Things to Do in Marmaris
The Dalyan River runs through the town of Dalyan, Turkey, which is located in the southwest region of Turkey along the Aegean Sea. Life in Dalyan revolves around the river. It's an important source of fish for the residents. The river also flows through a special environmental protection area. There are also several boat tours that go up and down the river, taking visitors to see the ancient sites of the area. One of the main attractions for tourists are the facades of Lycian tombs. They are located above the river's sheer cliffs and were cut from the rocks around 400 BC. Just a short boat trip away, you can also visit the ruins of the ancient trading city of Kaunos.
Nearby you can experience the Sultaniye hot springs. Here you can enjoy the warm water and the therapeutic mud baths. You can also go for a swim in Köyceğiz Lake, which is connected to the sea by the Dalyan River.
Sedir Island is best known as Cleopatra Island, named after the pharaoh who allegedly met her lover Marc Antony on its shores. Forever romanticized by its connection with the iconic lovers, this small island in the Gulf of Gökova is now a popular stop on boat cruises and jeep safaris from Marmaris.
Cleopatra Island’s second claim to fame is its unusually textured sands, made up of smooth white, ground seashells. To preserve this one-of-a-kind sand, visitors are required to leave their belongings and shoes at the entrance to the beach. Removing the sand is strictly prohibited. Typically, such sand can only be found on Egyptian shores, fueling the legend that Marc Antony had it shipped in to Sedir Island from North Africa in an attempt to woo his mistress.
The island also has an additional sandy beach, popular among swimmers and sunbathers, that is home to a number of Roman ruins, including an agora and an amphitheater that dates back to the fourth century B.C.
With its northern coast lying on the Aegean Gulf of Gökova and the Mediterranean Sea lapping its southern shores, the Datça Peninsula serves up an endless panorama of wildflower-covered hills, jagged coastal cliffs and golden beaches. Marking the last stretch of Turkey’s legendary Turquoise Coast, the peninsula makes a popular destination for both single- and multi-day cruises from nearby Bodrum or Marmaris.
With dozens of beaches and snorkeling areas, most visitors to the peninsula spend their time on the coast, but there’s plenty of interest inland, too. Take a hike through forests and orange groves, tour a traditional olive mill, browse the weekly markets in the town of Datça or discover the ancient city of Knidos, a sprawling archaeological site best known for its timeworn sundial and statue of Aphrodite dating back to fourth century B.C.
Whether you’re cruising along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast or sailing along on a day tour from Marmaris, you’ll likely find reason to detour to the scenic Dalyan River and its namesake port town. The area’s top attraction is Turtle Bay, (İztuzu Beach) a strip of sand between the river and the Mediterranean Sea. With its prime location at the mouth of the freshwater delta, Turtle Beach has become an important spot for endangered loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) that come ashore to lay eggs during breeding season. Watching the turtles in their natural habitat is a popular pastime among visitors. Additional highlights along the Dalyan River include the Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area around Lake Köyceğiz, the impressive ruins of ancient Kaunos and a series of Lycian rock tombs carved into coastal cliffs.
AquaDream Waterpark is one of Turkey's largest water parks and the biggest water park in Marmaris. It is located on the top of a hill overlooking the city, which offers visitors a spectacular view of the city and surrounding landscape while enjoying the rides at the water park. The water park has a wide variety of water slides, each offering a different experience. Some are body slides while others involve sitting on a tube. There are also several pools, including a wave pool, a pool that doesn't allow children, and a normal swimming pool. The water park also has a children's area for smaller children who aren't old enough for the bigger slides. Along the perimeter of the pools, chairs and umbrellas are set up where you can lounge, relax, and sunbathe.
Turtle Beach, or İztuzu Beach in Turkish, is a large breeding ground for the rare and endangered loggerhead sea turtles. The beach is located just south of the town of Dalyan, Turkey along the Aegean Sea. Due to its protection status, the beach is quiet, though there are a few cafes and tourist facilities in the area. There are no showers on the beach because they don't want shampoo to contaminate the beach and harm the turtles. Certain sections of the beach are off limits during breeding season in order to protect the turtles and their eggs. The beach has been under threats of over development for decades, which would have a devastating effect on the turtles. Luckily there are groups fighting to stop the development and continue protecting the turtles and their habitat.
More Things to Do in Marmaris
The Kaunos Ruins near Dalyan, Turkey are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. Kaunos was an ancient city founded in the 9th century BC, and it was quite important by 400 BC. It was located on the border between Lycia and Caria, and the city's culture had characteristics of both empires. The city was once an important trading post on the sea, though today it is set back a few miles from the sea since the coastline has moved over the centuries. The receding coastline, attacks from various tribes, and a malaria epidemic led to the decline of Kaunos, and the city was abandoned by the 15th century.
The ruins include a well preserved theater, parts of the old city walls, and an acropolis. There's also a basilica, Roman baths, two Hellenistic temples and four Roman temples. From the acropolis, you can enjoy a gorgeous view of the ancient city. The theater could hold 5,000 people and is still occasionally used for events.
