You might also be surprised to learn that there are a lot more things to do in Marmaris than simply lying on the beach. There’s nothing better than soaking up the summer sun, eating some delicious Turkish food, and exploring a new place. For me, Marmaris ticks all of those boxes and more besides.
Turkey is a massive country, and there are many beach resorts to choose from, so why go for Marmaris? I used to live there with my husband, (a local himself), and I can hand-on-heart say that it’s one of the most enjoyable and beautiful spots I’ve ever experienced.
Sure, Antalya’s beaches are stunning, and Bodrum has the glitz and glamor, but there’s something about Marmaris that just feels so welcoming. It certainly helps that there are so many places to visit in Marmaris; you won’t be bored for a second. Sightseeing in Marmaris isn’t only about boats and beaches, it’s about nature and history too. Oh, and food; don’t forget the food.
Best Things To Do in Marmaris
Marmaris is open for fun in the sun between the end of April and the end of October. You can visit in the winter but most things will be closed, and the weather is extremely changeable. However, in the summer months, you can expect plentiful sun, little to no rain, and lots of Marmaris attractions to fill up your time.
Because it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you visit a new location, and you may not be sure what to do, I’ve put together a list of my favorite 15 things to do in Marmaris. You can of course forego all of them and simply chill on the beach; I really wouldn’t blame you. But this area is so beautiful, it’s worth dedicating a few days to a grand exploration.
1. Relax on the Beach
Okay, let’s get the most obvious one out of the way. There are many things to do in Marmaris, but beach time is a must-do for at least half of your visit. Uzunyali is Marmaris’ main beach – it’s long (locally known as Long Beach), and is backed by bars, restaurants, and hotels.
If you eat and drink at a particular bar or restaurant, your sun lounger and parasol will be free. Alternatively, you can use the public beach and just put your towel down on the sand.
However, if you’re visiting with children, I’ve got a tip for you. Jump on the dolmus (minibus) to neighboring Icmeler, which is just 10 minutes away. The beach there is wider, away from the main road, and in my opinion, the sea is cleaner. There are plenty of watersports available at both beaches and stunning views to soak up as you kick back.
2. Visit Marmaris Castle & Museum
One of the top tourist attractions in Marmaris is Marmaris Castle and its adjoining museum. It’s a fantastic place to learn more about the local area but the views sell it for me. If you visit on a clear day, (plenty of those in summer), you can see right over to Icmeler and beyond. Remember your camera for this one, you’ll need it!
Out of all the stuff to do in Marmaris, I’d recommend you spare a couple of hours to walk up to the castle. You can also take a city walking tour, which includes a visit to the castle and museum. Click here for details and to book.
The castle sits above the Old Town, so make sure you head back down to explore the cobbled, winding streets and enjoy a cup of coffee or traditional Turkish çay.
3. Shop in the Grand Bazaar
One of the top things to do in Marmaris is to shop in the markets and the Grand Bazaar. The center of Marmaris is home to a large covered marketplace and inside, you’ll find stalls and shops selling everything from replica designer clothes to bags, purses, sneakers, souvenirs, ceramics, and spices.
When shopping in the bazaar, it’s expected and accepted to haggle, so don’t be afraid. Just ask the price and then offer something a little lower. The owner is likely to try and counter your suggestion, but you’ll naturally meet somewhere in the middle.
There are also many small vendors selling traditional street food, so make sure you stop and have a doner kebab – Yilmaz Doner is one of my favorites. There are also some great coffee shops too, such as Fredonia Coffee.
Address: Tepe, 38. Sk., 48700 Marmaris/Muğla
4. Take a Boat Trip
When the heat is on, one of the best things to do in Marmaris is to take a boat trip around the coastline and enjoy a new view of the city. This is definitely one of my favorite things to do, and there are many options in terms of which trip you choose.
If you’re traveling with children, there are several pirate boats with activities onboard. Click here to learn more and to book. If you want to see marine life, you can take a glass bottom boat trip, however, the most common type of boat trip is a lazy day option, which takes you around different islands and bays and stops several times for swim breaks. Lunch and certain drinks are usually included.
Most boat trips stop for an hour at Turunç, a pretty coastal village. The all-inclusive lazy day boat trip is my favorite and offers a great chance to chill out and enjoy the views from onboard. Click here for more details.
Address: Regular meeting point for boat trips: Atatürk Heykeli, No:, Tepe, Kordon Cd. No:52, 48700 Marmaris/Muğla, Türkiye
5. Walk to Icmeler
One of the best places to visit in Marmaris and the surrounding area is İçmeler. This is another resort town which runs directly on from Marmaris. One of the nicest things to do during the shoulder season, when the weather isn’t too hot, is to walk between the two resorts.
I always do this in October, once the heat has reduced and there’s a calmness in the air. If you’re feeling energetic, you can even walk from the marina all the way down to İçmeler. This is an 8km walk along the coastline, but it’s flat the entire way and is so beautiful, with amazing views.
