There are places that are beautiful. And there are places that enchant and remain in the heart forever, like the Dalaman area.
Is Dalaman a good holiday destination? Oh yes, it is! A trip to the green and relatively undeveloped area of Dalaman on the Lycian Coast is incredibly varied. The area around Dalaman International Airport is characterised by historical sights and stunning, varied landscapes – from mountains to lakescapes to coastal paradise. In addition, Dalaman, as is usual throughout Turkey, has another decisive advantage: you can enjoy delicious food everywhere and will be welcomed by friendly people.
This destination offers the ideal conditions for an eventful holiday: local culture, well-being, active hiking trips, turquoise beaches, Mediterranean climate, adventures with an adrenaline kick and delicious food.
Join me on a journey through this very special place with my 10 highlights for your Dalaman holiday:
Table of contents
1. Dalaman: The bathing paradise on the Lycian coast
The sea shimmers turquoise blue in Dalaman’s bays and lagoon-like backdrops stretch out in contrast to the forested peaks of the Taurus Mountains. Around every corner hides breathtaking nature, the most beautiful beaches and places that are a must-visit.
Romantics, sun worshippers and beach addicts will find unique landscapes that invite them to dream, swim and snorkel. For water sports lovers, the area is ideal for windsurfing, paragliding and sailing, as the wind always has new adventures in store.
I know that a list of top beaches could go on and on, but I have compiled five beaches for you that will make your wanderlust grow and your patience until your next holiday in the Dalaman area grow short: The 5 most beautiful beaches in the Dalaman area.
Hotels with amazing services in Sarigerme
2. Göcek – small but nice
Göcek, a little jewel near the popular tourist destination of Fethiye, can be reached by car in about half an hour from Sarigerme. The idyllic village – the Saint Tropez of Turkey, as it is also called – is primarily a place for yachts and boat owners. The stone-paved colourful streets and the many souvenir shops offer numerous shopping opportunities in a calm location. The large villas along the canals reminiscent of Venice, each with its own boat in front of the door, invite you to dream.
On the wide waterfront promenade, you can stroll past boats from all over the Mediterranean and then sip a cocktail or strawberry lemonade in one of the chic cafés or restaurants, and eat fresh seafood or, depending on your preference, a kebab or a kavurma. Learn more about the 10 best dishes of Turkish cuisine.
You should plan a day for a visit to Göcek, as the best way to experience the historic coastline in the Dalaman area is during a boat trip. Like little jewels, 12 picturesque islands surround Göcek. Deep blue to turquoise sea, dreamlike bays and beaches delight the senses. The boat tour starts early in the morning. So you have plenty of time in the late afternoon to explore the town on your own.
3. The Fish Market in Fethiye
Fisherman Fritz fishes fresh fish.
If you like fresh fish and fresh food, Fethiye is the place to be and after a sumptuous meal at the fish market you will be able to pronounce this tongue twister perfectly. In a large quarter in the old town, with pubs all around, you will find the stalls of the traders for freshly caught fish in the middle. You choose a fish you would like to eat and then carry it into the restaurant where it is prepared deliciously and according to your wishes. For excellent food, Turkey is an excellent location!
The table is quickly filled with all kinds of delicious starters (mezeler) and you spend the next few hours in a culinary sensory frenzy. There is a fun atmosphere in the hustle and bustle of the market and the adjoining restaurants, as this place is mostly frequented by locals. This is pure Turkey! From Dalaman to Fethiye it is about 45 minutes by car.
4. Dalyan, the delta of ancient royal tombs
A day in beautiful Dalyan can be spent in many different ways. A Turkish village breakfast in one of the picturesque restaurants along the Dalyan Delta followed by a boat trip in the early hours of the morning is the perfect plan for a delightful start to the day. If you are lucky, you may spot one of the wild Caretta-Caretta turtles, some of which are over a metre long, at the mouth of the Dalaman river leading to the Mediterranean Sea at the sandy beach of Iztuzu Beach.
Just across the river, you can see the Lycian royal tombs in their full glory from afar. This spot of cultural history in the Dalaman area always arouses curiosity. For those who want to immerse themselves in the ancient world for a few hours, a visit to the Carian ruined city of Kaunos is worthwhile and certainly a highlight activity of your trip to Turkey.
5. Yuvarlakçay, a magical place in the Taurus Mountains
Magical because you can spend a perfect afternoon here surrounded by fabulous nature.
If you make it up to the upper end of the valley, you will be rewarded with tranquillity, unspoilt natural landscapes and spectacular rock faces. At the lower end, there are several eateries that have their seats above the water and also offer bathing spots in the mountain stream. This is a popular refuge for locals during the summer when it is too hot. Yuvarlakçay is the ideal place in the Dalaman area to be refreshed by the cool breeze of the river while having a snack. You can also cool off directly in the river or jump into the cold water from one of the swings – fun for young and old. You can get to Yuvarlakçay by car or by public bus from the centre of Dalyan.
