Marmaris Turkey is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. It’s home to luxury hotels, charming pubs, hundreds of beaches and coves, some of the best food in the world, tons of shops, amazing excursions, and crazy nightlife.
There are so many things to do in this bustling holiday town. From sunbathing on some of the most famous beaches in the world to buying a truckload of goodies for a week's wages, there is an activity here to suit your needs.
This Marmaris travel guide can help you get to know more about activities and things to do in Marmaris. We've highlighted some of the best restaurants, hotels, bars, and many more, and also added tips on how you can save money when holidaying in The Pearl of The Turkish Riviera.
What is Marmaris?
Marmaris is a picturesque coastal holiday town located in the Mugla Province in Turkey. It resides in the southwest of Turkey, alongside the coastline of the Turkish Riviera. It is home to golden beaches, serene coves, lush hillsides, and the bluest waters you've ever seen. The population normally sits at around 40.000 but during the summer season, can rise to 400.000 people.
The Marmaris peninsula is dotted with magnificent landmarks, from ancient battle sites to uninhabited islands open for tourism and waters home to many sea life unique to this part of the world. But the city center is where most of the attraction lies for many holidayers.
Marmaris is famous for its many restaurants. Whatever you may be craving, chances are Marmaris will have a restaurant serving it. But of course, the most sought-after dishes in Marmaris are the mouth-watering kebabs.
Most of the partying also take place in the city center. Bar Street, in particular, is a haven for madness during evenings and night-time. If you're looking to let loose and drink till the early morning, the bar street will probably be the place for you.
History of Marmaris
According to Herodotus (a famous historian from ancient Greece), Marmaris has been around for over 5 millennia. However, this cute little holiday resort in the Mediterranean has more than seen its share of conquest. The same sunny beaches that make it so attractive now, unfortunately, also made it quite attractive to famous conquerors of the past.
First, in 300 BC, Alexander The Great took a liking to Marmaris (Caria at the time). Then, The Knights of St. John conquered the surrounding areas to fortify their main castle at Rhodes. And finally, Suleiman the Magnificent of The Ottoman Empire decided it was time for a quick vacation and took the town for himself, after years of bloody battles, that is.
Today, Marmaris still carries the marks of its long history. Mainly, Marmaris Castle, located in the center of town, serves as an exciting monument and a must-visit museum for travelers. The feeling of standing in the same courtyard as many famous conquerors of the past is an especially cool one for the history buffs. The castle is also quite high, providing a panoramic view of Marmaris for those looking to share a few holiday photos.
Is Marmaris Safe?
Marmaris has had its fair share of trouble this year, and as a result, many holidayers are unsure as to how safe they will be if they do decide to come here. To remedy this, we've conducted an interview with the Marmaris Town Council mayor, Ufuk Beytekin.
We asked Mr. Beytekin about the level of crime in Marmaris, as well as the recent forest fires and Covid-19 precautions they are taking to make sure Marmaris is safe this year. You can read our full article here, at 'Is Marmaris Safe?'
Level of Crime
Crime is a big concern among travelers when planning a holiday. In many touristic areas of the world, crime is a serious problem, and let's face it, no one wants to go through an unpleasant situation during a holiday.
Luckily, though, Marmaris has always been essentially crime-free. It is, in fact, one of the safest holiday towns in Turkey. However, one aspect of Marmaris that all visitors should be aware of is the traffic.
During summers, the roads are quite populated, and with the bar street so close by, it is very important to be careful when crossing the road. Be sure to double-check at all times and be especially careful around zebra crossings, as many drivers tend to disregard these in Turkey.
The municipal government has also installed several cameras that offer visitors the chance to view Marmaris live. You can find the live feeds here.
2023 Update: Since the publication of this article, new crime figures have been released, and luckily for both holidayers and locals, the crime rates have decreased to record lows. This is in part related to the municipal government's actions to make sure that Marmaris maintains its positive image for potential visitors, especially following the forest fires.
Precautions Against Covid-19
As of 2023, Covid-19 levels have come close to zero in Turkey, and wearing masks is no longer mandatory. By no means does that mean we are completely in the clear, though. So, the municipal government continues taking precautions against the spreading of the virus.
All establishments have redesigned interior areas to accommodate fewer people at the same time, and deliveries of disinfectants are being carried out regularly. Other than that, the government has also audited all restaurants and takeaways to make sure everyone implements the precautionary measures against Covid-19.
The nearby forest areas were affected very badly by the fires back in August. Some forest sections around Marmaris have burnt down altogether. This brings out the question of whether fires might break out again this summer.
