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Muğla’s history goes back to the ancient times. The city saw many civilizations pass by and many destructions along the way. A place with such a long and rich history has left many remnants behind for the following generations to see. Therefore, Muğla is a special city that has strong ties with antiquity. If you want to learn more about ancient history, it is an important city to explore.
Muğla is famous for its extremely clean and blue sea. Ölüdeniz is especially frequently visited both by the locals and the tourists. If you are in search of a great holiday destination for summer, there is no better place than Muğla. You can enjoy the sea and nature along with many extreme sports in Muğla for a fulfilling vacation with your friends, family or significant other.


The first settlement in Muğla is believed to be established between 3.500 and 2.000 BC, namely the Bronz Age. The majority of Muğla was known as Caria in ancient times. The Carians are believed to have settled in the area around 2.000 BCE. It is also believed that Carians came from the Anatolia and were of the Anatolian origin. Today’s Bodrum and Datça were the two most important areas in Caria. Even though Carians were known to be the first settlers in the area, the actual history of Muğla starts with the Hittites. At that time, the city was called Lugga by the Hittites. After the Hittite Empire fell, the Phyrigians took over the city. There were many subsequent attempts to take the city over by many civilizations and empires. After the Phyrigians, Lydians took the city over and then the Persians took it over from them. Similar to the fate of many neighboring cities, Alexander the Great conquered the city in 334 BCE. In 133 BCE, the Roman Empire arrived in Muğla and after the empire was divided, the city was under the reign of the East Roman Empire. The Turks came and claimed the city in 1284 CE and the Ottomans took it over in 1391. During the times of the War of Ankara between sultan Yıldırım Bayezid of the Ottoman Empire and Timur, the city fell under the reign of Timur, however, the Ottoman sultan Murat II managed to take it back in 1425. How the city got its name is a source of controversy, however, it is believed that the city was named after the Seljuk commander Muğlu Bey who conquered the city. The name Muğlu turned into Muğla in time. It is also known the name of the city was Mobella during the Middle Ages. After World War I, during the Turkish War of Independence, Italy started to invade Muğla and the surrounding cities in 1919. However, against the national forces and resistance, Italy was reluctant to get into an armed struggle. Muğla is known to be the city that had the most martyrs among the Aegean cities that were being invaded. Italian forces finally left Muğla in 1921 and the city earned its independence.

    Muğla is best to be visited during the summer months since it is a coastal city with a beautiful sea.
    The language spoken in Muğla is Turkish, however, you can find English speakers in the touristic areas.
    There are two international airports in Muğla: Dalaman Airport and Milas-Bodrum Airport.
    Type C
    The currency is Turkish Lira or TL.
    Time zone is GMT +03:00
There are two international airports in Mupla: Milas-Bodrum Airport and Dalaman Airport. You can either fly from your home country to Muğla directly or you can fly from a city in Turkey if you are planning a trip to Turkey and not just Muğla. You can also reach Muğla from Istanbul, Ankara and Antalya by buses or by a rental car. To give you an idea, it takes about 8 hours to reach Muğla from Istanbul by road. If you are somewhere near Muğla, you can also get on ferries and sea buses to reach Muğla.
Muğla is best visited during spring and summer. Muğla is usually preferred both by the Turks and the foreigners as a holiday destination. People love to enjoy the beaches and the clean sea of Muğla each year. If you are specifically interested in seeing the butterflies in the Butterfly Valley, then you must visit Muğla either in April or May.
You can use the dedicated buses to reach the city center from the airports. You can also rent a car and travel around the city with your own vehicle to have a different experience. You can also opt for taking a taxi to reach the city center, however, make sure you are using a mobile app to call a taxi and make sure the taxi is a registered one in order to avoid being scammed.

Traveling around the city is possible by buses that run all around Muğla. In fact, the bus line in Muğla is known to be the world’s longest bus line, covering 98 kilometers. You can also get on the dolmuş to travel around the streets of Muğla.

    Acroter Hotel Deluxe & Spa is located in Datça, Muğla. It is only 14 kilometers away from the city center and 50 meters away from the beach. If you want to spend time in a quiet place where you can be one with nature, Acroter Hotel Deluxe & Spa is a great choice. You can either enjoy the beautiful sea or swim in the swimming pools. The hotel offers transportation as well as spa and wellness services for the comfort of its guests.
    Sandima Boutique Hotel is located in Bodrum. It is 52 kilometers away from the airport. If you want to make traveling to your hotel easier, the hotel offers paid VIP airport transportation services. The hotel has a restaurant where you can taste the delicious foods of the area as well as a bar. Sandima Boutique Hotel has a garden full of colorful flowers, plants and trees that allow you to rest in nature with the hammocks found in the garden as well.
