On Tuesday, to celebrate our 4 year anniversary, Berkay hired a car for the day again and we went off on a day trip to Marmaris & İçmeler.
It’s great now that Berkay has his driving license – we’ve hired a car 3 times in the past 6 weeks. His friend lets us have the car cheap and it runs on gas so it’s not expensive to travel far with it either. I’m loving going out and exploring other places.
We were either going to go to Patara & Kas, or Marmaris & İçmeler and decided on the latter as neither of us had been before. I was really curious to see if Marmaris was as bad as I’d imagined, I see lots of people saying it’s like Blackpool, which doesn’t appeal to me at all. It’s certainly a million miles away from what I’m used to here in Fethiye & Calis.
Berkay came home at 9am after a long night at work, had a quick shower then off we headed. It took us around 2 hours in total, with a quick stop off for brunch. We got to Marmaris around 11.45am and spent AGES driving around trying to find a parking space. It was clear that Marmaris was huge and we had no idea which end or where was best to start from.
We ended up parking at the end by the Marina & castle. I really loved this end of Marmaris, it reminded me of Fethiye a lot. We wandered around the corner and along the fish water fountains that I had spotted while driving past and wanted to check out.
I loved this little area with the water features, gardens, statues and clock tower. It was really pretty.
After taking lots of photos there and a quick look in LC Wakiki we walked towards the Marina & castle. We walked through an area of undercover shops which I now know is the Grand Bazaar. It felt like one big giant maze, it was crazy, literally hundreds of shops pretty much all almost identical, selling the same things etc, it felt like we were going around in circles! I have no idea how any of them make any money, it was empty when we were walking around and there are so many shops the same how do you chose which one to give your custom to? It was all a bit weird, I just can’t understand the point of having so many similar shops next to each other – but it must work I guess! We didn’t go in any, we were just concentrating on trying to find a way out, but I did see some cute t-shirts with Frozen and Despicable Me characters on, they’d be perfect for my little sister, she was the first person I thought of when I saw them!
When we eventually found our way out we walked towards Marmaris Castle, which I really wanted to look at, but didn’t have time. We walked through all the little back streets past small, quiet cafes, I loved it. We saw signs for ‘Bar street’ so I’m assuming it was around there somewhere – but it looks like loud, obnoxious bars wouldn’t fit in there at all, perhaps it’s one of those places that is quiet and lovely during the day and a whole different place during the night? I don’t know. We reached the main marina and had a wander around there, the restaurants looked fancy and there were some very nice looking yachts and boats in the harbour. We reached a certain point then turned around and came back, walking along the promenade and past the normal day-trip type boats, we were CONSTANTLY pulled over and hassled to look and chat to them, Berkay is far too polite and instead of just ignoring them like I would, he let them all speak for a minute about how wonderful and amazing their boat trip was and then hit them with the fact that we were only there for a day – I bet they were cursing us for wasting their time! I found it quite funny how they automatically spoke to us in English, normally when we’re home they can tell Berkay is Turkish, and even when I’m out alone they assume I am – I guess we must’ve really looked like tourists in Marmaris that day!
We walked all the way back to the car and drove further along the beach towards the old Point Centre/Blue port. We parked literally right outside and went inside to get into the aircon as quickly as possible. One thing we really noticed about Marmaris was how ridiculously hot it was, there was no air! It was just hot. I was sweating in places I didn’t even know possible, it was awful! People have since told me that it’s because Marmaris is sheltered by the mountains so there is no wind. That’s something I’m so grateful that Calis has – wind! It’s always windy here and I’m always moaning that the sea is too wavy as a result.. I won’t complain anymore that’s for sure!
We had a look around Blue Port, it’s like a smaller version of Erasta in Fethiye. I did laugh to myself, we drove 2 hours to go to Marmaris where most people go to have fun, swim, sunbathe and drink lots of alcohol, and what were we doing? Walking around the Turkish version of B&Q looking at plant pots and paint for no reason! We’re such old souls, it really did make me chuckle. The best part about this little shopping centre was the fact it had a real KFC! We didn’t actually eat in there because it’s expensive, but it looked like a really fancy KFC, not like the minging ones in the UK – I’m guessing it was new. There was a Burger King too, but that wasn’t quite as exciting as there’s one of those in Fethiye too. You know what Turkey really, really needs? A NANDOS!
When we’d recovered from the heat and made the most of the aircon, we headed back outside and just walked along the promenade. This was the first we saw of the beach, which I didn’t really think much of. It was really narrow, with sunbeds crammed in here, there and everywhere. It was the same when we went to Gumbet. Here in Calis there’s one single row of sunbeds which are mostly unused. It’s a totally different place and atmosphere. I thought it was weird how they had buckets of dirty water for people to use and rinse their sandy/dusty feet in – gross. I did love the paved floor and huge, tall palm trees, they looked really lovely.
