Dreamy Turkey in 7 Days: 9 Things To do in Marmaris! – SEE, DO, BE MORE! #TravelBucketlist
A 5 hour Thomas Cook flight to Dalaman Airport plus a 2-hour hair rising yet oh so scenic drive later, we arrived at our destination. We hadn’t planned to Visit Turkey…long story! Fortunately there were lots of things to do in Marmaris Icmeler and no swollen ankles on this one!
Ever had a Turkish Bath? If not, we highly recommend you visit Turkey for an original experience…there is no better place to do this than Turkey itself. Our family very first experience was on this trip to Marmaris, and boy was it amazing! Let us take you on a journey to Turkey and the 9 not to be missed things. 🙂
And by the way if you haven’t read our earlier post on summer in Rome, Italy, you can do so here!
By the way we’re NOT Brexit fans and we have no thoughts on whether Turkey should join the EU or not. We believe in abundance. So go figure!
Turkey was not a place we had on our radar, we had no particular reason to have it on our #travelbucketlist. Until we decided to go on an impulse Birthday Trip/Easter Holiday. We browsed Pinterest and saw pictures of Turkish Mud baths and the Pamukkale Pools that literally hypnotised us. We were hooked! So will you… 🙂
We did some more research, Essential for travel planning if you are to maximise your vacation and get the most value for your cash!
Of all the trips we have taken, Marmaris Turkey was apparently one of the best for our children. They had an absolute blast and a favourite to date!
Now the suggestions here are based on Marmaris and Dalaman regions of Turkey and our family experience. You too might like to add them to your list of Must see places and things to do in Turkey!
Lets go shall we?
A 4 Star Hotel, and in our case All Inclusive, the Club Viva Hotel & Apartments was our accommodation! It is located by a Mosque so be prepared to be woken up every morning 5 am by the call for prayer! First 2 days we were like what the f…Then I guess we got used to it.
Despite that, Club Viva is on the quieter side of Marmaris. Just as long as you know, the bell toils for prayers 5 times a day from 5am!
This hotel is a short walk from the beach approx 800m. It is also a self-catering apart-hotel for those that prefer to prepare own meals. We had a proper family suite; bedroom, en-suite bathroom, sitting area balcony and kitchenette. Your room could either face the mosque or the pool. Ours faced the pool!
The kitchenette is equipped with a fridge, kettle and a two-hob cooker suitable for preparing quick meals. You can also use the safety deposit box (charged extra).
It seems most of the guests were all inclusive by the numbers in the restaurant at meal times.
And for the price we paid £1267 for a family of 4 Inc. Flights and transfers it was great value for money as a surprise birthday for Pauli.
Learn how you too can get such Great value vacations right here!
While we could go on about the food…we won’t! By now you know we love our food. Our children totally dug the food…! 🙂 It was really varied and delicious, The afternoon tea with various sweets and the dinner dessert platters were their fav as you can imagine. Plus the daily hotel entertainment was such fun.
Today we want to focus on the excursions and activities. In all these excursions, or for that matter your trip to Turkey, don’t forget your Sun cream, swim suit, sun glasses, camera of course and towels. So below are the…
TOP 9 THINGS TO DO & PLACES TO SEE IN MARMARIS/DALAMAN, TURKEY
#1. Boat Cruise to Turtle Beach & Dalyan
The only way to get to turtle beach is by boat. This was/is a Day trip Boat Cruise to Dalyan incl. lunch. You are picked up at your hotel or make your way to the Jetty only 800m from our Hotel so we walked. The journey takes approximately 1.5 hours following the beautiful Turkish coast line. Our boat had sunbeds and plenty of seating areas on the deck for relaxing during the cruise. It was also fully equipped with WC’s, showers, drinks bar, and snack bar. It was a LARGE boat! Check us out on the boat right here!
Lunch was served on the boat before arriving in Dalyan. There was lots for everyone including salads, breads, pasta, chicken, meatballs, plus vegetarian options. It also included a drink. Additional drinks were purchased from the bar.
We got to turtle beach by a smaller boat. This beach looks so un-touched. Deliberately so as it’s a Protected area as a natural habitat for the sea turtles. So no houses, just beautiful white sands and clear blue Aegean Sea with little baby turtles scattered on the beach! The Tourist trips are regulated. Only one group at any given time. Apparently we were lucky to see the baby turtles. Many do visit and don’t get to see even a turtle. (Charmed life huh!)
These creatures are called Caretta-Caretta sea turtles. The whole beach is a breeding area for these endangered turtles, so we were cautioned to please pay close attention to warning signs and cordoned off areas.
Turtle beach stop was approx. 50 mins, time very well spent. The children frolicked in the sea and the adults indulgently watched & topped up our tans lolol.
