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Icmeler (pronounced Ichmellair) - a buzzing but laid-back jewel of a place. A small relaxing resort with good beach and plenty of sun beds, yours for a day for a small fee.
A walk along the canal is fascinating with kiosks selling goods of all description from beautifully embroidered towels, and silver jewellery to Turkish Delight at excellent prices, it has a special atmosphere in the evenings being lit up with coloured lights. However, you have to run the gauntlet of restaurant touts and music bars in the evenings, but a polite response to the effect that have already eaten/are all inclusive/pretend to speak another language or simply cross over the road often does the trick!
Mitos Lounge, to the right along the sea front is a lovely open air lounge-bar with stone settees and huge cushions, palm trees, and coloured lights, with relaxing music steeped in laid-back ambience,
There are many boat trips from Icmeler - Panorama Princess does a day cruise visiting open air mud baths with warm spring water bathing, the turtle beach, Dalyan Delta passing Lycian Rock Tombs carved in the cliffs, and an opportunity to swim with the fish. This day trip includes lunch and is very reasonably priced, whilst travelling in a large double decker boat with sun beds on the top deck and a shady cabin inside. Drinks are charged extra.
Icmeler is a shoppers paradise, and the bustling Wednesday market is an experience, although it can be tiring as there are touts continuously vying for attention. However, if you get into the spirit of the place and converse with the locals you generally find the people are genuine, very friendly and amusing, and helpful. Everything you would expect in a British market except for half the price.. You can have some fun with haggling - offering about one third of the price asked, and you should agree on about half of what the seller asks. However, a lot of the stalls are fixed prices.
The local dolmus mini buses go everywhere from everywhere and are very cheap - they set off when full and can be flagged down where ever you are. Nearby Turunc, which is a small sleepy resort , is easily reached by dolmus and great for an afternoon's relaxation. Also you can get to Marmaris by water taxi from the harbour.
The traditional Turkish show at the open-air caravanserai in Marmaris is worth seeing, includes dinner, and is very reasonably priced. Also there is a Vegas style show in Marmaris. Its best to shop around the local places for tours and day trips - they all do the same trips but at differing prices.
There are many small supermarkets, [including one called "Elvis Market"!] some open 24 hours, but most household goods, food and toiletries etc. are available from the Tansas Supermarket which is open to 10 pm most nights - near the Attaturk statue. [Incidentally it is illegal to insult Attaturk, the Turkish flag or money].
A lot of the bars and restaurants provide entertainment - often impromtu shows put on by the staff including tribute shows (ever seen a Turkish Michael Jackson?) which are usually great fun and some bars have traditional entertainers such as belly dancers, so Icmeler has an all round entertaining night life. However, more elderly people may find it a little too noisy at times. All in all it is a great holiday resort with a lovely sea front and ambience.
Here are some things to do in the Icmeler area:
Turf And Surf Boat Trip
Take the bus along the Bozburun Penninsula from Icmeler (about 45 mins) You will be offered tea or coffee and you can settle in and listen to the quiet and laid back music; the scenery is gorgeous, and the sea crystal clear. It will be a small crowd; the boat has capacity for about 26.
On your trip, you will visit a ruined hilltop monastery were you can take pictures looking out over the bay to the mountains. As you continue your journey, you will have the opportunity to refresh yourself during a couple of swimming stops and then you will arrive at the American House. A Turkish man built this rather large estate for his American wife, and it was left exactly as you find it: furniture, beds etc as if it is waiting for their return. It is kept locked, so the caretaker who looks after the house will let the group in. There are fantastic views from the front patio. In this tranquil and peaceful place you will have a lovely lunch: salad, meatballs, chicken. Very satisfying.
You then will cross the bay and visit another couple of secluded coves for swimming breaks and return to the Bozburun Penninsula and the bus that will take back to Icmeler.
Jeep Safari To Oranihiye
Take a Jeep trip to Oranhiye - a little village where you can relax on the sunbeds, enjoy some little restaurants or take a camel ride. The most famous landmark here is a 150 mtr stretch of sandbank that sweeps out into the bay.
There is a legend that, long ago, pirates attacked this village and one maiden, fearing her virtue, filled the front of her dress with sand and sprinkled it into the sea to make an escape. After the sand ran out, she threw herself off the sandbar and was drowned, rather than face the prospect of rape and dishonor. Because of this legend, it is said that if any maiden walks to the end of the sandbank, when she returns she will go home a virgin.
Boat Trip Round Gokova
Jaques Cousteue rates the pristine condition of the sea and beaches as the finest in Europe. Here you can visit English Harbour where English Fleet boats used to hide during the war. There is also a little mermaid a small sculptor in the distant and vast sea.
Be sure to take a camera, to capture the stunning scenery in this area.
You can also see Cleopatras Island, which was a gift from Mark Anthony to Cleopatra. You will love the white sands and the old ruins. While some say three and a half hours is a good amount to time to spend there, how long would YOU like to spend in Heaven?
Hint: You should take plenty of water with you, but there is also a cafe is on the Island.
Taxi Boat To Either Turunc Or Marmaris
For something different to do, take a taxi and visit either Marmaris or Turunc. It will be difficult to do both in a day - they are in opposite directions.
Marmaris has a narrow beach, as well as busy streets and squares and a lively promenade, You will find lots of evidence of civilation here: big supermarkets, McDonalds, etc., as well as its castle and picturesque harbour area. You can also catch the Dolmus from Marmaris and visit other regions of Mugla.
Turunc - Opposite of Marmaris, in Turunc you will find lovely views out to sea, a nice harbour area, a narrow promenade that runs the full length of the bay that is lined with cafes bars and hotels. If you'd rather something quieter and more private, you can picnic at the small park.
It makes a nice change to come to Turunc just to relax and be quiet for a short time before going back to Icmeler.
Icmeler does not have a water park of it's own, but Marmaris just 10 minutes away by dolmus, has three! One of these, Atlantis Waterpark, is right at the sea front, and is open from early May to late October. They have lots of sunbeds and shady spots as well as a bars and restaurants. A fun day for the family and you can visit their website for a 10% discount voucher.
Watch The Sunrise at Icmeler Beach
Get up early to be at the beach by about 6:50am, or check with the locals to get a more accurate time, depending on the season.
As the sun rises between these two mountains the sea seems to be turned into a carpet of gold.