My grandparents moved to Marmaris when my uncle was diagnosed with a serious illness when he was a little boy. They left Ankara, the grey capital city of Turkey, and moved to this little blue coastal town. I was not even born then. Thankfully, my uncle got better and continues to live there with his family.
I still remember my first swimming lesson at the Lidya Hotel. Marmaris has a special place in my heart and it will always be that way.
This Aegean town where history and nature meet continues to amaze its visitors even to this day. An extraordinary natural wonder with its clear sea, magnificent beaches, and bays, Marmaris hosts thousands of people every year. Here are some tips to make the best of your holiday if you plan to visit this southern gem in Turkey, so get ready to discover the best things you can do in Marmaris.
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Where to Stay in Marmaris
We’re in the process of creating comprehensive guides on where to stay in various Turkish cities, but for now, we recommend checking out Booking.com as early as possible since many hotels in Marmaris sell out early. If you’re in a rush and want to check our favorite places, take a look at this selection.
Here are our top suggestions for where to stay in Marmaris. In most cases, budget means hotel stays for around $35 a night, mid-range is from about $40 to $80 per night, and luxury will cost over $100 per night.
Gorgeous Things to Do in Marmaris
In no particular order, these are some of the best things to do in Marmaris, Turkey, take a look!
Discover Netsel Marina
Netsel Marina, located in the north of the Big Marmaris Bay, is surrounded by many of the natural beauties of Marmaris. You can reach the city center from the Marina in just 2 minutes on foot.
Netsel, one of Turkey’s third largest marinas, is also the most popular marina in town. It features a very large area for yachts and boats and it has been designed to accommodate more than 750 yachts.
The area also boasts a wonderful complex with yacht equipment stores, clothing stores, markets, gift shops, luxury restaurants, and bars. All in all, it’s is a great place for a relaxing afternoon walk.
International Marmaris Yacht Festival
The beginning of the International Marmaris Yacht Festival dates back to 20 years. The aim of this festival, which is held every year in May, is to keep boat and yacht enthusiasts aware of new developments in the sector.
The yachts exhibited in the Municipality Marina are the focus of the interest of visitors for a week. This festival, which is held in May, also marks the opening of the sailing season for yachts, so the enthusiastic atmosphere is really exciting!
Have Lunch at Kırçiçeği Restaurant
Marmaris Kırçiçeği Restaurant has been serving a loyal public for over 30 years. The friendly staff greets you when you enter and makes you feel welcomed and at home. Here, you can have a good start to the day with an energetic breakfast.
Among their dishes, you can find lahmajun, pita, kebab, salad, soup, and dessert varieties of this place. The place is open 24 hours a day! Kırçiçeği Restaurant is a decent and very convenient place where you can go with your family.
Go Carpet Shopping at the Grand Bazaar Marmaris
Grand Bazaar Marmaris, also known as Marmaris Old Bazaar, is located in the city center. The bazaar, which hosts thousands of people every year, resembles Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar when it comes to the architecture and atmosphere.
In this bazaar, you can find many products from jewelry to clothing and many other traditional gifts that could turn into perfect souvenirs. You can also buy carpets, and leather products, as well as jam and a delicious type of honey unique to Marmaris.
Have a Drink at Bono
Bono Good Times is one of the most popular places in Marmaris. It offers unforgettable tastes to customers because of the unique food and drinks served in the venue. Bono is at the same time a sports bar, a Mediterranean restaurant, a breakfast spot, and a brunch center.
The ambiance of the place and the performances of DJs are really excellent. Remember that if you want to pay a visit to the bar, you will need to make a reservation in advance.
Dine at The Beachfront Hotel
Built in the most authentic Mediterranean style, The Beachfront Hotel accepts adults only. It stands right next to the sea, and the hotel beach area is immediately noticeable. Although the place has its very convenient prices, all the needs of the guests are met in the best way.
In addition, all facilities such as access to the health and fitness center are considered when you book your stay. You can have a pleasant dinner in the restaurant, where they serve both local and modern cuisine.
>> Check reviews and prices for a stay at The Beachfront Hotel here.