Fortunately, the government has taken many steps to ensure that the forests around Marmaris will be safe against fires this year. This includes extensive monitoring, stationing fire helicopters in Mugla province, and increasing the number of forest rangers.
Dalaman Airport to Marmaris
Dalaman International Airport is the nearest airport to Marmaris. It is also the first destination in Turkey for most visitors flying here. But it is almost 100 kilometers from the city center, which means you may need to make use of one of the airport transfer services to get to your hotel. For an in-depth guide, check out our Dalaman to Marmaris guide.
Private transfers are cars or luxury vans that visitors can hire to take them into town. With these, you don't have to worry about anything as they pick you up from the airport and drop you off wherever you choose. They are very convenient and you can find a large number of transfer services both at the airport itself and online.
However, private transfers are quite expensive, with a typical return trip costing anywhere between £40-£60. If you do decide to book a private transfer, make sure to do so with a reputable firm. The prices may be a bit higher, but you won't have to worry about them arriving late, or in fact, not arriving at all.
There are two airport transfer services at Dalaman provided by the government, Havas and Muttas. These are transfer buses located at the airport exit. They are the most common type of transfer used by tourists and are very cheap, priced at 60 - 85 TRY.
Taxis are arguably the most convenient mode of transfer into Marmaris. They are located at the airport exit and operate at all hours of the day. As of 2023, taxis from Dalaman Airport to Marmaris city center cost around 450 TRY (£20). Mind you, the TRY price may increase as a result of inflation, but GBP-wise prices tend to remain the same most of the time.
Best Hotels in Marmaris
Deciding where to stay is an important aspect of planning a holiday. Luckily, Marmaris offers hundreds of hotels from reasonably priced apart-hotels, to five-star extravagant holiday resorts like The Grand Yazici.
We've compared hundreds of Marmaris hotels in terms of prices and comfort, and narrowed them down to the very best. To learn more, check out our Top 10 Best Hotels in Marmaris guide.
We won't be naming any specific hotels on this particular guide as it will take way too long, but will try to give you some insider pointers on how to choose the most suitable ones for you.
Marmaris City Center
The city center offers the most convenience for those looking to enjoy the many restaurants, bars, beaches, and shops of the city. Marmaris is quite tightly packed, so most hotels near the city center will be within walking distance of the major attractions.
Many of the five-star hotels in Marmaris are located outside the city center due to a lack of space. So, in the city center, you'll find many apart-hotels and boutique hotels. These are apartment blocks, usually about three stories high, that have been turned into hotels after the tourism boom in the 90s. They are usually very lively and have high reviews.
If you're looking for a more reasonably priced stay, apart-hotels in the city center are a great option. They provide many of the amenities offered in some of the bigger hotels, like spas and pools, and prices may be as low as £30 per night.
When looking for a hotel, make sure to research and compare prices from different websites. By doing so, you may save up to 20% as prices vary greatly between websites.
Hotels in Icmeler
Icmeler is Marmaris' neighbor, located 8 km from the city center. It is also a very popular tourist destination thanks to the many beaches and coves that surround it. The settlement itself is quite small, which means however far your hotel is from the center, chances are you can probably walk there in 15 mins.
Icmeler has many hotels and apart-hotels. Hotel prices here are much lower than those in Marmaris city center because of the extra distance, so if you don't mind taking a quick bus into town now and then, Icmeler will probably be the best option.
Typical rates for decent five-star hotels in Icmeler are around £50 per night (per person), and you can expect to find apart-hotels for around £20.
Hotels in Armutalan
Armutalan is the smallest of the three, located 1.5 km away from the city center. It's very close to the city center, but when you go there for the first time, it seems like a smaller version of Marmaris, with its own shops, restaurants, bars, etc.
Armutalan is a great choice for those that want a reasonably priced stay and don't mind the walk into the city center. A typical apart-hotel in Armutalan costs around £30 per night.
Where to Eat in Marmaris
Marmaris is home to some of the best cuisine in the world. There are over 300 restaurants in Marmaris, serving anything from jacket potatoes to meter-long pide and kebabs. We highly recommend you pick where you'd like to go beforehand because you might have a chance to taste the best food you've ever had here in Marmaris.
There is nothing better than cooling off and enjoying a delicious kebab with the family after a tiring day under the sun. Marmaris kebabs are well known in the rest of Turkey as well, which is why thousands of Turkish tourists also flock to the restaurants and grill houses in the evenings.
The most popular restaurants in Marmaris are generally either in Netsel Marina, Long Beach, or Icmeler, so we focused this overview on these areas. But to learn more about the best restaurants in Marmaris, check out our Top 10 Best Restaurants in Marmaris list.
