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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN COAST

H*CK your way through an Amazonian forest to find ruins of an ancient city overrun by crabs, turtles, birds, and lizards in Olimpos .

HIKE  up a rocky path through the enchanting Butterfly Valley and spend the night in a campsite surrounded by countless nocturnal Jersey Tiger Butterflies

DISCOVER the eternal Promethean flame-the Chimaera of Mt. Olimpos

PEER through the clear Mediterranean waters to see the staircases and walls of the sunken city of Kekova .

VISIT the Mediterranean’s only seal colony in the Blue Caves near Kaş.

WITNESS stunning Saklikent Gorge on a rafting trip along its icy stream .

MARMARİS

Marmaris’s popularity with tourists has engendered a peculiar blend of tradition and transaction. The town bazaar sells both finely crafted traditional wares and forged signature accessories, and local fishermen are increasingly doubling as tour guides ready to ferry tourists to and from uninhabited coastal crannies. What little native charm hasn’t been packaged for tourists can be found in this tacky pleasure-haven’s namesake, Marmaris Castle. The town owes its name to Suleyman the Magnificent’s order to “hang the architect” (mimari as) ; exactly what was so distasteful about this understated castle is hard to say, as throngs of appreciative international tourists swarm to the landmark each summer.
One of the ancient Carian kingdom’s most important seaports, Marmaris con¬nected Anatolia with Rhodes and Egypt. The natural harbor hosted the naval campaigns of both Süleyman the Magnificent in 1522 and Lord Nelson in 1798. Today, it’s a perfect base for whatever touristic designs travelers might have on the pristine coast that stretches away past the town.

TRANSPORTATION

Buses: To reach the otogar, walk down Ulusal Egemenlik Bul. from the statue and make a sharp right onto Mustafa Münir Elgin Bui. after the Türk gas station. The bus station is on the left, around the corner from the shopping center. To reach the Varan and Kamil Koç offices, head inland from the Atatürk statue and take the first left after Tansaş Cad. The Pamukkale office is on the first left before Tansaş Cad. For points in eastern Turkey, contact Aydin Turizm in the otogar.

Intercity dolmuş: From the hub at the Tansaş Shopping Center to: Dalaman (2hr., every 30min. 7:30am-10pm, ); Fethiye (3hr., 7:30am-11pm, ); İçmeler (10min., every 5min. 7am-1am, ); Köyceğiz (1hr., every 30min. 7:30am-10pm, ); Milas 2hr., 8:30am-9:30pm, ); Muğla (1hr., every 30min. 9am-midnight, ); Ortaca (1hr., 7:30am-10pm). Buses to Bozburun (1hr.; high season 5 per day 10:30am-7pm, low season noon) and Söğüt (1hr.; noon, 3, 5, 8pm) leave from the main otogar. Kalkan and Kaş can be reached from Fethiye, and Dalyan can be reached from Ortaca.

Local Dolmuş: Two main city dolmuş routes both start at Tansaş Shopping Center. One heads straight down Ulusal Egemenlik Bul. to Beldibi; the other turns right onto Atatürk Cad. before weaving down backstreets to Armutalan.

Hydrofoils: To Rhodes (1hr.; May-Oct. daily 9:45am and 4:30pm, return 3pm). Contact Engin Tür, on the waterfront.

Catamarans: To Rhodes (1hr.; May-Oct. daily 9:15am, return 4pm; round-trip , open return ). Make reservations one day in advance with any travel agency.

Ferries: Leave for Rhodes only when there are enough cars (2hr. round-trip , including port tax). Contact Yeşil Marmaris (see below). Beware, to get out of Greece, more to get back into Turkey, not to mention the cost of another Turkish visa if required for your country. See Visas and Work Permits.

ORIENTATION

From the bus station, outside of town on Mustafa Münir Elgin Bui., take a dolmuş or taxi to the town center on Ulusal Egemenlik Bul., where the Tansaş Shopping Center, bus offices, and the dolmuş hub can be found. Across from a large school at the intersection of Ulusal Egemenlik Bul. and the sea, the Atatürk Statue is a good reference point. Facing the water at the monument, turn left down Kordon Cad. to reach the tourist office and harbor. Barlar Sok. (Bar Street), the bazaar, and the castle are also to the left. Atatürk Cad. and Uzunyali Cad. run from the right of tire statue. Atatürk Cad. leads to the popular waterfront walkway and public beach before veering right and becoming Kemal Seyfettin Elgin Bul. Most smaller streets are numbered Sok. labeled with small blue signs.
Tourist Office: 250m along Kordon Cad. just outside the bazaar, before the cafes begin on the waterfront. English speaking and very helpful. Open May-Sept. dally 8:30am-7:30pm; Oct.-Apr. M-F 8am-5pm, Yeşil Marmaris , on the harbor, 30m past the tourist office, can book catamaran and ferry trips to Rhodes (see above). Open daily 7am-11pm. For other travel information, contact the Turkish Airlines office, 30 Atatürk Cad.

