Things to Do in Marmaris
Ancient ruins, endangered wildlife, thermal springs—a boat cruise along the Dalyan River is full of surprises. Winding its way from Lake Köyceğiz to Dalyan Village before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea, the river follows a scenic route flanked by rocky mountains, pine-clad valleys, and sandy beaches.
Warm springs bubble around and under Lake Koycegiz, making mud baths a signature of the waterfront town of Dalyan. Minerals give the mud a sulfur smell, but can, locals say, work miracles on aging skin. Just lounge in the shallow pools, coat yourself in glop, then rinse off in the river, lake, showers, or spring-fed pool.
According to legend, Cleopatra enjoyed clandestine rendezvous with her lover, Marc Antony, on the shores of this tiny island in the Aegean Sea, just off the Gulf of Gokova. Their story makes the island a renowned romantic spot. Its other claim to fame is its unusually textured sand, which is made up of smooth, white, ground-up seashells.
A narrow spit of sand stretching out into the ocean, Iztuzu Beach (Turtle Beach) takes its name from the loggerhead sea turtles that nest on its shores. Forming a natural barrier between the Dalyan River and the Mediterranean Sea, the protected beach is one of the most important breeding grounds for the endangered creatures in Turkey.
With its colorful fishing boats and dazzling fleet of luxury yachts, Marmaris Marina is the lively focal point of the city’s waterfront, set against a dramatic backdrop of Marmaris Castle. Known as one of the most important ports along the Eastern Mediterranean coast, Marmaris makes a popular stop for sunseekers cruising the Turkish Riviera. Despite boasting space for up to 830 yachts, the marina can fill quickly during the summer months.
Even if you’re not arriving by sea, the picturesque marina makes a pleasant addition to a walking tour. The waterfront promenade is lined with restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as an enormous shopping center and an open-air swimming pool.
Ancient City of Kaunos near Dalyan, Turkey is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. Kaunos was an ancient city founded in the 9th century BC, and it was quite important by 400 BC. It was located on the border between Lycia and Caria, and the city's culture had characteristics of both empires. The city was once an important trading post on the sea, though today it is set back a few miles from the sea since the coastline has moved over the centuries. The receding coastline, attacks from various tribes, and a malaria epidemic led to the decline of Kaunos, and the city was abandoned by the 15th century.
The ruins include a well preserved theater, parts of the old city walls, and an acropolis. There's also a basilica, Roman baths, two Hellenistic temples and four Roman temples. From the acropolis, you can enjoy a gorgeous view of the ancient city. The theater could hold 5,000 people and is still occasionally used for events. Nearby you can also see Lycian tombs in the rocks above the Dalyan River.
Selimiye is a small seaside fishing village about 25 miles from the city of Marmaris, Turkey. It is located on the Bozburun Peninsula along the Aegean Sea. Due to its unspoiled and laid back charm, Selimiye is often referred to as the real face of Turkey. While there are a few small hotels and guesthouses, you won't find big resorts here. There are restaurants and cafes serving traditional Turkish food, including plenty of fish caught fresh from the Aegean Sea and locally grown fruits and vegetables. Selimiye is well known for growing figs and almonds.
The town has a long tradition of wooden boat making, so visitors will see many boat yards in the area. These traditional boats are called gulets. Due to Selimiye's location and boat-making tradition, boat trips are popular activity for exploring the area. You can also visit the ruins of Hydas. The remains of three castles can be found in the hills of Selimiye. Near the shore is an old stone lighthouse, and southeast of the bay you'll find the remains of the city walls from the Hellenistic period. Visitors can also enjoy swimming in the sea from the small beach called Silimani.
Aqua Dream Waterpark is one of Turkey's largest water parks and the biggest water park in Marmaris. It is located on the top of a hill overlooking the city, which offers visitors a spectacular view of the city and surrounding landscape while enjoying the rides at the water park. The water park has a wide variety of water slides, each offering a different experience. Some are body slides while others involve sitting on a tube. There are also several pools, including a wave pool, a pool that doesn't allow children, and a normal swimming pool. The water park also has a children's area for smaller children who aren't old enough for the bigger slides. Along the perimeter of the pools, chairs and umbrellas are set up where you can lounge, relax, and sunbathe.
