Marmaris Turkey marks the spot where the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas meet. It boasts one of the largest natural harbors in the world, and is set at the head of a peninsula on the lovely Turquoise Coast. This peninsula stretches westward in between the islands of Rhodes and Kos in Greece, and is only a few miles from both of them. Two of the main attractions in Marmaris is this location about halfway between the cities of Izmir and Alanya and its proximity to all the islands, inlets, and coves of two countries.
But it is the Marmaris beaches that provide the greatest draw to visitors from around the world. One of the most popular is Icmeler Beach, actually located about five miles southwest of Marmaris Turkey in a small village of the same name. This is one of the best swimming beaches in the area. The Marmaris travel and tourism industry has exploded in the last twenty years, making this one of the most popular beach resorts on the Turquoise Coast.
Things to do in Marmaris also include sailing. The city boasts two of the coast’s major marinas and a number of smaller ones. The harbor is always filled with the boats of the jet set, and large ocean cruise ships are often moored offshore. The Marmaris travel industry leans heavily towards sailing and yacht charters. You can charter bareboat (you are the crew) or skippered (comes with a professional crew) sailing vessels and motor yachts. Many of the yachts of choice are traditional Turkish gulets. These distinctive two-masted sailing ships ply the waters of the Turquoise Coast as the traditional dhows ply the Indian Ocean off the coast of Kenya and Tanzania, stopping in the secluded coves and inlets in both Turkey and Greece. You can go out for three-hour or day sailing tours, or book a berth on week-long cruises.
In addition to the beaches, attractions in Marmaris include its imposing castle set on a hill overlooking the harbor. This hill is in a perfect strategic position, and a fortress of some sort has reputedly been located here long before the Christian era. The existing one was built in the fifteenth century as protection for the Ottoman Empire from the Knights of Rhodes, who nearly destroyed it when they fled to Malta. It was rebuilt in 1522 by Suleyman the Magnificent who used Marmaris travel as a base for his military expeditions. One of the city’s shopping bazaars is found here, next to an old caravanserai dating to the days of the legendary Silk Road.
Other attractions in Marmaris include its celebrated nightlife. Popular “Bar Street” has clubs and bars that remain open till dawn, and the beaches boast clubs with music. If you want slightly more subdued nightlife, you might consider the nearby communities of Icmeler (about 4 miles south), Datca (about 30 miles to the west), or Bozburun (about 15 miles to the south). Icmeler Beach is one of the finest in the region, and there is regular dolmus (shared minibus taxi) service) from Marmaris. You can watch gulet shipbuilders on the beaches of Bozburun, and Datca boasts some of the nicest villas and vacation rentals in the area.
You will find that vacations in Marmaris Turkey also offer insight into the country’s ancient history, as there a several archeological sites in the area, primarily from the Roman and Hellenic periods. The main sites are Physkos, Loryma, Amos, and Erine. There is also great hiking in these areas.