- HOTELS (BEST RATED)
- HOTELS (BEST VALUE)
- COFFEE & DRINK
- SIGHTS & LANDMARKS
- THINGS TO DO
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- THINGS TO KNOW
Marmaris is a port town and tourist resort on the Mediterranean coast, located in Muğla Province, southwest Turkey, along the shoreline of the Turkish Riviera.
Marmaris' main source of income is tourism. It has an exceptional location between two intersecting sets of mountains by the sea, though following a construction boom in the 1980s, little is left of the sleepy fishing village that Marmaris was until the late 20th century. In 2010 the town's population was 30,957, and peaks at around 300,000 to 400,000 people during the tourist season.
It is also a centre for sailing and diving, possessing two major and several smaller marinas. It is a popular wintering location for hundreds of cruising boaters, being also served by the nearby Dalaman Airport.
According to the historian Herodotus, there had been a castle on the site since 3000 BC. In 334 BC, Caria was invaded by Alexander the Great and the castle of Physkos was besieged. The 600 inhabitants of the town realised that they had no chance against the invading army and burned their valuables in the castle before escaping to the hills with their women and children. The invaders, well aware of the strategic value of the castle, repaired the destroyed sections to house a few hundred soldiers before the main army returned home.
The town became known as Marmaris during the period of the Beylik of Menteşe; the name derives from the Turkish word mermer, Greek màrmaron (marble) in reference to the rich deposits of marble in the region, and the prominent role of the town's port in the marble trade.
In the mid-fifteenth century, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror conquered and united the various tribes and kingdoms of Anatolia and the Balkans, and acquired Constantinople. The Knights of St. John, based in Rhodes had fought the Ottoman Turks for many years; they also withstood the onslaughts of Mehmed II. When sultan Suleiman the Magnificent set out for the conquest of Rhodes, Marmaris served as a base for the Ottoman Navy and Marmaris Castle was rebuilt from scratch in 1522.
Lord Nelson and his entire fleet sheltered in the harbour of Marmaris in 1798, en route to Egypt to defeat Napoleon's armada during the Mediterranean campaign.
In 1958, Marmaris was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake. Only the Marmaris Castle, and the historic buildings surrounding the fortress were left undamaged.
Since 1979, renovation work has been continuing at the castle. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, the castle was converted into a museum. There are seven galleries. The largest is used as an exhibition hall, the courtyard is decorated with seasonal flowers. Built at the same time as the castle in the bazaar, there is also a small Ottoman caravanserai built by Suleiman's mother Ayşe Hafsa Sultan.
Marmaris has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa) characterised by a hot dry summer and mild rainy winter. Showers and rain are very unlikely between May and October.
Summers are hot and dry, and temperatures are especially high during the heatwaves in July and August. October is still warm and bright, though with spells of rain, and many tourists prefer to visit in the early autumn, especially in September, because the temperatures are not as hot.
Winters are mild and wet. Winter is the rainy season, with major precipitation falling after November. The annual rainfall can reach to 1,232.7 milimetres (48.531 in); the rainfall is concentrated during scattered days in winter falling in heavy cloudbursts which cause flash floods sometimes in flood prone areas.
Climate data for Marmaris
|Record high °C (°F)||21.0|
|Average high °C (°F)||15.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||7.0|
|Record low °C (°F)||−2.4|
Transportation - Get In
You can get flights to Dalaman, the nearest regional airport which is 100 KM away from Marmaris. Coach transfers are 1 1/2 hours. Airport is served by many operators such as thomsonfly, flythomascook, EasyJet and Turkish airline OnurAir. Transfers are easily arranged on-line and there are frequent bus connections which correspond to the arrival of domestic flights provided by Havas costing 25 TL single. (Havas bus tranfer times are detailed outside the airport terminal building). Tourists from the UK have to buy a Turkish multiple entry visa at the point of entry costing £10 (Bank of England Notes Only) which are valid for 180 days entry for visits of up to 90 days duration.
Transportation - Get Around
Cheapest way of getting around is using the dolmus minibuses. These are 11 seaters which travel the main road in Marmaris and Icmeler, the neighbouring resort. The fee is 2.00 TL anywhere in Marmaris and 2.50 TL between Icmeler and Marmaris. Marmaris dolmuses have a green band across them and orange for Icmeler. Other dolmus services serve Armutalan which is a suburb of Marmaris. The Armutalan dolmus has a blue band across them.
You can pick them up from the side of the road by hailing for them and they will stop wherever you want on the route.
Other buses are frequently available and compete with dolmus services. They are slightly cheaper and are council owned buses which are similar in concept but slightly larger than dolmus minibuses.
Taxis are also available on the meter or arranging prices up front but are very expensive (prices are negotiable).
