Dalyan, A Place of Tombs and Turtles
Only a half hour drive from Dalaman airport lies Dalyan, a spectacular location where nature abounds everywhere and one of the most ideal destinations in Turkey. Located inland from the south west coast, between Marmaris and Fethiye it borders the Dalyan Cayi River and is a peaceful place unspoiled by mass tourism. Dalyan is a charming small town, originally a fishing and farming village, surrounded by unrivalled natural beauty with its gentle, wide, slow-flowing river to the famous Iztuzu Beach and overlooked by dramatic rock tombs, dating from 400 BC, perched high up in the cliffs.
Dalyan itself lies right in the middle of all the most visited tourist destinations on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. This is one of Turkey's most stunning resorts. Orange groves and lush fields surround. Many of the attractions can only be reached by boat, which has kept the area unspoiled.
In the town itself, everything is within walking distance. Next to the post office building, the weekly market is held where you can pick up fresh produce offered by the local farmers. Apart from the fruit and veg, there are also extensive stalls with everything you could need for your home. It's an intriguing place and worth a visit to stroll around and see all the stalls on a Saturday morning. Across the park are the docks on the river where boats depart for river cruises to Kaunos and Iztuzu Beach. The river is one of the main attractions, used by the locals for transportation and by tourists for day trips. There is nothing quite like the site of all the brightly painted boats going up and down the river during the day. There are several restaurants along the water's edge and the fish is wonderful. Dalyan has enough to keep you busy and is a relaxing traditional place, with no huge nightlife.
Iztuzu beach and turtles
Many will remember the campaign by David Bellamy in the late eighties which stopped the development of Iztuzu Beach. This five km long sandbar pushes out into the Mediterranean and was going to be developed as a resort until it was discovered that this was one of the last breeding places for Loggerhead turtles. Visitors adore coming here but be aware that times are restricted during the nesting season. The beach, which is now a wildlife sanctuary, is acccessed either by bus or by boat. The boat trip is the most preferred and takes around half an hour for a splendid view from the river to the surrounding countryside.
One of the most beautiful lakes and very popular with local Turkish families. Motorboats are prohibited to it remains a very calm and relaxing location at any time. The restaurant overlooking the lake is a wonderful place to be with a chilled wine!
Kaunos and rock tombs
On the approach to Dalyan, one cannot fail to be impressed by the dramatically perched rock tombs.
Some remain inaccessible even today. The ancient city of Kaunos with its ruins stand overlooking the sea and the river. There remain an acropolis surrounded by the old city walls, theatre, four temples and Roman baths. In its day, this was an important area on the borders of Lycia and Karia and Kaunos himself was believed to be the grandson of Apollo. Originally the city was on the coast but the harbour continually filled with silt and the coastline ended up five km from the city, which was one of the reasons for its demise.
The rock tombs are the resting places the kings of Kaunos and are stunningly carved in the style of Lycian rock tombs. Two different types of tombs exist in Dalyan, from the simple chamber to elaborate temples. There are other examples of rock tombs along the Lycian coast, but the best examples are here in Dalyan.