Dalaman – more than just an airport
Dalaman is a district, with a town of the same name, located within the province of Muğla on the beautiful south western coast of Turkey. The population of Dalaman has been growing steadily over the last 10 years as the area has developed and the population now stands in excess of 37,000 inhabitants.
Much of the Dalaman district lies on a fertile plain and farming plays an important part in the life of the area. The soil is rich in nutrients and fruits, such as lemons, oranges, mandarins, pomegranates, melons, watermelons, sweet corn and cotton are grown here.
A large area of the plain is farmed by the state department – TIGEM*, the entrance to which is located on the main roundabout by the town centre.
Dalaman appeals to those people who want to experience a little more than the seasonal delights of the tourist towns. Unlike the tourist resorts, which virtually close down in the winter period, Dalaman remains a bustling town all year and this is one of the major attractions of living, or owning a holiday home, here.
In short, Dalaman is a vibrant, busy town with easy access to the tourist towns of Göcek, Fethiye, Kaş Kalkan, Dalyan, Köycegiz and Marmaris and, of course, Dalaman airport.
Ex Pats in Dalaman
German ex-pats were the first to arrive in the late nineties, followed by other nationalities, including British ex-pats in 2004. Since those early days the population has grown steadily and there are now a few hundred foreign property owners around the town. Not all of them live here full time; however the number of permanent ex-pat residents is fairly stable.
Dalaman International Airport
The airport is located on the coast, approximately 6kms from the town centre and is currently undergoing expansion.
The original building work for the Dalaman Aerodrome began in 1976 and it was built to serve both military and civil traffic. It was completed in 1981 and gained it's status as an airport in 1989. Since then passenger numbers have increased year on year.
Dalaman Airport’s layout is established in 6.515.853,66 m² land and it has 27 parcels. 6.132.438,68 m² of this land belongs to the Ministry of Defense and the rest of it size 383.414,98 m² and combined of 14 parcels belongs to the Ministry of Transportation and is currently Turkey’s fifth largest airport.
(Additional information taken from the Government website here.)
In 2005 a new international terminal building was completed and formally opened in 2006 by Recep Tayyıp Erdoğan, who was the Prime Minister at the time. The old international terminal then became the domestic terminal.
In 2018 everything is about to change again and, once again, the international terminal is about to is about to become the domestic terminal. In its place, a new much larger, international terminal is already under construction. This will be completed in 2018 at a cost of 200 million Euros.
The long main street (Atatürk Caddesi) in Dalaman was modernised back in 2007 and received another face-lift at the beginning of 2017. It now boasts a cycle lane, a one-way road system and wide pavements dotted with young trees.
Plenty of small independent shops line the high street, but don’t expect the owners to speak much English. Communicating in sign language is all part of the fun and, if you can throw in a few Turkish words as well, the shopkeepers will be very impressed.
There is plethora of supermarkets too. The bigger ones are Migros and Sevikoğlu, located at either end of the town, and the popular budget supermarket chains, Şok, Bim and A101, have branches dotted along the high street and around the town as well.
Like every good town anywhere, Dalaman hosts a traditional weekly open market and it is held every Thursday behind the Belediye offices.
It is the place to find seasonal fruit and veg in abundance, alongside fish, plants, household goods and clothes.
Come and enjoy the experience. Forget the tourist markets where everything ‘is as cheap as chips’ and the fakes are ‘genuine fakes’. You can still find the bargains, but you won’t get hassled here.
Dalaman Hastanesi, the new state hospital, is a little way out of the centre of town on Fabrikalar Caddesi, Gazibulvarı. It is well signposted from both the airport road and the town centre and has a 24 hour accident and emergency (Acil) service.
Tel: 0252 692 5026 or 0252 692 1855 or 0252 692 6061
In nearby Ortaca, on the main D400 highway, there is the Yücelen private hospital which is popular with both ex-pats and locals and a good choice if you already have health insurance.
Tel: 0252 282 5252
The keep fit craze arrived in Dalaman a while ago and sports gyms have started to spring up around the town.
Met Sport Club, Merkez Mah, Cengiz Topel Cad. Tel 0542 282 0048
My Gym, Merkez Mah, Atatürk Cad 9. Sok., No 14. Tel: 0252 692 18 18
Paşam Fitness Centre. Merkez Mah., Şehit Karaoğlanoğlu Cad. Tel: 0541 954 00 75
The main Dalaman sports centre is located on the main airport road a little way out of the town centre. The local football team, Dalaman Belediye Spor, have their pitch behind the sports centre, surrounded by a running track.
