PLEASE NOTE: The currency in Turkey is the New Turkish Lira (I will refer to them as T$s). At the time of writing, US$1 = T$5.71 (it was T$6 two weeks before).
I was making my way slowly up the mediterranean coast from Antalya to Istanbul.
I spent 3 nights in Cali Beach, Fethiye.
It was, now, time to move on to Marmaris …
I walked about 300 metres from my hotel to the bus stop on the 1085 sk. road and caught a local bus. This dropped me outside of the Petrol Ofisi petrol station. The price was T$3.25 and the trip took 30 minutes. From there, I walked 50 metres into the bus station. Buses to Marmaris leave hourly all day at 15 minutes to the hour. The price was T$28. My suitcase was loaded into the luggage compartment
We left at 11:45am. The bus stops every 45 minutes-ish at the main towns along the way. You get a short 5 minute break at each stop. We arrived at the Marmaris Bus Station at 2:30pm.
Marmaris is a medium sized Bus Station with many bus bays. Many are signposted with their destinations, many are not. Once in the Bus Terminal, look back towards the entrance. On the left, you will see smaller buses that look different from the others – these are the buses that go through town. You want to find the bus that goes to Icmeler Belediyesi. This takes you down Hasan Isik cd and all along the main waterfront road. The price to my hotel was T$3.25. The MicroBus dropped me off on the street about 100 metres from my hotel.
Marmaris is a Mediterranean resort town along the Turkish Riviera (aka the Turquoise Coast) with a busy, pebbly beach and long seafront promenade. It is located half way along the coast between Antalya and Izmir. Marmaris is located at the point where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterranean Sea.
It is not known for certain when Marmaris was founded. It was previously known as Physkos and it was part of the Carian Empire in the 6th century BC before being overrun by the Lydians.
According to the historian Heredotus, the Carians came from Crete. They used Physkos (with its natural harbour) as a military base and to enhance trade between Rhodes and the other Aegean Islands. After 300 BC, the Carians came under the reign of Egyptians, then Assyrians, then Ionians, and then Dorians.
In 138 BC Attalos, the 3rd King of Pergamon, ceded Physkos to Rome. The city became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1425.
Marmaris is now one of Turkey’s most popular holiday destinations and it has the largest resorts on the Aegean coast. With its long coastline and surroundings of pine-covered hills, isolated bays and inlets, beaches, ancient cities, and marinas it offers every kind of attraction. Marmaris welcomes about 400,000 people during summer season. Many of them British.
The region bordered by the Marmaris Castle, Marmaris Harbour and Marmaris Marina is called “Marmaris Old Town” (the historical centre of Marmaris). The historical buildings and narrow streets date back to the 16th century (the era of the Ottoman Empire). The historical buildings are all protected and restored – most of them now serve as bars, restaurants and shopping malls.
Where I stayed, is the main and the most preferred holiday resort area of Marmaris.
In summary: One big tourist town. Not my ‘cup of tea’, but it definitely appeals to ‘package holiday maker’ types.
Marmaris boasts the most comprehensive and best equipped network of hotel, apartment, holiday villa, and holiday accommodation in the western coasts of Turkey.
I couldn’t search for the April-May Shoulder Season so, here is what was on offer in the month of October 2019.
PLEASE NOTE: Booking.com did not work in Turkey whilst I was there. You will have to pre-book from outside of the country.
I suggest that you use HOTELS whilst inside Turkey … they consistently offer the best prices, selection, and discounts.
PLEASE NOTE: HOTELS usually displays prices INCLUSIVE of TAXES. Many search sites don’t provide a ‘private bathroom’ filter so, be careful with some of the cheap hotels and make sure that you read the room details.
PLEASE NOTE: Other sites (such as Homeaway, FlipKey and VRBO are also worth a look).
GRANDPAckers cannot afford to come here in Peak Season: June to September. You will have to come in Shoulder Season (April-May or October-November). You can get accommodation including breakfast at almost half the price (and, the weather is still good). For the best discounts / prices, book at least 2+ months in advance.
I used AGODA to book a Double Room (single occupancy) with a Private Bathroom for 3 nights at the Hotel Amore. I paid a deeply discounted price of T$108 / US$19 per night (a 41% discount I think).
At check-in, they asked if I wanted to pay extra for aircon; I declined and said that I would check my booking details first. I went up to my room … they had given me a Twin Room with no TV, a dripping toilet, and a front door that didn’t lock properly.
I returned to reception and changed to the Double Room that I had booked. I got out my laptop and checked my booking. My confirmation said that the room came with a min-fridge and aircon. I returned to reception. A fridge arrived 5 minutes later. They promised to come later to fix the aircon … they did not. I was on the 1st floor of about 8 rooms. The hotel has a lift (for a change):
The shower was small (a less than 1 square metre cubicle) and had a door missing (so, the water sprayed out onto the bathroom floor). The ‘hot’ water was only ‘warm’. The toilet ‘bidet’ spray did not work.
The Breakfast was a typical Turkish Breakfast: boiled egg, cucumber, tomato, olives, cheese, bread, and a selection of jams / spreads. A tea / coffee was included. It was served individually down in the restaurant / bar between 8am and 10am:
Wifi was ‘bad’. I had to put my spare Smartphone on a 3 metre USB cable out onto the balcony, put it in WiFi Bridge mode, and use it on other devices inside to get a reliable signal that kept dropping in and out.
PLEASE NOTE: At reception they have a poster stating all of the extra costs: ‘daily housekeeping’ costs GBP10 / US$15 (something else that was meant to be ‘included’ in my room rate).They did, actually, come and clean my room once in the 3 days that I was there.
IN SUMMARY: The rooms are tired and things are starting to get broken or are not working. They are doing renovations. Their ‘handy man’ is very busy.
