This post was last updated on 6th September 2019
Marmaris is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, there it is. I’ve just said it and I am not taking it back. If it were possible, I would drop everything and move to this gorgeous Mediterranean resort town in Mugla province in the south-west of Turkey. So what makes Marmaris my favorite place on earth? Aside from the beautiful beaches, great restaurants, nice food, friendly people,the countless Marmaris adventures, the amazing Marmaris nightlife on bar streets, nice hotels and beautiful sunrises, there are so many amazing things to do in Marmaris from day cruises on the ship, spending the day at the spa to just relaxing at the beach.
If you are an outdoor person, the adventures in Marmaris are endless. So here are the amazing and fun things to do in Marmaris. All you need to do is have time and enjoy this paradise.
Tip* You will madly fall in love with this place that you might want to relocate here. I was torn between traveling the entire world and staying in Marmaris forever, it is that breathtaking.
Things to do in Marmaris| What to do in Marmaris
1. Enjoy a full-day cruise on a boat from Marmaris to Dalyan
Activities to do on a full day ship cruise
- Swimming in the clear blue waters of the sea and sunbathing.
- Then in the small boats, you head to the turtles’ beach. It is called the turtles’ beach because of the turtles that are always at this beach around June/July every year.
- View the rock-cut tombs of the ancient Kings as you cruise on a small boat on Dalyan river. The view is amazing and the stories behind the Tombs as told by the tour guides are fascinating to hear.
- Enjoy the mud bath. (ignore the smell and enjoy the bath). It might sound weird but yes, you literally bathe in mud. You might be thinking it is a crazy idea but actually many people pay to do this. It is one of the fun and unusual things to do in Marmaris. The mud is usually warm and perfect for the skin – your skin is left glowing after the mud bath. It is also believed that after the mud bath, your life is prolonged for more 5 years. (I mean who doesn’t want 5 more years added to their lives!)
- Swim in a thermal pool.Yes, the pool with warm water. I know what you think, that it is a jacuzzi – no it is a thermal pool. The thermal pool is located where the mud bath is. So after enjoying the mud bath, clean up and hop into the thermal swimming pool. It is such a relaxing experience and one of the cool Marmaris activities.
I really enjoyed spending the whole day on a boat cruise plus all those incredible activities, the cruise I booked was amazing from the service, food to everything in between. And if you’re wondering which cruise to book (since they can be many), this is the exact full-day cruise I booked and you can also book it from getyourguide to have a great time as I did.
2. Visit the Marmaris castle
Unlike Istanbul which is full of historical places and Unesco sites, Marmaris has a few of them and Marmaris castle is one of the most important historical centers in the area. Dating back in 3000 BC, the Marmaris castle is one of the few castles in Turkey that also posses a museum. For Marmaris vacationers that want to experience a bit of history, the Marmaris castle is one of the places to visit in Marmaris. The entrance fee to the castle and the archaeological museum is just 12 TL (Turkish Lira) and it opens every day from 8 30 am to 7 pm.
3. Visit the Nimara cave
Previously used as a place of worship by the ancient residents of the town of Nimara, Nimara cave is located at the highest point of Heaven Island just outside of Marmaris town. The cave also offers amazing views of Marmaris since it is at the highest point of Heaven Island.
Dating back in 3000 BC, the Nimara cave housed rituals and religious practices by the ancient people in honor of Goddess Armetis and Mother Goddes Leto who is believed to be the Mother of God Apollo. So if you want to learn more about the ancient life in Marmaris, visiting the Nimara cave will take you back in history.
4. Spend the day at the Spa |Spa activities in Marmaris
Wondering what more activities to do in Marmaris? Why not spend a day or an afternoon at the spa. A Turkish spa is not your typical kind of spa, it has so much more than you might have seen in your country. Here is a list of Spa activities in Marmaris.
Top things to do in Marmaris on a spa day
- Take a Turkish bath.
A Turkish bath which is locally known as Hammam is one of the most relaxing things to do in Turkey Marmaris. The bath is not typically private but one of the ways to relax your body. If you visit Turkey, a Turkish bath is a must-do. It is a very famous activity in Marmaris that most spas offer.
I had an amazing and relaxing experience taking a Turkish bath that I wish I could do it again. Some established hotels offer this service but if you want everything organized for you prior plus hotel pick up and drop off, this is the package I recommend as I was fully satisfied with their services. It also comes with both the foam and oil massage plus enjoying the sauna.
- Go for an oil massage.
