Dalaman Travel Guide
In this Dalaman travel guide, we will talk about the district, although there is a town with the same name. Sitting with Turkey’s Mugla province and on flat plains, Dalaman town has many things to boast about including a thriving agriculture industry. In recent years, real estate development has also transformed its housing market. Still, many tourists pass through to reach other nearby destinations with more of a holiday feel, tourist attractions and things to do.
Indeed, Dalman airport has put the area on the map. This award-winning travel hub on Turkey’s southwest coast serves millions of air passengers every year, who use it to reach places like the Fethiye region, Gocek, Marmaris and Dalyan. It is worth knowing that the best time to visit Dalaman will revolve around your travel interests.
If you like sun, sea, and sand, Turkey’s tourism season runs from May to October. Outside these months, Dalaman airport also scales down on its international flights. Curious explorers should avoid visiting during July, August, and the beginning of September when temperatures reach an all-time high. Months to avoid are the rainy season in January and February. So, what else is there to know about visiting the Dalaman area?
Dalaman Travel Guide
Where to Stay: The Dalaman district breaks down into 24 official neighbourhoods including Bozbel, Cogmen, Dariyeri, Elcik, Gurlek, Kapikargin, Karacaagac, Karginkuru, Kavacik, Kayadibi, Kizilkaya, Narli, Sabunlu, Serefler, Tasbasi, Gurkoy, Akcatas, Altintas, Atakent, Bezkese, Ege, Hurriyet, Karacali, and Sogutluyurt. Dalaman’s hotel industry isn’t on par with other resorts, but large, all-inclusive establishments still make roaring trades. For self-catering apartments to rent in Dalaman town centre, look on websites like Air BNB.
Other Places Nearby: Before 2006, Sarigerme, 13 kilometres away from Dalaman town centre, was relatively unheard of. But then a well-known travel company built an all-inclusive holiday village, and since then it has thrived with tourism geared up for families. Otherwise, for a more sophisticated and upmarket atmosphere, head to Gocek, just 20 kilometres away that is a thriving sailing hub known for large luxury villas and apartments.
Our favourite place though is Dalyan, 20 kilometres away, that is a rustic village embracing the relaxing side of life. Alternatively, within one hour’s drive is the Fethiye region, one of Turkey’s top touristic hubs encompassing the resorts of Oludeniz, Hisaronu, Ovacik, Calis beach and the city centre. Most people who arrive via Dalaman airport stay in Fethiye. Read about the Fethiye area here.
Eating Out and Nightlife: The range of restaurants and bars will depend on where you stay. For large pulsating nightclubs open till the early hours, stay in Marmaris. Dalyan’s nightlife scene revolves around riverside restaurants and sit-down bar entertainment. In contrast, Fethiye offers up a range of international restaurants serving steak, pasta, Indian, Chinese, and more.
While in Dalaman, we strongly recommend trying local Turkish cuisine. Many restaurants serve it, or you can head to what is known as a lokanta. This is where locals eat delicious food like Turkish mezes, soups, main courses, and desserts. Naturally, given most destinations are near the sea or a lake, Dalaman specialises in fish dishes and during summer, al fresco dining is a must. Many restaurants also serve alcohol, including popular brands of beer like Efes and Tuborg.
Getting Around: We love hiring a car to get around the Dalaman area, because you discover so many hidden gems and can follow your curiosity. Although you can use public transport within the central city. Additionally, from Dalaman otogar, buses head to many other areas with the Mediterranean and Turkey. Yellow Taxis run on meters, and your hotel reception will call one. Otherwise, taxi stations sit on the main roads and are easily identifiable.
Shopping: For large, modern shopping malls and Turkish and international brand names, choose Marmaris or Fethiye. Otherwise, in Dalaman and surrounding areas, local weekly markets are the feature of social communities, and an excellent opportunity to practise your bargaining skills. When walking around, plenty of souvenir shops sell popular items like spices, the Turkish evil eye, and Turkish delight.
8 Major Attractions and Things to Do
1: Akkaya Valley
Akkaya Valley must be one of Turkey’s best-kept secrets. Sitting 15 kilometres from Dalaman town centre, this stunning place of natural beauty stays off the mainstream tourism grid, yet for the lucky people who come across it offers breath-taking views. Sitting near Lake Koyeciz, foreign house buyers who want a secluded location encompassing the best of Mother Nature choose Akkaya to build large, luxury villas. While daytime tourists take a boat ride up the Dalman river, before enjoying a delicious meal out in the open. The valley also offers camping sites to spend a night under the stars.