Aqua Dream Waterpark is fun for the whole family. It has a restaurant and bar with both indoor and outdoor seating, changing rooms, lockers, and hot and cold showers. There are lifeguards on duty at all times to ensure the safety of the visitors. Bring your bathing suit, towel and sunscreen.
With its northern coast lying on the Aegean Gulf of Gökova and the Mediterranean Sea lapping its southern shores, the Datça Peninsula serves up an endless panorama of wildflower-covered hills, jagged coastal cliffs and golden beaches. Marking the last stretch of Turkey’s legendary Turquoise Coast, the peninsula makes a popular destination for both single- and multi-day cruises from nearby Bodrum or Marmaris.
With dozens of beaches and snorkeling areas, most visitors to the peninsula spend their time on the coast, but there’s plenty of interest inland, too. Take a hike through forests and orange groves, tour a traditional olive mill, browse the weekly markets in the town of Datça or discover the ancient city of Knidos, a sprawling archaeological site best known for its timeworn sundial and statue of Aphrodite dating back to fourth century B.C.
Akyaka is a small seaside fishing village about 20 miles from the city of Marmaris, Turkey. It is located on the edge of the Bozburun Peninsula along the Aegean Sea. Akyaka is bordered by forested mountains on one side, and the beach and Gokova Bay on the other side. The Azmak River runs through the middle of town. The town has a relaxed, laid back vibe and is much less developed than nearby Marmaris. It's a very traditional town where you'll see farmers at work in their fields and fishermen bringing in their daily catch.
Akyaka has a wide sandy beach along Gokova Bay. The water is shallow, which is perfect for a relaxing swim. There are pedalos and kayaks for rent at the far end of the beach. Near the beach you'll find several bars and restaurants where you can try fresh seafood and other traditional Turkish meals. Another popular activity is taking a river boat trip along the Azmak River through the village. You'll have the chance to see frogs, dragonflies, turtles, and a wide variety of birds. There are also several restaurants along the banks of the river.
More Things to Do in Marmaris
Curving around the mountain-backed bay of Icmeler just west of Marmaris, Icmeler Beach offers some of the best scenery and waters on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. The dark-sand-and-shingle stretch is lined by Icmeler’s shops, restaurants, and watersports—making it ideal for whiling the day away in the sun.
Knidos(Cnidus) was an ancient Greek city near present-day Datça, Turkey. The town of Datça is located on the Datça Peninsula, which juts out into the Aegean Sea. Knidos was an important cultural and political center by the 5th century BC and, due to its location on the sea and large harbor, it was a major trading hub as well. The city was a member of the Dorian Hexapolis, which was a federation of six cities of Dorian Greek origin. Over time the city became part of the Roman empire and survived into the Byzantine era.
Eventually the city was abandoned. Excavations began in the 1800s, and many ruins have been uncovered. Today you can see the ruins of temples, an altar, a sundial, a theater, a sanctuary, the agora, and churches, including the remains of a Byzantine church. The biggest find is the necropolis, which is almost four miles long. The theater could seat 5,000 people and was built with an impressive panoramic view of the sea. Although many statues and artifacts are now housed in the British Museum, there is still a lot to see here, and even just for the view, it's worth a visit.
The Atlantis Waterpark Marmaris is an amusement park located directly on the seafront of one of Turkey’s largest resort towns, Marmaris. It features nine eye-catching and thrilling slides, like the Space Bowl, the Free Fall, the Black Hole, and the Wild River. It also comprises a massive wave pool, which entertains guests with a variety of waves from ultra-gentle rollers to six-foot-high waves. There is also a less extreme, more accessible space reserved for the little ones named Kidsland. The park can be enjoyed for a few hours or a full day, as it includes access to mini-golf, four restaurants, bowling and more.
Perched on a rocky promontory above the lively harbor, Marmaris Castle is one of the city’s most memorable landmarks, offering expansive views along the Mediterranean coast from its lookout towers. Although the present-day castle was built by Süleyman the Magnificent in 1522, archeologists estimate that a castle has stood on the waterfront plot since as early as 3000 B.C., making it one of the region’s oldest landmarks.
Marmaris Castle is also home to the city’s principal museum, the Marmaris Archaeology Museum, which retells the story of its construction and one-time military prominence while also displaying ancient armory, sculptures and other artifacts excavated from Marmaris, Knidos and Hisarönü.