Grab a bottle of water, wear some comfortable shoes, take your camera, and simply walk. It’s one of the best things to do around Marmaris that costs nothing at all and you’ll have a full photo album at the end of it. You’ll also have burned plenty of calories, so you can dig into a big meal later on!
Address: İçmeler, Marmaris, Muğla, Türkiye
6. Take a Jeep Safari
One of the most unusual things to do in Marmaris, simply because it doesn’t involve the sea, is a jeep safari trip. I always do this whenever I’m in town because it’s a great way to break up your stay and see beyond the beach. You also get to enjoy lunch in a traditional village and have a lot of fun in a water fight along the way.
This is a long day, so make sure that you pack plenty of sun lotion, a hat, and adequate water. You’ll be out in the sun from around 9 a.m. until about 5 p.m., and you’ll be on a roofless jeep. You’ll be picked up from your hotel, before heading off the road into the countryside, stopping at several beaches and villages as you go.
If you’re traveling as a group or a family, this is a great activity to bring everyone together. Click here for details and to book.
Address: Tours pick up from your hotel
7. Atlantis Waterpark
One of the best things to do in Marmaris for families is a day at the Atlantis Waterpark, right on the beachfront in Marmaris. The waterpark has a private section of the beach if you prefer to spend time in the sea, but there are pools, waterslides, rides, and restaurants inside. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Marmaris and is ideal for families.
The waterpark opens around May time and doesn’t close until the end of October. If you go during the peak summer months, between the end of June and the end of August, it’s likely going to be very crowded. I prefer to go in the first couple of weeks of June or the start of October; it’s much more pleasant to splash around without the masses.
There’s another waterpark in Marmaris, called Aqua Dream, but I much prefer Atlantis, not least because it’s bigger. Click here for details.
8. Walk on the Marina
If you’re looking for free things to do in Marmaris, an evening walk on the marina is a must-do. This is also one of the top things to do in Marmaris for couples as there’s a pretty romantic and relaxing vibe down there.
You’ll pass many huge yachts and boats while checking out the stunning view. There are countless restaurants, cafes, and bars in this part of Marmaris, so it’s a great place to enjoy a delicious meal and relax with a few drinks. Bono Marina is a great restaurant that serves delicious cocktails on the marina.
If you continue right down to the end, you’ll also find a small shopping area with several coffee shops. It’s a great people-watching spot.
9. Eat Traditional Turkish Food
One of my favorite things to do in Marmaris, in fact in the whole of Turkey, is to enjoy traditional food in abundance. There are some fantastic restaurants all over Marmaris, and I recommend pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying new things. A Turkish breakfast is a must-do, and my favorite spot is Liberty Restaurant in İçmeler.
A real rite of passage, as far as local food goes, is a visit to Cihan Ocakbaşı, which offers a traditional experience in a tourist-friendly way. You’ll watch as bread is cooked in front of you, and see food grilled to perfection mere feet away from your table; all of it is downright mouth-watering. Try the Adana kebab here; it’s one of the best I’ve ever tasted.
You’ll find so many international restaurants in Marmaris that it’s absolutely worth trying the local cuisine. You can also easily find street food, including gözleme and börek.
10. Enjoy a Turkish Night
There are many things to do in Marmaris at night; this is one of the most entertainment-focused parts of the south coast so you won’t struggle to find something to do. One of the best options is to attend a Turkish night. This is an evening of entertainment celebrating local traditions, such as belly dancing, whirling dervishes, and music.
The Turkish night at Kervansaray was the best I’ve been to, and it included a full meal and local drinks. This is definitely one of the coolest things to do in Marmaris for the whole family, and it’s super-entertaining. Click here for details and to book.
Beyond that, you’ll find shows and general merriment on Uzunyali beachfront and along the restaurants and bars on the main strip.
11. Explore Marmaris National Park
If you’re keen to immerse yourself in some of the lush greenery that backs the mountains and beaches, head to Marmaris National Park. This is a huge open space, filled with trees, hills, views, and the chance for complete rest and relaxation. This is one of the best places to visit in Marmaris and is somewhat of a hidden gem.
I always put on my comfortable shoes and go for a walk in this park, and it’s so quiet that you’ll feel a million miles away from the crowds on the beachfront. It’s one of the most unique things to do in Marmaris because not that many people know about the area. Some know it’s a beautiful place, but don’t know there’s a walking path they can follow…
I highly recommend you head off and enjoy a little peace and quiet in the countryside if you have the time. It’s wonderfully cooling on a hot day, thanks to the shade from the trees. Just don’t forget to take some water with you as there aren’t any cafes or shops here.
12. Learn about Honey at Marmaris Bal Evi
Did you know that Marmaris is famous for its pine honey? Marmaris Bal Evi is one of the most unique attractions in Marmaris and one that many visitors miss because it’s not right in the center of town, (it’s just outside). Even I didn’t know it was there until after several months of living there.
If you’re looking for things to do near Marmaris that have nothing to do with the sea, and offer you a glimpse into local traditions, this is the place to go. Not only will you learn about how pine honey is produced, but you’ll get to try some, sample delicious deserts alongside it, and of course, purchase some pots to take back home if you’d like.
