Holidays in

A peaceful Turkish riverside resort

While seaside breaks in Turkey might get all the attention, Dalyan holidays are all about the river. A pretty waterway rolls through this farming town-turned-resort, with a beach at one end and a lake at the other, and activities on holidays to Dalyan centre around it. Relax at one of the many riverside restaurants, stroll along its tree-lined banks or follow its meandering curves by boat. On the border of the ancient kingdoms of Lycia and Caria, Dalyan is also home to impressive ruins, which can be admired from the water.

Take a boat across the river and follow the path past the Kings’ Tombs – temple-like structures carved into the cliffs – to the 3,000-year-old acropolis of Kaunos. Fancy some beach time? Hop in a ‘dolmuş’ minibus for sunbathing and swimming at Iztuzu Beach, where wooden stakes mark out protected loggerhead turtle nesting sites. With so much to see and do, on holidays to Dalyan, you can bank on having a good time.

Your Dalyan questions, answered

Dalyan is a tale of two cuisines: find international dishes in the riverside restaurants, and down-to-earth Turkish food in the cafés on lanes off Cumhuriyet Caddesi, the main square.

As well as ceramic turtles, gift shops around town sell beautiful handmade textiles, silk scarves, flowery Iznik tiles and jewellery fit for an Ottoman princess.

You can do your bit by choosing an eco-friendly tour on a boat with a propeller guard (most will have a Kaptan June Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation flag).

Best things to do in Dalyan

Take a boat trip

Take a tour boat or a river ‘dolmuş’ (water taxi) along the coast to Iztuzu, or head upriver to Lake Köyceğiz where you can visit the Sultaniye thermal springs and mud baths.

Check out Kaunos

Get to the ruins of this Carian port – which had its heyday in 400 BC – by rowing boat or car ferry, and see remains of its theatre, acropolis, Roman bath and church.

Visit the turtles

Look out for the beach hut on Iztuzu, once inhabited by an environmentalist and turtle saviour known as Kaptan (Captain) June. Next door, there’s a rehabilitation centre for turtles.