Ölüdeniz is known as Blue Lagoon in English, however, at times, it is also referred to as the Dead Sea as it is the literal translation of the original name. The name was given to the sea because of its calm nature even in the worst weather conditions. Because of its calm nature, it is recommended for those who do not know how to swim. Ölüdeniz is located in the Fethiye district of Muğla where Aegean and Mediterranean Sea collide. The sea is mostly known for its beautiful blue hue, a mixture of turquoise and aquamarine. Ölüdeniz is also a famous spot for paragliding, offering an amazing panoramic view of the surroundings. Scuba diving is another popular activity around here where you can take classes and even receive scuba diving licenses. If you do not want to scuba dive, snorkeling is another fun underwater activity you can do here. Do not forget that you have to pay a certain fee in order to enter Ölüdeniz. Even though it is quite expensive for the locals, it may not be as expensive for a foreigner.
Another great location in Fethiye is the Saklıkent Canyon. It is not as popular as Ölüdeniz, however, it is no less beautiful. Even though it is not so far away from the living areas, it was first discovered by a shepherd. The place has become a national park due to its importance. When you enter the park, you will first see the canyon. You will have to walk through the water by stepping on the rocks. Therefore it is a good idea to be dressed appropriately and to have extra clothes with you in case you get wet along the way. This walking journey will be an amazing opportunity to be refreshed especially if you are visiting the area on a hot summer day. Inside the park, there is also an island you can visit where you can enjoy a little seclusion. If you keep walking and go deeper into the canyon, you will come across a small waterfall that has the potential to brighten up your day. The entrance fee is quite affordable. You can also rent or buy plastic shoes if you do not want to bring your own. There are also many restaurants in the area where you can stop and enjoy a nice meal.
Turgut Waterfall is located in a village named Turgut which is where it got its name from. It should be noted that you cannot reach the waterfall by a public transportation service. You can only reach it with a rental car. The water coming from the waterfall is quite cold, allowing you to cool down on the hot days of summer. Just because of the name, do not think that Turgut Waterfall is a huge one. It is in fact quite small to be called a waterfall, only falling from a 4-meters high cliff. In any case, you can swim in the small lake the waterfall reaches. Even though some people seem to be disappointed by the size of the waterfall, it is still a beautiful place to visit especially for nature lovers.
Sedir Island originally got its name from the cedarwoods found in the area, as “sedir” means cedar in Turkish. The island is only 16 kilometers away from the city center. Sedir Island is most famous for its beach. What makes this beach so special is its sand. It even affects the color of the sea. This yellow-hued sand is said to have come from Africa. According to the legend, the sand was specifically brought from Africa for Cleopatra and Antony to spend time on the beach which is why the island is also known as the Cleopatra Island. The sand is so unique that the visitors are not allowed to enter the beach with flip flops and towels, sunbathe on the sand or anything that might carry some of the sand away from the beach. In fact, the visitors must take a shower before leaving the beach in order not to carry any of the sand with them. It is forbidden to stay on the island overnight or camp as well. In the Sedir Island, there are also the remnants of the Cedrae antique city along with other artifacts such as a theater and an agora from the Roman Empire as well as the Temple of Apollo from the antiquity.
Bodrum Castle was built by the Knights of St. John in 1402. The castle has four towers in total that bear the names, English, Italian, German and French. These are the four nations that were involved in the construction of the structure. Yet, the castle was taken over by the Ottoman Empire in 1523. The chapel inside was turned into a mosque with a minaret added to the structure itself. The castle was used by the Ottomans until World War I. After World War I castle remained empty until it was turned into the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archeology.
Butterfly Valley gets its name due to actual butterflies that cover the area with their amazing colors and beautiful shapes. The butterflies in the valley can only be encountered during April and May. If you are planning to visit Muğla and want to see the butterflies, you might want to pay attention to the time of your visit. Butterfly Valley is located at the foothill of Babadağ Mountain. In the Butterfly Valley, there are two paths, one leading to a waterfall and the other leading to a village named Faralya. It is important to note that hiking in the valley can be dangerous. If you have no experience of hiking or climbing, only visit the waterfall and return. If you do have experience, then you can keep hiking to see a unique view of the Butterfly Valley. On the other hand, the path that leads to the village is extremely steep, requiring climbing with a rope at certain points. Therefore, if you are not an experienced mountain climber, do not attempt to reach the village at all. There are no hotels in the valley however, you can camp or stay on the terraces covered with trees.
Gemiler Island is also known as St. Nicholas Island. The island is a great spot to visit due to its rich history and the ruins of the historical structures. On Gemiler Island, you can find the remains of an old monastery that belongs to the Byzantine Empire era. On the island, there are only the ruins of four churches along with the ruins of a few houses and tombs. It is also known that the original resting place of St. Nicholas was on the island however, after pirates attacked the island, his remains were moved to Myra. St. Nicholas is actually who has been referred to as the Santa. Gemiler Island was a frequently visited stop on the way to the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. If you manage to reach the peak of the island, you will see an amazing view of the coast.
Letoon was an ancient city where national festivities were held, political and religious decisions were declared. In Letoon there were stone inscriptions found written in the Lycian language. These inscriptions are considered to be the most important and the longest scripts in the language. In this ancient city, there is a theater, temples, tablets and a basilica. The city is referred to as a sacred cult center and it is known to be dedicated to the Goddess Leto, mother of Apollo and Artemis. One of the temples, the largest of them all, is the Leto Temple. The other two temples are Apollo and Artemis temples. Letoon managed to be a part of the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 1988.