Day Trip to Turunc
Turunc is a popular neighborhood located 20 km from Marmaris. You can easily go to Turunc from Marmaris for a daytrip. The name of the neighborhood comes from citrus, which grows abundantly in the region.
Turunc, which hosts many yachts and blue cruise boats, is also an old seaside town. The sea of Turunc Public Beach and Turunc Bay, which have gained blue flag beach status, is clean and clear.
Jeep Safari tours and trekking around Palamut Hill are also very common here. The route of these nature walks is Amos Ancient City, which is 1 hour away. If instead, you would like to explore the coast, then we recommend you to consider this boat tour departing from Marmaris which also included swimming in Turunc Bay and visiting the nearby caves.
Diving is also very popular due to the abundance of underwater caves and rocky areas. You can also go to the surrounding bays and beaches with a full-day boat tour like this one.
Before returning from Turunc, you should definitely taste the fish and olive oil foods, and don’t forget to take honeydew honey and citrus jam as a gift.
Check the Coast in Selimiye
Located 45 km from Marmaris, Selimiye is considered a safe harbor for sailors and yachts. The decorations of the hotels, cafés, and restaurants around are quite interesting. You can go to Kamelya Island, Bencik Bay, Rabbit Island, Love Island, and Hisaronu Bay from Selimiye with a boat. Thus, you can enjoy Selimiye’s calm sea and magnificent beaches.
You should definitely try the local seafood, the delicious desserts made from goat milk, and real fruit ice cream in Selimiye. Here you can find boutique hotels and hostels that offer great breakfasts to stay.
When leaving Selimiye, do not forget to take a look at the shops selling authentic leather bags and shoes as well as other leather products of fantastic quality.
Explore the Historical Area of Bozburun
Located 45 km from Marmaris, Bozburun is very popular when it comes to yacht tourism. Bozburun is also a beautiful fishing town with its unspoiled hills and impressive historical texture.
Another important feature of Bozburun, which has 10 historical cities, is that it hosts yacht and gullet shipyards. Motorized wooden gullets made here are an important symbol of the blue tour. In addition, the ancient city of Larymna is located on Asar Hill, which is about 45 minutes walk from Bozburun.
Apart from boat tours in Bozburun, life is generally calm. If you want a quiet and peaceful holiday, this is the place for you!
Have Rakı-Meze at Sardunya Fish Restaurant
It is very difficult to find a place at Sardunya Fish Restaurant in Selimiye without reservation. Be sure that you will eat the most delicious fish and appetizers of the region in this seaside restaurant.
In Sardunya Fish Restaurant, famous for its Fangri and Laos, you can discover amazing tastes such as squid, grilled octopus, octopus salad, and fava.
The rich breakfast menu offers village eggs, tomatoes collected from the garden, and remarkable greens. You should make a reservation by calling 1-2 days in advance.
The extraordinary feature of this wonderful restaurant is that it also offers comfortable small rooms to stay.
Relax at the Beach in Uzunyali
Uzunyali Beach, which comes right after Marmaris Public Beach, is a beautiful beach where local and foreign tourists flock during all the season. It is quiet, neat, and very clean since it undergoes regular and constant inspections.
Here you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas, and can also have a shower after you swim in the sea. You can easily reach Uzunyali Beach, which is only 10 km away from the Marmaris town center, by minibus or taxi.
Dive into History in Marmaris Castle
Marmaris Castle, located in the old city center, is a popular historical place to visit in Marmaris. It was built by the Ionians in 1044 B.C and it offers visitors both day and night insatiable views.
The castle, which was used to shelter in the 1970s, was restored between 1980 and 1990. Then, it was turned into a museum in 1991.
In the archeology section of Kale, there are exhibitions featuring glass and pottery items found in different excavations in Hisaronu, Knidos, and Burgas regions, as well as various ornaments. In the ethnography section, on the other hand, you can see rugs, copper items, ornaments, and weapons belonging to the Ottoman period.
