Marmaris or Green Marmaris as it likes to be known, is, at least to tourists, the most famous town on this part of the coast, as is evidenced by the crowds of tourists packing the beach, the cafes, and the hotels.
Although it will come as a huge culture shock after peaceful Yenice, it is still worth the occasional trip, if only so that you will enjoy the valley that much more when you come back. Having said that, there are a few interesting parts of Marmaris that are well worth a visit.
Marmaris itself is centred on the long sprawl of beach, though it does go back a long way inland. As you drive in, you come to a big set of traffic lights just before the beach itself (which obviously is a T junction!) To your right is the big Migros supermarket, food etc on the ground floor, and all sorts of household goods on the first floor. And above this, a large multi storey car park – which is convenient for the supermarket, the local banks, the souk, and the castle. If you do use it, you can get at least a free hour by spending a certain amount in Migros, signs on the pillars tell you how much.
If you do not wish to park in here, or it is closed, there are places to park on the opposite side of the main road – either on the streets, or there are various small car parks where you hand over your keys, and the cars are all crammed in to the smallest possible space!
(Note that unless you want to visit around here, you should drive further along the beach, as it is otherwise a very long walk.)
The Castle Courtyard
One of the most interesting parts of Marmaris is the area around the castle, and the castle itself (left at the T-junction and walk for a few hundred metres).
The Castle contains an archaeological museum, with many statues dating back to Ionian times. It also has a number of other artefacts, both from the sea locally, and from other sites along the peninsula.
From the walk around the walls, you also get fabulous views of the marina, and the bay.
The area around the castle is also one of the oldest (and quietest) parts of Marmaris, and is a very pleasant walk in the shade of the castle walls.
The Marina, and the old area around the castle
The souk is hidden behind the shops opposite Migros, and its alleys run down to the beach. It is a complete maze in which it is very easy to get lost, and, whilst it is easy to get out of, it is almost impossible to get out where you thought you wanted to get out!
The centre of this area is a mosque, from which alleys (fairly wide) run off in all directions. Every imaginable tourist shop is in here – selling fake anything you can think of, from electronics to football shirts, from perfumes to leather. As there are many of each type of shop, it is relatively easy to play off one vendor against another, and you can usually get a price close to if not better than what you would get in the market. And, for those who like to shop in a bit more peace, there are even some fixed price shops.
Speaking of the market. It is held every Thursday. To get there from here, walk from the beach back towards Migros (on the left), and then take the first left. This road runs parallel to the beach road, and you walk along here for approximately half a mile. The market is off to your right, easiest way to find it is to watch for all the people carrying black carrier bags (standard market packaging!) and to walk towards where they have just come from!
The market itself is on 2 floors. The ground floor is geared more towards locals, and here you will find all the fruit and vegetables, the spices, the cheese, the sweets and biscuits. The first floor is where all the tourist stalls are, and is a complete madhouse. There is a route round the outside, and then alleys across the middle. If you are new to Turkish markets, then I suggest you stay on the outside, this way you always have fresh air on one side of you, and don’t feel quite so claustrophobic.
The main beach
Marmaris beach pretty much stretches from one end of the town to the other, and most of it is covered by sun loungers.
From here enjoy the walk for as far as you want to along the beach. For something like about 3 kilometres, there is beach on the left, and cafés on the right, of all different varieties. They have one thing in common – each one will try to drag you in!
On the beach itself are occasional water amusements, such as jet skis, banana boats, etc, all with their prices clearly marked.
Also along here is the Atlantis Water Park. This is opposite the beach, and is a great place for kids of all ages, with several water slides of varying degree of terror. Here you can buy an all day tickets for a reasonable price. But once you are in you are trapped, and when hunger hits will have to eat very expensive chips, which is pretty much all they do. A good day to take a packed lunch!
Apart from this, the water park is a good place to spend the day. The queues for the slides are not long, there are enough sun loungers, and lots of umbrellas. The changing rooms and toilets are also very clean and spacious.
Certainly Marmaris has enough for a good family day out without anyone having to feel bored. Combine the water park with the shopping, the castle with the walk, and there is enough for everyone.
As well as in the souks, and especially away from the beach, there are many other shops, including large supermarkets, and pretty much anything else you could ever need.
There is also a go-karting centre. This is not in Marmaris itself, so ignore the signs to the town centre and continue along the main road past all the massive all-inclusive resort hotels, and you will come to it on the right.
Getting there by car
From Yenice, take the southerly route back to the main D550, and then turn right and take this south towards Dalaman. At the traffic lights at the bottom of the hill, take the D400 right towards Marmaris. Continue on this road until you reach Marmaris itself, and then follow the signs for the town centre ("Şehir merkezi").
Beware that along the Marmaris road is a jendarmerie, outside which are invariably a number of police slowing cars down, stopping a few, and searching the occasional one. Do please act as instructed – and make sure you have your driving licence, passport, and car documents with you.
As you come over the top of the last hill before Marmaris, there are stunning views across the bay. There is a stopping point on the right, it is well worth stopping to take it all in.
Total distance is approximately 45 kms, allow 50 minutes by car.