Whether coming here as a visitor, or living full time, the hamam experience is something everyone should try. There is nothing quite like being steamed, scrubbed and massaged with a foamy pillow of suds on a hot marble slab, followed by a dip in the shock pool, then a relaxing snooze in the heated, marble-domed space.
The one in Dalaman is just off the D555 airport road. You will see the sign near by the traffic lights, a couple of kms before Dalaman town centre. Here is their website:
Not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Dalaman but, yes, Dalaman does have a beach! And, now that the fight to build a marina in Dalaman has finally bitten the dust due to concerns over the environmental damage it will cause, the Town Council has decided to spruce up an area of the beach and provide some facilities for the beach goers.
A small café area serving drinks and snacks has been built. There are sunbeds and umbrellas lining the beach front and a cordoned off area in the sea for swimmers, as well toilets and changing cabins at the rear of the café. There is also a lifeguard in place at busy times as sea can be quite choppy here. This makes it difficult for serious swimmers, but it is a great little spot for sun-worshipping followed by a dip in the sea to cool off.
It is early days for the facilities at the ‘new’ Dalaman beach but, no doubt, these will expand if it becomes popular over time. There is even talk of putting on a boat service from the river at top end of town. This river is currently being dredged, so it looks like a possibility, which would be nice.
Banks in Dalaman
Plenty to choose from around the town, though not all have English speaking staff. All have ATM’s and there are a few stand-alone ones round the town too. All have an English language option and some dispense Euros as well as TL, but none dispense Sterling. The only one that did was an HSBC one and that was removed in summer 2017.
Ziraat Bankasi, Türkiye Is Bankasi, Garanti Bankasi, Akbank, Yapi Kredi Bankasi, Halk Bankasi, Vakif Bank all have branches in Dalaman.
Bus travel in Turkey is efficient, to say the least. You can get from anywhere to anywhere with ease, whether by local Muğla Büyükşehir buses to the surrounding towns, or further afield on the regular coach services, such as Kamil Koç and Pamukkale.
There are ticket kiosks for the intercity coaches in the centre of town, by the taxi rank, and mini buses ferry passengers from here to the main Dalaman bus station. This is located on the main D400 road at the top end of the airport road.
Local buses can be picked up by the Belediye building or at stops along Ataturk Caddesi.
An open prison wouldn’t normally be listed as a feature of the town, but this one does deserve a special mention. It is located on the D555 airport road about 3kms from Dalaman town centre.
The Piliç (Chicken) Restaurant has been a feature of the open prison here for many years. It was operated and run by the in-mates and was always somewhere you could pick up a freshly barbequed chicken to take home, or sit and enjoy lunch of a half chicken, rice and salad in the pleasant clean café, for a very reasonable price.
As Dalaman has grown over the years, the prison population has grown too, and their commercial activities have expanded along with it.
The Piliç restaurant has got bigger and so has the menu. It is not extensive but you can get more than just piliç these days. (I can vouch for the liver – it was very tasty!)
In addition there is now the DAC café next door as well. This is a rather smart café serving snacks, cakes and drinks at reasonable prices. It is very popular with families drinking çay on the warm summer evenings and popular with families for Sunday breakfast too.
You can also purchase eggs in the café which are produced on the prison farm and inside the café grounds is a ‘Cicek Evi’ (flower house) where you can buy plants and cacti grown by the inmates.
Next to the DAC café is the new DAC Hotel. At the time of writing I have no further information but it has already got its own Facebook page!
*Alexandria train station in Dalaman
In 1906, the Alexandria train station was built by mistake in Dalaman. This building still exists and serves today as the headquarters of TIGEM. The year before the construction (1905), Abbas Hilmi Pasha (then Khedive of Egypt) had acquired a large part of the fertile plain and had decided to set up a plantation in the region.
He had ordered the plans and the material for his projected residence here to his architects in France, at the same as the plans and the material for a train station for Alexandria in Egypt. Unfortunately, the two simultaneous shipments were misdirected, the materials for his residence heading towards Egypt, and the Alexandria train station ending up in Dalaman. Since it was going to be too costly to re-ship everything to the right destination, the station was built in Dalaman anyway, with even a few miles of purposeless railway track.
Ladybird Estates on Dalaman High Street
Bottom end of Dalaman High Street
Dalaman Park and Tea Gardens