Dalaman Airport is large and modern, serving the southern part of Muğla province in southwest Turkey. The domestic terminal has regular flights to and from Istanbul and for part of the year, Ankara. Open throughout the year, the international terminal is at its busiest between May and the end of October.
Throughout the summer season there are regular direct flights from all major British and European airports. Dalaman is a springboard for the most historic and beautiful parts of southwest Anatolia, making it ideal for independent visitors looking for a varied and interesting holiday destination.
Passengers flying into Dalaman can hire a car direct from the airport, and for many this is the ideal way to explore at their own pace. But for those who wish to unwind and relax into their holiday a little more slowly, it is possible to have the best of both worlds. A will take them to their hotel or villa, where a private saloon car, four-wheel-drive jeep or minibus will either be waiting for them, or delivered at a later stage, for them to enjoy at their leisure.
The principal roads in Muğla, many of which are well maintained dual carriageways, provide an efficient way to explore both the magnificent coastline and mountainous hinterland of this diverse province. There are numerous small, independent, boutique hotels to choose from en-route but there are also several grand four and five star establishments. However, away from the busier roads there are villages unchanged by tourism, reached by winding mountain lanes and seldom used tracks, where motorists are more likely to see a donkey or a pedestrian than another vehicle.
The southern part of Muğla is home to some fine examples of Lycian rock tombs, in particular, Dalyan and Fethiye. There are several Lycian sites in the southern part of Muğla, including Cadianda, Araxa, Xanthos, Pınara, Patara and Tlos but there are also ancient Greek and Roman sites.
The most popular with visitors is the abandoned town of Levissi or Kayaköy, in the hills above Fethiye. The ruins were once the homes, churches and chapels of Ottoman Christians who were exchanged with the Muslim population of Greece, following the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. It is also the inspiration for British author, Louis de Bernières’ classic novel, Birds Without Wings.
Agriculture plays a significant role in Muğla’s economy and many smallholdings and farms grow crops, particularly olives, oranges, pomegranates and tomatoes but also pears, apricots, peaches, almonds and figs. Famous throughout Turkey for the abundance of its fruit and vegetables, there are many roadside stalls selling seasonal local produce.
Livestock, goats, sheep and cows, can be seen grazing in meadows, on rocky hillsides and sometimes on the grass verges. These animals provide this part of Turkey with its delicious meat and milk for delicious yoghurt and cheeses, both of which are an essential part of the region’s traditional cuisine.
Pine forests are an awe-inspiring feature, providing not only valuable timber but also the region’s delicious pine honey. Throughout Muğla’s countryside box-shaped beehives can be seen; home to the millions of industrious bees that feed off the starchy substance found on the branches of the red pine, which is produced by microscopic organisms. The resulting honey is thought to have beneficial, mildly antibiotic properties.
Muğla, with its long sandy beaches, dizzying cliffs, soaring mountains, fertile plains, thermal springs and huge forests is truly remarkable both in terms of its beauty and its natural diversity. It also has a fascinating history. One of the best ways to enjoy all these wonderful miracles of nature and rich historical past is with the independence, freedom and comfort offered by a hire car.