#2. Dalyan Caunos
A trip to Dalyan is one of the things to do in Marmaris. To you and I this is natural healing mud baths lol! Although part of the Dalaman region Boat Cruise, this had to be given its own special mention. With its ancient King Tombs, mud baths, miles of sandy beach and the world-famous Caretta-Caretta sea turtles. DALYAN is one of the best excursions you will experience around the Dalaman region from Marmaris or anywhere in Turkey!
After turtle beach the boat took us upstream through the river delta with spectacular views of the Lycian rock tombs. These were carved into the cliffs and surrounding rock thousands of years ago. (See Images Below).
After approx. 40 minutes sailing the boat docked at the ancient Caunos harbour. The remains of which are visible. This is the location of the thermal spa, sulphur pools, and mud baths.
The mud baths are believed to have healing properties and anti-ageing and rejuvenating benefits. There are many showers and private changing facilities located on the site and a café and snack bar for food and drinks. There are seating areas provided if you wish to just observe. Let’s just say we enjoyed the experience thoroughly and our skin felt the effects for weeks after!
#3. Turkish Bath & Sauna
We had ours at Armutalan Turkish Bath Spa, 136 Sokak 1, Marmaris, Turkey. 5 mins walk from our Hotel. This Ottoman Style Spa also came highly recommended via Trip Adviser so we had planned to use it all along! Its has marble and granite floors and walls, Beautiful décor. So clean and cool. The images that swayed us too below from Spa website!
It all started off with a sauna (not recommended for the children.) Then we went into a wet room with a giant marble slab. We lay all 4 of us on the slab with room to spare. We were soaped & thoroughly scrubbed by two male attendants with cold and warm water and given a gentle massage each. We then had a mud face pack and used the Jacuzzi. Pauli and I had a facial & a full body massage. (See slab above).
It was a family booking and the children loved it so much they wanted to have a Turkish bath every day lol. Trust me you will enjoy this, one of the things to do in Marmaris, not to be missed!
Sadly the Club Viva Spa wasn’t open during our stay so we didn’t experience it!
We’ve had a couple more Turkish baths since. None come even close to the real hammam deal we had at the Armutalan Spa.
They did try to get us to spend more on treatments but we found the basic choice was superb. It included a couple massage, use of the Sauna and outdoor pool plus cooling drinks. It was amazingly refreshing and more than ample.
#4. Pamukkale Thermal Pools– a Dream to See!
About 3.5 hrs drive from Marmaris, this is a whole day’s tour, but oh so worth it. Jaw Dropping WOOOW. The Pamukkale thermal pools are a spectacular site to behold.
The name actually means “cotton castle” in Turkish. (Wiki info)
Honestly we used to think it’s Photoshop. They are absolutely breath taking and predominantly natural…Yes, they are TOTALLY Awesome. No question about it, a work of art and recognised as one of the World’s most beautiful works of nature.
And if you haven’t got it as part of your Holiday activities package as we did, you could end up paying from £30/Adult and £15/child for the day tour. That’s what others paid for separately. This price incl. Hotel pick up & drop off, breakfast, Lunch, entrance to the Hierapolis ruins and The thermal pools of course! A £90 saving for us, which came in handy for buying those lil vacation memories trinkets!
These rich thermal pools were apparently formed thousands of years ago, down a hill forming natural 17 pools of lime terraces and mineral baths! Artificial pools were created when the site was declared a “World Heritage Site” in 1988.
Pamukkale is so crystal bright, and is a series of natural pools created by the erosion of travertine rocks with clear, warm, and turquoise waters. You can actually immerse yourself in the travertine mud. Or just walk, sit or relax in the pools! Definitely bring your bathing suit and a towel. (Turkish towels are literally muslin cloths. Very thin. You might consider taking a bath towel). Wearing shoes in the water is prohibited to protect the deposits, and hygiene purposes too!
The Heirakilos ruins are an added benefit as they are right at the top of the Pools!
Another Day of Family fun, definitely one of the things to so in Marmaris esp. for the little ones. The Water slides, Pools, Shallow pools with climbing frames for the littler people it was an absolute hoot of a day. Again we had a hotel pick up and taken to the Park located on the Marmaris hills just outside the city. Our on board host handed over our entrance tickets and reminded us to be at the exit by 4pm for pick up.
Note: You are not allowed to take in any food or drinks. Our Hotel had packed us a lunch & drinks as all-inclusive guests. We had to leave the pack on the bus. The water park boasts a restaurant and recommends you buy your drinks and bites there! Fair dos!
Also most of the staff we spoke to don’t speak English…so a communication point there. But then again neither did we speak their langiage – touche!
The children had a blast racing down plumes, massive impressive water-slides, on the wave pool, rode the rapids and splashed about in the pools. We adults joined in the fun. It was totally roasting, too hot to sit under an umbrella reading a book!