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Beaches in Marmaris
Marmaris has wonderful beaches. There are about 6 miles of breathtaking beaches and crystal clear waters in Marmaris that start from central Marmaris to Icmeler. The beach promenades are lined up with great restaurants, cafes and bars. A great day out at the Marmaris beaches is one of the best things to do in Marmaris.
Marmaris Bay faces south west and lies in front of the immensity of the Mediterranean and variety of beautiful small islands such as Paradise Island. On the mainland, a range of green mountains protects the bay from the prevailing winds. The waters in Marmaris are warm and clear. Holidaymakers may find variety of water sports in Marmaris at the Marmaris beaches such as water skiing, diving, banan rides, parasailing and more. Or if you feel like chilling out and enjoying the sun, Mamaris beaches and coasts offer the best options.
The two main beaches of Marmaris; Marmaris Urban Beach and Marmaris Long Beach (Uzunyali) and the main beach of Icmeler, Icmeler beach all offer quality services, great water and fine sands. Holidaymakers may find the water sports centres on the Marmaris and surrounding beaches via the yellow points in yellow tents.
Marmaris Urban Beach
Marmaris Urban Beach is the most popular, lively, colourful and fun beach in Marmaris with great sand and clear waters. It is the most cosmopolitan and urban beach in Marmaris and lies along the Marmariscentre. It is the closest beach to Marmaris centre. Marmaris Urban Beach is an urban sandy beach located just by the central Marmaris, so holidaymakers will be able to dip into the sea whenever they want. The beach is free of charge and variety of organizations & events are being held by the Marmaris Municipality during Marmaris year.
Marmaris Long Beach (Uzunyali)
Uzunyali Beach, also known as Long Beach is located right next to Marmaris Urban Beach in Uzunyali (Long Beach) that also holidaymakers will be able to dip into the sea whenever they want. The Long Beach stretches along the very long sandy coastline of about 10 km. till Icmeler. The sandy Uzunyali beach simmers in perfect Mediterranean temperatures from April all the way to November and covers the entire Marmaris coastline, giving you plenty of room to stretch out in. The traffic free promenade overflows with cafés, restaurants, bars and shops for sandals, sunglasses and souvenirs, as this resort has made sure that you’ll have everything you need for a perfect beach holiday.
Icmeler Beach - 8 km. from Marmaris
Icmeler region has the most popular beach area in Marmaris and is located 8 km. on the west of Marmaris and transportation is very easy. Icmeler dazzles beachgoers with its fine golden sands. In Icmeler, you can collect yourself and the sun on the superb Icmeler beach which lies next to clear and azure waters, which host a myriad of different water sports. The Icmeler beach offers 6 km. of fine golden sand in peaceful surroundings, and the beach is cleaned every night ensuring that it’s immaculate every morning. Hire a parasol to relax on the beach, or jump on the back of a jet ski, banana boat, ringo, pair of water skis or any of the other water sports equipment available here. Admire the scenery from a parasail in the sky or hire out a small boat for some fishing. You can also scuba dive whether you’re a beginner or an expert, which is also an excellent way to get your kids off the beach for a day.
Turunc Beach - 21 km. from Marmaris
Turunc is located on the west of Marmaris. Turunc has a superb Blue Flag (ecologically sound) beach nestled in between rolling forested hills and mountains and has an azure and calm sea, over which more hills can be seen on the other side of the bay.
Cleopatra Beach of Sedir Island (Cedrae) - 16 km. from Marmaris
Cleopatra beach is another beautiful one of the region and of the Cleopatra Island (Sedir Island) located about 16 km. from Marmaris. Cleopatra beach is very famous for its golden sand.
Kumlubuk Beach - 27 km. from Marmaris
Kumlubuk is located 6 km. away from Turunc. Transportation by sea is available from Marmaris. Kumlubuk offers great panorama with its nature. Region is very popular with its bright sea and wonderful sand.
Orhaniye - Kiz Kumu Beach - 36 km. from Marmaris
Kizkumu beach is one of the most beautiful beaches of the region. Kizkumu beach is located at Orhaniye town, about 28 km. from Marmaris. Holidaymakers may walk along the middle of the bay. According to the legend, there was a lady who was in love and she tries to pass through the sea to reach her love by filling her skirt with sands. And when she is out of sand, she drowns.
Lots of shops selling usual tourist fodder as well as local specialities such as Turkish Delight, carpets etc. Most of the branded clothing on offer is fake and is very cheap but the quality can be surprisingly good (Check sizes before committing to buy, especially when buying in markets). Beware of pirate DVDs and games as many will not work despite assurances from vendors.
Real leather can be bought for a good price if you're prepared to haggle. Starting prices are normally at least 2-3 times the final price!
Hairdressing and beauty treatments are good value but beware of tattoo hygiene issues if you decide to be inked permanently.