Dining at Netsel Marina
Netsel Marina is where many of the wealthy yacht enthusiasts in Marmaris hang out. Along with many exquisite restaurants, it is also home to big brand stores such as Vogue and Helly Hansen. Restaurants in Netsel marina are usually positioned facing the sea, which makes for amazing evening meals admiring the beauty of the sea at sundown.
The marina houses some of the top restaurants of Marmaris, like the famous Pineapple Restaurant located at the end of the promenade facing the sailboats. The prices are higher in this part of town. For example, a standard serving of Adana Kebab will cost around 80 TRY.
You can expect to have a nice meal with drinks for around 200 TRY in the Marina. The prices may seem a bit high, but the marina is your best chance to meet celebrities on your holiday!
Dining at Long Beach
Long Beach is a wide pedestrian way, spanning the entire length of Marmaris' main road. It faces the beach on one side, including the tourist favorite central beach, and numerous restaurants on the other side. Restaurants at Long Beach are the center of dining in Marmaris.
It is also favored highly by the locals, which makes for a great chance to make new friends or ask for advice. A typical main dish with drinks costs around 175 TRY at Long Beach. Some of the most popular restaurants in Long Beach are Jimmy Martini's and Karen Brasserie. For dessert lovers, it is a crime not to visit Karen Brasserie at least once. We even have a whole review dedicated to Karen Brasserie, which you can find here.
Dining at Icmeler
Icmeler also has many great restaurants. What separates Icmeler restaurants from the others is the serenity. Restaurants in Icmeler are spread out more than those in the city center, which means you can have a relaxing meal with the family or a romantic date.
Some of the beachside restaurants like Tiki Beach are huge favorites among locals and returning visitors. The lush atmosphere and spacey dining areas make for great meals indeed.
Where to Drink in Marmaris
Marmaris is famous for its many pubs and cocktail bars. During summers, bars along Long Beach and Bar Street are packed with locals and visitors looking to drink and have a good time. It's an incredibly fun activity for many holidayers to take part in the many shows, special nights, and drinking games that take place nightly in many of the popular bars.
If you're especially interested in taking part in some of the more famous shows taking place in Marmaris like the incredible Cabaret and drag acts in Talk of the Town, it's a good idea to research and book a table beforehand as many of these sell out pretty quickly.
With that said, let's have a look at our overview of bars and pubs in Marmaris, for more information, check out our Complete Guide to Drinking in Marmaris!
Marmaris' bar street is notorious for some of the wildest clubs and parties that take place here. From foam parties to neon and blackout parties, the Bar Street has activities for all party-lovers looking to explore new venues. For those more into the music, there are always a few talented DJs performing live in the techno clubs.
Most nightclubs charge around 150 TRY for entry, and drinks vary between 100 - 150 TRY. Keep in mind that most of the clubs are packed full during peak hours, so if you want a place at the front for a particular DJ or party, you might want to come a bit earlier, at around 8-9.
One more thing to keep in mind; as the clubs are so full, paying with a credit card might be a bit hard if you're not getting your drinks from the bar. If you don't want to navigate through a crowd of people to get drinks, you can grab a couple of beers from one of the wandering waiters, but you'd have to pay with cash, of course.
Clubs in Bar Street are also perfect for those looking to socialize and make friends with the locals. Especially during weekends, the clubs are full of easy-going locals looking to have fun and enjoy the crazy atmosphere. Most locals speak English very well. Marmaris is also pretty boring during the off-season, so it's a great chance for the locals to socialize and make new friends during the summer as well.
Long Beach (Uzunyali)
Long Beach is a great destination for families or those that want a more relaxing drink. The bars are more spacey and most of them have great kitchens as well. Rather than loud music, bars in Long Beach have a more chilled-out environment. Here, you can find a number of dance nights and karaoke nights that you can choose to watch.
Long Beach spans almost the whole of Marmaris' shoreline, so it might be a bit hard to browse all the bars and events when you're there. But in general, bars closer to the city center are more lush and cocktail-oriented, whereas those at the beach focus more on events and activities like theater plays and dance shows, and more fun for families.
Many of the bars along the beach also offer service to the beach area, where you can choose to escape with friends if the activities prove too much for you. The sunbeds are great to enjoy the summer breeze while listening to the waves or chatting with friends.
Most bars along Long Beach charge around 80 TRY for a single beer, but prices may vary depending on location. Some bars bring out kegs straight from the cellar for large groups which are more economical than ordering separately and make for really fun holiday photos (and no, they don't let you keep the keg).
