The Dalyan River, Turkey


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DalyanI visited Dalyan in October 2013, and found it to be an ideal destination for Silver Travellers to take a relaxing holiday. Dalyan is located just off the south-west coast of Turkey, along a scenic river and near a stunning protected beach which is a real turtle paradise. It’s just a short transfer from the airport and about 30 minutes from the coast which you can easily reach by boat.

One of the most attractive features about Dalyan is that it’s flat, thanks of course to its proximity to the river. While much of the coast of tourist Turkey is known for its undulating hilliness, those who are less mobile would enjoy Dalyan, including those in a wheelchair or using a mobility scooter.

Lycian rock tombs along Dalyan riverThe journey to the sea
Water-bound dolmus running up and down the river can be hired (often linked to the many hotels along the banks), and on the gentle journey to the sea, you pass through high reeds and fish hatcheries – in fact the meaning of Dalyan originates from the old Turkish word for these.

Or if you prefer to use wheels, busses depart from Dalyan town square at 30-minute intervals, wending their way up the craggy cliffs, covered in pine trees. On the bus journey, you see the real glories of this coastline and the gentle charm. Looking across the remarkable cliff faces, there are carved and centuries-old Lycian tombs, a reminder of the sophisticated civilisation of this region in years gone by.

Iztuzu beachIztuzu beach
The beach is actually a long spit of land - clean and well-organised with sun loungers, parasols, a cafe, and shower facilities. In the late 1980s, there was intense debate with regard to tourist development in the area, but the good news is that ecology was given priority. The beach  is now protected, and cleaned daily, to allow loggerhead turtles to lay their eggs and for their hatchlings to make their way, unimpeded to the sea. It is a real pleasure to spot the turtles popping out of the water with a startled look on their face.

Iztuzu beach also hosts a turtle sanctuary for injured animals, and if you are lucky you may see these gentle creatures learning to swim again with just 3 flippers or after an injury.

Once back in Dalyan after an afternoon relaxing on the beach, there’s a good selection of  supermarkets, butchers and bakers, as well as many Turkish ‘designer’ goods, jewellers and a store specialising in suzani - a silk or cotton embroidery from central Asia, which is distinctive in style and can be used on wall coverings, fabric shoes or bags. There’s also an antique shop, which sells good quality artefacts at fair prices.

Dalyan marketSaturday market
One of the highlights of the week is the Saturday market, where the extent of goods and food for sale has to be experienced at first hand to do it justice. It’s certainly not just for the tourists as the locals from town and country come here to buy building tools, hardware, plastics and endless mountains of vegetables.

Visitors can purchase inexpensive clothing and shoes, all with UK high street labels, albeit sometimes with alternative spelling! Enjoy some retail therapy or simply people watch as everyone comes to town on market day.

Variety of Turkish dishesA huge number of restaurants to suit every purse and most tastes can be found in Dalyan, but the small jetties over the river add an enjoyable twist to the seating arrangements and are popular with tourists.

Italian-style coffee, served alongside sumptuous cakes are the order of the day, as well as the iconic Imam Bayildi aubergine dish.

Strolling away from the main drag takes you to a great jazz bar/restaurant, with citrus trees providing the roof. It’s a perfect place to end the day in Dalyan and enjoy a relaxing drink or two along with some music to create an ambience and memories that will stay with you long after the holiday is over.

Find out more about Jennie’s stay at the Aydos Club in Dalyan.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 7 Comment(s)

  • JacquiMK
    over 5 years ago
    Visited Dalyan on a day trip many years ago, sounds as though it is still as beautiful now as it was then. Sadly, did not see any turtles, maybe it is time to visit again this time for more than a day.
  • Happy-Feet
    over 7 years ago
    Brought back fond memories of our trip on the Dalyan river, the mud baths, and the lovely Iztuzel beach, although unfortunatley we didn't see any turtles. It was a great tour and the guides made a personal CD for us - a treasured souvenir.
  • schroedie
    over 7 years ago
    I was here many years ago - it was a beautiful area then and sounds to have retained much of its natural charm. It's so good to hear that the turtles are now protected. At the time I remember there was talk of building along the seafront which would really have messed the poor creatures up.
  • Margaret-Beeston
    over 7 years ago
    sounds wonderful....we haven't managed mainland Turkey yet,..just a few times to North Cyprus...this review has really whet the appetite!
  • AnnB
    over 7 years ago
    Over the years, we have spent four great holidays in Dalyan and on one I was lucky enough to meet Kaptan June (Haimoff) who founded the turtle sanctuary at Iztuzu Beach. Read Kaptan June and the Dalyan Turtles if you get the chance. Fantastic lady.
    Dalyan is just the place for relaxing but also good for seeing the sights such as historic Caunos, beautiful Gocek and Fethiye and its fish market (eating there is a real experience).
  • happy-walker
    over 7 years ago
    I spent a great holiday in Dalyan . So much to see and do ,if you go you must have a mud bath .
  • Stone22
    over 7 years ago
    It sounds idyllic. I've been fortunate enough to holiday near turtle-protected beaches in Turkey and it is commendable that this beach is now protected.