Dalyan is a small town in the Mugla Province located near the district of Marmaris on the south west coast of Turkey. The town sits by the picturesque river Dalyan after which it is named. It is one of the most prominent resort towns on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. Established in an environmentally protected area, the town is filled with intriguing restaurants and bars in a charming riverside setting. The magnificent ruins of the ancient city of Caunos stand majestically by the river banks along the nearby Iztuzu Beach. Over the years, it has become quite a popular tourist destination filled with natural beauty and historic chops.
How to get to Dalyan
To get to Dalyan one can catch a flight from most UK airports between April and October travelling direct to Dalaman airport from where the town of Dalyan is just a 40-minute taxi ride away. There are also regular flights from Istanbul to Dalaman all throughout the year. A regular dolmuş service is always present around Fethiye, Marmaris and the other surrounding villages to get to the nearby town Ortaca. From Ortaca there is a local service bus running in and out of Dalyan. There are overnight buses that run from most major towns in Turkey into Ortaca as well.
Dalyan can also be reached on the Marmaris to Fethiye blue cruise route. This is a day trip visiting the Kaunos Rock Tombs, Iztuzu Beach and Hot springs.
Getting around Dalyan
To get around Dalyan, the town is small so you can walk everywhere. To see most of the sites you must use the waterway of the Dalyan River. There are charming small fishing boats which you can hire for your adventure around the ruins of Caunos and other areas, including the turtle beach. To get to areas surrounding Dalyan the local Dolmus can take you to most places.
Things to do in Dalyan
The luminous natural beauty and archaeological heritage of Dalyan create some unique opportunities for travellers to experience. The ancient city of Caunus, also known as Kaunos, is quite charming and intriguing. This city is believed to date back as far as 3000BC. This city was home to two harbours, a theatre, four temples, an agora, stoa, baths, churches and a cistern. On the banks of Dalyan, carved in the cliffs are the famous Lycian tombs of the Kings. The tombs stand majestically along the riverside and boat trip will provide quite the satisfying view. The Lycian Rock Tombs overlooking the Dalyan Delta are the last resting place of the King of Caunos. To see the tombs looming in the cliffs all you need to do is arrange a two hour guided boat trip at a surprisingly low cost.
If archaeology is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of fascinating natural sights in Dalyan to gaze upon. Iztuzu beach, also known as the turtle beach, is just 13 kilometres away from the centre of Dalyan. It is a nesting site for the rare turtle species, the loggerhead turtle. Many projects have been set up in the area to preserve these wonderful creatures. The nesting grounds are indicated by the wooden stacks on the beach. Observing these endangered creatures can be intriguing. You can also check out the headquarters of this turtle rescue centre which lies at the southern end of the beach.
For those wanting to have some good (and dirty) fun, head to the Sultaniye Hot Springs situated on the southeast shore of Lake Koycegiz. The hot springs though slightly smelly are believed to provide healing powers and were used for this very reason in ancient times.