Southern Marmara (Turkish: Güney Marmara) is the southern part of Marmara Region, Turkey.
- Armutlu — resort on the coast of Gulf of Gemlik, with some thermal springs
- Balıkesir — inland city, on the highway between Bursa and Izmir and railway between Bandırma and Izmir
- Bandırma — a transportation hub with fast ferry links to Istanbul and train services to Izmir via interior Southern Marmara
- Bursa — one of the largest cities of the country currently, first Ottoman capital with lots of history to see
- Çanakkale — city on the bank of Dardanelles, a regional hub for southwestern Marmara (Troad) as Troy, Gallipoli, Bozcaada are a short hop away
- Erdek — seaside family-resort
- Gemlik — town on the tip of beautiful Gulf of Gemlik, surrounded by hills covered by olive groves
- Gönen — town most noted for its thermal springs
- Sındırgı — off-the-beaten inland town noted for local rugs and kilims
- Troy — ruins of what legendary Trojan War was fought for, complete with its (re-constructed) wooden horse
- Mt. Uludağ — highest mountain of northwestern Turkey, now a national park and wintersports resort
- Bozcaada — pleasant island with attractive architecture and streetscape, and a citadel
- Marmara Islands — archipelago in the middle of the Sea of Marmara
- Avşa — sea&sun island mostly frequented by mid-class families
Bird Paradise National Park
Bird Paradise National Park (Kuş Cenneti Milli Parkı) is one of the earliest national parks of Turkey, surrounding Lake Kuş (Turkish: Kuş Gölü, lit. “bird lake”). It’s an important stop-over and final destination for migratory birds, which migrate to warmer places south in winter. There are 239 species inhabiting the area during summer, totalling about 3,000,000 individual birds, although whole area is only 64 hectares, tiny in world standards. What makes the area so popular with the birds is its ecosystem: at the end of winter, with the level rise of the water of the lake (which is related to the rising streams, which in turn are related with the dissolving of snowcover up in the mountains), a small willow grove and reed beds at the northwest of the lake submerge underwater, making it a perfect area to nest, and for the youngs to hatch and grow.
Bird Paradise National Park has been awarded with Class A European Diploma by the European Council for four times since 1976, because of its effective and successful protection of the wildlife.
Detailed information about the birds, and the park in general, is provided in the museum and the administrative building inside the park. The best months for bird watching are between March and July, and September and October, roughly corresponding to the migration period of the birds. There is a watchtower that commands a wide area for viewing. Scientific research in the park requires permission from the park directorate.
There are no facilities for food or accommodation within the park. The nearest community to the park is the village of Sigirciatik. Bandirma is the nearest big-enough city.
Park lies 20km southwest of Bandirma, and around 50km north of Balikesir. It is easily accessible via Bandirma-Balikesir highway.
Southern Marmara occupies a long shoreline which is the southern coast of the Sea of Marmara, Marmara Islands off the coast, and some places more inland. It’s bordered by Eastern Marmara to northeast and east, Central Anatolia to southeast, Northern Aegean to south, and Eastern Thrace to northwest and north, across the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles Strait. In addition to the Marmara coast, the region also has a shore on the Aegean Sea to the west.
In ancient times, eastern two-thirds of Southern Marmara, roughly between Bursa and Balıkesir was known as Mysia, while the western one-third, a peninsula today better known as Biga Yarımadası in Turkish, between Dardanelles, Aegean Sea, and the Gulf of Edremit, was known as Troad, i.e. "the plains behind Troy".
Mt. Uludağ, a national park and a wintersports resort, with its summit at about 2,500 mt above the sea level, is the highest mountain in all of northwestern Turkey, and is within this region.
- The only rail connection to the region is from Izmir, where trains depart for Balıkesir and Bandırma.
- From Istanbul on the northern coast of Marmara, there are lots of fast ferry services to towns along the southern coast, such as Armutlu, Güzelyalı close to Bursa, Mudanya, and Bandırma. Marmara Islands are also served by ferries from Tekirdağ across Marmara. There are also very frequent ferry links between Çanakkale and towns on the northern/European banks of Dardanelles, such as Eceabat and Gelibolu.
- The highway numbered D550/E87 connects the region with Northern Aegean and Izmir further south, however drivers with some time to spare may prefer its narrower, and less travelled parallel running along the coast. D575/E887 in the east, on the other hand, connects Bursa with Istanbul and İzmit in the north.
The highway D200 (which is assigned the European route number E90), starting from Çanakkale and then passing by the regional centres of Bandırma and Bursa, and then leaving the region towards east is the backbone of transportation in the region.
All of Southern Marmara, from Kestanbol near Troy in the west to Çekirge in Bursa in the east, is dotted with hot springs (kaplıca).