2: Sarsala Beach and Village
The name Sarsala originates from India, but no-one is sure as to how this small village gained the same name. Foreign tourists rarely venture there but Turks love it for a weekend getaway. The stunningly beautiful beach easily lures everyone, and on the odd occasion, don’t be surprised to see the odd Caretta turtle swim by. This is another destination highlighting Turkish traditions and culture, and to get off the beaten track, put it on your list.
3: Beaches Galore
As well as the above Sarsala beach, holidaymakers have an abundance of beautiful stretches of sand to choose from. The lesser known Dalaman beach receives fame because it is also a nesting ground for the Caretta turtle, and where blue crabs thrive. While Sarigerme is the place to head for water sports, umbrellas, and sunbeds to rent. Heading out further afield, Iztuzu, another Caretta nesting ground belongs to the Dalyan delta area. The Gocek area also boasts of plenty of small coves and bays. Out of them all, we often head to Fethiye to enjoy Oludeniz beach and the nearby Blue Lagoon.
4: Dalyan Mud Baths
This popular attraction attracts people from all surrounding holiday resorts. Coming for a day trip, they start with a small boat ride up the Dalyan Delta past stunning views of the ancient Lycian rock tombs. They then head to the mud baths that are full of sulphur and Mother Nature’s version of a powerful cleanse and detox. Enjoy a tasty lunch riverside and a rustic ambience that has earned Dalyan admiration from all who visit her.
5: Sail the Turquoise Coast
Sailing is big business, and we wholeheartedly recommend it to see the coastline from a different view and to discover hidden coves and bays only accessible by boat. If time is limited, join a daily boat cruise that includes lunch and stops for refreshing swim breaks. Otherwise, places like Gocek and its top-class marinas specialise in three-night gulet cruises that stop off at individual bays and include accommodation, and all meals. Gulet cruising is a once in a lifetime experience everyone should try.
6: Paragliding in Oludeniz
Oludeniz, a small town nestled in a green valley, belongs to Fethiye and can be credited with making it famous because of paragliding. On days with ideal wind conditions, people make their way to Babadag mountain, where they join an experienced pilot. After a safety briefing and being kitted out with gear, they hand the reins over to them, and enjoy a bird’s eye journey over the surrounding coastline before landing on Oludeniz beach. Experience isn’t necessary, so many first-timers give it a go.
7: Kayakoy Ghost Village
Also in Fethiye, Kayakoy ghost village is a top visited attraction. After the Turkish war of independence, the treaty of Lausanne said Greeks living in Turkey had to return and vice versa, However, Turks arriving in Kayakoy couldn’t settle and over the decades to come, eventually abandoned the village. These days, visitors walk cobbled stone paths past deserted schools, churches, and houses that were once full of family love and enjoyment. Before visiting, read “Birds without Wings” by Louis de Bernieres. Although never confirmed, the book’s setting is said to be Kayakoy.
8: Koycegiz Lake and Rustic Turkey
Last on our list of this Dalaman travel guide, if modern living has left you feeling stressed and worn out, spend a day at Koycegiz lakeand we guarantee you will leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. The gorgeous scenery and Sultaniye mud baths at the southwest end are the perfect medicine for their mind, body, and soul. The area is naturally protected by law from construction, so flora and fauna thrive, and expect quaintness in a Turkish style. Koycengiz is non-touristy and an incredible insight into Turkey’s best kept secrets.
Also of Interest
Dalyan Area Guide: We enjoy spending time in Dalyan that sits between Marmaris and Fethiye. Operating on a much lower scale, this perfect weekend getaway will refresh your batteries and showcase rustic but quaint Turkey at the same time. This article, after a brief introduction, talks about the main highlights and things to do.
Marmaris Area Guide: Sitting on the southwestern coastline as the Mediterranean flows into the Aegean, Marmaris is a popular resort and many people flying into Dalman airport choose to holiday there. It promotes nightlife and shopping with style but is also full of beautiful landscapes and a robust and cosmopolitan ambience.