Relax from the trip’s fatigue by enjoying an oil massage from the professionals.
- Enjoy the sauna
- Relax from the steam bath
- Enjoy the fish pedicure. This is one of the exciting things to do Marmaris. The fish pedicure is done by putting your feet in a container of water with small fish called Garra rufa fish. The fish pedicure activity is very famous in Turkey as it is one of the origins of the Garra rufa fish. The experience is amazing and tickling as the fish poke your feet to remove the dead skin. By end of the pedicure, the feet are left smooth with no dead skin.
5. Go for a Marmaris village tour
The best way to learn about the locals of this gorgeous resort town plus their culture and traditions is by going for a village tour. Marmaris may be one of the popular destinations in Turkey with a number of tourists, but it still also observes the enchanting traditions of this gorgeous nation. With the village tour, you’ll be able to visit Bayir village where you’ll get a chance to taste locally made honey (trust me you don’t want to miss this), and later head to Turgut village where you’ll be hosted by locals in their homes to learn more about their way of life and you’ll be treated to a few delicacies – (yes Turkish people are very generous).
Please note that not all village tours are created equal and to have the experience you expect, it might depend on the tour you opt for. This village tour is highly recommended as the tour guides are very knowledgeable, they explain everything well and are friendly which will make your village tour more enjoyable.
6. Visit the Turgut waterfall. (Selalesi)
The waterfall is located in the small village of Turgut. It might not be one of the fancy waterfalls to see but you can add it to your Marmaris itinerary as it is a beautiful place to relax and dive into the ice-cold water. If you book this Marmaris village tour, it will also include a visit to the Turgut waterfall.
*However much it says don’t jump, you gotta taste how deep the water is.
7. Visit Jesus beach (Kizkumu beach).
This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Marmaris which is approximately 36km southwest of Marmaris town. There is a walkway in between the sea that allows one to walk through the sea from one end to the other.
The tales as to why the beach was named Jesus beach are interesting but I will just share with you one that fascinated me the most.
The tales of Jesus beach.
The legends say that when the daughter of a Bybaboss King fell in love with a fisherman, it angered the king. So the King gave a directive to capture both of them and kill the fisherman.
When the Princess heard of the news that the soldiers where planning to kill the fisherman from the beach where they used to secretly meet, in hopes of saving the fisherman, the princess panicked and instead ran into the sea.
And as soon as she had stepped into the sea, a miracle happened. A walkway in the form of sand was made for her and the fisherman to walk through and later covered with water just behind them so that they are not followed by the soldiers.
When the soldiers realized that they couldn’t catch them, one of them aimed an arrow at the fisherman but accidentally hit the princess who bled and died. Her blood was spilled and that part of the sea became red instantly.
8. Explore the Grand bazaar
Aside from the biggest Grand Bazaar in Istanbul that you might have explored or at least heard of since its the oldest and biggest covered market in Europe, Marmaris also has a Grand bazaar with countless shops selling anything you can think of. The grand bazaar in Marmaris is the perfect place to buy souvenirs from the famous Turkish spices, the delicious Turkish delight to other handcrafted Turkish items.
9. Spend the day at the beach.
10. Watch the Dancing fountain of Marmaris.
What seems like a normal fountain during the day transforms into a sightseeing adventure at night. Every day around 8 30 pm, the show begins with the fountain splashing water in different colors, different kinds of music being played in the background and people from all walks of life dancing and others taking videos and photos.
What might seem like a kid’s show has transformed to be one of the major tourist attractions in Marmaris for people of all ages and the best way to enjoy the Marmaris nightlife. This is a must-see sight in Marmaris as it is the best water show in town. To think that I almost missed it since I just stumbled upon it by accident.
11. Watch the sunrise.
Watching the sunrise over the sea is everything. I literally woke up 3 times in the night not to miss the beautiful sunrise of Marmaris. First, at 3 am, 4 am and at 5 am. I finally captured this amazing shot at 5 30 am. (the sun was rising at 5 30 am during the month of June).
This photo is not edited at all. This is how beautiful the Marmaris sunrise is!!
12. Walk around Marmaris town and play tourist.
Marmaris is a fun city to walk around and play tourist as there are so many sculptures within the town. Enjoy the beauty of this amazing town and do some window shopping.
13. Drive a go Kart.
This is a fun and thrilling activity more so if you don’t know how to drive a car but want to have some adrenalin kick in. There are a few places in Marmaris that offer this activity. If you want to go for it, you can book it in advance from here. The fee includes an instructor to help you stay on track. (I am bad at driving and I was able to actually enjoy it without crushing into anyone – so if I did it, you too can!)