#6. Authentic Turkish Food
You cannot go to Turkey and not have a taste of the local cuisine. That’s sinful. 🙂 And it’s absolutely mouth wateringly delicious.
Even though we were all-inclusive? We had to go out and take a bite.
Turkish food is similar to Greek and North African food i.e. Morocco, Egypt. It’s called Ottoman cuisine.
We decided to have a taste of a Turkish breakfast. At one of the roadside cafes on the way to the beach! We had salads, a kind of beef sausage (sucuk), bread, cheese and hard boiled eggs. And had a sort of lunch on another day…
During our walkabouts we couldn’t miss kebabs. The real deal. Shish kebab for the kids and a doner kebab for the adults, well we shared! These are simply delicious…Your taste buds will explode. And you haven’t had a proper doner kebab until you have it in Turkey! In fact, it put us off the British type doner for good. The taste is simply not the same! We tasted the real deal, we cannot go back to whatever it is that’s sold in UK!
We also had a Turkish Themed night at the Hotel and had a four course Turkish dinner and entertainment including belly dancers. We absolutely loved it and thats one of the things to do in Marmaris…
#7. Enjoy an Authentic Turkish Night
For a great night out book a Turkish night activity. Our Hotel Hosted the Kervansaray Marmaris Turkish night on the themed evening. Okay, its not all really authentic Turkish, but by gosh it was such great fun. You will have belly dancers, fire eaters, folk-dance, Turkish food and wine. Be ready to participate and have a whale of a time, and you too will when you do visit Turkey!
It truly is a mini carnival, you do get that feeling. And since you are on vacation, its okay to let the kids out a lil bit late. It started just after 8pm and finished just gone midnight!
#8. Things to do in Marmaris – Market and Walk on the Marina & Bay.
We enjoyed walking around Marmaris, it is very pretty and clean. We particularly liked strolling along the waterfront. One afternoon we stumbled upon some roman style ruins called Centrum another attraction.
The dolmus (bus) dropped us by it and it was free to tour. Its not talked about as much either which is sad.
We did get lost in the maze of little alleys trying to get to Marmaris Bay. We browsed through small shops selling all sorts of souvenirs and found ourselves at a Market. This is where you will find all kinds of “designer brands” at ridiculous prices. Obviously rip offs, but hey we wont go there today…
Marmaris is predominantly a “Seasonal Tourist Town.” Alive and heaving in summer and bunks down/hibernates in winter. It’s an excellent point to explore surrounding areas. It actually is a popular mini-cruise port, with a range of activities on offer and incredible day tours available.
We visited the Marmaris Market on a Thursday as we were advised it was the best day. And since our trip was in May, the market season was just starting so prices were not too bad.
Turkey in general used to be good for buying counterfeits of designer jewelry, clothes and leather products. Yet, that does not mean the counterfeits are any cheaper. We found lots of D&G jeans, Calvin Klein wear, leather ware, designer handbags e.g. Radley, Disney stuff, jewelry etc. We were mesmerized by the Turkish lamps, we bought a couple and lots of Spices yayyy! The riot of colours in the market were simply amazing. We loved it. Be ready to bargain hard and if you pull out your wallet and the money is seen, you are done for. Move on to another stall coz no amount of bargaining will get that price down lol!
Frankly we love buying the real deal. Counterfeits disrespect the original creator. But hey we aren’t here to judge! We loved the Turkish glass-ware and crafts, the coffee ohh yes and we got lots of Turkish delight of course!
#9. Things to do in Marmaris – The Old Quarter
The old town is located behind Marmaris castle right by the harbour. Its separated from new Marmaris by the Bazaar or Market Place. The buildings are quite old with interesting doors, you kinda get a feel of Greece in this area.
There are lots of cafes and small gift shops to buy trinkets & escape from the heat. It is one of the areas we loved walking through. There are lots of narrow walkways, passages and stairs. So not great for those with poor mobility. But oh each corner we turned had an amazing view the higher we went. A definite must do in Marmaris.
Lets Wrap up Our Turkish Visit – 9 Thing to do in Marmaris!
Well we had a whale of a time ad we hope you have too! The Turkish people were totally amazing, very friendly, extremely helpful, kind and totally rad. We had been expecting to be hustled by street vendors, but we didn’t really get that. The few times we did get asked to buy stuff we didn’t want, we simply said a polite and Firm NO and they let us be.
Did we say that Turkish bath was amazing? And we know you too would enjoy it. And may be next time we shall take you on a much more recent Spanish trip to Puerta Banus, Malaga and the Spanish Riviera! To the skeptic, we say Keep calm and Vacation Sooner. 🙂
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See, Do, and Be more!
Julie Syl Kalungi
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