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Cruise Diary: Marmaris, Turkey

Guests Jan and Dick Yetke set sail on Prinsendam’s 64-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage in March, and we’ll catch up as quickly as possible. Enjoy the journey with Jan and Dick!

Marmaris, Turkey, was a first-time stop for us. We really do like the Turkish coastal towns, so we figured we would like this one, too. It was very interesting! We once chartered a sailboat for a week out of Gocek, Turkey (a moorings base near Fethye and not too far from Antalya), which was great.

Today we took an all-day tour to Dalyan, Caunos, and Iztuzu Beach from Marmaris.

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IMG_3987_resize Marmaris harbor

The drive through the countryside to Dalyan was very pretty. Modern Dalyan is a typical riverside town, surrounded by lush fields and breathtaking mountains. It is also the gateway to one of the most impressive sites in the province. In Dalyan, we boarded a small motorboat that took us down the river’s winding canals and through a maze of reeds on the Dalyan River’s delta. Cotton plantations and fields alternate with little islands covered in reed thickets.

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IMG_3750_resize Dalyan city

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During our journey down the river, we saw the famous temple-tombs of the ancient kings carved into the rocky cliffs. These are very impressive rock tombs that are carved to resemble 40-foot high temple entrances and are the resting places for the Lycian kings of Caunos. Archaeologists puzzle at how the tombs could have been sculpted in the middle of a 300-foot cliff without apparent access from the ground.

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Further down the river, we got off the motorboat and walked down a path and up a hill to the ruins of the city of Caunos, which includes a Roman theater and Roman bath. The city was founded in the fifth century B.C. and is one of Turkey’s richest archaeological sites. Caunos is only partially covered by archeological excavation sites, but work continues as the city is believed to have been established around 3000 B.C.

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IMG_3865_resize Dick found a seat among the ruins

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Caunos was once a thriving trading center, but the silting up of the ancient harbor brought an end to the affluence of the city. After visiting Caunos, we reboarded our motorboat and continued down the river, through the reeds, to Iztuzu Beach (only accessible by boat) where the endangered Mediterranean Caretta (loggerhead) turtle comes ashore each year to lay its eggs on the Dalyan River’s delta. Since we came during off-season, this large, beautiful beach was completely empty. Dalyan and this area are very crowded in the summer since this is a resort location. One couple in our group had brought their swimsuits and did have a very quick swim at sea.

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Back on our motorboat, we went back up the river, through the reeds, to our original departure point in Dalyan, where we had a very nice lunch. After lunch, we returned by motorcoach to Marmaris. This was a great tour!

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IMG_3923_resize path we walked on to get to our boat

IMG_3920_resize our boat we re-boarded

Marmaris, well known for its strategic value, has had its own castle since 3000 B.C. The Castle we see there today was built on the original site by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1522 B.C., and served as a base for the Ottoman Navy. It is rumored that when he saw the old castle, he said Mimari as(hang the architect), and that is how the town got its name. In 1798 A.D., Britain’s Lord Horatio Nelson used the harbor to shelter his fleet during the Mediterranean Campaign to defeat Napoleon. The castle is now a museum and is being restored to its original splendor.

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Marmaris continued on as a quiet fishing village until the 1980s, which brought in a construction boom and the tourism industry. Nestled between two mountain ranges and the sea, with hot, dry weather extending from May through October, it is a prime tourism destination. It is best known for its unrivaled nightlife and for diving and sailing opportunities, the last of which remains popular even through the winter. The Port of Marmaris is where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterranean. The scent of pine floats down from the hills and flavors the air. Modern Marmaris life focuses on the seaside promenade. Lined with pleasant bars and restaurants, gulets (wooden sailboats) bob just offshore. A shipyard near town has been building the traditional vessels using local lumber for years.

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4 Comments
  • Mrs. Bolton

    Thank you for your lovely pictures of interesting places, which most of us won’t get a chance to go to.
    I really have been enjoying them. It’s an amazing and diverse world we live in, isn’t it?

    Thanks again for the time you put into these posts,

    G. Bolton.

  • Paul & Judith Yeoman

    We have been to Turkey via Holland America, but not to Marmaris. Thank you for sharing and expanding our horizons!

  • helena Leith

    Yes thsnks for the pictures, l have been to see the sites in Turkey and I would recommend you go and see them all.Im going to Marmaris in July and I’m looking forward to it.

    H Leith

  • Israel Man

    Hi Jan and Dick, it was nice cruising with you. Thanks for the memories.

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