14. Visit the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Monument in Marmaris city center
Ataturk was a Turkish field marshal and the founder of the Republic of Turkey who became the first Turkish president in 1923 until when he died in 1938. He played a huge role in rebuilding Turkey into a modern nation and was rewarded with a surname Ataturk by the Turkish parliament in 1934 which means “Father of the Turks”
Till this day the Ataturk monument has remained a big tourist attraction in Marmaris in honor of the huge role Ataturk played in reforming Turkey.
15. Visit the Marmaris Marina
Take a stroll around the Marmaris Marina and get a glimpse of different types of cool and beautiful yachts docked along the pier. The marina also has a number of cool restaurants with live music performances making it a perfect place to sit back and relax while enjoying the amazing Turkish entertainment
16. Enjoy Marmaris nightlife.
Marmaris nightlife is like no other, it’s like the night brings out more energy out of people. Enjoy the street music and open clubs on the beautiful streets of Marmaris with a view of the sea. Catch up with old and new friends at the happy hour or just chat the night away as you dance to the music.
17. Participate in water sports
One of the fun things to do in Marmaris is participating in water sports. Other than swimming, you can also participate in snorkeling, scuba diving, banana boat ride, kite surfing, jet ski, and a bunch of other water activities.
Here are some of the fun water activities you can book
18. Go for a jeep safari tour
Enjoy some of Marmaris’ off beaten paths and visiting small villages by going for jeep safari tour which is guided by knowledgable tour guides. You can book your jeep safari tour from here to be able to enjoy the untouched scenery and remote areas of Marmaris.
19. Visit Marmaris national park on a horse safari
Visiting Marmaris national park can’t get any better than doing it on a horse. Saddle through orange groves and pine forests on a horse as you take in all the views of the picturesque mountains and all the amazing nature Marmaris provides.
The horse safari is also perfect for kids and anyone who has never been on a horse as they’re instructors at all times. If you want to experience something different, then going for this horse safari in Marmaris national park is one of the unique things to do in Marmaris.
20. Go to Atlantis Waterpark
Located at the seafront of Marmaris long beach, Atlantis waterpark is the most popular water park in Marmaris that not only provides beach access but also a great opportunity to enjoy the various water slides. You buy this skip the line ticket to the Atlantis waterpark from here. The advantage of purchasing the ticket online is that it comes with pick up and drop off services from your hotel.
General travel tips for visiting Marmaris
How to get to Marmaris
Most travelers first visit Istanbul before heading to Marmaris. So if you’re already in Istanbul, this how you can get to Marmaris. From Istanbul, you can either take a 9-hours bus to Marmaris or fly from Istanbul to Dalaman airport. There are a number of airlines operating this route from Turkish airlines, Pegasus airlines, and many others. From Dalam airport, you can take another 1-hour bus to Marmaris bus station where you then take a taxi directly to your hotel. Alternatively, you can arrange for a private airport pick up from Dalaman airport to your hotel.
If your gateway to Turkey is Marmaris first, then you can still fly directly to Dalaman airport as its an international airport. From the airport, follow what I’ve explained above to get to your Marmaris hotel.
What to wear in Marmaris?
There is literally no restriction when it comes to what to wear in Marmaris. Just wear what you will be comfortable in. Whether pants, shorts, tank tops, or dresses – you name it, pretty much everything is acceptable in Marmaris since its a beach town.
You can also shop some of my Amazon picks from below.
What to pack for Marmaris
Since most people come to Marmaris for a summer holiday, a packing list for Marmaris would include literally everything you would pack for a beach getaway. So here are some of the Marmaris essentials that you shouldn’t forget to pack.
Marmaris is all about hitting the beach and participating in countless water activities. Even when heading for a Turkish bath, you’ll still need to be in a swimsuit. Amazon has a couple of highly-rated swimsuits which you can buy from here for the ladies and some cool beach shorts for men from here.
No one wants to have a bad sunburn after an amazing time at the beach. So before you head to Marmaris, don’t forget to buy sunscreen. The best sunscreen is one which has an SPF of more than 30. If you currently don’t have one, you can purchase it from here.
A universal adapter
Electric sockets differ from country to country and Marmaris is no exception, so instead of buying an adapter specifically for Turkey, I’d suggest buying this universal adapter so that you can use it in whichever place you go to.
No beach vacay is complete without the beach sandals. I find these ones really comfortable. They are just a few bucks on Amazon but the quality is much better compared to the price.