WHERE TO STAY:
MY ADVICE: Stay at least 2 blocks leeward side of this boulevard.
Have a look yourself:
EAT & DRINK:
There are Supermarkets in town, so this makes a villa option more viable.
A local 500ml beer in a supermarket costs T$9-11. T$13 for something more ’boutique’. Pay T$1 more if you buy in a convenience store.
You will get the same T$10 beer in the cheapest restaurants for T$15 but expect to usually pay T$20 close to the waterfront.
You should get your Breakfast included in your hotel room rate. If not, expect to pay an average of T$20 each for a cheap local Breakfast with tea / coffee.
Expect to pay an average of T$25 for a cheap Lunch with fruit drink.
Expect to pay an average of T$35 for a cheap Dinner with a Fruit Juice / Small Beer.
You can walk everywhere.
I don’t know taxi prices, sorry. But, from what I hear so far, expect to pay about T$5 for ‘flag fall’ and T$5 per km.
A local bus from the Bus Terminal to anywhere in town is T$3.25 each way. A public bus trip from the Old Town to an attraction within a 1 hour drive should cost about T$8 each way.
BANKS / ATMs / MONEY:
You can pay in Euros almost everywhere. Some places take GBP. A few take US$s. For the best prices, pay in T$s. Marmaris is very British oriented with many shop prices quoted in GBP.
You will find several Banks & ATMs in town. There is no Bureau De Change but some of the shops offer ‘Money Exchange’ at varying rates. Many places take Credit Cards.
Prices in shops are set prices; you get charged the same as locals do. HOWEVER, for ‘tourist items’ you should still try and ‘haggle’ – this includes the price of meals not shown on a restaurant menu.
ATMs charge between 5% and 10%.
MY ADVICE: Use one of the bigger and better known nation-wide banks for the best rates.
INTERNET / WIFI:
Your accommodation ‘should’ provide good wifi.
You will, also, find free wifi in almost all of the restaurants and bars.
Back in Selcuk, I bought a new TurkCell SIMcard for T$100 and a 1 month Promotional Package for T$25. The latter came with 2GB of Facebook / Twitter data, 3GB of Internet data, 300 minutes of talk time, and 200 free SMSs.
I went to TurkCell in Marmaris to top it up. The had a 4GB 1 month package for T$35. I chose their 6GB package for T$40 that included:
- 6GB standard internet;
- another 2GB bonus internet;
- another 1Gb bonus internet;
- 500 standard minutes of Talk Time;
- Unlimited TurkCell-TurkCell Talk Time at the weekends;
- 1,000 SMSs;
- Lots of other stuff that I didn’t understand.
I paid a T$2 fee.
HEALTH & SAFETY:
The first thing that you notice is the number of smokers; there is still a large % of smokers here. They even smoke in ‘no smoking’ areas without anyone complaining. Not a surprise when you can get a 20 pack of Rothmans ‘Click’ for T$11.
There is no reason to feel unsafe. As always, exercise normal levels of caution … don’t make yourself an obvious target.
WHEN TO GO:
Summers are dry and hot due to the domination of subtropical high pressure systems – while winters experience moderate temperatures and changeable, rainy weather due to the polar front.
These climates usually occur on the western sides of continents between the latitudes of 30° and 45°. Seasonality is moderate.
Peak Season is June through September. Shoulder Season is mid April to May and October to mid November.
WHAT TO DO:
Read About – GRANDPAcking Costs if you don’t know how to interpret my figures.
MY ACTUAL COSTS:
My costs are broken down into:
- Cost of Existence: The basic costs of just being there
- Cost of Living: The additional costs that make being there fun
COST OF EXISTENCE (COE):
I EXISTED well within GRANDPAcking standard.
My accommodation was T$108 / US$19.50 per night.
I already had my TurkCell SIMcard. I topped it up with a 6GB plan for T$42.
I have apportioned T$28 for my Turkish eVisa.
I averaged about T$38 per day on food and water.
My COE worked out to be about T$126 (US$23) per day.
COST OF LIVING (COL):
I LIVED to GRANDPAcking standard.
In / Out Costs: My public transport costs from Calis Beach to my Marmaris hotel came to T$32.
Living Costs: I averaged about T$35 per night on drinks.
My total COL was about T$160 (US$29) / day. This was only 76% of my budget.
COSTS FOR 2 GRANDPAckers:
Again, costs are broken down into Cost Of Existence (COE) and Cost Of Living (COL).
COST OF EXISTENCE (COE):
Accommodation: I have booked you into a budget hotel for the first 2 nights that includes Breakfast. There are several budget accommodation options around town where you should be able to negotiate a better long-term room rate. Alternatively, find a villa for under US$450 / month (if you can!) and bring in groceries.
Transportation: I have budgeted a return trip to the Old Town on a local bus each week.
Communications & Fees: I have budgeted a TurkCell SIMcard and 1 month promo package. I have included the cost of 2 Turkish eVisas.
Food: Your meals budget averages about T$121 (US$22) / day for 2 people. This is to eat Lunch and Dinner in Cheap Restaurants.
Your COE is about T$229 (US$41) / day. This is 21% UNDER budget.
COST OF LIVING (COL):
This leaves you T$61 / US$11 per day to LIVE on.
To afford a month here you will need to:
- Come off-season (e.g. in mid April – May or October – mid November)
- Negotiate a long-term hotel rate once you are here
- You are unlikely to be able to secure an Holiday Home within GRANDPAcking price range (but, you may get lucky if you try and book one months in advance whilst you can still get deep discounts)
If you can get an Holiday Rental (or budget hotel with a good shared kitchen), you can easily reduce your food costs by half and, by doing so, have enough spare money to LIVE on more easily.
Could you afford to retire here on a GRANDPAckig budget? YES …
BUT only just.