The province of Muğla accommodates the popular holiday cities of Bodrum, Marmaris, Datça, Köyceğiz and Fethiye. Beautiful resorts, comfortable hotels and motels, cosy guest houses, impressive ruins of past civilizations and magnificent landscapes offer holiday-makers plenty of choice.
Not far from the towns, you can swim in crystal clear, tideless, warm seas. Underwater divers will especially want to explore the numerous reefs, caves and majestic rock formations there. The waters offer up multicoloured sponges of all shapes and sizes and an immense variety of other aquatic life, including octopus.
Xanthos was a city in ancient Lycia, and the site of present day Kınık, although in early sources Xanthos is used synonymously for Lycia as a whole. The archaeological site of Letoon is located between the towns of Kaş and Fethiye, approximately 4km south of Xanthos along the river. These sites illustrate the blending of Lycian traditions and ancient Greek influence, especially in their funerary art. Archaeological experts and linguists agree that the epigraphic inscriptions are crucial for our understanding of the history of the Lycian people and their Indo- European language.
Awaken to the Wonder of the Ancient World
Bodrum and its hinterland is particularly attractive for its relaxed ambiance, historical architecture and its proximity to a vast array of fantastic beaches, fishing villages and trendy nightclubs. With its picturesque shoplined streets, restaurants, discos, sophisticated bars and cafes for all ages and tastes, the county is always lively whatever the season. Its delightful charm remains unspoilt with palm-lined streets and whitewashed, flat-roofed houses dotted across the terraced hillsides.
Bodrum is the ancient Halicarnassus, the birthplace of the famous historian Herodotus, and a place known in antiquity for being the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Mausoleum, a gigantic tomb erected for King Mausolus in the fourth century BC. Destroyed by successive earthquakes, the stones of the Mausoleum were then used by the Knights of St John to build their castle nearby.
Gümbet offers a long, sandy beach lined with hotels and pensions. Gümüşlük is a very pleasant place to stay, with unspoilt scenery, a long sandy and gravel beach, where you can swim very close to ruins of ancient Myndos. Turgutreis boasts a sophisticated marina complete with exclusive cafes, restaurants and boutiques, as well as a host of new bars and discos. Yalıkavak has an enjoyable and relaxing atmosphere for visitors. Göltürkbükü is famous for its array of exclusive hotels, excellent seafront restaurants and trendy bars. Bitez, a popular place for windsurfing and sailing, attracts an upmarket crowd.
A shining destination on Turquoise Coast
Marmaris is a very popular summer resort for both domestic tourists and foreign visitors, and the region has developed enormously over the years. Boats are available at the old harbour for visits to the islands and bays around its coast. An ancient castle, now a museum, overlooks the area around the harbour and offers a taste of the old town’s character. In the small shopping centre, upmarket boutiques and intimate restaurants are a pleasant contrast with the traditional bazaar area, where hundreds of small shops offer the usual Turkish wares – clothing, leather, jewellery and handicrafts. In Marmaris Bay, large and modern marinas provide excellent services to luxury yachts.
İçmeler is one of the most popular touristic sites with facilities and entertainment areas. Turunçhas high quality motels and restaurants, too. Kumlubük is a very popular beach with thick sands.
Sedir Island is famous for its excellent beaches. A legend says, the sands were brought especially for Cleopatra, the famous Egyptian queen, and she swam here with her lover Anthony.
Where Aegean meets Mediterranean
Datça is situated at the far end of the Aegean coast on the end of a peninsula that stretches out to the west. The Aegean meets the Mediterranean at this point and it is a popular stopping-point for gulets taking a “blue cruise” from Bodrum or Marmaris. Datça is also an ideal place for fishing and diving, and its winds make it popular with surfers. The most important historical site in the area is Knidos, famous in antiquity for its many great amphitheatres. It is also the site of the Temple of Aphrodite, which housed a beautiful statue of the goddess sculpted by Praxiteles, one of the most celebrated artists of antiquity.
A Sanctuary for Caretta Carettas
Lake Köyceğiz and its surrounding is an attraction for both nature lovers and history fans. You can jump into its clear waters from the beautiful coves and then, enjoy visiting the nearby ruins of the ancient city of Kaunos. The town of Köyceğiz lies at the northern end of this lake and is joined to the Mediterranean by a natural channel. This unique environment is being preserved as a nature and wildlife sanctuary. A road leads to village of Dalyan on the inland waterway. The maze of channel is easily explored by boat as you immerse yourself in this tranquil dream world. The Dalyan Delta, with the long, golden, sandy İztuzu Beach at its mouth, is a natural sensation and a refuge for sea turtles (Caretta Caretta) and blue crabs.
Past and present interwoven in Fethiye
The popular resort of Fethiye, 135km southeast of Marmaris, has an important marina at the head of a beautiful bay strewn with islands.
A hill crowned by the ruins of a crusader fortress built by the Knights of Rhodes overlooks the little port. Above the county numerous Lycian rock tombs reproducing the facades of ancient buildings were cut into the cliff face. The Tomb of Amyntas which probably dates from the fourth century BC is the most remarkable one. The surrounding area is rich in beautiful coves and valleys; places not to be missed are Butterfly Valley, home to thousands of butterflies, and Saklıkent which is accessible only by wading through the ice-cold waters coming straight from the mountains. Ölüdeniz, or the Dead Sea, takes its name from the still waters which separate the lagoon from the sea itself. The calm blue waters and rugged mountains make Ölüdeniz one of Turkey’s most beautiful regions.
The road to Belceğiz Bay takes you through the mountains where cozy guest houses cater for those seeking mountain scenery. Ocakköy is a mountain village that is a must-see. Stay in one of the lovely guest houses and enjoy the numerous hiking opportunities! Hisarönü, also a mountain village, has very nice hotels. Göcek, a large and secluded bay located in the nortwestern part of Fethiye, serves yachts with its significant marinas. It is a peaceful tourism area with accommodation facilities, shopping areas, restaurants and bars.
Kayaköy, 4km from Hisarönü, is a picturesque abandoned town with old houses and churches. Explore the bay and the beautiful Blue Lagoon (Mavi Göl) where the calm, crystal-clear water is ideal for swimming and other water sports! The Blue Lagoon is one of the best places in the world to do absolutely nothing but soak up the sun amid stunning natural surroundings. From Babadağ Mountain (1969m) you can even paraglide into the Blue Lagoon. For those seeking accommodation, Belceğiz Beach is highly recommended. Intoxicating scenery surrounds the beach and shady park at Kıdırak. On Gemile Island (St Nicholas Island), Byzantine ruins lie tucked amid the pines. In the south of Kıdırak beach, Kötürümsü Bay is accessible by boat only. A forest, waterfalls and a valley filled with hundreds of varieties of butterflies await the intrepid explorer beyond the idyllic beach. Yakaköy (Tlos), 36km south of Fethiye, is the oldest city of the Lycian region and the home of the Lycian hero Bellerophon. Visitors can see the remains of a castle, agora, necropolis, theatre and Roman baths as well as enjoy a good view of Eşen Valley in Yakaköy. Two kilometres to the east is Tlos Park, an ideal picnic place. Pınara, 49km south of Fethiye, is another ancient mountain city and it is ideal for hiking and visitors can see the remains of a theatre, agora, rock tomb and baths there.