If you plan on going for snorkeling, don’t forget to pack these water shoes before you go to Marmaris.
A power bank
These days with our phones in our hands literally all the time, you can’t guarantee how long the battery will take you. That’s why you should always have a power bank with you. This is the power bank I recommend as it keeps enough power to charge a phone up to 3 times.
Waterproof phone case
As you already know, Marmaris is all about enjoying the beach life and since you need to protect your phone from water, this waterproof phone case will be at your service.
Well, it’s not something to pack per se but before you go to Marmaris, buy travel insurance that will cover you for all the unexpected that comes with being adventurous. I recommend buying world nomads travel insurance as it covers a number of countries and activities. You can actually easily buy it online through this link. Or alternatively, use the widget box below to request for a travel insurance quote.
I could go on and on to list a number of items you need for Marmaris but I will end here. I have another post that has everything you need to pack for a beach holiday getaway. Read it from here to get an idea of what you’ll need in Marmaris.
1. What to pack for a weekend getaway
Where to stay in Marmaris|Marmaris Hotels
Marmaris is a beach town with so many beautiful hotels that it might become a challenge to decide on where to stay. Traveling to Marmaris means staying right on the beach or at least 2 blocks away. So here are some of the amazing Marmaris hotels to stay at.
Luxury Hotels in Marmaris
Kahveci Alibey Luxury Concept
Forget just being near the beach, Kahveci Alibey Luxury Concept is beachfront, “literally floating on water”. Now nothing can beat that since the sole purpose of going to Marmaris is to be right on the water. The hotel provides breathtaking views plus a private beach area for guests. So if you’re looking for your paradise, then book it from here on either Booking.com or on Hotelcombined if you’re already in Turkey.
Marmaris Beach Hotel
Situated right in front of the beach, Marmaris Beach Hotel is the perfect place to stay to wake to the amazing views of the sea. With an outdoor pool plus a private area at the beach equipped with sun loungers, a stay at the Marmaris Beach Hotel cannot be beaten. You can book your exquisite room at the Marmaris Beach Hotel with Booking.com or with Hotelcombined.
8 oDa Marmaris
If you want to experience your Marmaris stay even better, then why not opt for an ApartHotel (Apartment Hotel) kind of setting. 8 oDa Marmaris provides absolute luxury right in the heart of Marmaris and in close proximity to the Marmaris castle. With this place, you get the home feeling while still on vacation. Compare prices on both Booking.com and Hotelcombined for the best deal. A stay at 8 oDa Marmaris is the real meaning of a home away from home place.
Mid-range priced hotels in Marmaris
Located just 2 blocks away from the beach and close to everything else you might need, this a perfect hotel to stay at. The staffs are very friendly and helpful, the rooms are amazingly big and clean. You also get a view of the sea from the balcony. For a perfect stay at the Sunflower hotel, book directly with the hotel from here.
Candan Citybeach Hotel
Nothing that can beat a hotel that is beachfront and has an affordable price – Candan Citybeach hotel offers exactly that. With this hotel, you not only get amazing views of the sea but also the mountain views! Now that’s what I call a perfect Marmaris stay. To book a room at Candan city beach hotel, you can use either Booking.com or Hotelcombined.
You might not access the beach 2 steps out of your hotel room but this hotel is just 300m from the seafront – and with their affordable price, 300m is honestly nothing. The staff is friendly and it also provides a swimming pool if you want to take a break from floating in the sea. You can book your stay with Hotel Dost either on Booking.com if you’re still out of Turkey or use Hotelcombined if you’ve already stepped foot in this incredible place.
What is the best time to visit Marmaris
The best time to visit Marmaris is during the hot temperatures since it is a resort beach town for enjoying the sun. July and August are the hottest months averaging 28 degrees Celcius and can go as high as 42 with the longest hours of sunshine. Since all Marmaris holiday-makers are all about taking advantage of the sun, these months are the high peak of Marmaris with tourists everywhere. If you don’t mind the crowd, then July and August are the best months to visit Marmaris for maximum tanning.
If you still want to enjoy all that except the crowds, then June and September (late spring and early fall) is the best time to visit Marmaris. Generally, the temperatures drop a little bit compared to those in summer and the number of tourists all reduce a bit.
With this detailed guide, I hope you now know all the things to do in Marmaris plus the general Marmaris travel tips to help you plan your trip to this gorgeous Mediterranean resort town better.
More Turkey posts to help plan your Eurasia trip
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