Introduction to Dalaman
The Dalaman region is known as Turkey’s ‘Turquoise Coast’, and with its scenic beaches, warm Aegean waters, lakes and mountains, it’s little surprise that Dalaman is rapidly becoming a holiday destination in its own right. The town is expanding fast, with investment in infrastructure, a new international airport terminal and plans under way for a new marina and a golf course. Proof of its allure is the fact that many Europeans have purchased holiday homes here – attracted by the town’s proximity to the international airport and its stunning location. Dalaman has its own natural beach, which is a conservation area due to the presence of the rare loggerhead turtles and blue crabs that live there.
Dalaman is close to the popular coastal resorts of Fethiye to the east and Marmaris to the west. Check out the stunning beaches of Olu Deniz and Calis – easily reached by hire car or taxi. Olu Deniz has a paragliding center, and the beach is good for families as it offers safe swimming. Calis is the main beach area for Fethiye and stretches for about 4km, boasting an attractive promenade with many bars and restaurants while hotels in Dalaman range from budget to the all-inclusive resort.
Marmaris is a major focus for diving due to the clarity of the water, while Fethiye is a lively Turkish market town and the perfect mix of traditional and modern Turkey. Practice your haggling techniques in its lively (and friendly) bazaar area, called Paspatur, which is packed with traders selling all kind of wares. Tuesday is market day in Fethiye, when some 500 market traders gather for a bustling commercial spectacle. From Marmaris there are regular catamaran sailings to Rhodes town on the eponymous Greek island, just to the south of the Turkish mainland.
Eating and drinking in Dalaman
Local food is influenced by the superb Ottoman cuisine. Lamb and minced meat are the favourites, combined with vegetables and spices, to create mouth-watering delights like karniyarik (halved aubergines stuffed with minced lamb, pine nuts and dried fruits) and hunkar begendili kofte (meatballs served with a smooth puree of smoked aubergine and cheese). Go to informal restaurants (lokanta) and choose from a variety of dishes, usually listed on a board by the entrance. For something delicious and simple, try lamb adana kebab on pide bread, imambayildi (braised aubergine stuffed with onion, garlic and tomatoes), washed down by efes (the local beer), sahlep (orchid tea), and followed, of course, by a sweet pastry baklava.
The Dalaman region enjoys fabulous Mediterranean weather with average temperatures of 29˚C in July and 9˚C in January. It tends to be hot and dry during the summer and warm and rainy during the short winters.
Thanks to its great climate, the holiday season lasts from early spring until late autumn so the window of opportunity to visit Dalaman is wide. If you like the heat, summer is a good time, while autumn tends to be a bit cooler, yet still perfect beach weather. The early spring is also inviting when the sun is less fierce but the waters are still warm – and it’s also a good time to spot the turtles.
Flights to Dalaman land at the recently expanded international airport with two terminals and plenty of taxis for the 6km journey to Dalaman centre. Flights are available to and from over 120 destinations – including Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the rest of Turkey.