6. Akyaka or the Turkish Dolce Vita
Akyaka is an idyllic little town in the Turkish province of Mugla, right next to the Dalaman area. It is characterised by Ottoman architecture in the town centre with typical wooden elements and is mainly visited by Turkish holidaymakers. Here you can enjoy romantic hours for two or time out with the family, only about 45 minutes away from Sarigerme or 30 minutes from Marmaris.
A late afternoon stroll through the small flower-lined lanes is an opportunity to discover Turkey outside the traditional mass tourism for foreigners. Small boats chug through the maze of waterways across the little river Kadin Azmak that runs through Akyaka. Its crystal-clear waters offer a view down to the bottom, where huge schools of fish cavort. Accordingly, the place is also known for its fish restaurants.
My tip: treat yourself to this voyage of discovery and end the evening with a sumptuous meal that will certainly stay in your thoughts for a long time.
7. Kayaköy: the town that tells of the past
The Greek ghost town that stretches along a gently sloping hillside is a valuable architectural complex. It is a listed monument and has been designated a “World Friendship and Peace Village” by UNESCO. Until 1923, Kamilassos, now Kayaköy, was inhabited by Greeks. With the Greek-Turkish population exchange as a result of the Lausanne Peace Treaty, which declared Asia Minor completely Turkish national territory, the inhabitants left this settlement. The houses became ruins and eventually a lost place. Kayaköy is a good hour’s drive from Dalaman.
Kayaköy has a special attraction. Take the time to breathe in the history of the place through the abandoned old alleys and see old times through the eyes of the present.
8. The Taurus Mountains, Turkey’s magnificent emerald necklace
The 1500-kilometre-long Taurus mountain range begins in historic Lycia, then curves along the Turkish Riviera, then follows the Mediterranean again into northern Syria and ends at Turkey’s eastern border.
In the Dalaman area, you can experience the splendour of the Taurus Mountains in different ways: Hiking trails on forested hills, mountain bike tours, adventurous off-road safaris and white water rafting reveal spectacular views, blue bays at every turn and endless green forests.
9. Marmaris, the Carian port city
Marmaris is a picturesque coastal town in the southwest of Turkey’s Aegean Sea. The approximately 90 km drive from Sarigerme or Dalaman to Marmaris takes you through picturesque hill and mountain scenery and small towns that make the drive itself an experience. If you arrive by car and follow the road through the pine forests, stop for a short rest when you see the first Marmaris sign. You will see the popular destination in all its glory from above.
You will love the lively and vibrant atmosphere of the city. The eleven-kilometre-long seafront promenade alone, with its numerous shops, bars and restaurants, invites you to take a leisurely stroll. Take 1 to 2 hours to walk through the narrow streets of the old town and feel the unique pulse of Turkish life. A day in Marmaris will feel like a week’s holiday.
Hotel in Marmaris
10. The Valley of the Butterflies (Kelebekler Vadisi)
A visit to the famous coastal town of Ölüdeniz and the Blue Lagoon can easily be combined with a boat trip to the Valley of the Butterflies, which adorns the foothills of Mount Babadag. The valley is one of the 10 natural beauties of Turkey and was therefore declared a first-class nature reserve in 1995.
The name comes from the more than 90 species of butterflies that can be observed at a certain time of year at an inner point of the valley. The Valley of the Butterflies is located near the river and the waterfalls. From Dalaman you can reach the Valley of the Butterflies after a 1.5 hour drive. Or you can drive to Ölüdeniz city center and take a boat, which is even more beautiful.
I wish you a wonderful holiday!
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Which are the requirements for entering Turkey?
Depending on your nationality, you will need an identity card, a valid passport or possibly a visa. Find out about the entry requirements beforehand from the relevant authorities. Especially the entry regulations due to Covid-19 can change constantly.
Which part of Turkey is Dalaman?
Dalaman is located in the southwest of Turkey between Marmaris and Fethiye in the province of Mugla.
What coast is Dalaman on?
It is on the Turkish Aegean Sea.
Does Dalaman have a beach?
Dalaman town itself does not have a beach, but the surrounding towns like Sarigerme. Here are the 5 best beaches of the Dalaman area.
How long does it take from Dalaman Airport to Marmaris?
Expect 1.5 hour transfer time from Dalaman airport to Marmaris.
How long does it take from Dalaman Airport to Fethiye?
Expect 1 hour transfer time from Dalaman to Fethiye city center.
Where is Dalaman airport?
Dalaman airport is only a few minutes’ drive from the nearest beach (Sarigerme beach) and therefore ensures short transfer times from the airport if you choose your accommodation wisely.
How to get around Dalaman area
The Turkish shared taxi, the dolmus, is a cheap way to get to almost any place often right in front of your hotel. However, the journey times of the bus services do not always fit in with your own holiday plans. Therefore, a rental car may be worthwhile or an organised excursion.