Cesme guide - Side trips to Cesme from Marmaris

Tourist information and guide to Cesme, Izmir, Turkey...


Rarely does a place live up to its name, but the resort of Cesme, meaning ‘fountain’, more than matches the elegance and beauty of some of the most famous fountains in the world. The many springs in the area feed the crystal clear and radiant blue sea like a fountain, and the surrounding landscape of sesame, artichoke and aniseed fields provide the sea with a magnificent frame, and whose attractiveness is topped off with sporadic areas of fig and gum trees. A small port town, it is dominated by a 14th Century Genoese fortress and has scattering of 16th Century Ottoman trading structures, as Cesme was part of the Silk Road for caravans travelling across Anatolia from Central Asia and the Middle East.


Despite its untouristic past, Cesme has grown significantly in popularity in recent years and is now a lively resort with a good helping of restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs which can be found along its promenade. The main draws of this resort are the fine, golden sanded beaches around the peninsula, and Cesme is an important centre for festivals and concerts. It is also famous for its mastic flavoured ice-cream and even its toasted sandwiches.



Things to Do & See in Cesme

If you’ve travelled a long way to Cesme, you’ve probably come for the fantastic beaches (which you’ll also need after a long flight). A short bus ride away from the resort is the beach of Pirlanta Beach, which is a long and sandy beach just southwest of the town. If you dig your toes into only the finest sand, the Altinkum Beach, otherwise known as the ‘Golden Beach’, is also close by and has sands and water which glisten as if they were showing off, so you’ll need plenty of luck trying to leave. The Cark Beach beach is perfect for families as the shallow and tranquil waters could easily function as a giant kid’s pool, and the sand is great for building sandcastles. If you prefer to spend your Marmaris holidays at the whim of the elements, head to the nearby town and beach of Alacati to have your fill of windsurfing, as the wind and waves here have a constant and fiery temper.

The 14th Century Genoese fortress which stands vigil in the harbour is not only a superb example of medieval architecture and tactical advantage, it also houses a weapons museum and hosts concerts and festivals. If you’d like to relive part of the route travelled by the medieval traders on the arduous Silk Road, a 16th Century caravanserai (roadside inn for travellers) is in good condition and lies near the fortress, called the Öküz Mehmet Pasa Kervansaray, which is also now used as a hotel and restaurant.


If you’d like to bask in the sparkling thermal springs after which Cesme is named, head to the nearby town of Ilica, in which many hotels are built on thermal springs in order to offer its guests the purest and most refreshing spa treatments around. The remains of the ancient city of Erythrai lie 20km northeast of Cesme at Ilidiri, which dates all the way back to around 3000B.C. Now the ruins comprise mainly of the foundations of once regal and superb structures, but they are an interesting glimpse into the magnificence of the former glory of this city.

If you’ve had enough of trekking around for your Turkey holidays, relax on one of the many boat trips that can be had from the resort, on which you can watch the lush and forested hills and placid sea leisurely pass by. These boat trips will also let you explore the nearby islands (including the Greek island of Chios) and undisturbed coves if you’d like to swim and laze about away from the incessant bustle of civilisation. The sea around the resort and its nearby islands offers incredible underwater scenery, including glittering tropical fish, so snorkeling or scuba diving around these areas is highly recommended.

Cesme is nationally famous for hosting concerts and festivals, one of the biggest being the Cesme Sea Festival of Nations and Song Contest, held every July in the Genoese fortress. The nightlife is lively, although this is hardly Bodrum. Bars, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs line the harbour and stay open until the early hours of the morning. There are also traditional Turkish meyhanes for a relaxed Turkish drink enjoyed in the midst of belly dancing and other shows. Head to the Seaside Beach Cove in Piyade Cove and the Babylon Adacati in Cark Plaj for some late night partying; clubs which also attract famous international DJs.

Where to Stay?

You can stay in sheer luxury or on a basic budget in Cesme. The Öküz Mehmet Pasa Kervansaray, the medieval caravanserai, is one of the most popular hotels, and is also great if you want to immerse yourself in the culture while in Turkey. A tiny seven-roomed Hotel Nars Alacati has just opened and is set in a converted 19th Century mansion, and is sure to become one of the most wanted out of those who want to pay a little extra for something special. Apart from these, there are many hotels which cover all price ranges.

How to Get there?

If you’re flying in, head to Izmir Airport, from which you can get a bus from Izmir to Cesme at any time of the day. You’ll get to Cesme in about half an hour, and the bus ride should cost around 10 Turkish Lira, or €5. Bus services are also available from Istanbul, although these take a whopping 8 hours. You are able to find buses to Izmir from Marmaris bus terminal. Distance between Marmaris to Izmir is 250 km. and 80 km. from Izmir to Cesme.




More Marmaris pages for your interest...


Marmaris Holidays & Marmaris Travel Guide, Marmaris & Icmeler | Turkey