Marmaris is one of the busiest tourist resorts along Turkey's sparkling Lycian coast; a huge seafront strip of hotels and shops, restaurant, bars and entertainment. Like any highly developed tourist destination, it's a busy spot - but it does't feel over-developed. There aren't any unattractive high rise hotels spoiling the view, and great care has been taken to keep the strip and promenade clean and attractive. It's lovely; the perfect place for a holiday in the sun. But don't let your holidays in Marmaris be confined to just the beach and your pool. There's a lot see and do here, and I have some tips for you to help you make the most of your time here...
So, there’s a reason Marmaris holidays are super popular beyond its amazing weather - the place is really, truly beautiful. It's stunning. Marmaris bay itself is wide and calm, its cobalt blue waters sheltered by hills and protected islands both covered in lush greenery. The beach is huge and wide, and safe, though it is of course very busy. But it's within minutes of the town you’ll find beautiful pine-covered mountains and hidden bay and inlets, small villages and paradise islands. There are countless viewpoints and beauty spots and picnic places here you can really appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.
Do the day trips, go out and see Sedir Island, visit the beautiful little riverside town of Akyaka and cruise its unfathomably clear waters. It's tempting to stay by the pool but there's so mch beauty to see here.
There are so many different water sports available to you here that you could choose a different one for every day of your Marmaris holidays, whether you want the wave-hopping madness of an inflatable ride or the serenity and silence of a scuba dive. I went for serenity and silence, and got on board with Nautilus divers for a day spent underwater.
The diveboat was fairly full, mostly with families - beginner divers who were about to try diving for the first time. I have quite a bit of diving experience, and the guys at Nautilus made sure that both I and the beginners were catered to with appropriate dives - I had two nice long dives during which I saw a (small) wreck, octopus, scorpionfish, trumpetfish, even some lionfish.
The water was clear and calm, the boat was big and stable, and a hearty lunch was provided. In between dives there was plenty of time to swim in thse What really impressed me about this place though, was the way the divemasters and instructors dealt with beginner divers - the kids in particular. Each one went out of their way to put everyone at ease, and to make sure everyone was comfortable during their dives - I've been on a lot of dive boats and these guys stood out. If not the most excting diving in the world, Marmaris is a perfect pace to learn, especially for kids.
If you like your holidays in general to be action-packed, your Marmaris holidays will not disappoint. From SCUBA in Marmaris Bay to Marmaris’ famous windswept kite-surfing spot in Akyaka, you’re really spoiled for choice when it comes to amazing watersports… but the land has lots of adventure to offer too. The mountains of Marmaris are a pure playground for cyclists, with dedicated cycling routes covering some 800km all around the city and more on the way in coming years.
If you’re a horse lover, whether you’ve never sat on one in your life but want to, or you’re a seasoned showjumper, make your way out to the Padok Hotel & Stables near Akyak. It’s a fabulous place – a top class stables and equestrian centre but a hotel too, so you can learn to ride and spend your day with the horses, head to Akyak for a little socialising in the evening, before sleeping peacefully in one of their beautiful rooms.
Selimiye was one of the places I loved most, of all the places I visited during the trip. It’s a little slice of paradise, a blissful bay edged by a boardwalk full of great little restaurants, bars, boutiques and souvenir shops. I spent just an afternoon here and I wish I’d had longer. What I can advise you do is head to SUP Selimiye and rent some of their equipment for a beautiful paddle out onto Selimiye’s bathtub waters. When you’re done paddling, treat yourself to lunch here too – the food is excellent. Don’t leave the place without trying a glass of their fresh lemonade, it’ll really take the edge off a hot, sunny day.
Just outside of the main town, a short drive from the busy tourist strip and the packed beach and marina, Marmaris also has a series of villages dotted throughout its stunning mountainous landscape. It’s possible to visit these as part of a day trip or jeep safari but I love the freedom of renting a car, to visit them at your own pace and on your own timetable. There’s loads to see and lots of little spots where you might want to spend a little time.
Turgut is a quiet, quaint little village just a short drive from the madness of Marmaris. It’s rural and low key with a small beach, a hotel, and a few little restaurants. The ancient city of Hygassos is here too, as well as the gorgeous Selale waterfall (bring your swimming costume), wonderful Carpet Weavers Association. Even if you don’t particularly want to buy, you can visit their showrooms for a tour and to see the incredible, beautiful craftsmanship that goes into the these carpets. They’re genuinely so impressive, and I wasn’t expecting to be as taken with this place as I was, but the intricacy and beauty of these pieces is just incredible and I have now made it a life goal to have one of those stunning pieces gracing the floors of my own house someday.
And I don’t mean the restaurant food, though there is heaps of excellent choice all around Marmaris. I mean the food that’s grown locally, the beautiful flavours grown and cultivated in Marmaris. Almonds and olives, local pine honey, aubergine, cheeses, strawberries, tomatoes, oranges and lemons, Turkish delight and more. The seafood is just beautiful, and the way it all goes together means food here is as delicious as it is healthy and fresh.
One of the best meals I had during my visit was a traditional Turkish breakfast, which I enjoyed in one of the many little restaurants close to Çamlı’s pier, the departure point for day trips to Sedir Island (Cleopatra’s Island). The breakfast is huge, essentially a giant table of mezze and local produce that somehow all tastes amazing in whatever combinations you eat it. Make sure to try this at least once during your Marmaris holidays.