Admire the Beauty of Gokova Bay
Gokova Bay is located 30 kilometers from the town center of Marmaris. Gokova Hill, which is the first destination of those who come to Marmaris on holiday, offers a unique view to visitors with breathtaking sights of the area.
Gokova also has one of the best kiteboard and kitesurf centers in the world. In Gokova, you can visit many beautiful places such as the Azmak River, Akyaka, Akbuk Bay, and Cleopatra Island.
Gokova is one of the places frequented by blue voyage thanks to its historical location and unique natural beauties. In addition, daytrip boat tours from Marmaris are also very popular.
Kitesurf at Akyaka
Akyaka is a popular holiday region located about 31 km north of Marmaris. If you are looking for a peaceful holiday, you should definitely visit this old fishing town, which is surrounded by a thick forest.
Akyaka’s beach has been awarded the status of a blue flag beach. Azmak Creek is a spot in the region that is almost like an aquarium thanks to its clear waters.
Among the many things to do here, you can also take a boat tour or camp, go trekking, or do water sports like kite surfing and kiteboarding.
One of the most important features of Akyaka is that has received the Cittaslow title back in 2010, and maintained it ever since. When you visit Akyaka, you can have fun practicing many sports including canoeing, surfing, cycling, and hiking.
Travel to Sedir Island
Sedir Island is an extraordinarily beautiful island, mostly known by the name of Cleopatra, only 16 kilometers from Marmaris. It is believed that Cleopatra once swam on the island, which takes its name from the famous golden color beloved by Cleopatra.
There are many bays, beaches, hiking, and picnic areas on Sedir. In addition, the ancient city of Cedrae from Roman times is located here too. You should definitely visit the protected theater area. Also, remember to visit Camli Village, which is about 2 km from Cedrae, and it’s famous for its views, water, and clean air.
Get to Know the District of Orhaniye
Orhaniye, famous for Girls Sand Beach, is another district you should take the time to explore when visiting Marmaris. This wonderful beach is located only 30 kilometers from the town center. This is a great place for those who are looking for calmness, an extraordinary beach, and a beautiful view.
If you want to visit places other than Girls Sand Beach, you can check the castle ruins from the Kingdom of Bybassos, on a nearby island, and watch the wonderful view from the hill. You can also join boat tours organized to Hisaronu, İnbuku Bay, Selimiye, and Dislice Island.
Marvel at the Beauty of Kumlubuk
Located at a distance of 24 km from Marmaris, Kumlubuk is a great place to go if you love forests and spectacular views. In fact, it’s almost impossible to describe the extraordinary sea view you will come across.
Kumlubuk, named after its sandy beach, fascinates guests with a combination of a dark green pine forest and clear blue sea. In this place where nature meets history, you can visit the ancient city of Amos and the ruins of the theater.
You can also enjoy the opportunity to do various water sports in Kumlubuk, where fishing and sponge fishing are common activities.
Hike Bordubet Route
Bordubet is a beautiful route which hosts the magnificent area of Bordubet Bay with a crystal clear coast and a lush pine forests nearby. Admire the view in this beautiful settlement located about 28 km from the city center.
Here, travelers can have fun practising water sports such as skiing, windsurfing, and canoeing along a 600-meter-long stream.
It’s also possible to take part in activities such as mountain biking and hiking. There are several facilities that offer accommodation, food, and beverage in the bay to spend a wonderful day… or even two!
Swim at Boncuk Bay
Boncuk Bay, which takes its name from the pebbles under the sea that look like a bead, amazes everyone. This wonderful bay, located between pine and palm trees, is located approximately 18 km from the city center.
If you want to dive or do some snorkeling, then this is the right place to put in your itinerary, because, thanks to the clarity of the seawater in the bay, the underwater view range can reach about 20-25 meters.
The most important feature of the bay is that it is the natural breeding ground of sand sharks. You should definitely visit this bay where the sea and the beach are full of surprises.
Explore Datca Peninsula
Datca Peninsula, where blue and green meet, is among the most famous places in the Aegean Region. Datca, where many blue flag beaches are located, enchants with big forests and overwhelming nature.
