Dalaman and its neighbour, Fethiye, are situated in the Mugla Province of southern Turkey’s Aegean Region, in an area of exceptional natural beauty that is attracting holidaymakers, second home purchasers and investors in increasing numbers.
Lying a few miles inland, within easy reach of several popular coastal resorts, Dalaman has a variety of shops, a hamam (Turkish bath), and restaurants and bars aplenty. The magnificent beach at Serigerme is close by.
Until recently, holidaymakers flying to Dalaman International Airport tended to by-pass the town in favour of more established resorts like Marmaris. However, in 2005 the government designated Dalaman a major centre for tourism. New construction is burgeoning, and the area has become something of a property hotspot. A new marina and golf course are planned.
20 miles east of Dalaman is Fethiye, built on the site of the ancient city of Telemessos against a backdrop of pine-covered mountains. A well-established resort famous for its beaches, it retains the atmosphere of a working town and fishing port. As well as a rich historical legacy, it has a picturesque harbour, a lively market, and numerous shops and restaurants.
Here, where the Aegean and the Mediterranean meet, a combination of sweeping bays and quiet coves, jutting peninsulas and golden sands makes the coastline exceptionally picturesque. On the coastal plains, a variety of crops are grown, including cotton, cereals, citrus fruits, tobacco and vines. Further inland are lofty, rugged mountains.
There is no lack of activities for visitors to enjoy, including whitewater rafting, sea kayaking, walking and trekking, paragliding, jeep safaris, riding, bird- and wildlife-watching (including rare sea turtles), and savouring the many archaeological wonders.
The whole district is benefiting from huge investment. In 2006, work was completed on a new terminal building at Dalaman International Airport, and the new Göcek Tunnel opened. By shortening the Mugla–Fethiye highway, the tunnel is reducing transfer times, opening up more of the area to visitors.
Golf courses and luxury hotels are under construction, as is a new ski resort in the Taurus Mountains, scheduled to open in 2007. This will create a longer tourist season, benefiting holidaymakers and investors.
The area enjoys a characteristically Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters.
At present, no low-cost airlines fly direct between the UK and southern Turkey. However, from May to October, numerous charter services operate to Dalaman International Airport from Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and the major UK regional airports. Currently, there are considerably fewer flights from November to the end of April, but with the opening of the new ski resort, this is expected to change.
Prices have increased dramatically since 2002, when foreign ownership of Turkish property was first permitted, but are still relatively low. As always, those willing to look a little way off the beaten track are likely to find the best bargains. The village of Calica is becoming sought-after, but still offers good value.
Properties available include traditional Turkish houses, as well as more modern villas and apartments, and new builds. Prices vary according to size, location and condition, but you can expect to pay between £35,000 and £70,000 for an apartment, and an average of around £150,000 for a four-bedroom villa with swimming pool.
Though both Dalaman and Fethiye have growing expatriate communities and English is spoken widely, they remain intrinsically Turkish.
Both towns have colourful weekly outdoor markets. Fethiye’s, in particular, is a magnet for visitors and residents alike, with a friendly atmosphere and stalls selling everything from accessories, clothes and crafts to fruit and vegetables. Haggling is essential.
Fethiye is also known for its fish market, which sells the freshest of catches. Take it to any local restaurant and, for a modest charge, they will cook it for you. Other popular local dishes are pide (a kind of pizza) and the ubiquitous kebab.
Rugs, glassware, gold, leather goods, pottery and local handicrafts are all popular purchases.
As yet, this part of southern Turkey is comparatively undeveloped, but things are changing fast. While prices are bound to rise steeply, opportunities for rental income will also increase as more visitors flock to the area.