In many ways, Marmaris is a true tourist town. Numbers swell along the Turkish Mediterranean coastline in the summer season to the extent that you’re more likely to bump into a foreigner walking down the busier streets than a Turk. With such lush weather and a local snorkeling scene that’s enviable to say the least, though, that shouldn’t be enough to put you off.
Heading out to sea is really the essential experience here: cruises run on a daily basis, and you’ll find yourself floating over extraordinary sights like sunken lighthouses and shoals of fish hovering over the depths, as well as stopping off on islands for a local brew and a lounge on the beach. If you land with a young crowd, the cruises quickly turn into day-time parties, while the more mature options take in the soaring cliff-side caves and the ruins of an ancient city that can only be accessed from the sea.
Marmaris itself is extremely resort-focused, and has lost a great deal of its original charm as a result, though you’ll still enjoy tucking into chocolate-covered pancakes at the local market, sniffing from the Turkish delight stalls and going for a soak in the impressive local mud baths. In the evening, belly dancers entertain guests while waterfront restaurants seem to tingle with romance. Marmaris has an upmarket edge, too, with designer produce in the thousand of dollar range on offer in a few boutique style stores, while the market offers up a similar (if slightly less legitimate) product for a tiny fraction of the price.
The nightlife here is as messy as you’ll find outside capital Istanbul, with the local Efes brand of beer flowing freely, and sunset spots on the beach filled well before dusk. If you have enough, though, you’re only a short ferry ride from the Greek island of Rhodes.
Marmaris is definitely one of the more laid back, and less authentic corners of Turkey, but as an introduction, it’s the ideal holiday spot, and you’ll find yourself easily sucked in to the relax by day, party by night lifestyle, and, for all its European nature, why wouldn’t you want to be?