Marmaris Vs. Antalya. Choosing Between Antalya Or Marmaris

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Post author Enes

Written by our local expert Enes

Originally from North Macedonia, Enes is a well-traveled enthusiast residing in Türkiye. He combines his extensive knowledge and avid wanderlust to bring you insightful narratives of his Turkish adventures.

Are you deciding between Antalya and Marmaris for your next trip to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey? Both these jewels of the Turkish Riviera offer unique experiences, like visiting the Marmaris Castle or exploring Lara Beach in Antalya, especially if it’s your first time exploring this stunning region. 

This guide dives into the heart of Marmaris and Antalya, highlighting the various things to do in Marmaris and why it may be better than Antalya, helping you make an informed choice. We’ll explore the sun-kissed Marmaris beaches, the scenic Gulf of Antalya, and the best that Antalya hotels have to offer. It’s a good idea to know what each city brings to the table, making your trip an excellent place to create lasting memories.

From top attractions to the most exciting day trips, let’s unravel the charm of these two coastal paradises.

Are you in a rush and want to know how to choose between Antalya or Marmaris? Here is what we think you should know:

Antalya Marmaris
Perfect for outdoor lovers A less crowded beach town
Known for its local cuisine Awesome for water sports
Excellent location & rich history Vibrant nightlife

Keep reading below for our in-depth analysis on weighing up Antalya vs. Marmaris.

Turkey is famous for its vibrant culture, delectable Turkish cuisine, rich history, and heavenly beaches. Each city and region in Türkiye provides its visitors with a different experience, and among the most popular destinations are Antalya and Marmaris.

Each has its own blend of culture, history, and entertainment. While both cities are known for their stunning beaches and Mediterranean climate, they each offer unique traits that appeal to various types of travelers. Each city’s culture, attractions, and cuisine are similar due to their geographical proximity and climate.

Let’s dive into the differences between Antalya and Marmaris and compare both cities. If you need to decide which city to visit before planning your next holiday to Turkey, keep reading!

Antalya, Türkiye

Antalya Guide - Hidirlik Tower in Antalya, Turkey

Known for its stunning natural beauty and rich history, Antalya is a city located on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. The city has a long history that dates to the Roman Empire, and it is home to several ancient ruins and monuments, including Hadrian’s Gate, Hıdırılık Tower, and the ancient city of Perge.

The old town, Kaleiçi, is the ideal combination of modern conveniences and historical beauty. Antalya is also noted for its beaches, clean waters, and Mediterranean temperature, making it a popular beach resort.

Thanks to the Taurus Mountains encircling the area, the city is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, skiing, paragliding, and other activities.

Why You Should Visit Antalya

Best beaches in Turkey - Kaputas beach Antalya
Kaputas Beach, Antalya

Antalya is one of the most scenic and peaceful cities in Türkiye, and here are some of the reasons why it should be your choice for your next visit:

  • Stunning Beaches: Antalya is well-known for its stunning beaches, crystal blue waters, and Mediterranean climate. The beaches in the city are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports
  • Outdoor Activities: The unique nature of Antalya provides several chances for outdoor enthusiasts, including hiking, skiing, and paragliding
  • Delicious Local Cuisine: Antalya is well-known for its delicious Mediterranean cuisine, which includes seafood, kebab, and Turkish pastries. You can taste the unique cuisine of Antalya at a myriad of restaurants in the city. Plus, the local taverns serve the most savory foods with traditional beverages
  • A Rich History: Antalya has a rich history that dates back to the Roman Empire and is home to several old ruins and monuments, including Hadrian’s Gate, Hıdırılık Tower, and the ancient city of Perge. You can visit the Old Town (Kaleiçi) and other historical sites to learn more about this history and culture
  • Shopping: If you’re planning to buy souvenirs and authentic objects, Antalya must be your first choice! The city is a fantastic shopping destination, with everything from traditional trinkets to luxury brands available
  • Pleasant Weather: Antalya has a Mediterranean climate, which means hot summers and mild winters, making it a great year-round vacation
  • Excellent Location: Antalya is well-connected to other cities by air and land, making it a perfect base for exploring the rest of Türkiye and the Mediterranean

Reasons Not to Visit Antalya

What To See In Antalya - Waterfall Duden at Antalya, Turkey
Waterfall Duden, Antalya

Being a heavenly destination doesn’t mean Antalya is perfect; there are some things you should know before making it your next holiday destination:

