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Dalyan

The small and beautiful picturesque village of Dalyan is just a 25minute (30km) journey from Dalaman International Airport.

The beautiful, small town of Dalyan lies right in the middle of the most visited tourist locales along the Mediterranean coast. Dalyan once a small village of fisherman and farmers is now visted by many year after year. Dalyan achieved international fame in 1986, when developers wanted to site a luxury hotel on nearby Iztuzu beach, a breeding ground of the endangered Loggerhead Turtle. A major international storm blew up, with David Bellamy championing the cause of the conservationists. Thankfully the development was stopped and the beach is now a protected area and was one of the first ‘Specially Protected Areas’ (SPAS) in Turkey — a real environmental success. There is now no construction allowed on Iztuzu beach. No pets such as cats and dogs are allowed on the beach and nothing is to be dug into the sands past a certain point, which is clearly marked on the beach. This is to ensure that the Loggerhead turtle nests are kept safe from harm. Life in Dalyan revolves around the Dalyan cayi (stream/river or creek) which flows past the town. The boats that ply up and down the river, navigating the maze of reeds reflected bright green in the water, are the preferred means of transport to all the local sites

Dalyan translated to English means “Fish hatchery”. The fish leave the salt water of the sea to enter the freshwater labyrinth of the delta to lay their eggs or create their fry and it is on their return journey to the Mediterranean that the Dalyan gates are closed and the local fishermen harvest their catch, so fresh fish is always on the menu. The Dalyan channel, through which water circulates between the Mediterranean and Koycegiz Lake, winds its way down past the ancient rock tombs to the sea, via a small network of lakes and waterways. With its mixture of fresh and salt water, these wetlands are now home to a vast number of fish and other water life, as well many species of birds which feed on them such as the sparrow hawk, crane, kingfisher and jay. The stork is also native to this area migrating here at the end of March to nest until the end of August. Dalyan is also named after the river that links Lake Koycegiz to the Mediterranean and is known by the local tourism offices as one of “the last corners of paradise”. Surrounded by pine-clad mountains, bulrushes and breath taking views this is a natural conservation of unspoilt beauty.

To the south of Dalyan on the Mediterranean coast lies lztuzu beach, 4km of golden sands for sunbathing and swimming, but more famous for the Caretta Caretta (Loggerhead Sea Turtles), which have been in existence for 95 million years! There are regular boat and minibus (dolm4) services to the beach and the best and cheapest way to do this is to use one of the boat co-operatives. In high season there are more than five boats a day heading out from around 09:00 to mid-afternoon and returning in the evening. There are a few snack bars on the beach and sun beds can be hired. Be sure to observe the Turtle Alert rules which are strictly enforced which includes markers to sunbathe behind to avoid disturbing the nests and avoid leaving litter behind to hinder the turtle’s quest for survival.

The road route is particularly scenic, offering unrivalled views of Salting& Lake and en route there are several small stops selling gozleme or Turkish pancakes, perfect for a light lunch. The beach is rarely crowded but it’s best to head for the far end where the tour boats do not drop their customers off for a short stay.

Other nearby beaches are at Asi Koyu, this can only be reached by private transport. It has caves and an island where the fish gather making it great for snorkeling. There is a lokanta serving Turkish home-cooked meals and drinks. There is also a sand/ pebble beach at Kargicak, also known as Bacardi Beach! This is about 16km from Dalyan, after you park it is another 20 mins walk, as it is surrounded by cliffs meaning it’s great for snorkeling. Further afield, towards Koycegiz is the bay of Ekincik. A crescent shaped brown pebble beach. Used as a stop off for yachts and gulets.