Please sign in to post.

Base for 3-4 days: Bodorum, Marmaris, or Fethiye?

I’m traveling with two smart curious girls, ages 13 and 16. We take the overnight train from Istanbul getting into Izmir at 9AM on a Tuesday. The following Sunday we’ll take the ferry to Rhodes from Bodorum, Marmaris, or Fethiye.

We know we want to see Ephesus either the afternoon we arrive or the next morning. (How much better is it to start early to—in theory—avoid the crowds?) That means one or two nights in Selcuk or nearby.

Then we want to base ourselves in one town. And my main question is what are the benefits from being based in Bodorum, Marmaris, or Fethiye (to make getting on the ferry easy) or perhaps a smaller town?

I don’t think we’ll have a car for the whole time. We’re happy to take the buses and minibuses when it works. But we might rent one (or hire a driver) for a day or two.

Our ideal trip would mix seeing some more ancient sites, a bit of nice countryside/geography, and a museum or two. We like to explore interesting towns that are not totally overrun by cruise passengers and package tourists. We may spend a bit of time at the beach, but we’ve got a lot of beach time in Rhodes.

As for antiquities, how would you rank the relative interest of Pergamum, Aphrodisias, Priene, Miletus, Didyma, Xanthos, and whatever I’m missing in this general area?

Thanks for your advice
Saul

Posted by
1814 posts

What time of year are you going? If it's a warm-weather month, I'd see Ephesus first thing in the morning. Afternoons can get very hot and more crowded.

As for antiquities, of those on your list we have only seen Pergamum. It's an interesting site, with the best-preserved amphitheater we've ever seen. But I don't know if it's worth the time/effort on this trip to go there, as the site is not nearly as spectacular as Ephesus.

We visited Turkey's Mediterranean coast three years ago. I wrote a trip report, which I'll link here to save me rewriting everything. We didn't visit Bodrum, so I can't really comment. We did visit Fethiye one day and I didn't find it especially appealing. We were in Marmaris just overnight, to catch the ferry to Rhodes, and that was plenty of time for us.

Regarding ferries: the availability of ferries from Bodrum and/or Fethiye to Rhodes depends on time of year and sometimes, weather. There is a dependable ferry from Marmaris to Rhodes every day (and when I was researching, it ran twice a day, in summer). So we chose to depart from Marmaris.

That leaves the question of where to stay along the Turkish coast for a few days. I could recommend:

1) The tiny, tiny town of Patara, with its huge, sandy beach. We stayed in the wonderful, inexpensive Akay Pension where they served the best food we had in Turkey! And Patara has some ruins, too, outside of town, which you walk (or drive) through on your way to the beach. Your girls might enjoy the nearby Saklikent Gorge. And I think Xanthos is near Patara, but we didn't go there. We did a day trip (boat) to the nearby sunken city of Kekova, which was fun. Patara is about 2 hours south of Marmaris.

2) Dalyan, which is more developed than Patara; its main attractions are Lycian tombs carved into the hillsides along the river that runs through town, and a sea turtle rehabilitation center, which we found fascinating. You can take a river boat to see the tombs and have a mud bath (interesting!). More tourists here, so more restaurants and shops, but not over-run. I don't think you'd find package tourists here (they're all in Marmaris!). Dalyan is about 1 hour south of Marmaris.

We also stayed in Datca, a little town just across the bay from Bodrum. Extremely small and quiet. Main attraction were the ruins at Knidos, which we really weren't impressed with. It's a huge site with very little restoration, and it was miserably hot the day we were there. I wouldn't recommend Datca for you.

As for the buses, that's all we used and they worked great for us. But you might want to consider renting a car when you leave Selcuk and dropping it off in Marmaris. Driving in Turkey looked pretty easy.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks Charlene

I'll check out Dalyan and Patara. Do you remember what turned you off about Fethiye?
We will be traveling at the end of august, by the way.

Saul

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks Charlene

I'll check out Dalyan and Patara. Do you remember what turned you off about Fethiye?
We will be traveling at the end of august, by the way.

Saul

Posted by
1814 posts

Fethiye just looked big and busy and dusty. We ended up there by accident on the way back to Patara from Saklikent Gorge, so we walked through the city to the bus station. There may be parts of the city that are more appealing, but what we saw made us glad we hadn't stayed there. Originally we HAD planned on staying in Fethiye a few nights but a friend who had been there talked us out of it. We stayed in Patara instead and we're glad we did. And I heard Akay Pension has updated all their bathrooms & added a pool so it's even better than when we were there. At the end of August you'll need a pool!