  • Crowded Tourist Areas: Antalya is a crowded city, especially during the peak season. Therefore, if you’re planning to visit Antalya in the summer, you should expect most places to be overcrowded. So, Antalya isn’t the best location if you want a quiet beach holiday
  • Limited Cultural Activities: Despite the city’s rich history, cultural activities are not as diverse and broad as in other places
  • Fewer Options For Vegetarians And Vegans: Although there are great vegan restaurants in the city, Antalya’s traditional cuisine is mostly meat and seafood-based. Finding vegetarian and vegan options at most restaurants isn’t impossible, albeit difficult
  • High Prices: If you’re visiting Antalya during the peak season, you should be ready for higher prices than most Turkish cities. Antalya is already an expensive city, and with the beginning of the tourism season, the prices always go up. Therefore, if you’re looking for a budget holiday, you might want to consider other options

Day Trips From Antalya

Antalya has a pristine sea and untouched coves, which you can reach by a short day trip from the city. Some of the day trip options from Antalya are:

Perge & Aspendos

Perge and Aspendos are ancient Roman cities near Antalya. Perge is famous for its well-preserved agora, while Aspendos is known for its impressive Roman theatre, which is still in use today. Visiting these ancient cities will help you understand the city’s past and explore daily life in ancient Anatolia.


How To Get From Pamukkale To Cappadocia - Sunset at Pamukkale

Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 200 kilometers from Antalya. It is famous for its white travertine terraces formed by mineral-rich thermal waters. If you’re into natural wonders, you should visit Pamukkale and get ready to be amazed.


Yacht Tour

Going over the turquoise waters while soaking up the warm Mediterranean sun is a unique feeling. And, when you’re in Antalya, you can experience this feeling. A yacht tour is the best way to explore nearby islands and hidden coves. You can see caves, beaches, and other natural wonders, as well as have the opportunity to swim in an untouched cove far from the crowds.

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Marmaris, Türkiye

Things to do in Marmaris Turkey

Marmaris is a scenic coastal town in Türkiye’s southwestern area, located between the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. The town’s lovely setting and breathtaking natural beauty make it a popular tourist destination for visitors.

Marmaris is also home to myriads of picturesque beaches, crystal-clear waters, and spectacular sunsets. The long stretch of sandy beach runs along the town’s promenade and is perfect for sunbathing and swimming.

Another popular feature of Marmaris is its active nightlife, with a range of pubs, nightclubs, and restaurants offering something for everyone. You can enjoy traditional Turkish music at one of the town’s many taverns or sample local dishes at a seafood restaurant.

Why You Should Visit Marmaris

As we said, Marmaris is famous for its delicious cuisine and vibrant nightlife, yet these aren’t the only reasons you should visit this magnificent city. Here are some of the other reasons you should visit Marmaris:

  • Rich History: The town is full of history; its ancient ruins and historical monuments are a testament to its cultural heritage. The ancient city of Caunos, located just a few kilometers from Marmaris, is a must-see for history buffs
  • Water Sports: Marmaris offers its visitors a variety of activities, such as jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing, and windsurfing. The city is quite favored among water sports enthusiasts and one of the best choices if you’re seeking new experiences
  • Less Crowded: Despite being a famous tourist destination, Marmaris is less crowded than other Mediterranean towns, such as Bodrum and Antalya. So, it might be the perfect destination for those wanting a quiet holiday

Reasons Not To Visit Marmaris

Best beaches in Turkey - beach in Icmeler

Being a peaceful tourist town doesn’t mean Marmaris is perfect. Here are some of the reasons you might not want to visit Marmaris during the holiday season:

  • It’s a Noisy City: Marmaris is noisy, mainly because of its vibrant nightlife. Therefore, finding a quiet hotel will be one of your top priorities when visiting Marmaris
  • Pollution: Being a popular destination also has its cons; one is definitely pollution. While Marmaris has been developing throughout the past few decades, air and water pollution has become vital. As a result, if you have respiratory issues or allergies, you might want to choose a less polluted destination for your holidays
  • Annoying Vendors: Buying souvenirs for loved ones is always a great idea, but when it comes to Marmaris’ street vendors, you should be ready for the worst. Most vendors are persistent and can become aggressive, which can be an issue for people who don’t like to be bothered by a bunch of people trying to sell them stuff

Day Trips From Marmaris

Marmaris is home to some of the most scenic spots, magnificent ancient cities, and pristine coves. Of course, seeing all of Marmaris’ wonders in a limited time is difficult. Nevertheless, you can discover some of the most popular nearby destinations by taking a day trip from the town.


