Dalyan is a smaller town which was once a village of fishermen and farmers. Centrally located in the midst of the best of holiday locations on the south coast of Turkey, it has many advantages as a holiday destination. It is close to the famous Iztuzu Beach where the protected loggerhead turtles lay their eggs each summer. Just a 30 minute drive from Dalaman International Airport it lies right in the middle of the most visited tourist destinations along the Mediterranean coast. Spectacular nature abounds everywhere around Dalyan that can be seen and experienced by taking boat trips, jeep tours, or by going on a guided trek to enchanting locations which exist in every direction. It is the ideal destination on the Turkish Riviera because of it's spectacular beauty and it's convenient proximity to the best that a holiday in Turkey has to offer.
Every Saturday in the center of Dalyan is the weekly market known in Turkish as Pazar. Fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, and olives are offered for sale by local farmers. There is also a large selection of clothes, shoes, housewares, tools, fabrics, and numerous other items that are sold under the cover of large canvas tent-like awnings. A great way to spend a Saturday morning before settling on a restaurant for lunch.
Twelve kilometers from the centre of Dalyan lies the five kilometer long sandbar that juts out from the mainland into the Mediterranean Sea. Iztuzu Beach is a long beach seperated from Dalyan by the reed beds that are along the river feeding into the sea from Köyceğiz Lake. It is world famous as one of the rare breeding grounds for loggerhead sea turtles. (Caretta caretta) The greatest threat to the survival of the loggerhead sea turtle is on these sandy beaches where its life begins, which has triggered an international conservation effort that began in the 1990s. The effort to protect loggerhead sea turtle eggs and to assure a safe breeding ground for this endangered species has made international headlines. June Haimoff is an English environmentalist who settled in Dalyan after her retirement and launched a successful campaign for the conservation of loggerhead sea turtles. She realized that the sea turtles unique to the locality were lethally menaced by the buildings that were starting to rise like mushrooms on the beach with the development of tourism. Since then, she dedicated her efforts to assure conservation of the site as well as attracting international attention to the fate of the turtles. She relates the struggle and the victory for the preservation of these species in her book titled Kaptan June and the Turtles published in 1997.
The ancient city of Kaunos stands midway along the channel. It grew into a major area on the border between Lycia and Caria, where the people were said to be famous for their yellowish skin and eyes - due to Malaria. Kaunos was known to be the son of Miletus and the Grandson of Apollo, he is believed to have fled from the city because of the unnatural feelings between himself and his sister. The city sprawls over a broad slope overlooking the sea and delta. At Kaunos there is an Acropolis surrounded by the city walls that are Byzantine, a theatre, four temples, an Angora , Roman baths, Palestra and a Cistern. The harbour that continually silted up is one of the two major reasons for the demise of the city, eventually carrying the coast line 5 kilometers away from the city. The second disaster was the outbreak of malaria because of the shared belief of the inhabitants of Kaunos that the mosquito was a sacred creature.
Kaunos has a long and varied history and is well worth a visit. You can visit Kaunos at any time although it is advisable to avoid the midday sun. First you will have to cross the Dalyan channel by rowing boat then walk up to the city. Kaunos can also be visited as part of a day tour.
Along the channel of the Dalyan Delta from Köyceğiz are The Sultaniye Thermal baths with the water is 40 degrees C. The water has been used since Hellenistic times, first by the Karians then the Byzantines. The ruins from these buildings are now submerged. The water which contains radioactive elements which are harmless and hydrogen sulphur are believed to cure rheumatism, skin disorders, liver, spleen and bowel complaints, as well as being beneficial for nervous and digestive disorders.
On the road towards Iztuzu Beach just outside of Dalyan is Sülünger Lake where you'll often find local Turkish families enjoying a picnic by the shore. This is a beautiful lake close to Dalyan that is preserved by prohibiting the use of motorboats on it. There is a restaurant by the edge of the lake where you can enjoy a meal or a cold beer while taking in the beauty that surrounds you.
Aşi Bay is located just south of Dalyan. Day trips on boats out of Dalyan offer a day on the beach along with a barbarque. The bay has many caverns and caves, and an island where fish gather. It is a popular lay-over point for private and charter yachts plying the coastline. Aşi Beach has a restaurant on the beach where you can order meals and drinks. It can also be accessed from Dalyan and this is usually by booking a jeep tour.
Bakardi Bay is just south of Aşi Bay between Dalyan and Sarigerme. Above the rough mountains of Gökbel and within a 45 minute walk your are on the deserted Bakardi Beach. A very queit and very secluded beach more for nature lovers than sun-bathers who wish to lie on a beach chair in the sun. The clear aquamarine blue water is certainly inviting for those who would like to swim or snorkel.
Ekinçik Beach is located on the western entry cape of the inlet of Ekinçik and covered with green pine forests. It is an area of priority because of it's close proximity to the ruins of the ancient city of Kaunos. Yachts can drop anchor in the area where there are motorboats and along the wide sand beach, and also in the wonderful inlet exactly opposite the lighthouse. A cooperative of tourboats incorporated by the villagers of Ekinçik will take you from your sailboat and carry to Dalyan and to Kaunos. There are restaurants in Ekinçik as well as limited hotel accommodation.