Dalyan Travel Guide
Dalyan River © Gina Gleeson
Unlike neighbouring holiday resorts, Dalyan is a
largely undeveloped and tranquil village offering a significant
number of natural and historical attractions. Due to the fact that
nearby Iztuzu beach is one of the world's few remaining breeding
grounds for loggerhead turtles, an effort has been made to conserve
the area's astounding natural beauty.
The town is set on the winding Dalyan River that
flows between the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Koycegiz, and on the
other side of the river are the ruins of the ancient city of
Caunos, dating back to the 3rd century.
A Dalyan holiday must is a boat trip to the 2.5 mile
(4km) beach (about a 40-minute journey) that transports visitors
through tall reeds, to 2,300-year-old Lycian cliff tombs and the
ruins at Caunos, and finally to the large sandbar at the turtle
beach in Koycegiz. A quicker, but less scenic ride is by
Nearby thermal springs at Sultaniye, and the Dalyan
mud baths are also not to be missed and make for an out of the
ordinary holiday experience. The surrounding wetlands are a haven
for a variety of wildlife and birds, and the town is offset by a
backdrop of pine-covered mountains and lush fields, making Dalyan a
perfect destination for nature-lovers.
For those looking to party until dawn the busier
holiday resorts such as Marmaris would be better suited, but for
the more discerning traveller there are plenty of activities and
excursions to enjoy, local delicacies to savour, and spectacular
scenery to delight in while on holiday in Dalyan.
Shopping The Dalyan local market on Saturdays provides an excellent way
to pick up bargains while on holiday. As with anywhere in Turkey,
haggling is key and there are unbelievable deals to be had. There
are several small shops, including local arts, crafts, and carpet
dealers, and there is also the usual range of very cheap but fake
designer goods. There are also several mini supermarkets.
Restaurants There are a number of restaurants catering for a range of tastes
in Dalyan, including several that offer tasty traditional Turkish
dishes. Unlike many resorts, this is not the place to look for
British style food or McDonalds. Paradise Restaurant is the best
place to go for fish and chips, though. Some favourites include Ali
Baba's, La Perla, and Simarik cafe. Riverside Restaurant has
beautiful views of Caunos.
Nightlife Dalyan is not the place to come on holiday for a buzzing
nightlife, but there are several bars and a few clubs and many
establishments have regular Turkish nights offering up a more
traditional experience of belly dancing, traditional music, and
Activities There is plenty to see and do on holiday in Dalyan. Boat trips
are immensely popular, as are jeep safaris, mountain biking, sea
kayaking, paragliding, fishing, snorkelling, and more. A definite
holiday must is a microlight flight over the spectacular Dalyan
Delta, providing incredible views and possible turtle spotting on
the golden sands of Iztuzu Beach, home to the rare loggerhead
turtle. Wildlife enthusiasts will also enjoy the fantastic
For the less active, the Dalyan hot springs and mud baths
provide relaxation, as does a visit to a Turkish hammam
for a massage and Turkish bath. Relaxing on the spectacular Iztuzu
Beach and bathing in the warm, shallow water is also a must.
History buffs will enjoy the fascinating Lycian cliff tombs that
house the kings of Caunos, and at Caunos itself the remains of this
once large port can be seen, including a theatre, temples,
churches, and baths.
For those looking for more action while on holiday in Dalyan,
there are regular dolmus trips to neighbouring resorts and towns
such as Marmaris. Beach BBQs are also a favourite and can usually
be booked through a tour operator or hotel.
Negatives Dalyan can be a bit more expensive than neighbouring holiday
resorts and as it is a more family orientated resort, party animals
looking for late nights and pumping clubs should be head elsewhere.
Mosquitoes can be a problem.