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Dalaman Airport (DLM), Muğla – A Complete Guide

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It’s the place we all love when we arrive – and the place many love to hate as they leave. We’re talking about Dalaman Airport.

Cars parked up at Dalaman Airport drop off area.
We all love to arrive at Dalaman Airport. Not many like to leave.

Along with Bodrum Milas Airport to the west and Antalya Airport to the east, Dalaman Airport is one of the most important airports for the Turkish tourism sector, delivering passengers to the heart of the beautiful Turkish Riviera.

Many of Turkey’s most popular destinations along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts are served by Dalaman International Airport.

And that’s why many of us love to arrive here via the international terminal.

The start of a great holiday in a beautiful location!

Traditional Turkish wooden gülets and yachts anchored in a bay. A pine-clad hillside backs onto the bay.
Dalaman Airport is the gateway to the heart of the Turquoise Coast

Indeed, it’s the airport that serves our hometown – and holiday destination for many – Fethiye.

Of course, we love it!

A 48 kilometre (30 miles) ride along the wide D400 road and we’re home.

Depending on the driver behind the wheel, it’s a short journey time of around 40 minutes.

Built on two levels, check in and departures are on the upper level, whilst arrivals are on the lower level.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but we love the award-winning architecture of the airport.

Its design means it is energy efficient.

And the design even generates some of the energy needed for the airport to operate.

Exposed concrete pillars and supports at Dalaman Airport.
It’s all about polished floors, huge windows and exposed concrete at Dalaman Airport

Granted, it doesn’t scream ‘quintessential Mediterranean’ at you; it’s sleek, steel, concrete.

More cutting edge urban than quaintly Mediterranean.

But get Dalaman Airport on a quiet day and it’s clean, airy, spacious and really easy to navigate.

It’s not a huge airport, either, so your distance from check in and bag drop to your gate – via the duty-free shops and food court – isn’t too far.

Turkish airports do, however, have security checks at the entrance.

And Dalaman Airport is no different so, in season, it’s wise to get there in good time.

These days, there are numerous x-ray machines at the entrance so on our most recent trip, we were through almost immediately.

Dalaman Airport check in desks line the right of the shot.
Once you’re through entrance security, the check in desks are facing you

Here’s the sticky bit…

One look at any online Dalaman Airport reviews will show you where the problems are for people.

The prices!

Airports are known for being pricier than your average high street cafe, bar or coffee shop.

Dalaman airport prices are pricey on top of that.

So, what to do?

We sat around the food court whilst we were waiting to go to the gate for our most recent trip just to see if everyone else had made their own sandwiches like we had.

It was busy.

Some people are obviously happy to take the hit and buy food and coffees from the famous takeaway joints.

There’s even a ‘Turkish street food‘ kiosk selling döner kebab – at not very street food prices.

If you’re travelling on a budget or you just don’t want to pay those prices, take your own supplies.

In resorts served by Dalaman Airport, lots of bars, restaurants and even your hotel will make up airport packs for you for a fee.

If you’re self catering or an independent traveller, make your own sandwiches up before you head to the airport.

Or head to the pastry shops and get some börek, takeaway pide or a simit.

Or you could always check into the CIP Lounge – we hear the chairs are a tad more comfortable than the ones in the rest of the airport!

As well as Fethiye, if you’re holidaying in, or travelling to, any of these destinations, Dalaman Airport (airport code, DLM) is likely to be your arrival point.

A portrait shot of the sunset over the sea. The sky is blue with small white clouds and the sun is reflecting in the water.
Çalış Beach is served by Dalaman Airport
Boats sail on the river in Dalyan. Rock tombs are cut into the cliff face in the background.
As is Dalyan

Obviously, there are other places served by the airport. But those are the main ports of call for travellers.

With the last three places, we head out of the Muğla Province and into the Antalya Province.

They’re closer to Dalaman Airport than they are to Antalya, however.

Dalaman Airport is open year round because domestic flights to and from Istanbul and Ankara operate on a regular basis.

British travellers can also usually enjoy twice weekly direct flights throughout the winter months to major airports like London Gatwick and Manchester Airport in the United Kingdom.

Some great flight deals to be had out of season!

In fact, after Istanbul domestic flights, Gatwick and Manchester Airports are the most popular routes with direct flights to and from Dalaman.

It seems we Brits love the Turquoise Coast with numerous charter flights arriving daily from many major and regional airports around the United Kingdom!

After the UK, travellers from a handful of European countries – Germany in particular – can also take advantage of direct flights in the summer months.