Another thing I noticed was just how many big 5* hotels there are in Marmaris, it seems the place is definitely more focused on big, all inclusive hotels rather than the smaller 3* bed and breakfast types here in Calis. There’s not a single 5* hotel here.
Up until this point I was really surprised at how much I liked Marmaris. The marina end looked lovely and the right hand side of the beach going towards İçmeler was nice with all the big hotels. When we started walking back and went past Point Centre, we came to the smaller hotels, bars and restaurants in the middle section of the beach that we’d missed out – and this was where things began to get a bit.. tacky. The cheap hotels and football bars. This was the part I’d previously seen photos of and based my opinion of the whole area on. Honestly, I didn’t like it – and I can only imagine it gets worse at night, I’m so glad I wasn’t there to see it, not my cup of tea at all. All in all, Marmaris was a lot better than I imagined, but I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I only visited during the day, I’m not sure my opinion would be the same if I saw it at night… I did like how there seemed to be something for everyone, all inclusive 5* hotels and cheaper, smaller apart-hotels for those who prefer that. Loud, busy bars for some, and quiet little cafe’s for others. I was amazed at how big it was, it’s 100x bigger than the main area’s of Fethiye, Calis and Ölüdeniz – It’s huge. I was only there for a couple of hours, so there’s a whole lot more to see, I’d like to go back again and experience it all a bit more. I should add here, that these are just my opinions based on observations I made in the very few hours I was there.
After all the walking around, we were hot, tired and grumpy, and got back in the car to drive to İçmeler where we were going for a swim. Honestly I can’t really comment on İçmeler as we didn’t explore, we literally only drove through a road, parked up and walked a few meters to the beach, but it did look more ‘personal’ and slightly more quiet there.
We paid 10tl for 2 sunbeds and an umbrella which I thought was really reasonable, stripped off to our swimsuits and took a dip in the sea, which was freezing. I love how calm the sea is there, it reminds me of the lagoon at Ölüdeniz, I guess İçmeler is sheltered like Marmaris, although it seemed a lot cooler there. There were no waves, it was just nice and calm which made swimming much more relaxing as whenever we’re swimming in the sea at Calis i’m constantly worrying about the waves and trying to stop myself getting a mouthful of salty water- gag! The beach was much like the one at Marmaris, hundreds of sunbeds and umbrellas all crammed together with barely an inch to move – weird. It’s also not really stoney like the ones here, it was more just dusty, muddy, sand, which I’m not sure if I preferred or not really – why are there no pure golden sandy beaches around here? Patara is the best one I’ve come across so far.
I did really like the views from the beach – it was beautiful.
At around 4.30pm we drove back to Marmaris and stopped for dinner – I’d asked for recommendations on Facebook and was trying to find a couple of the restaurants suggested but we couldn’t, we were really hungry, hot and had to leave as quickly as possible so that Berkay could get back in time for work, so we just settled on a random one that we came across – Natalies Steak House.
I’d heard about it from Facebook groups in the past, so thought it would be good to try, but I wish we hadn’t – everything was SO expensive. We did look at the menu outside first, but we were in a rush, so didn’t really look hard enough. I know it’s recommended for its steaks, hence it’s name I guess, but we couldn’t afford those so settled on chicken dishes – I had chili chicken, and Berkay had plank chicken, I found that the waiter kept pushing us to have something more expensive, which was annoying. There was no free ‘puffy’ bread that we normally get for starters either – perhaps that’s not the norm in Marmaris? I’m not sure. When the food arrived, it was nice, no complaints about that at all. When we got the bill though, we were amazed to see that the two large cokes (watered down with a lot of ice!) had been charged at 9tl each – 18tl for two cokes?! That’s just totally crazy to me – I don’t know if we just picked a silly restaurant or if Marmaris is expensive compared to Calis?
After all that, we left Marmaris at 5.30pm, were back in Fethiye at 7.45pm and Berkay was back at work at 8pm! Good timing or what? Even though he was grumpy and tired by the end of the day after having no sleep, I love it that he works nights as it means we can do things during the day together sometimes.
All in all, It was a good day and my opinion of Marmaris did change, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. İçmeler looked lovely but I need to explore them more, maybe we’ll get a chance another day. Both places were in beautiful locations with amazing views of the mountains, sea and islands – Turkey is a truely beautiful country.
I have to say though, after going away somewhere else, whether it be for a day, a week or a year, I just absolutely love driving back through the mountains on the Dalaman road, turning the corner and seeing Babadağ mountain, that’s when I know I’m home. Fethiye is my most favourite place.
Just a little note to apologise for neglecting my blog, I’ve not been in the mood for writing lately, and I have just been so busy. I do have a couple of posts planned for next week so hopefully I’ll get my motivation back and start posting more regularly again soon. Thank you for reading as always ❤