A beautiful town on the Dalyan River noted for its natural beauty, ancient ruins, and mud spas. The village, surrounded by lush woodlands, is home to the ancient 7th-century BC city of Kaunos. Visitors can visit the city’s ruins, which include a theatre, an agora, and a bathhouse. The town is also famous for its mud baths, where visitors can relax and rejuvenate their skin.



Beaches in Fethiye - People at the Calis beach near center of Fethiye city in Mugla
Calis Beach, Fethiye

Fethiye is a picturesque town on Turkey’s southwestern coast, noted for its beaches, historical monuments, and stunning surroundings. Found in a beautiful bay bordered by the Taurus Mountains, Fethiye is a true heaven for beach-goers and nature enthusiasts.



Göçek is another charming hamlet on the Fethiye Gulf famed for its marina and sailing options. The town is a prominent yachting and sailing resort and home to one of the major marinas in Türkiye. Visitors can explore the local bays and islands by a boat trip around the gulf.

Going To Both Marmaris & Antalya

Let’s say you want to go to both places; here is how you travel between them.

Traveling between Antalya and Marmaris is quite feasible, and you have a couple of options for your choice of transportation|:

By Air

Both Antalya and Marmaris are served by nearby airports. Antalya has its own airport, Antalya Airport (AYT), which is one of the major airports on the Turkish Riviera. For Marmaris, the nearest airport is Dalaman Airport (DLM), located about 100 km away. There are no direct flights between these airports, so you’d likely have to connect through a major city like Istanbul. For plane tickets, I suggest booking Turkish Airlines for a 5-star experience. However, the best price will be found on Pegasus Airlines.

By Road

The distance between Antalya and Marmaris is around 320 km, and you can travel by bus or rent a car. The journey by road takes approximately 5 to 6 hours, offering scenic views of the Turkish countryside and coastline

By Bus

A bus ride between Antalya and Marmaris is a practical option. Several bus companies operate on this route, providing comfortable and affordable services. The bus journey can take about 5 to 6 hours, depending on traffic and the route taken. This mode of transport offers a balance of cost-effectiveness and the opportunity to enjoy the scenic landscapes of the Turkish countryside. Buses in Turkey are generally well-maintained and offer amenities like air conditioning, making the journey pleasant. You can book your bus tickets online or at the bus station

Frequently Asked Questions

Turkey Travel Blog_How To Choose Between Marmaris and Antalya Turkiye


Does Marmaris or Antalya have more beautiful and cleaner beaches?

Antalya is known for its more beautiful and cleaner beaches, offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Does Antalya or Marmaris have a richer history and diverse historical attractions?

Antalya boasts a rich history and diverse historical attractions, including well-preserved ancient buildings, museums, and nearby ancient ruins such as Perge and Aspendos.

Does Marmaris or Antalya have a wider range of attractions and day trip options?

Antalya has more attractions within the city and offers easy access to other regions of Turkey for day trips, providing visitors with a plethora of options to explore.

What kind of cuisine can I eat in Marmaris and Antalya?

Antalya offers its own traditional Turkish cuisine, allowing visitors to savor local flavors. Marmaris, on the other hand, has a wide variety of international restaurants targeting tourists.

 What family-friendly activities are available at Antalya and Marmaris?

Antalya offers numerous family-friendly attractions, including water parks, toy museums, and child-friendly beaches. Marmaris, with its relaxed atmosphere and gentle waves, provides a suitable environment for families with small children.

What accommodation options are available in Marmaris and Antalya?

Antalya has a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to all-inclusive resorts, catering to different preferences and budgets. Marmaris has a smaller selection, and options may be booked faster.

Is there a vibrant nightlife in Antalya or Marmaris?

Antalya boasts a vibrant nightlife with a variety of bars and clubs, providing entertainment options for those seeking an active evening. Marmaris, while still offering nightlife options, has fewer choices compared to Antalya.

Which is more affordable, Marmaris or Antalya?

Antalya is generally considered more affordable than Marmaris, offering advantages in terms of food, accommodation, and activities, allowing visitors to enjoy their vacation without breaking the bank.

Would Antalya or Marmaris have a better overall vacation experience?

Overall, Antalya provides a better vacation experience with its beautiful beaches, rich history, diverse attractions, local cuisine, family-friendly activities, various accommodation options, vibrant nightlife, affordability, and more.

So, are you leaning towards Antalya or Marmaris for your next getaway? With their panoramic views, the enigmatic Lycian rock tombs near Antalya, and the serene expanse of Marmaris National Park, the choice is tough.

Whether you’re looking for a vibrant resort town experience or a tranquil retreat, we hope this Marmaris vs. Antalya breakdown has given you a clearer picture for planning your Turkey vacation this year.

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