The relaxed river town of Dalyan lies on Turkey’s southwest ‘Turquoise Coast’. This small town has made a big name for itself thanks to the beautiful loggerhead turtles. During the summer months, they can be found on Dalyan’s long, sandy Iztuzu Beach laying their eggs, attracting visitors and conservationists alike.
The town is based at the point where the Dalyan River meets the sea – and life here is all about the river. Colourful boats cruise up and down it all day, taking holidaymakers to see the sights. The river is surrounded by mountains and offers the chance for some great adventures. Take a natural mud bath, visit spectacular lakes or journey back in time as you visit ancient ruined cities. There’s a lot to see – unless of course, you simply want to enjoy those golden sands and the Turkish sunshine. We wouldn’t blame you!
The lively resort of Marmaris has earned a reputation as a party town, with a fantastic selection of buzzing bars and clubs where you can dance the night away. There’s lots to enjoy in the daytime too – from the historic Ottoman castle to the 10km stretch of beach.
The beach resort of Icmeler is a firm family favourite. Sitting in a sheltered bay, the beach offers miles of golden sand gently shelving into shallow waters - ideal for little ones. The resort also boasts some excellent hiking trails that take you along the coast or up into the mountains. All you need is a picnic and your walking boots.
Much of the traditional town of Fethiye was destroyed in an earthquake and had to be rebuilt. Luckily, what is now the old quarter survived the quake and provides an interesting contrast to the newly-built town. Soak up some authentic Turkish culture by exploring the narrow cobbled streets and dining in the traditional restaurants you’ll find there. The eerie ghost town of Kayakoy, just outside of the town, is a must-see.
The Ancient City of Kaunos
Dating back to the 9th century BC, this ruined city is an archaeological marvel. Explore the acropolis, imagine the past performances in the amphitheatre and enjoy the peace in the 6th-century church. The site has a variety of treasures from different eras, reflecting the area’s rich history.
Visit the Turtles at Iztuzu Beach
Dalyan’s Iztuzu Beach is a popular breeding ground for the loggerhead sea turtles, earning it the nickname ‘Turtle Beach’. During the summer months, turtles lay their eggs in the soft sands here. Learn more about the important measures being taken to protect this endangered species at the turtle sanctuary.
Take a River Cruise
Dalyan’s river is the ideal place for scenic boat trip. Head upriver to Köycegiz Lake for a refreshing dip and spectacular views. Other highlights along the river include the Sultaniye mud baths and the ancient Lycian tombs, carved into the rockface above the river. Take your pick from all-day excursions and shorter cruises.
Dalyan’s Iztuzu Beach is a 5km stretch of golden sand that separates the river and the sea. This mixture of freshwater and saltwater makes for a refreshing swimming experience, perfect for cooling off in the warm Turkish sunshine.
You’ll only find gentle watersports here so the loggerhead turtles aren’t disturbed - no jetskis or speedboats here! The beach is also closed at night during the summer to allow the turtles to lay their eggs. As a protected area, Iztuzu beach has a remote feel to it. The mountains stretch directly down to the sea and the long strip of sands is completely undeveloped – ideal for getting away from it all.
We’re big fans of Turkish food. Take the sunshine flavours of the Mediterranean and add in some Middle Eastern spices and you’ve got an array of mouth-watering dishes to sink your teeth into. Breakfast could be kahvalti, which is made from fresh bread, honey and clotted cream and usually washed down with strong Turkish coffee. That should get you fired up for the day. When the sun is at its hottest, escape to the shade for a long, lazy lunch of charcoal-grilled kebabs (nothing like the kebabs back home) or pide (tasty Turkish flatbread topped with spiced mince or creamy feta). Evenings are all about enormous sharing platters called mezze, a great way to try lots of small dishes.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love the hundreds of sticky variations on baklava and the fragrant Turkish rice pudding, called sutlac. And don’t forget to try some Turkish Delight, it’s the real deal here! For a cheeky tipple, try a glass of raki, the national drink. It’s a strong grape brandy, flavoured with aniseed.
Dalyan has a wide choice of restaurants, whether you’re looking for relaxed family-friendly dining or something a bit smarter. Many restaurants serve authentic Turkish food and with the sea so close, seafood features highly on lots of menus. There’s also a good selection of international eateries, from Italian to American, and some tempting bakeries.
Holidays to Dalyan offer a unique mix of natural beauty and man-made interest. Rugged mountains meet the winding river and that beautiful stretch of golden beach – but you'll also find lots in the way of bars, restaurants and tourist activities. From the ancient civilisations to the modern moonlit river cruises, people have certainly enjoyed Dalyan for centuries – but we think the area really belongs to those loveable loggerhead turtles.
Booking your Dalyan holiday with easyJet holidays is the ideal way to keep your travel as relaxed as your holiday. Looking for great savings? Try booking both your hotel and your flight with easyJet holidays.
Dalyan not doing it for you? No worries, we have plenty of other beautiful Turkey holidays for you to take a look at.