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What to expect at a traditional Turkish bath

Posted by Katy Peck on 2 April 2019
Related property: Physkos
What to expect at a traditional Turkish bath

Interested in experiencing a traditional Turkish bath during your trip to Marmaris, but not sure what to expect? For those of you staying at our Physkos property, we’ll do our best to lay out the process and customs of these traditional baths, so you’ll know what’s going on during your visit!

A traditional Turkish bath is known as a hammam, and really is a truly unforgettable day out. Don’t go in expecting a luxury day spa as you find in the UK – it really is an experience all of its own and completely unique to this part of the world. In old Turkish society, they were one of the main places for socialising, along with mosques. Historically, it’s said the mothers visited hammams to take a look at potential brides for their sons!

Benefits of Turkish Baths

There are numerous claimed benefits to Turkish baths. The high heat and humidity promote sweating, which in turn causes the expulsion of uric acid and toxins. It’s said that this also stimulates cell turnover, meaning skin can be scrubbed more easily to leave it softer and smoother. It’s recommended for all skin types, but especially dry skin.

Hammams are also known for releasing muscular tension, making them a great way to revive those aching legs after days exploring Turkey! The experience is also supposed to be great for relaxing the mind and producing endorphins, helping with all round physical and mental wellbeing.

Visiting a Turkish Bath

There are several Turkish baths available throughout the town of Marmaris, which is just over a half hour drive from our Physkos property. These vary from the traditional hammam to Turkish baths in hotels, and each offer their own selection of services.

Typically, you can choose a self-service or a serviced option. Self-service is where you bathe yourself and provide your own soap, shampoo and towel. The traditional style, however, is the real Turkish experience, and includes a wash and massage from an attendant. You also don’t have to provide any equipment. Many Turkish baths also offer additional services, such as oil massage, facial clay masks and reflexology. Take a look at the facilities’ website for more information about exactly what’s on offer.

Regardless of the service you choose, you should be allowed to use the facilities for as long as you wish.

There is some strict etiquette to be followed when you visit a hammam. First and foremost, men and woman do not mix – there are usually two sections within the bath, one for men and another for women. Alternatively, they may admit men and women at different times of the day.

Usually, men choose to remove their clothing during a visit to the Turkish baths – you’ll be provided with a wrap to cover yourself. Women may choose to keep their swimming costumes on, although the locals may choose to strip down.

When you arrive at the bath, you’ll be asked which kind of treatment you prefer. Once you’ve paid, step through to the changing rooms and get yourself ready – lockers are usually provided. When you’re ready, the first stop is the hararet (the hot room). With almost 100% humidity and temperatures up to 50°C, this is the place to relax, unwind and – perhaps most importantly – start to sweat! Although the hammam is cooler than a sauna, you stay in for much longer and therefore sweat a lot more!

It’s also a great place to admire some beautiful architecture. In most cases, the hararet is a striking marble room featuring a done, open nooks containing basins and a central, raised platform above the heating source, known as the göbektasi.

After about 15 minutes, it will be time for your massage, wash and scrub. If you’ve chosen the service with a masseur and scrubber, they will be the same sex as you. The massage usually takes place on the central platform, and is followed by a wash and scrub to remove all the dirt and dead cells from your body. Although it may take a while to get used to it, many people say they found the experience very enjoyable, and felt extremely clean afterwards.

Once this is done, the body is washed again and then you can choose to stay in the hot room for a while longer, or move to the sogukluk - the cooling down room. This is where you’ll find the showers and get a chance to rinse off and recover in the cooler water. After this, there is often usually an option to relax on a bed or chair with a refreshing drink… some people even use this time to take a quick nap!

A typical visit to the hammam takes about an hour and a half, and people leave feeling clean, relaxed and rejuvenated. Not to mention, they’ll have a brand-new experience to regale people with upon their return!

Good to know....

1) Standard soap is used, so if you have sensitive skin or any allergies you may want to bring your own.

2) It’s not recommended to wear make-up – it may not last long in the heat and water!

3) It’s expected that you tip the attendants (between 10% and 20%) so take some cash with you.

This is the general procedure and experience in a Turkish bath, but of course they do vary depending on the establishment and the treatments you choose.

35 minutes away from our Physkos property, the town of Marmaris has a selection of traditional Turkish baths, but the Armutalan Turkish Bath comes highly recommended. You can find more information and make a reservation on their website.

With spectacular coastal views, wonderful facilities and a great selection of studios, apartments and villas, our Physkos property is the perfect base for your explorations around the Turkish Riviera, also known as the Turquoise Coast.

Find out more about how you can spend a relaxing holiday in Physkos.

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Katy Peck

Katy Peck

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