The pretty riverbank town of Dalyan, 27 km (17 miles) west of Dalaman Airport, is quite different from other resort towns on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. People come for its setting on the placid Dalyan Çayi (Dalyan Creek), for the dramatic Lycian tombs hewn into the rockfaces that dominate the town on the west bank of the river, for the ruins of ancient Roman city of Caunos, and for broad Iztuzu Beach, a natural nesting-ground for carretta carretta (loggerhead turtles).
Dalyan achieved international fame in 1987 when developers wanted to build a luxury hotel on the nearby İztuzu Beach, a breeding ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle species. The incident created a major international storm when David Bellamy championed the cause of conservationists. The development project was temporarily stopped after Prince Philip called for a moratorium and in 1988 the beach and its hinterland were declared a protected area, viz. Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area.
Upsteam, on the shore of placid Köycegiz Lake, are the Sultaniye hot springs, with their therapeutic (or at least fun) mud baths. Many of the fields surrounding this farming town now grow new hotels, and the smooth-flowing creek is often thronged with excursion boats both local and from as far away as Fethiye, Marmaris and Turunç. Even so, Dalyan is still an interesting place to visit for the day or stop for one or two days
The center of town is marked by the tall, modern PTT (Post Office) building), around which Dalyan's weekly market takes place on Saturday. To the west of the PTT across a park are the riverside docks from which motorboats leave for Iztuzu Beach, Köycegiz Lake, and day excursions that include a river cruise, a swim in the lake, a stop at the Sultaniye hot springs, the ruins of the Roman city of Caunos, and Iztuzu Beach.
Rather than the two hour trip by road, by far the easiest way to visit Dalyan from Turunç is to take one of the day boat cruises offered by all the agencies in our Travel & Tours section.