This patch of Turkey isn’t known as the Turquoise Coast for nothing – the white sands and blue-green hues are picture-postcard-worthy sights the Dalaman region isn’t afraid to flaunt. The curvy coast found in Olu Deniz is the crowning jewel in Dalaman’s beachy tiara– also known as the Blue Lagoon, its stunningly clear waters are one of Turkey’s most photographed sites. That right, they make regular appearances on the world’s best beaches lists. Making this is a great spot to visit on cheap holidays to the Dalaman region.
Watersports grow on trees at Icmeler‘s trio of Blue Flag accredited beaches, along with Marmaris’ restaurant-lined coast. The latter extends for 10 kilometres, hugging the entire resort. Dalyan is home to a uniquely coloured beach – well, okay, it’s still blue. Iztuzu Beach or aptly-nicknamed Turtle Beach, is popular for its loggerhead turtles that scuttle up the coast to lay their eggs.
Dalaman is no stranger to the ruins and long-winding history permeating the rest of Turkey. Along the coast you’ll find hints of the country’s storied past, ranging from the castle at Marmaris to Lycian rock tombs spotted aboard cruises down the Dalyan River. It’s also within day trip distance to Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and arguably Turkey’s most prized possession.
But nothing quite compares to the ancient ruins found at Fetiye. It’s where history buffs lose their cool. Fetiye is home to the rock buildings in the ghost town Pitara and UNESCO World Heritage Site Letoon, which served as a religious centre. Not forgetting Tlos, a ancient citadel tucked into a hillside, offering breathtaking views.
On the water
Holidaymakers gracing Dalaman’s sun-drenched resorts will be happy to know there are as many – or as few – activities available as you’d like. Many are designed to get you out and enjoying Turkey’s gorgeous Mediterranean climate, but there are a few that’ll keep you stashed away in the shade, too.
Bigger resorts like Marmaris teem with outings, home to everything from waterparks to a dolphinarium and boat cruises to Sedir Island, found just off the coast. Watersports are popular in Dalaman, seeing as there’s so much coastal space to enjoy them on, but Dalyan and Akyaka up the waterworks stakes with river cruises as well.
And it wouldn’t be a trip to Turkey without experiencing some grade A pampering like the locals do. There are Turkish baths on hand across virtually all of Dalaman’s towns, along with spas and mud baths that take luxury to new heights.
Flavours of the Mediterranean
You’d best arrive in Dalaman on an empty stomach, because the restaurants here are up to the challenge of satiating your every craving. Across the board, there’s no shortage of traditional Turkish restaurants whose mezze platters and aromatic spices are sufficiently Mediterranean. You’ll also have an array of international plates at your fingertips, with restaurants covering worldly cuisines like Indian, Italian, British and Chinese. You’ll find all these dishes and more on offer in the Dalaman hotels All Inclusive restaurants
Belly dancing nights
Once the sun goes down, the energy levels are different depending on what part of Dalaman you’re in – Marmaris greets holidaymakers with neon-lit clubs and lively bars along a far-stretching street. While Hisaronu ushers in live music and belly dancers to entertain those taking advantage of Turkey holiday packages.
Bigger resorts are more likely to meet the nightlife task, while smaller spots like Kalkan and Akyaka keep things low-key with early nights along the waterfront.
Souvenir shops are flecked around each of Dalaman’s resorts, but it’s the traditional bazaars you’ll want to head for. Most of the towns will feature weekly markets, some much grander than others.
Marmaris is especially known for its market, held daily in the shadow of the town’s castle. That’s where you’ll find local goods like spices, Turkish sweets and shisha accouterments. Icmeler, on the other hand, is sought out for its high-end jewellery – and has a reputation for its concentration of goldsmiths and jewellers.