Turunç is a small coastal village about 12 miles south of Marmaris, Turkey. It was once primarily a fishing village, but today it is also a quiet resort town. The village is small enough that you can walk from one end to the other in about a half hour. It's relaxed, small town atmosphere give it a completely different feel from the larger resort cities in the area, making it a great place for a vacation away from the crowds. Turunç is located on the edge of a bay with sandy beaches and calm, sheltered waters. Tree-covered mountains provide a picturesque backdrop.
Despite its size, Turunç has several hotels and guesthouses, as well as restaurants and cafes serving traditional Turkish food. There is a market on Mondays where you will find fruit, vegetables, other local foods, and gifts. Visitors can also buy souvenirs at a variety of local shops in the village. Popular activities include swimming, sunbathing, fishing, water sports, horseback riding and jeep rides into the countryside. You can also join a boat tour to see more of the coastline and some bays that are only accessible from the water. There are also day trips to nearby villages or to Dalyan to see the endangered loggerhead turtles on Turtle Beach.
A forested headland facing Marmaris Bay, the secluded beaches and glittering waters of Adaköy remain some of the region’s best-kept secrets. While a handful of resort hotels line the shore, most visitors arrive at Adaköy by boat, and the tranquil peninsula is a popular stop for those cruising down the coast to Dalyan or Fethiye.
With its beaches well sheltered by steep coastal cliffs, the waters of Adaköy are ideal for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking, and the surrounding hills offer a scenic backdrop for hiking and biking tours. Additional highlights include the peninsula’s north coast, affectionately nicknamed “Aquarium Bay” for its clear waters and huge schools of tropical fish, and a series of natural phosphorus caves carved into the sea cliffs.
Jutting out to the south of the Datça Peninsula between the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, the Bozburun Peninsula makes for a popular cruise destination from Bodrum or Fethiye. It is as renowned for its tranquil beaches as its atmospheric nightlife, and many choose to explore the length of the peninsula by jeep or boat from Marmaris.
The long, sandy beaches are the principal draw for visitors to the Bozburun Peninsula, with top spots including the Blue Flag beach of Turunc, Icmeler Beach and the vast Maiden’s Beach or Kizkumu. Additional highlights include the peninsula’s namesake town, known for its production of traditional wooden gülets; Turgut Falls; the hilltop village of Bayir; and the forest-clad mountains, where bird-watchers can spot Eurasian varieties like the jay and hoopoe.
Whether you’re cruising along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast or sailing along on a day tour from Marmaris, you’ll likely find reason to detour to the scenic Dalyan River and its namesake port town. The area’s top attraction is Turtle Bay, (İztuzu Beach) a strip of sand between the river and the Mediterranean Sea. With its prime location at the mouth of the freshwater delta, Turtle Beach has become an important spot for endangered loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) that come ashore to lay eggs during breeding season. Watching the turtles in their natural habitat is a popular pastime among visitors.
Additional highlights along the Dalyan River include the Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area around Lake Köyceğiz, the impressive ruins of ancient Kaunos and a series of Lycian rock tombs carved into coastal cliffs. Be sure to take advantage of one of the delta’s most noted natural assets – its mineral-dense mud baths and sulfur hot springs, renowned for their healing properties.
Set between two peninsulas in the Aegean Sea—Bodrum to the north and Datça in the south—and hemmed in by the dramatic sea cliffs, sandy coves and rocky islands of the Gulf of Gökova (also known as the Ceramic Gulf) make up some of the most picturesque landscapes of Turkey’s famous Turquoise Coast.
Bayir Village is a small town on the Bozburun Peninsula in southwestern Turkey. It is built on top of the ancient city of Syrna, and it is believed that the town's mosque sits on top of the temple of Asklepios, the god of health, although there are no traces of the temple today. Just outside the village you will find ruins from the ancient city. There is an acropolis, pieces of the old city walls, some gravestones, and the remains of a few other structures. Another big attraction in Bayir is a 2,300 year old tree called Old Plane Tree. It is said to bring good luck and extend your life if you circle it three times. There are several cafes near the tree where you can sample the local food and drink some tea. There are also a few shops where you can buy local honey
Bayir Village is often included on jeep safari tours to various villages in the area. Bayir is located on top of a hill which provides spectacular views of the village and the surrounding peninsula. This small town will show visitors a glimpse into traditional Turkish village life.
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