Welcome to Dalaman – The gateway to the summer fun
If you’ve ever looked at going on holiday to a Turkish beach resort, then you will probably have noticed three airports mentioned – Bodrum, Antalya, and Dalaman. These are the three major hubs for the south coast holiday resorts, and Dalaman in particular is massively popular, serving the huge resorts of Marmaris, Icmeler, Dalyan, Hisaronu, Olu Deniz, and Fethiye.
Put simply, the town of Dalaman is a gateway to summer fun, and by basing yourself in one of the resorts here, you can explore this beautiful part of Turkey with ease, thanks to a reliable and cheap bus service.
It’s possible to get SUPERCHEAP flights from a variety of British airports. This is my second home, so let me share my knowledge of the area, to help make your first visit to this glittering part of the country more fulfilling.
Dalaman itself is more known for the airport to be honest, and although the town does have hotels, shops and restaurants, it’s not really a place that you would choose to solely base yourself in for a one or two weeks’ holiday, and instead it’s more about the Dalaman region, than the town. The downside is that any transfer from Dalaman will take you at least an hour, but I have to say the drive to any of the resorts is scenic, and if you can get a day flight, you’ll appreciate it much more, with soaring mountains, lush green vegetation, and quaint villages to pass through.
I do have to mention one thing however, when you return back to Dalaman Airport, make sure you’ve eaten before you get there. The food prices here are extortionate, so it’s a well known piece of advice in all of the resorts to take snacks with you, or have a decent meal before you go. I have spent 30TL on a McDonalds meal before, which at present is around the £9 mark!
The Dalaman region is mostly about the beaches, and nearby Akyaka Beach is one to make your jaw drop. Wide and sweeping, with what feels like a constant breeze, this is where the locals go, which is always a recommendation to listen to. My day spent relaxing here was one of the highlights of my entire summer, so if you can get a trip here, or hire a car and drive yourself, then certainly do it.
The province city of Mugla isn’t too far away, and that is easily reached by public bus. This university town is great for cheap shopping, with lots of restaurants to try authentic Turkish food. I visited an authentic restaurant here with a group of Turkish friends, and I was stunned by the amount of food that kept coming out of the kitchen to our table, for very little cost! Lahmacun is probably my favourite, and this is basically Turkish pizza but made with ground lamb, on a very thin base; the herbs make it extremely tasty, and nothing like the pizza you would probably conjure to mind.
Turkish food on the whole is delicious, and whether you’re vegetarian or a meat eater, you won’t go hungry. Adana kebabs and beyti kebab are two dishes you should try – nothing like the kebabs you get at home! Having said that though, the breakfast I had actually in Dalaman itself was my favourite, and one that has stuck with me wherever I’ve gone in Turkey – menemen. This is predominantly a breakfast dish, but can be eaten at any time of the day, and is made of scrambled eggs, tomatoes, peppers, and a secret ingredient of herbs that I’ve never been able to get right when I’ve cooked it myself! Give this a try for sure.
If you want to try some authentic food in a stunning natural setting, then I’d urge you to give Akkaya Resturant Garden a try. This is literally set amongst gardens, and you’ll feel a little cut off from the world in the most relaxing way. You will need a car to get here from Dalaman, but it’s certainly worth the journey, in fact it’s like a day out in itself.
Any first time visitor to the Dalaman region should visit the Dalyan mud baths. I say this to everyone, and it’s not only fun, but it’s quite cultural en-route too. Most guided tours will take you down the Dalyan River and past the King’s Tombs, before spending a bit of time on Turtle Beach, as well as a few hours bathing in skin-softening mud in Dalyan itself. This is one of my favourite trips, amongst so many on offer.
Of course, no trip to Turkey would be complete without a bit of time spent haggling on a market or in the bazaar, and every resort around this region has one. My favourite is the Marmaris bazaar, because it’s so big, and you find different things in each shop, rather than every one selling the same thing, which you do find on the smaller markets. Haggling might feel odd at first, it’s something I’m still not comfortable with, but it is fun, and you get bargains if you’re a little cheeky, but not too cheeky! I’ve seen people being told to leave the shop before, because they took the idea of haggling too far!
Basically, I can’t rave enough about the Dalaman region of Turkey, not only because its my second home, but also because it is probably the epitome of a summer holiday, no matter which resort you base yourself in.