Kids will love learning about honey bees, and it’s a great way to raise awareness of conservation too.
Address: Osmaniye, 48700 Marmaris/Muğla
13. Take a Trip to Dalyan Mud Baths
Strictly speaking, this isn’t actually in Marmaris, but it’s one of the most highly-rated trips you can take away from the town and therefore one of the best places to visit near Marmaris. It’s a great way to see something different for a few hours, and it’s fun for all the family.
Dalyan is a small village about an hour away from Marmaris, where you’ll find mud baths said to be fantastic for your skin. Most trips also include a visit to Turtle Beach, where you can sometimes spot sea turtles, as well as a cruise down the Dalyan River, passing the King’s Tombs. Click here to learn more and to book.
The mud baths are one of the top things to do in the Marmaris area, and it’s a must-do day out for first-time visitors. However, a word of warning: the showers are freezing cold and a little on the brutal side. Go in slowly!
Address: Dalyan, Boğazı, Ortaca/Muğla
14. Relax in a Turkish bath
An authentic Turkish experience wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a hammam, or Turkish bath. I recommend you do this at the start of your vacation because the process of cleaning and scrubbing the skin gets rid of dead cells and gives you an even foundation for a great suntan.
When considering what to do in Marmaris, don’t miss this experience. Not only is it super relaxing but it’s something traditional you can say you’ve done. Lots of hotels and spas offer Turkish baths but a visit to an authentic hammam is always best.
You can also pay for extra services at the end, such as a full-body massage or a pedicure. Either way, you’ll spend time in a sauna, sweating out impurities, before having a full body clean down in the hammam area. You’ll feel like you’re floating at the end, as you sit and relax with a cup of Turkish tea. Click here for details and to book.
Address: Tours pick up directly from your hotel.
15. Go Scuba Diving
There are many things to see in Marmaris on land, but there’s a huge amount to be discovered under the sea too. Taking a scuba diving trip with an instructor allows you to visit the underwater world and explore what lies beneath. Marmaris is home to several small shipwrecks and it’s abundant in colorful fish and even sea turtles.
Most scuba diving trips tend to go further out into open water than the regular boat trips, and as such, you get to see a lot more. While I haven’t scuba-dived myself (I can’t swim, so it would be pretty challenging), my husband has, and he raves about the entire experience, still to this day. Click here to learn more.
Address: Trip meeting point: Tepe, No:, Kordon Cd. No:52, 48700 Marmaris/Muğla
Things To Do in Marmaris: FAQs
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about the best things to do in Marmaris, Turkey:
There are so many things to do in Marmaris, but it’s mostly known for its beaches, food, and great entertainment during the evening hours.
Between May and the end of October is the best time to visit Marmaris, but if you don’t like extremely high temperatures, it’s best to avoid July and August. Marmaris can also get very crowded during these two months.
Yes, Marmaris is definitely worth visiting. There are so many places to visit in Marmaris, making it so much more than just a beach resort. It’s a place that’s fun for families, couples, groups, and solo travelers alike.
To really be able to relax and see the best of Marmaris, I’d recommend at least one week. Anything less than that and you won’t get the full effect.
Marmaris is a safe city to visit. There are the usual tourist traps, such as taxis taking the long route or extra drinks put on your bill, but if you rely upon your common sense, Marmaris is as safe as any other holiday resort. Use common sense, as when traveling to any new destination; avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and don’t flash valuables.
Spending time on the beach is the most popular thing to do in Marmaris, however, there’s so much more to it than that. Marmaris is great for shopping, gastronomy, nightlife, and nature, and there are some fantastic excursions to take, such as boat trips and jeep safaris.
Uzunyali Beach (known locally as Long Beach) is the easiest beach to visit in Marmaris and is the main beach. However, nearby İçmeler is a great choice for families, and Yalanci Bogaz is ideal for those looking to escape the crowds.
International food is everywhere in Marmaris, but you should definitely try some traditional Turkish cuisine. Doner kebabs are easy to find but head to a local ocakbaşı restaurant to try grilled meats and different kebab variations. A full Turkish breakfast, or kahvalti, is also a must-try.
Three days isn’t enough time to spend in Marmaris if you want to see the area and relax on the beach. You will get a taste of it, but a week will serve you better.
Over recent years, Marmaris has become a little more expensive than it used to be, but compared to other European beach destinations, it’s a much cheaper option. When you explore what to see in Marmaris, you’ll notice the price differences compared to places like Greece or Italy.
You could say that I’m a little biased, but I believe Marmaris is one of the most beautiful and entertaining places to visit on the south coast. Yes, it’s touristic, but that’s expected from a vacation resort. You can choose to throw yourself into international cuisine and bright lights, or you can delve a little deeper and explore the more authentic side of the city.
There are so many places to see in Marmaris that it’s impossible to be bored. Even if you sit on the beach doing nothing, you can just stare at the scenery, wondering why you never visited before. Marmaris will always be my second home, and whether you take my advice and explore, or simply chill out on your sun lounger, I guarantee you’ll have the best time.