TOURIST AND FINANCIAL SERVICES

Banks: Several with ATMs on Kemal Seyfettin Elgin Bul., Atatürk Cad., and Kordon Cad. Most open dally; many on Ulusal Egemenik Bul. are open 24hr.

Budget Travel: Interyouth Hostel, Tepe Mah., 42 Sok No. 45 . They’ll help find cheap airline, bus, and boat tickets, arrange jeep and moped rentals, and suggest many scenic trips. There’s also an extraordinary Backpacker’s Cruise on the hostel’s 2 beautiful yachts .

Consulates: in the Yeşil Marmaris office building on the harbor, around the corner from the tourist office. Open M-F 7:30am-noon and 2:30-5pm.

LOCAL SERVICES

English-Language Bookstore: The Marmaris Gymnasium, opposite the Atatürk statue, hosts a book fair from mid-June to Nov. offering books in many languages. There’s a book exchange in the Interyouth Hostel in the bazaar.

Laundromats: Marina Laundry , on Haci Mustafa Sok., near Bar Street. Open daily 9am-11pm. The Interyouth Hostel in the bazaar also offers laundry service to non-guests.

Hamams: To reach Beldibi Hamam, take a dolmuş from Tansaş to Beldibi. Open daily 8am-11pm. Closer to the town’s center is Bazaar Hamam , located in the bazaar. Take the street to the left of the tourist office, and then make the first left. Open daily 8am-midnight.

EMERGENCY AND COMMUNICATIONS

Police: on 49 Sok., by Kordon Cad., past the PTT. Little English spoken.

Pharmacies: On every other block throughout the city, generally open daily 8am-9pm. Hospital: Public Devlet Hastanesi ,on Datça Yolu Üzeri. From the Atatürk statue, walk 500m up Ulusal Egemenlik Bul., turn left on Datça Cad., and continue 900m uphill. Private Ahuhetman Hospital on Kemal Seyfettin Elgin Bul. Follow Atatürk Cad. until it changes to Kemal Seyfettin Elgin Bul., and then make a right on 172 Sok. and a left on 167 Sok. English-speaking doctors and nurses. 24hr. emergency and non-emergency treatment.

Internet Access: Many internet cafes are in the bazaar, especially at the entrance, near the PTT. Most have A/C, and are open daily 9am-midnight. The Blue Internet Cafe is on Mustafa Muğlalı Cad., past Tansaş Cad. If the need for drunk email is Irresistible, try The Lighthouse , on Yat Limanı Cad. Make a left at the end of Bar St. and follow the canal until you reach a bridge; the Lighthouse is on your left. Open daily until 2am.

PTT: The main PTT , on Mustafa Muğlalı Cad., is on the right side heading inland from the Atatürk statue. Poste restante, fax, currency exchange, and direct money transfer. Package pickup around the comer. Open daily 8:30am-midnight. A smaller branch is in the bazaar, to the left off Kordon Cad.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Interyouth Hostel, Tepe Mah., 42 Sok. No. 45 Not to be confused with the Interyouth Hostel at Kemeralti Mah., 14 İyilkataş Mevkii, the real deal is deep within the bazaar. From the Tansaş Shopping Center, enter the bazaar and make your first right. Hospitable managers take care of guests and non-guests alike. The hostel features a book exchange, internet access , international phone, free movie rental, and laundry . Can arrange cheap travel. Breakfast in the terrace bar and nightly spaghetti dinners {7:30pm, free for guests).

Sezin Apart-Otel From Mustafa Muğlalı Cad., take a right onto 98 Sok. past the PTT, and then a left onto 91 Sok. The lap of luxury, with a pool, bar, and enormous rooms, each with bath, private kitchen, and balcony. Çubuk Hotel Head down Atatürk Cad. from the statue and turn right on the 1st street after the park; the hotel is on the left corner. 27 carpeted, pastel-hued rooms with bath, phones, balconies, and A/C. Breakfast included.

