Marmaris is mostly known for its all-inclusive resort holidays, which fully focus on sun and sand. Beyond the beach, though, there are plenty of other things to do around this bustling vacation town.
Stunning Marmaris Bay sits just where the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas meet and is speckled with islands and rimmed by dramatically rugged peninsulas. This makes Marmaris a popular base for yachting trips along the coast.
Back on land, the classical-era ruins of Kaunos and Knidos, the Greek island of Rhodes, and many smaller historic sites, are all within easy day tripping distance from town.
This makes it easy for summer sunseekers to mix some sightseeing into their beach vacations.
Check out where to go with our list of the top things to do in Marmaris.
Sail along the Coast in a Yacht
Marmaris made its tourism name due to its prime coastal position, fronting a beautiful harbor. Unsurprisingly then, the most popular way to experience the lush coastline scenery of Marmaris Bay is to take to the water.
There are plentiful boat tours to choose. With only a short time in town, one-day group tours aboard large boats cruise around the islands of Marmaris Bay, anchoring along the coast for swimming stops.
For many vacationers, though, Marmaris is purely a jumping-off point for a multi-day sailing trip on a gület (Turkish wooden yacht). '
Throughout summer, sailing trips cast off from Marmaris harbor, heading east along the densely forested coast to Fethiye or Göcek or alternatively to sail around Greece's Dodecanese islands.
While experienced sailors can hire yachts for these trips, the more typical option is to book and then hop aboard a fully-crewed vessel where your only responsibility is soaking up the sun and sea. This means Marmaris' yachting trips are suitable for completely unexperienced seafarers.
If you don't have that much time up your sleeve, the Relaxing Cruise with Lunch or Dinner in Marmaris is a good option to experience a slice of Mediterranean life. The traditional yacht can be booked privately, or you can join a group tour (where you'll be sharing your trip with a maximum of 30 passengers).
The tours set off either early afternoon, including lunch, or to see sunset, including dinner. The sunset tour option is the most popular, particularly if you want to take stunning photos of Marmaris from the water. Tours typically take three hours, including a 30-minute swim stop at one of Marmaris Harbor's hidden bays. Pickup and drop off at your Marmaris hotel is included in the cost; vegans and vegetarians can be catered for, and children under the age of 12 are free, making this a great choice for families.
Explore Marmaris Old Town & Castle
Marmaris may be a fully fledged resort town but it also has history to explore. Even if you've dedicated your vacation to lying on the beach, or you're only in town for one night before setting sail, make sure to visit Marmaris' bijou old town area.
Lording it up over the harbor, Marmaris Castle and the surrounding cobblestone lanes of the old town are the town's major historic tourist attractions.
The castle was used as the staging ground for Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent's Ottoman troops, when they recaptured the island of Rhodes.
Today, some of the halls are used to display artifacts unearthed in the local region, while the ramparts offer sweeping vistas across the bay.
The route up to the castle is through the old town's narrow cobblestone lanes, rimmed by whitewashed cottages with bougainvillea spilling over the walls. This tiny area is a tranquil respite from the bustle of the harbor, just steps away.
Day Trip to Rhodes
The Greek island of Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese Islands, is only a one hour journey away on the daily (April to October) catamaran ferry service.
Being so close, one-day return transport tickets make this Greek island one of the most popular places to visit while staying in Marmaris.
With just one day, concentrate your sightseeing in Rhodes Town, where all the main tourist attractions are concentrated within easy walking distance of the port where you disembark.
The UNESCO World Heritage listed walled old town is the main focus, with its cobblestone alleys and its golden-toned stone ramparts leading to the dramatic Palace of the Grand Masters.
Hit the Beach along Marmaris Bay
The best beaches in the Marmaris area are all out of town, speckled along the hilly, pine-forest-clad coastline.
Both Turunç Beach (20 kilometers southwest from Marmaris) and Içmeler Beach (10 kilometers southwest from Marmaris) have narrow, sandy strips that trail along sheltered bays. Thanks to the shallow shoreline, both offer safe swimming for little ones, making them great beach choices for families.
The beach areas offer full facilities for easygoing days of sun and sand. There are plenty of sun lounges with shades for rent, and restaurants and cafés line the shore.
Be aware, though, that both these beaches are extremely popular during the prime summer months of July and August. Beach space can be a bit of a squeeze.
The quickest way to access both beaches from Marmaris town is by water-taxis, which shuttle between Marmaris harbor and the beaches regularly throughout the day during the summer months. Otherwise, there are regular minibuses that putter between the beaches and the city.
Soak Up the Sun on Iztuzu Beach
Protected as part of a nature park, Iztuzu Beach (95 kilometers southeast if driving from Marmaris) is one of Turkey's most famous strips of shore, with its white sand stretching for just under five kilometers.
Unlike many of the beaches in the Marmaris area, the nature park status means there's no major development here, which gives the shore a tranquil, natural feel.
As well as being a beautiful spot for a lazy day of simply swimming and sunbathing, the beach's fame comes from its protected status as a major nesting site for loggerhead turtles. Sections of the beach are out of bounds to sunbathers to help protect the turtle nests.
From Marmaris, plenty of tours head here for a day trip focused purely on beach time. Other trips offer a short stay on the beach before heading up the Dalyan River on a river cruise boat.
On the beach itself, one café offers refreshments and dining, and sun lounges and shades are available to rent.