Marmaris became the name of the city when it was under the Beyliks of Menteşe. Marmaron is marble in Greek and Mermer in Turkish. The region around Marmaris has lots of good quality marble deposits. There are quite a few marble workshops and souvenir shops in and around the town.
The large water bay of Marmaris also become useful as a secure place for Lord Nelson and his fleet when in 1798 he was on his way to Egypt to engage with Napoleon’s fleet as part of the Mediterranean campaign. The Battle of the Nile that followed on August 1st 1798 was a decisive victory for Nelson.
Most of the tourists in Marmaris arrive on package holidays. They provide for most of the bookings for the hotels locally. Marmaris has a long palm lined waterfront, its own sandy beach, and a massive choice of bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes to choose from. You can find everything here. Be sure to visit the Grand Bazaar too. It has lots of souvenirs in the way of rugs, lamps, Turkish lokum, local honey and good and bad quality products of which all might not be as authentic as they seem.
For the British tourists Marmaris is one of the few places where visitors can experience very authentic fish and chips. Try Rickys Fish & Chip shop in Şehit Ahmet Benler Cad. This family chippy is run by Ricky and his wife who produce some amazing pies and fish and chips despite the fact they have never been to the UK.
Marmaris is very close to the Greek Island of Rhodes. There is a ferry service that operates a busy schedule several times a day for those that want to go on a day trip or sample the delights of Rhodes for a few days. The hustle and bustle of Marmaris is not for everyone. It can be too busy and lively at times. People often prefer to move away from the centre to İçmeler or Datça where the pace of life is a little slower.
So the best things to do in Marmaris would include a visit to the castle and the Archaeology Museum. You could explore the Marmaris National Park which surrounds Marmaris and which provides some stunning views and scenery with an amazing natural habitat to explore. There is Sedir Island ( Cleopatra Island ) with the ruins from the ancient settlement of Cedrae which include an Agora, and a theatre, in a pretty sorry state of repair.
The Marmaris Marina and the Dancing Fountain at night should be on your list of places to visit. For beaches, the İçmeler, Turunç, İncekum, and of course Marmaris Beach, will provide all you need to soak up the sun. Further out of town, about 30 km away, you have the Dalyan River and the Lycian tombs.