For food, there is a large supermarket at the end of the main road before the harbour and marina called Tansas which stocks virtually everything including international brands. Tansas has a sister company caled Migros which has two stores in Marmaris, one at the harbour and another larger store on the main road close to the Marmaris Court building. Another hypermarket is situated on the main road beyond the suburb of Armutalan, Kipa is the Turkish division of Tesco and offers a huge range of international and own brand products at competitive prices.
Most tourists enjoy visiting markets in both Marmaris (Armutalan) and Icmeler. The markets sell most of the same things the local shops stock but one can haggle a bit more. Beware of pickpockets in these places. The market in the Armutalan area of Marmaris is on a Thursday and the Icmeler market is every Wednesday.
Tortoises: Beware some unscrupulious Turks try to sell baby tortoises to tourists and encourage them to smuggle them back home in luggage as pets. They will die of course in aircraft holds and can be picked up by airport x-ray machines in hand baggage. It is an offence to attempt to import a tortoise into most EU states as they are an endangered species.
Many places on the beachfront main road and just off it serving Turkish, English, Dutch and other nationality food. Tends to be cheaper away from the harbour and marina.
Nice restaurants are located on the beachfront promenade.
Proprietors will stand outside establishments and harass you into looking at their menu. Don't be too intimidated and a polite No thank you or Later will put them at bay. Marmaris and Armutalan councils have no tolerance for hassle and have special local police (Zabita) who videotape and close establishments who harass tourists. Most local establishments no longer hassle passing tourists.
Prices are 5-8 TL for starters, 10-20 TL for entrees depending on establishment.
Money saving tips: Many places will accept "international" Currencies £$ € these curriences can gain you heavily discounted prices in certain restaurants such as a three course meal for £5 (please note Scottish notes not usually accepted)
If self catering visit the many supermarkets located in Marmaris the larger are Tansas, Migros and Tesco Kipa.
A bottle of water at a hotel can cost anything from 4-8 TL. A 8 litre bottle of water can be purchased here for 3 YL. Many of these supermarkets have in store bakeries which produce lovely fresh bread.
Coffe & Drink
Local beer is served everywhere and is very good, called Efes. Another drink worth trying is Ayran which is a yogurt based drink. Very cooling and good for you.
Also, some establishments stock imported beers such as Becks, Budweiser or Fosters but tend to be more expensive. Wine is very expensive and seems to be all local. Good and common winery is Villa Doluca.
One of the local drinks provided by hotels as an alternative to fruit juice is called 'Tang'. It is manufactured by Kraft and is available in sachets which mixed with water make 1 litre of fruit drink. The sachets cost about 0.65 TL and when varous flavours are mixed make a very inexpesive and refreshing fruit drink.
Sights & Landmarks
There's plenty to do in Marmaris. Busy beaches, lots of bars and restaurants, plenty of shopping with fabulous bargains if you don't mind wearing fake designer labels. Marmaris has a busy nightlife with a street devoted to dance music and all the high tech clubbing scene. Bar Street is opposite the busy bazaar and will satisfy the most discerning clubbers with it's huge outdoor dance venues and all of the latest tunes.
Marmaris has lots for families too. Great inexpesive boat excursions can take you out round the bay and to neighbouring towns like Icmeler and Turunc with all inclusive food and drinks all day for as little as 25 TL. Marmaris also has two water parks and local travel agents offer a range of trips to Dalyan, Fethiye, Pamukkale, Ephesus and other popular locations in Western Turkey. Another worthwhile trip is to Mugla, the regional capital which can be reached by frequent bus service from Marmaris Bus station (Otogar) for 12 TL. Journey time over the mountains is about 1 hour and is well worth the effort as Mugla is a real Western Turkish town not affected greatly by tourism.
The town of Marmaris is not just for the package holiday visitor as a trip to the harbour area will confirm. There you can see ocean going yachts costing $10 million and rub shoulders with those who can blow $1000 on a pair of sunglasses in the exclusive upmarket designer harbour shopping area.
Marmaris is primarily a resort that caters for British holidaymakers but recently has become popular with Russian and other Eastern European visitors.
Things to do
You can have a daily cruise taking you around the turquoise coves, mountainous shoreline, ruins of ancient cities, and a cave (the only entrance of which is from the sea) surrounding Marmaris with a stop at the beach of leafy Cennet Adası ("Paradise Island"—actually a peninsula officially named Yıldız, however it does not have a connecting road to the rest of the mainland), which encloses the Bay of Marmaris. Just take one of yachts (which have a capacity of 20 people) which can be found all along the waterfront of city centre, you can easily recognize them by their boards and touts—who will try to convince you to take their tour, but basically all tours are the same. A tour doing the Bay in an anti-clockwise fashion (i.e. Turunç first, Paradise Island last) may be worthwhile to look for, as most tours ply around the Bay in clockwise direction, and thus you don't have to be with hundreds of others who took other boats all the time. Book or buy a seat at least one day beforehand. Such an excursion cost about 25 TL per person in Summer 2010 (including a meal). This type of cruise is good value but even better when offered with all-inclusive local drinks which can be expensive once on board a boat!
