The resort town of Marmaris, set along dramatic
A relaxing day on one of the four beaches here can be followed by a typical Turkish meal of locally-caught seafood served with ultra-fresh vegetables at a small eatery with spectacular views of the sunset across the harbour and marina. For the more energetic, the nightlife here ranges from lively to riotous, with entire streets given over to dance clubs and bars and the hi-tech nightclubs famous for their up-to-the-minute music played at a high rate of decibels. Entertainment in Marmaris is geared to the younger crowd, although a family holiday can be equally enjoyable.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of a getaway to foreign parts is shopping - a favourite pastime wherever the destination. Marmaris has more than its fair share of shoportunities, varying between modern malls, the marina's selection of upmarket designer outlets, the tiny shops in the Old Town, the ever-open Grand Bazaar and the many smaller street markets which set up all over town on a daily rotation basis.
Souvenirs here range from precious and costume jewellery, the famous Turkish carpets and rugs woven in rich colours, local handicrafts including carved olive wood home decor items and acres of ultra-cheap designer copies to leather goods including handbags and shoes and local pottery. In the bazaars, bargaining is obligatory and results in great prices as well as great souvenirs. In the Old Town are individual, affordable boutiques and a few interesting antiques shops.
The delicious Turkish recipes are based on Ottoman cuisine, a fusion of Middle Eastern, Balkan and Central Asian culinary traditions. Seafood is a main ingredient along the coast, and rice rather than bulgur wheat is the staple grain in Marmaris and its region. Locally-produced olive oil features strongly, with fresh vegetables and a selection of herbs. Eating out is a feature of Turkish culture and, although fast food joints have invaded the resort, there are plenty of local eateries serving traditional dishes. For the best, ignore the most touristy and head for a restaurant where the locals dine. Sadly, wine is expensive here.
The best way to explore the stunning, rocky coastline is by boat, with yacht cruises run by several local companies along the promenade. Lunch is included and it's a great way to see the surrounding natural beauty and tiny coves of this region of Turkey. Visiting Marmaris National Park, a short journey from town up into the mountains, is another nature-lovers' delight, with biking, trekking, horse riding or jeep safaris the best way to get around. Another fascinating destination not far from town is Iyilik Kayaliklari Archaeological Park, with its ancient ruined town dating to the 4th century BC.
Exploring the Old Town, the original Marmaris settlement, takes you along tiny twisting alleys to Marmaris Castle, the last of a long series of fortifications guarding the area from invaders and pirates. The 16th century houses are mostly shops and cafes nowadays, but no less charming than in their previous incarnations as homes. The castle has been meticulously restored and holds an interesting archaeological museum, and there are Ottoman era ruins on the edge of town.