Last Updated on 9 January 2023
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What to do in Marmaris, Turkey?
With summer vacation season fast-approaching, you might be considering Turkey as this year’s destination (especially if you’re after some all inclusive fun). One of the most walkable cities in Europe, Marmaris is located in the southwest of Turkey and is blessed with a Mediterranean climate, meaning hot dry summers and milder winters are on the cards. And just in case you need a helping hand to show you what sights are on offer, I’ve put together this list of the top 10 things to do in Marmaris, so you can see that this resort city has more to offer than just beaches and bars…
Is Marmaris worth visiting?
If you like sun, sea, sand and beautiful scenery, then yes, Marmaris is worth visiting. Marmaris is located on the Aegean Sea, and is surrounded by forested mountains every which way you look. Armed with its own great things to do (as you will read right here in this blog post), Marmaris is perfectly situated to explore Turkey more widely and the availability of excursions from Marmaris makes this an easy feat.
So what are the best things to do in Marmaris, Turkey?
1. Marmaris Harbour and Netsel Marina
One of the best Marmaris attractions is the swanky harbour and marina, which given its mountainous surroundings, is a pretty picturesque place. The esplanade clings to the shoreline and winds past colourful boats bobbing on the clear blue waters with their Turkish flags swaying in the wind. The beautiful walkways are dotted with flower beds, fountains and sculptures are also lined with bars, restaurants, and shops, making it a sociable affair. Given the abundance of chic eats which hone a romantic vibe when dusk falls, the harbour is one of the top things to do in Marmaris for couples. But whether you’re hitched or not, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a frothy coffee or stroll at anytime of the day.
2. The Dancing Fountains
An attraction for small and big kids alike, located in the centre of the city you will find the Dancing Fountains. The Dancing Fountains are pretty much what they say on the tin… fountains which dance to the sound of music, projections and light when dusk falls, and one of the best free things to do in Marmaris at night. Restaurants and bars line the streets surrounding the plaza where the Dancing Fountains are located, making it a lively area to enjoy a drink or two. When I visited Marmaris, the fountain show took place sometime between 8.30pm-9.00pm, however times may have changed and the information online seems to be inconsistent, so it’s probably best to check with your accommodation or tourist information when you are there!
3. Marmaris Beach
A holiday to Turkey wouldn’t be complete without a beach day, and Marmaris Beach makes this doable. One of the best things to do in Marmaris for sun-worshippers, the beach in Marmaris is a long and thin expanse with an esplanade which runs parallel. Marmaris beach is abundant with sun loungers, and offers easy access to the clear waters of the Aegean Sea. The consistency of the beach varies between gritty sand and pebbles, so you might want some beach shoes to make it more comfortable to walk on. If you have a beachfront hotel, they may have a private section of the beach where you can utilise chairs. However, if not, you will likely need to rent a lounger for a nominal fee from whoever owns it.
4. Take a day trip from Marmaris
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I loved how many Marmaris excursions were available. From Marmaris boat trips, to diving and quad biking, to easy day trips to Rhodes (yep, the island in Greece) and the Lycian Rock Tombs in Dalyan, there are many wonderful day trips you can take from Marmaris. I would highly recommend you reserve a couple of days to exploit the opportunities available and see more than just what the port city has to offer. You can book excursions online before you travel, or, often your hotel or a local tour agency will be able to arrange these for you (and you might get some type of discount if you book multiple through them).
5. Shop at the Grand Bazaar
Fancy some shopping in Marmaris? One of the best places for a dose of culture and chaos is the Grand Bazaar in Marmaris. The Grand Bazaar spans from near the Dancing Fountains to Marmaris Castle, and is an inside venue with a maze of small shops and stalls. Here you will find all types of curiosities, from local handicrafts to Turkish rugs to sweet delights. It’s a bustling place which can be quite exhausting with everyone vying for your attention, but makes for one of the best things to do in Marmaris (when it’s raining even more so) to pick up any trinkets and souvenirs you might like to take home.
6. Taste Turkish Delight
Marmaris is a mecca for Turkish Delight lovers. Before I visited Turkey, I wouldn’t touch Turkish Delight with a bargepole. The pungent taste of rose would stay with me for hours after nibbling on a cube, and is a flavour I never made friends with. But, the good news is that Turkish Delight in Marmaris goes way beyond the standard rose and lemon flavour you might find in the UK. It extends from traditional icing sugar dusted cubes with flavours like apple, to pieces of mallow-goodness which is flavoured with coconut, chocolate, strawberry and so much more, so why not buy yourself a custom box or two?!
7. Marmaris Castle
You will find one of the best things to do in Marmaris tucked just behind the harbour, and that’s Marmaris Castle. Marmaris Castle offers stunning views across the harbour, bay and beyond, and is recognised as the oldest landmark in the resort city. Boasting it’s own in-house archaeological museum (one for the history buffs amongst us) with a collection of local artefacts, Marmaris Castle is thought to have been built by the Ionians in around 1044BC. The lanes which surround the castle are quite charming, and are lined with quaint shops selling trinkets and souvenirs, making the area a pleasant place to wander for a while.
8. Jinan Garden
Located a stone’s throw from the beach and near to the hustle and bustle of Marmaris city centre is Jinan Garden. Jinan Garden is a tranquil space which celebrates the relationship of Marmaris with the Chinese city of Jinan, which has been its twinned city since October 2011. A quaint affair, Jinan Garden is the perfect place to enjoy some peace and quiet, away from the busyness of the main street. The sound of water offers a soothing experience, and the pagodas offer some welcome shade from the hot Mediterranean Sun. You shouldn’t have too many issues finding the small park, but if you do, you can locate Jinan Park on Google Maps.
9. Go for a traditional Turkish Bath
Going for a Turkish Bath is one of the quintessential Marmaris experiences, but it is very hands-on, so might not be for everyone. During a traditional Turkish Bath, you will usually be exfoliated with a kese (pronounced keh-say, a traditional scrubbing mitt) before being washed with a whole lotta foam and then massaged (in my experience, with an abundance of oil) by an attendant. I believe you can also go for the option of a self-bathing experience, but you will need to bring your own bathing implements, so I would suggest booking a traditional Turkish Bath experience for a dose of the real deal.
10. Ataturk Statue
Last but not least on this list of top things to do in Marmaris is Ataturk Statue. It’s quite likely you’ll stumble across Ataturk Statue at some point during your trip to Marmaris, whether it be on the way to the harbour, shops or restaurants of the city centre. Ataturk Statue is proudly surrounded by an abundance of Turkish flags and commemorates Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first president of Turkey. You will likely only spend a few minutes looking at the statue, but the plaza offers a nice photo opportunity given the mountainous backdrop behind!
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