’s beaches are blue flag beaches, made of a mix of coarse sand and pebbles, covered with sun loungers and parasols for a blissful afternoon in the sun.

There’s also a small promenade on the edge of the bay, and if you’re in the area, you can first head to the railing to watch the sun rise.

8. Incekum Plajı

insecum praj

On the jagged coastline of the Marmaris Peninsula, there are many remote beaches waiting to be discovered.

This magnificent example on the north side opposite Cedir Island is a bay covered by clear, shallow turquoise waters.

Incekum Plajı has fine sand, interspersed with large rocks, and pine trees provide additional shade for bathers.

The beach faces Gokova Bay, with Cedir Island and the coastal mountains of Mura looming behind.

The entire beach is connected to restaurants and there is a small fee to enter.

Road traffic is banned here, instead taking a short tractor ride from a car park a few kilometers along the coast.

9. Marmaris Wildlife Park

Three Hour Horse Safari, Marmaris

A great way to traverse the rugged landscape of Marmaris National Park is by horseback.

On this outing, listed by GetYourGuide.com, you’ll be saddled within half an hour of leaving your hotel.

No cycling experience is required, and take a leisurely ride through fragrant pine forests, orange groves and traditional hamlets.

Your horse will be calm and stable, all you have to do is sit in the saddle and watch the scenery roll by.

If a parent is present, the kids can ride together, and of course helmets are provided.

10. All-inclusive cruise with lunch

Phosphorus Cave, Marmaris

There’s so much natural beauty around Marmaris Bay that it’s best to sit back and explore around on a cruise.

This experience, also through GetYourGuide.com, is a 7-hour adventure in a comfortable, well-appointed boat to see the best of bays, islands and countless bays.

You’ll step onto the shores of Paradise Island, rest on deserted beaches and swim in the strangely phosphorescent waters of Phosphorescence Cave.

Your boat will also dock at Turunç, which we talked about above, and another picturesque perfect bay in Kumlubük to the south.

Lunch is provided on board, cold drinks are provided when needed, and there is space on deck to bask in the sun.

11. Marmaris Beach

Marmaris Beach

If you’re willing to head out to find the perfect beach, you’ll be rewarded, but the main beach in the busy center of the resort is well-maintained, accessible, and slopes gradually into crystal-clear waters.

At the back is a busy promenade followed by rows of cafes and restaurants.

Many of these run beach clubs along the shore with oceanfront hotels, with barely a single piece of gravel sand and no prescribed sun loungers.

Facing the sea, the views of the Bay of Marmaris, pools of water, islands and rocky terrain will help you forget your worries.

The public section can be found at the north end.

12. Dalyan River

Dalyan River, Lycian Mausoleum

Further on, the Dalyan Delta, about 30 kilometers east of Marmaris, is a nature reserve designed to protect loggerhead sea turtles that nest on the sand and swim in the water.

GetYourGuide.com’s “Marmaris Full-Day Dalyan Cruise with Lunch” is an exciting journey along the delta’s intricate straits.

The swampy environment here feels like a world away from the rugged bays of Marmaris, and there are some unforgettable moments along the way.

You’ll stop at sulphur springs and mud baths, clump from head to toe (if you will), and at one turn, you’ll marvel at the spectacular tombs hewn from the cliff face of the ancient Lycian city of Kanos.

Finally, the tour stops at Turtle Beach in the estuary, where you can sunbathe and swim for an hour or two.

13. Marmaris Pub Street

Marmaris nightlife

The place to go out in Marmaris is a seaside street next to the marina.

True to its name, Pub Street is packed with bars and clubs catering to people in their teens and 20s.

During peak season, the place gets lively, with each venue starting to fill up around 23:00 and the party going on until dawn.

Special mention is made of Greenhouse Dance Club, Backstreet Disco, Crazy Daisy Bar and Nightclub, Club Arena and Rock Bar.

Whether you like EDM, rock, pop, Turkish pop, reggae or just want to hear some live music, there is something for most tastes.

Some venues are also geared towards certain countries, be it Turks, Russians or British.

14. Marmaris Atlantis Waterpark

Marmaris Atlantis Water Park

If you are vacationing with children and teens, there is a water park near the southern end of the main beach in Marmaris, which is convenient.

While space in the middle of the resort is at a premium, Atlantis Waterpark has eight slides of varying speeds and lengths, and a wave pool where you can lie back in an inflatable ring.

There is also a children’s pool with its own play equipment and fountain, soft play area, mini golf, restaurant, bar and many sun loungers under umbrellas and awnings.

15. Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar, Marmaris

Write it down as one of the tourist attractions you can’t avoid in a Turkish resort: the Grand Bazaar in Marmaris has grown to considerable proportions, with shops lined with eager, even Aggressive businessman operating.

We’re talking about rugs, pottery, colorful lamps, cashmere sweaters, Turkish delight, tea and coffee sets and the whole world of fakes.

You can haggle here, and if you’re patient, you can get up to half the quoted price.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Marmaris, Turkey
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