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is located in Bodrum and was built for Mausolus between 353 and 350 BCE who was a strap of the Persian Empire. The tomb was designed by Greek architects and carries the Hellenistic architectural elements. The structure was damaged after earthquakes happened in the area which left it in ruins. It is also known that in the building of the Bodrum Castle, The Knights of St John of Rhodes used the stones of the Mausoleum. It is also discovered that the tombs of Mausolus and his sister were plundered by grave robbers even before the knights came to the place.
Kaunos is an ancient city where Carians lived. In the history of this ancient city, a mythological story is told. According to this myth, Kaunos was established by King Kaunos who was the son of the Carian King named Miletus. Kaunos was also believed to be the grandson of Apollo. When Kaunos learned that his sister was in love with him, he flew with some of his followers to live somewhere else and the sister became insane after he left. She was desperately searching for him and she even tried to kill herself. It is said that the Calbys river was formed of her tears in the myth. In this ancient city, there are the remnants of a theater, temple and statues that you can visit.
Kayaköy was a place where the Greeks were living in Turkey. After the Greeks returned to Greece and the Turks living in Greece returned to Turkey in 1922, some of the Turks were placed in Karaköy. However, the place was not suitable for the Turks to live in as they had a completely different lifestyle. As a result, the Turks abandoned the place and moved somewhere else to live. Since then Karaköy remained abandoned and became a ghost town where tourists are visiting each year. The village has an amazing view. At the top of the hill, there is only one church found where you can view the city from.
    Sündürme is a type of food prepared with boiled wild radish, garlic and pomegranate syrup. Water, chopped onions and some oil is also added in the mixture.
    Milas Çaykaması is essentially prepared with a dough mixed with cheese, some green herbs such as mint or parsley and olive oil. It is baked in the oven for a while. Even though it is simple to make, it is a quite filling meal and tasty as well.
    One of the traditional foods in Muğla is Ahtapotlu Pilav. It is basically rice with octopus. The octopus is chopped and grilled on a pan with some olive oil. Onions, spices and tomatoes are added in with the octopus. Later on, the rice is added to the mixture with some water and olive oil. It is unconventional yet quite tasty. Since Muğla is a coastal city, recipes with seafood are quite a lot.
    Çökertme Kebabı is slightly different from the traditional kebab recipes. It involves potatoes instead of bread. Potatoes are grated and then fried and placed on a plate with some garlicky yogurt poured on top. Later on, the meat is grilled in a pan with some spices and put on the yogurt. There is no need to say that it is delicious.
    Bodrum mantısı is essentially a type of dumpling. However, it is quite different from the traditional mantı that you can eat in Turkey that originated from the city of Kayseri. Bodrum mantısı is not boiled like the other mantı recipes but fried. After the dough is made, some minced meat is put in each small piece of dough and then the corners of the dough are closed resembling a small ball. These small dough balls are fried in oil and then served with some garlicky yogurt on top.
    Milas köfte is a meatball recipe but it is quite different compared to other meatballs around Turkey. Milas köfte has boiled chickpeas and lemon juice in addition to all the other traditional ingredients. The meatballs are grilled and then the chickpeas are added into a pot of water along with the meatballs. Meatballs are cooked until they are soft enough. At this point, lemon juice and garlic are mixed and added to the mixture that is nearly cooked.
    Zerde is a dessert that was made in the Ottoman palaces. Zerde is prepared almost everywhere in Turkey however, in Muğla, it is frequently prepared for special occasions. Zerde is made with a mixture of rice, pine nuts and currants. To make the consistency thicker, starch is added in as well. What makes zerde so special is saffron and rose water used in the recipe. Saffron is the ingredient that gives the dessert its rich, golden color. Since saffron is extremely expensive, nowadays many people and restaurants prefer to prepare zerde with tumeric instead of saffron which gives the same color. The mixture is poured into small cups and served cold.
    Muğla halkası is a type of cookie that is special to Muğla. It used to be made during special occasions at home. However, today you can eat it at any restaurant.
    Zeytinyağlı enginar is literally artichoke cooked with olive oil. The artichokes are used as a plate and the top of it is filled with a mixture of potatoes, carrots and green peas. After everything is cooked, the food is served cold. If you don’t like artichoke or have never tried such a recipe, we highly recommend you try this one.
    Mantar dolması is made with mushrooms. Mushrooms are used as a plate and filled with a mixture of vegetables and sometimes meat on top. The mixture is then cooked in the oven. The mushrooms look so cute when prepared like this.
There are so many places to visit in Muğla. Therefore it is important for you to know the purpose of your visit. Are you planning for a summer holiday at the beach or are you planning to visit the ancient cities and historical landmarks? Maybe you want to do it both. In any case, visiting Muğla would take around 5 days if you wish to visit the ancient cities and all the other important places. If you want to also have a nice holiday at the beach you can add another 5 days to your trip. After all, it is up to you to decide how many days you wish to spend here. However, we should warn you that after seeing the beauty of the sea, you will wish to spend more time in the sea and enjoy the beautiful nature.
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