Many of the local tour companies offer trips such as:
Jeep Safari - drive around mountains surrounding Marmaris and visit villages, waterfalls and picturesque beaches. A tour around the Peninsula of Bozburun to south of Marmaris usually combines a visit to the Kızkumu sandbar. Great value fun day out at about 25TL per person.
Turkish baths - a traditional turkish bath (Hamam) with sauna, body peel, foam massage and oil massage. From 20TL per person including transport to and from the baths.
Turkish night - entertainment night with traditional Turkish food, dancing and entertainment including belly dancers. Many hotels do their own Turkish nights and prices range from 15-30TL for the buffet and entertainment.
Also, trips to further afield such as Dalyan turtle beach and mud baths, Pamukkale, Lycia etc.
Festivals and events
Festival of Sugar
Seker Bayrami is popularly known as Festival of Sugar, is held in February usually. The festival is spread over 3 days and is marked as the end of the Ramadan. People gather together and exchange gifts which includes sweetmeats and candies.
Kurban Bayrami is a religious holiday which and is considered as one of the most important festivals. The festival is celebrated in the honor of the sacrifice done by father Abrahim of his son Issac. But God accepted the sacrifice of a lamb instead of the son. All over Turkey, an animal is sacrificed by people to honor this event. Meat is also donated to the poor people. This is usually held in April.
Marmaris hosts annual festivals and regattas: International Marmaris Yacht Festival in May and October, International Marmaris Sea Festival in July and International Marmaris – Rhodes Regatta in June. Each year different events are organized.
Camel Wrestling Festival
Camel wrestling leagues are held in Selcuk near Ephesus. The sport is on the decline as the cost of housing, feeding and training a camel is quite high and only a very rich man can afford to do so. People also wager bets during this match although it is difficult to judge which camel will win.
Izmir International Fair
Along with the Izmir International Fair that is held in September to cater to commercial and business interests, an auxiliary activity was started where musical and cultural events are held. This attracts a lot of people and also boosts business.
In addition to the above festivals, traditional festivals of Muharram, Id and Ramadan are enjoyed by the Muslim population.
Muharram is celebrated by the Muslims in Turkey with great fervor. This festival starts at the first day of Muharram and lasts for 10 days until the tenth day of Muharram. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It celebrates the martyrdom of prophet Muhamad’s grandson Hazrat Imam Hussein. Processions are carried out in the streets where you can see people beating their chests in mourning. Some of them even beat their backs with chains. This is done to depict their solidarity with the martyrs who had lost their lives when they there was a dispute regarding who will succeed after the death of the fourth caliph.
Another important Muslim festival that is celebrated in Marmaris is Ramzan, which runs through the Islamic month of the same name. It appears as though there is a national fair being held in the streets of Marmaris. The Muslim neighborhood seems to be wide awake at night and their streets are aglow with light. Throughout the day, people observer a fast. As dusk approaches, they pray to the Almighty Allah and then break their fast.
Marmaris is famous for its fantastic nightlife.
For pre partying drinks many small bars along the beachfront offer the perfect place to watch the warm sun set.
There are a selection of good clubs along the beachfront which play a variety of music and cater to different tastes. Turtle Bar is by far one of the best bars there, bar outside with nightclub inside, without the incredulous prices of Bar street.
For hardcore partiers Bar street is where the party's at. Located in the old town this street has over 100 bars and clubs ranging from rock bars to Club areena, a huge outdoor nightclub with foam parties. All are open to at least 4AM.
Beware when drinking in Bar Street as prices are much higher (15-20TL for a spirit and mixer) than those along the beach front although entry to most clubs is free and there are periods when there are special offers available.
Doruk Bar [www] a family run pub located in the bars street offering live music and local beers.
Things to know
Lively hotels can be found generally in Marmaris City Centre
More laid back hotels can be found in the Armutalan area at the back of Marmaris where the local council has banned the playing of music after Midnight. Armutalan council has also banned live entertainment from bars limiting it to hotels.
There are exceptions however so make sure you choose a hotel that suits you.
As with any trip it is advisable to check websites such as trip advisor, for info on your hotel before you book as there can be great differences. All inclusive deals are good value but beware of bed and breakfast and half board as hotels may restrict you bringing food or drinks into their premises making you dependent on their offerings which will be much more expensive than buying from a supermarket. In a very hot climate like Turkey a few drinks each day can add a lot to a holiday cost. In self catering properties beware of damage charges. Soiled towels and bedding can cost up to 80TL to replace and damage to curtains and furnishings can be very costly. Note any damage however small on arrival and report it!