Marmaris has come a long way since the devastating earthquake in 1957 leveled it. The town was a tiny outpost of fishermen isolated from the rest of Turkey. And it was completely reconstructed.
Today, Marmaris is one of the most popular resorts in Turkey. There are hundreds of pensions, hotels, and noisy nightclubs. Also, Marmaris has become an important yachting center. And people often describe it as the “Pearl of the Mediterranean”. Because of its magnificent natural surroundings.
The city lies at the confluence of the Aegean and the Mediterranean. It stretched in a long, wide bay. And pine forests with fragrant oleander shrubs fringe Marmaris.
By the way, the city surrounds a 16th-century Ottoman citadel.
How To Go To Marmaris?
You can reach Marmaris in one hour by car from Dalaman International Airport. And it is about 75 miles (120 km) from the town.
Shuttle buses operate every day back and forth from the airport to the city. Also, daily passenger buses carry tourists between Marmaris and most major Turkish cities, including Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Antalya.
And regular boat services operating between Marmaris and the Greek island of Rhodes too.
Like Bodrum, Marmaris is very noisy in the evenings, with a steady beat of amplified music coming from dozens of discos, bars, and pubs.
We advise visitors to Marmaris to stay away from the noisy hub of the town for a good night’s rest.
You can always go into Marmaris by hiring a taxi or a motor launch. And there are hundreds of reasonably-priced hotels and pensions around the city and in Içmeler Village.
There are several charming luxury hotels and holiday villages in the more secluded spots of Marmaris Bay. But Marmaris has suffered from the construction of hundreds of tasteless concrete buildings that hug the shoreline.
Particularly, around the town of Içmeler, on the other side of the bay, five miles (eight km) to the west, and Turunç, a village just outside the bay.
But the Old Quarter, with its white houses on twisting lanes, is built on different levels on a rocky peninsula around the citadel. And it is well worth a stroll.
Ionians constructed the citadel. They settled there in 3000 BC. Then Alexander the Great repaired it in the fourth century BC. And Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent expanded it in AD 1522 during a military campaign to conquer Rhodes.
Marmaris Castle arouses great interest with its history dating back to ancient times. And it awakens admiration with its magnificent view.
It is located just behind the Municipality Yacht Harbor and overlooking Marmaris Bay. It was built during the Iongulfs of the Bozburuian period (1044 BC) and renovated during the reign of Alexander the Great.
Also, Suleiman the Magnificent expanded the walls before the Rhodes Campaign in 1522. But the French navy set on fire the castle in World War I. Then it was restored between 1980 and 1990.
Marmaris Castle has been working as a museum since 1990.
We recommend you see the artifacts in the museum from the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods.
Marmaris Hafsa Sultan Caravanserai
Suleiman the Magnificent built the Caravanserai in 1545 for Valide Hafsa Sultan, his mother.
And it has survived to the present day as one of the beautiful examples of Ottoman architecture. The Caravanserai lies on a narrow road leading towards Marmaris Castle.
It has been operated as an accommodation and trade center during the Rhodes Campaign. But now it works as a cafe and gift shop.
In the 16th century, Sariana lived in the vicinity of Marmaris. She was a famous fortune teller.
Once Sultan Suleiman I turned to her for help. He was worried about the outcome of the battle for the island of Rhodes. Sariana predicted a positive outcome, and it turned out to be true. So the troops of Sultan Suleiman I were victorious.
You will find the tomb of Sariana on the northeast hill of Marmaris, behind the mosque. And even today, you can see people coming to the tomb for help.
Ibrahim Aga Mosque
The Ibrahim Agha Mosque, a classic example of Ottoman architecture and a favorite among pilgrims, is situated in the Kemeralti neighborhood next to the market. It takes about 20 minutes by car to reach it from the center of Marmaris.
Constructors finished it in 1789.
Marmaris Archaeological Park
There is the Archeological Park on the Rocks of Goodness. And it stretched over 8,342 square meters and 2,100 square meters on the side of the hill.
You will find archaeological remains from the 4th century BC there.
Bedesten (Grand Bazaar)
Bedestens are the first examples of shopping malls in history. And they are among our cultural and historical values with their structures. They offer the opportunity to buy and sell valuable goods like silk and fabric.
So the Historical Bedesten in Marmaris Bazaar has been restored to its original state and is now a shopping center.
Taşhan Arched Bridge
Suleiman the Magnificent built Taşhan Arched Bridge in 1552. And you will find it 10 kilometers from the town of İskelebaş.
Halıcı Ahmet Urkay Museum
The Halıcı Ahmet Urkay Museum, which is 10 kilometers away from Marmaris and on the Muğla road, consists of two sections: ethnography and archeology.
If you like long walks and cycling in nature, the Bozburun Peninsula is perfect for you. Because it is home to ancient ruins, forests, steep slopes, and valleys.
By the way, the inhabitants of Bozburun are famous for their skill at building wooden gulets and traditional Turkish sailboats.
Mountains are stacked upon each other here. And it looks like they have fallen into the sea, creating a jagged coastline with only the occasional house in sight.
Bozukkale, on the tip of the peninsula, has the ruins of the city of Loryma. Also, it includes a castle built to protect the entrance to the gulf. The ruins are difficult to reach by car. And it is better to see them on a boat tour.
The Best Way To Explore Marmaris Bay
The best way to get acquainted with Marmaris Bay and the outlying areas is to take a boating trip to Ciftlik (the Farm).
It takes two hours to get to Ciftlik, a tiny community outside the bay. And it has the best and cleanest beach around Marmaris.
The cruise launches along the northeastern part of the bay, hugging the shoreline, and leaving behind Marmaris and its marina.
Read more about yachting and sailing in Marmaris in our post: