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Marmaris
Marmaris
Marmaris

Marmaris has one of the world's largest natural harbors, a sweeping bay that has attracted everyone from Mark Anthony to the Crusaders and the gin palaces of today's international yachting fraternity. Behind the harbor, the town has always existed as a resort and market, a lively town with a buzzing bazaar, sandwiched between the sea and steep pine-clad mountains. Many of the larger hotels are actually in Icmeler, a few kilometers from the centre in the next bay or in nearby Turunc.

Beyond the beach: Marmaris is one of the oldest and most sophisticated of Turkey's resorts, and offers a great place for a laid-back holiday with a wide range of activities on, off and under the water. This is at the heart of the Turquoise Coast and there are numerous boat trips along the coast, to outlying islands to snorkel, dive and bask on deserted beaches, visit the phosphorus caves and even moonlight boat trips. On shore there are wonderful walks up through the heavily forested mountains and a huge range of sports and activities including horse riding, mountain and quad biking, jeep safaris and village tours. The only historic monument in town is the Ottoman fort, heavily rebuilt in recent years and now home to an archaeology museum.

Family fun: Turkey is generally very child-friendly and Icmeler Beach in particular is pleasant for children with its broad, gently sloping sand. Most of the larger hotels have good facilities for children, including kids' clubs, and Water park, with its slides and rides, offers a change from the natural waves and there are a few thrill rides such as the revers. The bazaar is always entertaining and there is plenty of space for running around, although the midday heat may knock children flat.

Exploring further: Marmaris isn't as close to the great historic sites as some of the other resorts, but you can't move along the Turkish coast without falling over some history and there is still some around here. Take a trip along the Datça Peninsula to ancient Knidos or back towards Dalaman to visit Kaunos. Inland are the lovely regional capital, Mugla, with its Ottoman houses and excellent Thursday market, and Milas, home to the local carpet industry. About four hours' drive from the coast is the 'frozen' waterfall of Pamukkale, its limestone pools cascading spectacularly down the mountain. Or take your passport and a boat and head across to the Greek island of Rhodes with its great Crusader castles for the day.