Icmeler is also a popular drinking destination for tourists, supporting some of Marmaris' most famous bars like Tiki Beach and Scotia. Bars here are much more spacey compared to those in the city and offer a peaceful atmosphere where you can take in all the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Most bars in Icmeler are located on the beach, which is perfectly still in the evenings and creates a romantic feel for those looking for a romantic evening meal. The activities are more oriented towards families as well, ranging from Bingo night to Marmaris trivia quest.
Most bars in Icmeler are more luxurious than the ones in the city center, but prices in Icmeler are generally a bit lower because of the extra distance. So, a drink here costs around 60 - 90 TRY in most of the beachside bars.
Shopping in Marmaris
One of Marmaris' biggest attractions is definitely the shopping. There is no better feeling than stuffing an extra suitcase with big brand jumpers, bags, and shoes that you bought almost for free. If you're planning to do a bit of shopping on your holiday, then you're in luck because there are clothing stores almost everywhere in Marmaris.
But there are many things to consider when choosing where to shop. For example, did you know that prices can vary up to 50% depending on the location? We talked more about how to find the best deals in our Complete Guide to Shopping in Marmaris, which we recommend taking a look at if you're planning to do a lot of shopping.
So, let's take a look at some of the popular locations for shopping in Marmaris, and what you should know about them.
The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is the biggest shopping center in Marmaris, housing hundreds of shops selling anything from Yeezy's to Hookah Pipes. It is a paradise for those that love to shop for clothes and accessories, where you can buy twenty pairs of Ray-Bans for the price of one, and get yourself a fresh pair of Nikes with the coins you found at the bottom of your bag.
Seriously, the back exit of The Grand Bazaar looks like the Grammys. Not for no reason though, as the shops in The Grand Bazaar keep a close eye on the newest releases and get them before everywhere else in Marmaris, so if there is a particular pair of trainers or handbag you're looking for, The Grand Bazaar is your best chance of finding it.
The prices in The Grand Bazaar are higher compared to some of the other shopping centers in Marmaris though. It's hard to give an estimated price of items as these vary greatly depending on the design and the particular store, but you can expect the prices to be around 30% more in general, compared to the rest of Marmaris.
Marmaris' main street spans the whole distance from the city center to The Grand Yazici and is home to hundreds of replica stores. These are the most convenient stores for those staying near Long Beach because you'll probably be walking past them anyway when going down to the beach.
Shops on the main street are packed full in the summers because of their convenient location. While these may not be as design-oriented as the shops in The Grand Bazaar, they still have quite a variety of designs of some of the biggest brands.
Prices in the main street are not the cheapest in Marmaris, but they definitely are cheaper than The Grand Bazaar.
Icmeler Main Street
Icmeler's main street is also full of replica stores that offer reasonable prices for visitors. It is almost like a smaller version of The Grand Bazaar. Design-wise, it may not be as comprehensive as the prior, but when it comes to prices, the shops in Icmeler blow the rest out of the water.
The stores in Icmeler usually receive fewer customers, but more and more tourists are beginning to make the extra journey to Icmeler to get the biggest discounts. You can shop here for around 20%-30% less than in the city center. If you're planning to do a lot of shopping, Icmeler is a must-see option. It's also a great chance to explore Icmeler for those staying in the city center, as it also has numerous beaches, restaurants, and pubs.
Marmaris is famous for the countless number of activities you can take part in during your holidays, whether it be sailing away on a pirate ship, or diving for treasure. There are so many activities you can take part in with the family, as a couple or even on your own!
Some excursions, however, offer incredibly unique experiences like the Semi Submarine, where you can see the bottom of the sea while sitting and drinking a beer! Or, the crazy Davy Jones pirate ship tour, which is perfect for families wanting to give their kids lifelong memories.
There are so many different activities you can do in Marmaris, so it would take hours to explain them all, so below you'll find an overview of some of the most common activities and prices you can expect to pay.
Boat tours are the most common sea activities in Marmaris. During the summer, around 70 cruises sail away from the marina to the many coves and sea caves around Marmaris on a daily basis. Cruise tours in Marmaris range anywhere from small boats with sunbeds at the top to ultra-luxe tour yachts cruising to the crème de la crème of Marmaris coves.
The more economic tours cost around 120 TRY per person, and last around 4-6 hours with one complimentary meal and other food and beverage options once on board. These generally travel to the nearby coves and lagoons of Marmaris which are quite nice but can get very crowded during the summer.
Some of the more expensive options, however, like The Davy Jones, or luxury yacht cruises, travel further to the uninhabited islands around Marmaris and visit the best coves and underwater landmarks such as sunken ships, which you can snorkel down to. These are absolutely stunning and definitely worth the price, as some of them are unique to this part of the world. Typical prices for these high-end cruises are around 250 TRY per person.