An Ottoman castle
The Kaleiçi district
Dalyan, a beautiful riverside resort

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A fjord in the Mediterranean

When you are cruising the Mediterranean Sea with MSC Cruises it’s easy to understand why Marmaris’ history has been determined above all by its stunning setting, in a deep, fjord-like inlet surrounded by pine-cloaked hills.

This did not seem to spur ancient Physcus, the original Dorian colony, to any growth or importance, but Süleyman comfortably assembled an army here in 1522, when launching its successful siege of Rhodes.

Shortly after this campaign Süleyman endowed the old town nucleus with the tiny castle and a inn. Little is left of the sleepy fishing village Marmaris used to be, a mere three decades ago. Development has dwarfed the old core of shops and lokantas lining narrow, bazaar-like streets, an intricate warren contrasting strongly with the European-style marina and waterfront. According to legend, Marmaris was named when Süleyman the Magnificent, not finding the castle here to his liking, was heard to mutter “Mimarı as” (“hang the architect”). The castle itself holds a museum of local finds and serves as a venue during the May festival.

The bazaar, including its diminutive kervansaray, now rivals that at Kuşadası for its array of glitzy kitsch, and only the Kaleiçi district, the warren of streets at the base of the tiny castle, offers a pleasant wander.

The growing but still beautiful riverside resort of Dalyan, 85km west of Marmaris, it’s a good excursion for visiting nearby attractions like the ancient site of Kaunos across the river, İztuzu beach at the river mouth, and the beautiful freshwater lake of Köyceğiz with its shoreline hot springs. Dalyan first came to prominence in 1986, when controversy erupted over a proposed luxury hotel on nearby İztuzu beach, a hatching ground for loggerhead turtles. Conservationists succeeded in halting the scheme, and now the beach is statutorily protected between May and October, when eggs are laid.

Must see places in Marmaris

Otkrijte naše izlete


    Greek ruins and Ottoman mosques
    Greek ruins and Ottoman mosques

    A cruise to western Turkey will show you the most economically developed, and most visited, part of the country.

    It would take weeks even to scratch the surface of the old imperial capital, İstanbul, straddling the straits linking the Black and Marmara seas, and still Turkey’s cultural and commercial hub. 

    Flanking it on opposite sides of the Sea of Marmara, the two prior seats of the Ottoman Empire, Bursa and Edirne, abound in monumental attractions and regal atmosphere. 

    Beyond the Dardanelles and its World War I battlefields lie Turkey’s two Mediterranean islands, Gökçeada and Bozcaada, popular for their excellent beaches, lingering Greek-ethnic identity and tranquillity. 

    Further south, the olive-swathed landscapes around Bergama and Ayvalık epitomize the classical character of the North Aegean. Ancient Sardis, and the old Ottoman princely training ground of Manisa, also make a fine pair, although İzmir serves merely as a functional introduction to the central and southern Aegean. 

    A holiday to Turkey will show you amazing ancient cities too. Celebrated Ephesus tends to overshadow the equally deserving Ionian sites of Priene and Didyma, or the intriguing ruins of Aphrodisias and Labranda – and don’t overlook evocative hill towns like Şirince or Birgi.