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Member Name: carlmcq
Advantages: Great holiday location
So, as I'm sure you eagle-eyed people are aware, I've been away for just over a week and the reason behind that is I've been on holiday...after reading this review you'll get no prizes for guessing! So here's a nice summary of what I came across during my time in Marmaris...
Based in the south-west of Turkey, by most of the reviews I've read - here and elsewhere, it is widely regarded as the most 'European' of holiday destinations in Turkey. This year, most likely due to the exchange rate of the Euro, Turkey has been extremely popular with Brits as the Lira gives a good return.
On arrival at Dalaman airport - about a two hour coach journey through the winding hills to Marmaris, at 4am it still measured over 20 degrees. An ideal temperature for us Brits, especially considering the dire summer we've had on these shores, but by the daytime the temperatures were consistently hitting 40 degrees - pushing the 43/44 mark at one point from what I saw.
Marmaris itself is a town with a population just under 30,000. Based within a bay, it's harbour is a fantastic site. It has a very long beach, but is particularly narrow so me and my girlfriend only spent a day there due to a lack of space...with a pool the size of the one we had at our hotel then we were quite happy there instead!
Staying in the Armutalan area of the town - towards the north, we stayed at the 'Royal Plaza' - a three-star location which had great staff and all you need for a holiday when there's no really reason why you should be spending too much time in your hotel room. A small bus 'depot' was directly opposite it (I use that term loosely as it just looked like a place where the drivers hung out!), which took us to the beach, dropping us off just outside a large supermarket and at the end of the road which if you turn left takes you to the harbour and turning right takes you to the beach. These minibuses run like clockwork until just after midnight and cost just 1.25YTL - about 50p per journey. Good times.
On the beach front in Marmaris, as you'd expect, it's filled bumper to bumper with restaurants-cum-bars. Although I'm sure they mean well, the majority of westerns will be very irritated very quickly with the constant pestering of the waiters - "hello my friend, you come in and have some food?" "No thanks." "Well, just check my menu and see." "No thank you." "Have a drink and sit down"...etc. etc. It's the one word of warning I would heed to people visiting, but you get use to it - just try and avoid eye contact and don't slow down to look at the menus outside the restaurants!!
Within Marmaris itself, it is also filled with restaurants, often labelled as 'fun pubs', which will stay open anywhere between midnight and 2am each night. Drinks prices here will cost for a beer between 3 and 5 YTL - predominantly Efes is the drink of choice - for those unfamiliar with the exchange rate, £1 is roughly 2.5YTL, so it's cheap. Spirits do cost much more though, especially if not buying the local vodka, brandy or raki (eugh!), but the majority of places do two-for-one offers on cocktails - usually costing you between 10 and 12YTL, so very, very reasonable by most British city prices.
The one exception to this is Barr Street. It's the main 'hub' of nightlife in the town which sooner rather than later will become as well known as some of the bar strips such as Magaluf or Zante. It contains a whole host of bars and clubs, but this also means prices are far higher here. One night during our stay, we spent a night wandering to the various bars down Barr Street before ending up at "Club Areena" (yes, two e's) - the club is a large open-air one, but a bottle of beer will set you back 10YTL, or even 15 depending if you choose without asking for prices, and cocktails will be around 25YTL. Also, look out for most of the places here selling fish bowls...for those without a penchant for boozing that's basically a large concoction of spirits and mixers in a fishbowl, but can cost over 100YTL for one.
Barr Street is quite concealed, but can be found on the harbour side of the town, rather than the beach side which is made up of more the restaurant/fun pub types. Around the harbourside there are also more 'posher' restaurants, some of which have cracking views. One night we splashed out on a meal at one of these - Sea View - which still wasn't too expensive for a chicken dish - less than a tenner per meal, but had some superb views.
One think I don't like about the restaurants is that the majority sell 'British' food. If I had a pound for the number of times I saw one of these places selling an English breakfast or Roast dinner then I'd be a very rich individual now. Some places up in Marmaris and Armutalan were selling an English breakfast for just 2.50YTL, so just a pound, but I also feel when you're in a country, unless you've got young kids, you should try their cuisine. And believe me, you won't be disappointed.
Three dishes I tried that I'd thoroughly recommend were a good old chicken kebab, but much, much better than the tripe you get in England. We went a couple of times to a place called Idil's which was at the harbour end of Barr Street, opposite Club Areena, and the chicken tasted chargrilled and extremely well marinated, all wrapped up with fresh salad in a tortilla-cum-naan bread wrap. A small one of these cost just 5YTL. Brilliant.
Also recommend would be a turkish casserole, which is flavorsome and great despite the obvious heat. And then a Turkish pizza, or a 'pide'. A couple of nights we went to a restaurant called 'Violets' which was opposite out hotel and a mixed pide cost just 6YTL, which include mince meat in a bolognese-style sauce, pepperoni and a cooked egg on top. There were exceptionally big portions too, so for less than £3 that is simply amazing.
There's plenty to do too. I could be here all day listing this, that and the other, but a couple of things we did included a good old fashioned boat trip. Along the beach front there are numerous blokes trying to sell you these, which will also annoy you, but I believe they all cost just £10, which includes a free meal - ours was a decent sized barbequed chicken, pasta, bread and salad, and all you can drink. Yes, all you can drink. For a day out, it's a great option.
Another thing to add to the to-do list is the waterparks. There's two in Marmaris - Atlantis and Aqua Dream - we went to the former of these two and Atlantis is a great place, which I can't see Aqua Dream beating. There's 9 different slides and a pool with a small restaurant and plenty of sunbeds, all right on the beach front. It will set an adult back approximate 28YTL, however you can find online a 20% voucher for Atlantis, which we used and was accepted. Great times!!
There's also the market - Thursday is market day in Marmaris. The number 2 bus, which was one of the minibuses which left outside our hotel, stops outside it on it's route. Naturally, it's full of cheap tat which very few people should go anywhere near as it'll either fall apart shortly after purchasing it or will be a horrible looking fake. Nevertheless, it's an experience, if just for the interesting English phrases that the Turkish market stallers have learnt over the years!
So there you have it. It cost the two of use less than £600 for the flights, transfers and hotel for a week-long holiday having booked through teletextholidays.co.uk, and seeing as the peak season is starting to finish now, it'll probably become even cheaper and the weather will still be great. And as for spending money, as you can see from my review, the general prices for food and drink are very cheap. So do yourself a favour - spend a week away from DooYoo, and go to Marmaris. You'll love it.
Summary: Just the job for a cheap, sunny holiday