Nadir Otel and Pansiyon, Kemeraltı Mah., 56 Sok. the first left off Mustafa Muğlalı Cad. All rooms with TV and balcony. Ask for the side away from the shopping center. The hotel has 24 doubles with bath. Breakfast included.

Özcan Pansiyon, Kemeraltı Mah., 3 Çam Sok in a small cul-de-sac off Mustafa Muğlalı Cad. 17 tidy rooms with balconies, most with bath. Communal kitchen. Colorful outside patiobar. Owner runs 2 boat trips to sites around Marmaris, Laundry and international phone.

FOOD

Marmaris is chock-full of busy, pricey eateries. For cheap fare, try the several small restaurants in the bazaar area or the fast food-style kebap places on almost every corner (chicken, meat, and vegetable kebaps ). Or carbo-load with a baked potato slathered with toppings at the stands along Atatürk Cad.

Kervansaray Restaurant . From the statue, head straight on Ulusal Egemenlik Bul., turn left on Datça Yolu, and take another left on Yunus Nadi Cad.; the restaurant is on the first corner on the right. Feast on a large meal, with Turkish wine or beer and enjoy live Turkish music, wrestling, and traditional folk dances. The finale features the most famous male belly dancer in Marmaris. Ask at the Interyouth Hostel for more information, as groups often go from there. Open Apr.-Oct. daily. Sofra 3 blocks into the bazaar from the PTT, on the right. Well recommended by the tourist office, Sofra serves kebaps , lamb and mushroom dishes , and European fare to locals and tourists alike. Enjoy the wine bottle on every table and the music from the record store across the street.

Cafe Mozart, Mustafa Muğlalı Cad. 1-2-4 Head straight down Ulusal Egemenlik Bul. and turn left on the street after Tansaş Shopping Center; look for the large french-fry man by the PTT. This charming Dutch cafe/patisserie/restaurant serves European fare The chef is open to creating new dishes.

SIGHTS

  • BEACHES. Only 1500m away from the tourist office, Günlücek National Park offers a small, quiet beach and picnic tables set against a lush forest with fragrant frankincense trees. While the lively, crowded beach in Marmaris is great for skin toasting, ice cream licking, and playful frolicking, quieter and prettier beaches in the area are accessible only by boat, Pleasant İçmeler beach is, unfortunately, no exception, though the crowds are a bit thinner. (Park: Follow the harbor road past the marina and across the wooden footbridge, or catch a dolmuş from in front of the Tansaş Shopping Center Beach: dolmuş leave from the front of Tansaş Shopping Center or anywhere along Atatürk Cad.. Alternatively, catch the water dolmuş to içmeler from the waterfront next to the Atatürk statue and the tourist office.)
  • BOAT TRIPS. Water dolmuş to Turunç Beach depart from the waterfront by the Atatürk statue. hi high season, daily boat trips run to Dalyan and Kaunos feature Turtle Beach and mud baths (see Dalyan and Kaunos, )
    Full-day boat tours around both Marmaris and Çiftlik Bays stop at Paradise Island Beach, the Akvaryum (aquarium), several phosphorous caves, and the popular Turunç Beach. They continue to the less-crowded Kumlu Buk Beach, near the remains of a fortress; the early Byzantine and strangely-named Pregnant Church; and the tiny village of Keçi, in the heavily wooded Nimara Peninsula, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding coastline. For a more relaxing tour, contact Zeus Boat Tours. Captain Sadık Turgut navigates travelers on lazy, quiet circuits through truly secluded fishing holes he discovered in his fishing days. For those in search of a longer voyage, the Inter youth Hostel in the bazaar offers a 4-day boat trip exploring the rugged coastline from Marmaris to Fethiye.
    The fine sand beaches of Kleopatra’s Island, a.k.a. Sedir Adası, are a good daytrip. Legend has it that Marc Antony imported the white sand from the Red Sea some 2100 years ago in an attempt to get Cleopatra into the sack. Those less romantically inclined suspect that fossilized plankton make the sand so white. Travelers can also rent a motorbike ($30 per day) for exploring archaeological sites dotting the Bozburun Peninsula. Inquire at the Inter youth Hostel.
  • TURGUT WATER FALL. This series of small waterfalls, 35km from Marmaris, is perfect for swimming in the shade or pleasant hikes. Popular but beautiful, with a population of monkeys in the summer.
  • OLD TOWN. Meandering through this area of Marmaris rewards the explorer with local color and spectacular views. Small whitewashed buildings cluster on the hill surrounding the castle. Narrow stone passages reveal cats, colorful gardens, and stunning vistas of the sea. The old town is perfect for an afternoon of wandering.
  • MARMARİS CASTLE. After tile garden complete with peacocks and turtles fills the inner courtyard of this fairly unremarkable castle, while the paths along the ramparts offer panoramic of the Marmaris harbor. Built in 1522 by Süleyman the Magnificent, Marmaris’s castle was used as a base for the successful campaign against the Crusaders camped out on Rhodes. The castle now exhibits two rooms of stone age, Greek, and Roman pottery from 3000 BC onward and an ethnography room of Ottoman material culture. Another room displays changing art collections.