Sabiha Gökçen Airport terminal. Passengers approach the check-in desks.
Many domestic flights go to Sabiha Gökçen Airport in Istanbul

For most other countries, if you are travelling to this area of Turkey by air, you will have a change in Istanbul; either at the main Istanbul Airport or at Sabiha Gökçen on the Asian side of the city.

A short flight time of around an hour where the cabin crew miraculously manage to serve food and drinks to passengers whilst in the air.

Getting to and from Dalaman Airport isn’t quite as easy as other Turkish airports which have rail, metro, tram and municipality bus services taking passengers to main town and city centres.

However, if you know what you’re doing, you can still get where you need to be quite easily.

A Dalaman Airport office front with Havaş sign over the top.
The airport bus office at Fethiye otogar

If you want to use public transport, Havaş and Muttaş airport shuttle buses serve Dalaman Airport from both Fethiye and Marmaris.

This is a really handy – and budget friendly – bus service that runs to the schedule of domestic flights.

The buses will pick up and drop off en route.

So, for example, if you’re heading to Göcek, you can get on the Fethiye bus and the driver will drop you off on the main road at the turn off for Göcek.

The Dalaman Airport bus drops off and picks up at the domestic terminal building of the airport.

From Fethiye, the bus leaves from Fethiye otogar.

If you are travelling on a budget and are arriving at Dalaman Airport by direct international flight, you will need to check the domestic flight schedule beforehand to see if there will be a bus available.

If there are no scheduled domestic flights, there won’t be a bus!

If you are leaving by direct international flight, you can check the bus timetable, here to see if there are any that match with your flight times.

A white coach in a bus station parking bay.
Buses are big and comfortable with luggage hold underneath

Package holidays are still hugely popular for UK holidaymakers.

And yes, you might have to wait a while for all the passengers to arrive for your coach.

But they do take the worry out of getting to and from Dalaman Airport – and it’s included in the price of your holiday.

There’s all manner of private transfer services to and from resorts around Dalaman Airport.

Regular visitors often have their preferred transfer company or individual who they use for each visit.

From regular cars to limousines and minibuses for groups, you can either arrange a transfer with your hotel or accommodation or you can book a local company in your resort.

If it’s your first time visiting an area and you don’t know any private transfer companies, join one of the local online groups in your resort and there will be no shortage of recommendations if you ask.

After that, you’re good to go.

Subsequent visits will be much easier because you’ll know who to arrange your transfer with.

And if all else fails, you will need to take a taxi.

The taxi stand is right outside as you exit the terminal building.

There are boards up which give you a fee for each destination.

For better or worse, Dalaman Airport is always a hot topic of conversation on online forums.

For our part, our most recent experience of the airport – both departures and arrivals – was very positive.

Granted, it was early May and relatively crowd-free.

What most of us agree on, though, whatever the time of year, is that it’s a very welcome sight on arrival – our gateway to exploring some of the most beautiful places on the Turkish Riviera.

That’s a perfect starter for 10!

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Ciaran

Thursday 6th of June 2024

Departed through Dalaman Airport yesterday and could barely believe how the bar conducted business. While the warning about prices had been duly noted in advance, we could hardly believe that an airport in Turkey would only have their bar prices in Euro. Our server told us that Turkish lira would be accepted for payment but we had to wait for our bill to come before we knew what that amount was. Coming from a Euro country, we were in no doubt that the prices were extortunate - €17 for a pint of Budweiser for example. To add insult to injury, we paid 630tl for an Efes and a coffee and were subsequently accosted by what seemed to be the manager, accusing us of underpaying by 200tl. We handed over the 200tl as demanded but thankfully we had not disposed of the chit that came with our order, with 630tl on the bottom line. Producing this at the bar resulted in the return of the 200tl but paying for something without knowing the price in the currency you are paying in.......it leaves room for "misunderstandings". On a more positive note - it's hard to be too critical of an airport where someone at the passport control desk congratulates one's wife on having such a handsome husband............

Turkey's For Life

Sunday 9th of June 2024

Hi Ciaran, a lot of the prices officially changed to Euro because of the inflation, here. All museum entry fees are officially Euros, now. Not sure what the case is at Dalaman Airport because we've not purchased anything there for a long time. And yeah, last time we were there, the security, passport control and cleaning staff in the loos were all very friendly. On return, one of the passport control guys was looking very stern and concentrating on the job in hand until the next lady in the queue lifted up her baby to the camera. A huge beaming smile immediately appeared on his face. :)

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