Hemmed in by a dramatic wall of sea cliffs and peppered with sandy coves and rocky islands, the Gulf of Gökova (sometimes called the Ceramic Gulf) is one of Turkey’s most picturesque coastal landscapes. Formed by the Aegean Sea flowing between the Bodrum Peninsula to the north and the Datça Peninsula in the south, the sizable gulf lies at the tip of Turkey’s famous Turquoise Coast and makes a popular inclusion on Mediterranean cruise itineraries.
The biggest city along the gulf is Bodrum, built on the ancient city of Halicarnassus, and other highlights include the tranquil resort town of Akyaka; Cleopatra Island, famous for its seashell beach; and the Greek island of Kos, which lies at the mouth of the gulf. Exploring Gökova is traditionally done by boat, but it’s also possible to hike along the coastal Carian Trail, which runs from Cape Crio to Bodrum via Akyaka and the Kiran Mountains.
Jutting out to the south of the Datça Peninsula between the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, the Bozburun Peninsula makes for a popular cruise destination from Bodrum or Fethiye. It is as renowned for its tranquil beaches as its atmospheric nightlife, and many choose to explore the length of the peninsula by jeep or boat from Marmaris.
The long, sandy beaches are the principal draw for visitors to the Bozburun Peninsula, with top spots including the Blue Flag beach of Turunc, Icmeler Beach and the vast Maiden’s Beach or Kizkumu. Additional highlights include the peninsula’s namesake town, known for its production of traditional wooden gülets; Turgut Falls; the hilltop village of Bayir; and the forest-clad mountains, where bird-watchers can spot Eurasian varieties like the jay and hoopoe.
A forested headland facing Marmaris Bay, the secluded beaches and glittering waters of Adaköy remain some of the region’s best-kept secrets. While a handful of resort hotels line the shore, most visitors arrive at Adaköy by boat, and the tranquil peninsula is a popular stop for those cruising down the coast to Dalyan or Fethiye.
With its beaches well sheltered by steep coastal cliffs, the waters of Adaköy are ideal for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking, and the surrounding hills offer a scenic backdrop for hiking and biking tours. Additional highlights include the peninsula’s north coast, affectionately nicknamed “Aquarium Bay” for its clear waters and huge schools of tropical fish, and a series of natural phosphorus caves carved into the sea cliffs.
Turunç is a small coastal village about 12 miles south of Marmaris, Turkey. It was once primarily a fishing village, but today it is also a quiet resort town. The village is small enough that you can walk from one end to the other in about a half hour. It's relaxed, small town atmosphere give it a completely different feel from the larger resort cities in the area, making it a great place for a vacation away from the crowds. Turunç is located on the edge of a bay with sandy beaches and calm, sheltered waters. Tree-covered mountains provide a picturesque backdrop. Despite its size, Turunç has several hotels and guesthouses, as well as restaurants and cafes serving traditional Turkish food. There is a market on Mondays where you will find fruit, vegetables, other local foods, and gifts.
Knidos was an ancient Greek city near present-day Datça, Turkey. The town of Datça is located on the Datça Peninsula, which juts out into the Aegean Sea. Knidos was an important cultural and political center by the 5th century BC and, due to its location on the sea and large harbor, it was a major trading hub as well. The city was a member of the Dorian Hexapolis, which was a federation of six cities of Dorian Greek origin. Over time the city became part of the Roman empire and survived into the Byzantine era.
Eventually the city was abandoned. Excavations began in the 1800s, and many ruins have been uncovered. Today you can see the ruins of temples, an altar, a sundial, a theater, a sanctuary, the agora, and churches, including the remains of a Byzantine church. The biggest find is the necropolis, which is almost four miles long. The theater could seat 5,000 people and was built with an impressive panoramic view of the sea.
Selimiye is a small seaside fishing village about 25 miles from the city of Marmaris, Turkey. It is located on the Bozburun Peninsula along the Aegean Sea. Due to its unspoiled and laid back charm, Selimiye is often referred to as the real face of Turkey. While there are a few small hotels and guesthouses, you won't find big resorts here. There are restaurants and cafes serving traditional Turkish food, including plenty of fish caught fresh from the Aegean Sea and locally grown fruits and vegetables. Selimiye is well known for growing figs and almonds.
The town has a long tradition of wooden boat making, so visitors will see many boat yards in the area. These traditional boats are called gulets. Due to Selimiye's location and boat-making tradition, boat trips are popular activity for exploring the area. You can also visit the ruins of Hydas. The remains of three castles can be found in the hills of Selimiye.
Bayir Village is a small town on the Bozburun Peninsula in southwestern Turkey. It is built on top of the ancient city of Syrna, and it is believed that the town's mosque sits on top of the temple of Asklepios, the god of health, although there are no traces of the temple today. Just outside the village you will find ruins from the ancient city. There is an acropolis, pieces of the old city walls, some gravestones, and the remains of a few other structures. Another big attraction in Bayir is a 2,300 year old tree called Old Plane Tree. It is said to bring good luck and extend your life if you circle it three times. There are several cafes near the tree where you can sample the local food and drink some tea. There are also a few shops where you can buy local honey.
Bayir Village is often included on jeep safari tours to various villages in the area. Bayir is located on top of a hill which provides spectacular views of the village and the surrounding peninsula.
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