Datca, which is the favorite place of vacationers, has more than 50 different bays to pick the perfect spot for a relaxing day. That’s why it attracts more attention from travelers and fans of blue tours. You can find many hotels and hostel alternatives to stay in town, which is 73 km from Marmaris.
You can also add excitement to your Datca holiday with festivals and concerts that last throughout the summer.
Attend the Datca Almond Flower Festival
Datca is also a famous settlement that has become known for the almond trees other than for its wonderful sea and nature. A total of 85 types of almonds are grown in Datca. Almond trees flower January and February, heralding the arrival of spring and making the whole area look white as if covered by spotless snowflakes.
Every year, the Almond Flower Festival is organized and it’s a perfect opportunity to get away from the city and have a good time. When visiting, you can discover handmade souvenirs, taste many almond varieties and other local foods. If you’re planning a trip to Marmaris, then you should definitely visit this cute Aegean town.
On the other hand, you can watch local dances and discover traditional activities during this three-day festival or you can also wear your adventurer clothes and explore the beauties in the peninsula.
As you can see, there are infinite possibilities for a fun holiday in Marmaris, and I’m sure you will love every minute of the experience!
What to Pack for Marmaris
We have a guide on what to pack for Turkey, but here are five things you want to bring with you!
The Lonely Planet Turkey: a good guidebook that can help you with the kinds of safety tips you need if you’re out in the city and feel a bit lost, especially if you don’t have internet or a cell signal. These also have specific neighborhood information that will help you in different parts of the city, and it’s a great supplement to blog posts like this one!
Unlocked Cell Phone: Stephanie and I both have unlocked cell phones that we bought in Europe (Stephanie uses a Samsung and I use an iPhone). This allows up to get sim cards when we travel so that we always have the internet. This has gotten us out of so many jams! If you don’t have an unlocked cell phone that can use a Turkish sim card, you can buy a cheaper unlocked phone online and bring it with you!
Pacsafe Citysafe or Other Anti-Theft Bag: This is the bag both Stephanie and I use for all our travels. It has a pouch with RFID technology so our credit cards can’t get scanned from afar, interlocking zippers to make it harder to pickpocket, and it’s roomy enough to be a perfect sightseeing day bag, yet it’s still quite stylish for all of its security features. If you’d rather bring something smaller, you can pack a money belt instead.
Grayl Water Filter: While the water is *technically* safe to drink in much of Turkey, I would still avoid it. If you don’t want to be buying millions of plastic water bottles, you can get a reusable water bottle that comes with a water filter so that you can stick to the tap water and reduce your plastic waste. If you’ll be traveling outside of the major tourist centers, check if the water is potable locally.
Seabands: If you get seasick easily, pack some Sea bands or seasickness pills so you don’t miss out on the best parts of Turkey – being on the water! A trip to Turkey isn’t complete without a cruise or at least a quick boat trip, so make sure you’re prepared to enjoy it to the fullest!
More Turkey Travel Resources
We have a ton of resources to help you plan your trip to Turkey!
If this will be your first time traveling to Turkey, check out this guide to planning a trip to Turkey (including visa information) and this guide of beautiful places to visit in Turkey. You can also check out our Balkan currency guide, which explains how the Turkish lira works and guidelines for tipping in Istanbul.
We’re working on our massive things to do in Istanbul post, plus you can check out our guide to the best Instagram spots around Istanbul, tips for shopping in Istanbul, the best Turkish food to eat, how to plan an Istanbul honeymoon, and what to do in Istanbul at night.
If you want to be in the city for just a few days (four or less), check out our Istanbul city break guide, which breaks down the best of the city so you won’t miss anything!
Headed to Cappadocia? If you’re curious about the most Instagrammable places in Cappadocia, we’ve got you covered. We also have posts on the best things to do in Cappadocia, and how to plan a perfect 3 day Cappadocia itinerary, plus how to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul.
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, make sure to travel with a valid travel insurance policy. While we feel safe in Turkey, it’s a good idea to be covered in case of an emergency. Travel insurance covers you in case of theft or an accident, which can save your trip if there’s an incident.
For travel insurance, Allison and I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.