Top 5 Things to Do in Marmaris, Turkey
While Marmaris is renowned as the nightlife capital of Turkey’s Turquoise coast, it’s a resort with an awful lot more going for it than cocktails and clubs. Our featured travel writer Katie Belle discovered a whole new side to this bustling resort during her latest trip, combining coast with culture, shopping with historic sites.
1. Turkish Baths
Having made the mistake of going for a traditional Turkish Hammam on the last day of my holiday last time, and having most of my tan scrubbed off, this is my first stop this time round. It’s the ideal way to start your holiday because the experience involves your skin being deeply cleansed and exfoliated with a Turkish kese mitt before a massage with argan oil. Many of Marmaris’ hotels, including ours have their own Hammam, and there are also public Hammams including the Bedlibi Hammam on the outskirts of Marmaris, where Sunday afternoons are a delightfully quiet time to go. Smooth, clean, moisturised skin makes the perfect base for a sunkissed tan.
2. Walking Trails
We take advantage of our hotel’s location in the lush green pine forests on the outskirts of Marmaris to walk and picnic along the forest trails. For the more serious walking enthusiast, the Lycian Way, which opened in 1999, starts in nearby Oludeniz. Consisting of old footpaths and mule trails, it is marked with red and white stripes along the way. But, as it takes 25 days from start to finish, we put that on our bucket list for when we have more time, and are feeling fitter.
3. Historic Baths
Instead, we turn our attention to some of Marmaris’ historic attractions. The Iyilik Kayaliklari Archaeological Park, which thankfully for us has an easier to pronounce English name, the Rocks of Goodness, is just a little way east of Marmaris. It’s a fascinating site with ruins dating back to the 4th century BC, containing the remains of the ancient cities of Phykos and Amos.
There’s also a remarkably well preserved amphitheatre. It gets incredibly hot here during the height of the summer though, so we visit early in the morning before the mercury levels start to soar. While not quite so old, having been built a mere 500 years ago, Marmaris Castle is no less compelling. It’s the second time we’ve visited and, both times, sections have been closed due to archaeological excavations but the building itself, draped in bougainvillea, is lovely and the views out over the marina alone make the trip worthwhile.
As far as my little girl is concerned no holiday is complete without a mother-daughter shopping day. Marmaris’ Grand Bazaar is a vast maze of stalls selling curios, spices, rugs and handicrafts. Overall, there are more than 1,000 small shops making up the bazaar, so we don’t get through them all, but we make a good attempt, leaving with colourful lanterns, scarves and leather handbags, along with ‘designer’ jeans. Just make sure your bartering skills are up to it – you should aim to pay less than half the original price cited by the stallholders.
5. Traditional Turkish Meze
Meeting up with the rest of the family in the early evening, we head to the Ney restaurant, having spotted it earlier among the twisty streets surrounding the castle. It’s a tiny little restaurant, but big on atmosphere and flavours. Our final evening is spent tucking into a home-cooked meze with stuffed vine leaves and grilled aubergines, followed by moussaka, meatballs and Turkish ravioli. The steps up to the terrace were a steep climb, but worth it for the views and we watch the sun go down over the marina as we round off our meal, and our holiday, with traditional Turkish coffee.
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