villa turkey
19 April 2024

What to do around Dalyan

The Beach
Dalyan village lies on the banks of a river meandering from Koycegiz lake to the Mediterranean sea where it joins Iztuzu (turtle) beach.
Turtle beach and Dalyan river is protected area for the endangered loggerhead turtles.  In the late 1980s  David Bellamy led a worldwide campaign to halt a proposed development on Dalyan's 4.5 km Iztuzu beach.   The result was that the whole Dalyan delta turned into a wildlife sanctuary in order to preserve unique flora, fauna and way of life. 

This beach can be travelled to by river boat which is a forty minute trip or by a regular Dolmus (bus) service which takes twenty minutes and costs 8 turkish lira return which goes to the opposite end of the beach where the views are as spectacular.  From one tip to the other the swimming from the large stretch of sand is excellent.

turtle beach
 turtle beach wide

A trip down the river

This river is also where the famous film AFRICAN QUEEN was made (Humphrey Bogart).  The river winds its way through reeds and bull rushes. Boat is the best way to reach the many attractions of Dalyan.

You can either take a boat run by the Dalyan Kooperatifi, whose members moor on the river southwest of the main square or book with Boats belonging to the cooperative also operate a river dolmuş service between the town and İztuzu Beach, charging TL8 to TL10 for the return trip. In high summer boats head out every 20 minutes from 10am or 10.30am to 2pm and return between 1pm and 6pm.


african queen  reedbed
 tomb king

Thermal Springs at the edge of Köycegiz Lake

You can enjoy the natural Mud Baths and The Sultaniye Thermal Springs (the water is 40 degrees C) at the side of the lake, then meander through the maze of reed beds. The baths can be reached from Dalyan by small boats. The treatment consists of covering the body with a layer of mud and then soaking in the hot mineral waters. The water has been used since Hellenistic times, first by the Carians then the Byzantines. The ruins from these buildings are now submerged.

Mud Baths
The waters which contain radioactive elements (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. The Mud baths are also said to remedy rheumatism as well as cleanse and beautify the skin.  Popular belief states that a mud bath will take ten years off you.

mud bath


This was a city of ancient Caria whose inhabitants where of Minoan descent engaged in seafaring.  This sea port dated back till the 10th century BC. The formation of Iztuzu Beach and the silting of the former Bay of Dalyan (around 200BC onwards) it is now located 8km from the coast.  The city became inaccessible due to the port drying out  It lost its importance as a trade port and was captured by Turkish tribes and then there was a serious malaria epidemic in the 15th century AD and the city was then completely abandoned.

The site is interesting for both its archaeological and ecological importance. It is situated in the Koycegiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area.  It offers outstanding vistas and is rich in wild life. Main site consists of: The Acropolis; the amphitheater; the palaestra with its Roman Baths; the port agora; the temples; six rock tombs; the Kaunos city walls; and the niche tombs at the port of Candir.

There are 2 choices for this excursion: one which is a shortish walk uphill with great vistas and another which takes a number of hours to walk.  Kaunos is on the other side of the river from the villa and you need to get a boat to take you across.

caunos lizard
 kaunos view
Turkish Bath (hamam)

This is a must.  You are basically scrubbed and exfoliated.  You can find the Turkish bath either at BC hotel or through which involves being taken from the villa by taxi to a little building on the outskirts of Dalyan where you will have the Turkish bath followed by Turkish tea and then a massage(optional) and finally returned by taxi back to the villa squeaky clean.

The sicaklik(hararet - caldarium) usually has a large dome decorated with small glass windows that create a half-light.  It contains a large marble stone called gobek tasi(tummy stone) at the centre that the customers lie on and niches with fountains in the corners.  This room is for soaking up steam and getting scrub massages.

First you have a shower, then you sit in a room (sauna) that is heated by a continuous flow of hot, dry air,  allowing the bather to perspire freely. Then you go into an even hotter room (steam room) for a few minutes followed by a cold shower.  Now you go into the sicaklik and lie on a marble table where you are scrubbed and soaped. 

turkish bath turkish bath tiles


There are a variety of massages and again at very reasonable prices.

 massage  massage oil
Saturday market

The market can be found near the Mosque every Saturday.  There are a huge number of stalls selling:

food - spices; herbs ; turkish delight; halva; olives; fruit and vegetables; local honey; teas

clothing - shoes; bags; clothes;

accessories - hand made bowls; jewellery;

and freshly made pancakes filled either savoury cheese and spinach etc; or sweet for example lemon; chocolate

market market spices
Dalyan restaurants

The beauty of Dalyan if you like eating is the choice of restaurants.  There are those on the riverfront with fantastic views of the Kings Tombs and the river teaming with its river boats; those around  the centre near the mosque; and then those more on the outskirts of Dalyan.

Here are a number of reviews from tripadvisor  and from There is a good choice of fish restaurants; traditional Turkish - meat and vegetarian options; Chinese, Indian and English.  The prices are very reasonable.

Turkish cuisine is mostly the heritage of Ottoman cuisine,  It s a mixture of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. Vegetarian dishes:  Yaprak Sarma:vine leaves stuffed with rice, onion, spices, currant, pepper and cinnamon; Dolma: eggplants, peppers, tomatoes or zucchinis stuffed with rice, onion and spices; Taze Fasulye: green beans cooked with tomato and onion. Meat dishes: Karniyarik: fried eggplants with minced meat, onion, parsley, garlic and tomato filling; Lahmacun - a pizza like dish with topping of finely minced meat and onions with spices on flaky thin dough; Kurufasuh - beans with thin slices of meat, pilav rice and pickles and sauerkraut.

restaurant view  restaurant

 More Excursions

There are many other things to do such as diving and sea fishing, horse riding and climbing in the mountains, white water rafting on the Dalaman River, Jeep safari into the mountains, 12 Islands tour.  To find all these and more please look at kaunostours


Click here to see a route from Rosanna to the centre where the mosque, restaurants, buses etc are. If you click again on the image it should show a larger image.

turtle roundabout flag