NIGHTLIFE

It’s hard to tell which is hotter in Marmaris: the burning sun or the blazing nightlife. 11pm is showtime for Barlar Sok., Uzunyalı Cad., and Barbados Cad. (the harbor), when bars and clubs kick into high gear. Loud, bright, and contagious music and neon lights spill onto the street.
To reach Barlar Sok. (Bar St.), face the tourist office and take the left road next to the tourist, office. Turn left into the bazaar at the next corner and walk straight. Let the music and lights be your guide to a neon sign reading “Bar Street.” The somewhat removed Uzunyalı is on the opposite side of Marmaris, right on the waterfront past the Atatürk Statue, with larger bars, clubs, and karaoke. Barbados Cad. is the pavement along the harbor. Most bars and clubs have no cover, and all clubs feature dancing. Unless otherwise noted, all are open daily year-round. At bars with both indoor and outdoor seating, drinks are usually cheaper outside.

CLUBS

Backstreet , on Bar St. An open-air tropical oasis, where ultra-hip dancers groove to international rock and pop while onlookers chill and pool sharks hunt under palm trees along a tiny, fish-filled creek.
GreenhouseHalfway down Bar St. Known for its excellent cutting-edge music and comfortable setting, this electric-green, air-conditioned dance club and bar is a Marmaris favorite. B on the beach at the far end of Uzunlyali. Famous for its cabana-like exterior decorated with fluorescent surfboards and zebra-print bar stools, plus an outdoor bar painted with tropical fish. Inside, the sophisticated surroundings reverberate with the top-notch electronic sounds of hip-hop, house, and Top 40.; cocktails (which have a “never say when” philosophy) Open daily 8am-4am; in winter Sa-Su 8am-4am. 18+; single men usually not admitted.
Cheers 50m past the Beach Club on Uzunyali. An outrageously fun disco “theme park” featuring Grease and Saturday Night Fever. A mega sound system blasts 60s, 70s, and 80s music early in the evening, shifting to techno as the night wears on. Look for flailing limbs and yipping cowboys coming from the direction of the bucking bronco ride. Open Apr. Oct. daily 8am-4am. 18+ on the dance floor.

BARS

Magic Garden Bar , on the right at the beginning of Bar St. This colorful refuge is a great place to talk and people-watch. Sit at jungle-green terrace tables under a canopy of grapes.
B-52 on Bar St. Popcorn at the bar, dancing on the side bar, and a young, mobile crowd provide a party so big, it extends into the street and the adjacent establishments.

Ivy Reggae Bar , on Barbados Cad., near the Escape Bar. Caribbean bar filled with Bob Marley paraphernalia. Catch the “mixed jammin”’ clientele while sipping tropical concoctions under the Hawaiian-style thatched roof.

Marmaris Irish Bar, 87 Bar St. , on the left side of Bar St. Flashing lights, contemporary tunes, and a 2 story, dark wood bar allows for much getting jiggy with it.

Escape Bar at the far end of Barbados St. A cheaper, casual alternative to the flashy nightclubs. Dart boards and surfing posters cover the brick walls; the pool table is ready for action. Friendly backpackers swap travel stories with yacht owners.

Bedesten Cafe on your left before entering Bar St. If you find the din of Bar St. too oppressive, this secluded water-pipe cafe will soothe your cares with backgammon and snacks in full view of the old mosque’s brilliant blue minaret.

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