On the coastal plains of the Dalaman Stream, in the Mugla Province, sits the small town of Dalaman, on the southwestern Aegean coast of Turkey. The Mediterranean farming town has a beautiful backdrop of the Golgeli Mountains, ideal for hikers, and is very close to the sea, with a natural beach. Greek mythology dictates that gods Pegasus and Apollo visited the area, and evidence of its history is obvious from its many ancient sites.

Overview

A great place to visit in Dalaman is the ancient city of Kaunos, which features ruins of a large amphitheatre, temple, Roman baths, and a Byzantine basilica. Nearby, the ancient city of Tlos is home to Lycian rock tombs, as is Fethiye, which are carved into the hillside, dating back thousands of years. In the town, there is also a Roman amphitheatre, a medieval fortress, and a museum.

These days, Dalaman is known as the Turquoise Coast, because of its vivid blue waters, coves, bays, and long stretches of sand. Close by are the popular Icmeler and Oludeniz beach resorts, as well as Dalyan, which is home to the freshwater turtle sanctuary, and is the world's 6th most famous beach. Dalyan also has mud baths that provide smoothing agents for the skin. For pure relaxation, the natural thermal spas of Sultaniye are also a brilliant day trip.

For breath taking scenery, the resort of Oludeniz possesses a blue lagoon in a secluded sandy bay, it is a national nature reserve, perfect for day-trips.

Key Facts

  • Currency: Turkish Lira (TRY)
    Language: Turkish
    Approximate flight time from the UK:
    6 hours 20 minutes
    Time zone: UTC +0 / +2 Eastern European Time

Great For

Sight-seeing: From the ancient cities of Kaunos and Tlos, Dalaman is a region of great history and architecture. Visit the Lycian rock tombs and ancient buildings in Fethiye to get a feel of its Ottoman heritage, or visit the 17 miles long Saklikent Gorge, which is full of ice cold water and features a shower cubicle where water tumbles down on top of you. In the summertime the rocks are safe to scramble and climb.
Sailing:
The best way to experience Dalaman's waters is on a gulet cruises. The traditional, single-masted wooden vessels can accommodate up to 12 people in comfy cabins, and are complete with a crew to sail the boat and prepare meals. The trips can last as long as seven days and take passengers along the beautiful Turquoise Coast, dropping anchors in a peaceful bay to swim, snorkel, windsurf or sunbathe on deck.
Island Hopping:
Because Dalaman is at the mouth of a river and on the coast, it is close to many islands. Cleopatra Island, also known as Sedir Adasi is ringed by silky-soft beached, peppered with olive groves. According to mythology, Cleopatra and Mark Anthony used to bathe here. The island is home to the ruins of ancient Cedreae which date back to Hellenistic and Roman times. Kizil Island is perfect for picnics with its lovely cove and is blanketed in pine trees. Yassica Island is one of 12 islands in Fethiye's gulf and nearby is Domuz Island and Tersane Island, which has a naturally protected harbour that was once used as a boatyard in the Byzantine and Ottoman times.

Turtle Watching

The Dalyan River that flows from the Köycegiz Lake is home to the majestic loggerhead turtle, also known as Caretta-caretta. The only way to see these rare turtles is by boat, which sets sail along the river through floating reed beds along the Dalyan Delta. Turtles are easy to spot due to the clear waters and often swim up to boats looking for food. At Turtle Beach, the Caretta-carrettas can be spotted as they nest on its protected sands. After turtle watching why not pay a visit to the turtle rescue centre to find out more about these magnificent creatures? Some tours also offer an optional trip to the Dalyan mud bath, included in the tour price.
Address: This particular deal departs from Marmaris, but plenty of options are available.
Opening hours: Varies depending on deal
Entry cost: Varies depending on deal
Official website: http://www.greeceturkeytours.com/dalyan-bird-watching-caretta-tour.html

Oludeniz National Park

The Blue Lagoon is the centrepiece of Oludeniz National Park which is surrounded by white sandy beaches. Meaning 'Sea of the Dead', Oludeniz is sheltered by high, densely wooded hills on three sides, the turquoise waters and untouched Belcegiz beach are a paradise for water sports enthusiasts and sun seekers alike. The park is also one of Turkey's top destinations for tandem paragliding. The 'Lycian Way' walking trail starts off in the park, and there are plenty of other trails that lead up into the hills, where there are breath-taking views down to the lagoon and further out to sea.
Address:
Ölüdeniz, Fethiye / Mugla, Turkey
Entry cost:
Charges may apply for entry to the national park, usually less than TL 5
Website:
http://oludeniztabiatparki.com/

Mud baths

Just half an hour away from Dalaman are the sulphur-rich baths mud baths of Dalyan, located at the mouth of Dalyan River, before it joins Lake Köycegiz. Accessible from both the towns of Köycegiz and Dalyan, the Sultaniye hot springs and mud baths are a very popular attraction because the waters are said to make people feel younger and have therapeutic qualities. The bubbling hot mud pools, where temperatures can reach 39'C, give relief from many rheumatic and skin conditions. Mildly radioactive mineral waters, which are rich in chloride, sodium, hydrogen sulphide and bromide, make up the hot pools. Washing off the mud packs is made simple after a dip in the smaller steaming sulphur pools.

Ephesus

The marble ruins of the largest ancient city in Asia are the home of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Ephesus dates back to the 10th century and because of its rich history, is in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Ephesus is about three and a half hours away from Dalaman, located in Selcuk, in the region of Ionia. The city has Roman and Greek architectural influences, including a 25,000-seat Great Theatre within it. Brilliantly preserved, these days Ephesus is undergoing excavation and archaeologists have unearthed the many sites, including the temple dedicated to Artemis, the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist, the library of Celsus, and a Church of Mary, where she is said to have lived.
Address: Ephesus, Selcuk, Ionia, Turkey

Have you been to Dalaman recently? What are the must-do experiences that you'd suggest? Do you have tips on how to stretch that holiday budget a bit further or know of a hidden-gem that’s easy to miss?


Let us know your best piece of advice for fellow travelers and get rewarded for your contribution! You can earn additional % off of any transfer by regularly contributing to the advice sections across the site (subject to moderation). To leave advice, please visit the specific location’s page, which you can navigate to via the ‘locations’ tab, and clicking into your destination in ‘nearby locations’.