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Find information on Dalyan in our Travel Guide covering sights, foods and nightlife plus more...
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Dalyan is a small riverside town on the south west Mediterranean coast of Turkey. It lies in the middle of a delta that is in a protected area, being the breeding ground of many birds as well as the endangered loggerhead turtles. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty which most visitors pass through on their sightseeing trips to Iztuzu Beach and to the rock tombs of Kaunos. Those who choose to base their holiday here are rewarded by Dalyan’s warm welcoming atmosphere, its range of modern hotels and its many sightseeing opportunities.
The town of Dalyan is a rare tourist centre that, because of its position in a protected environmental area, remains completely unspoilt. It offers a relaxed holiday in pretty surroundings with a variety of sightseeing opportunities as well as a range of leisure activities.
A Dalyan holiday is popular with a wide range of people. There are beautiful swathes of fine sand attracting families and beach lovers of all ages. Nature enthusiasts and bird watchers come to the area because of the number of rare birds and the loggerhead turtles who breed and lay their eggs there. Those with an interest in the past will find the rock tombs of Kaunos fascinating.
The Dalyan holiday season lasts from early spring until late autumn when the temperature range is from the twenties to the high thirties. Although the summer period is the most popular, spring and autumn are good times to visit historical sites when the days are cooler.
Dalyan, a little over an hours drive from Marmaris, is situated in a fertile area framed by rugged mountains and surrounded by green fields. Lying on a river in the middle of a wide delta, the water ways meander through reed beds and marshes until they reach the wonderful beaches and the waters of the Mediterranean. Turkey’s conservation programme has saved these swathes of golden beach from developers and they remain as nature intended. Here the Loggerhead turtles, as well as the Nile turtles with their soft shells, come to lay their eggs in the sand of Iztuzu Beach. The marshes and the reed beds are breeding grounds for many rare species of birds.
Dalyan is an attractive town providing good accommodation and lively bars and restaurants. Nightlife is pleasantly relaxed and never raucous.
Across the canal from Dalyan is one of Turkey’s most famous tourist attractions, the Rock Tombs of Kaunos. The excavations of the five thousand year old city are still on-going and much of it remains buried. The Lycian Rock Tombs housed the bodies of the kings of Kaunos which were buried along with treasure which inevitably led to them being looted leaving them empty. The ornate carvings are all the more impressive when you realise the primitive nature or the craftsmen’s tools. They are illuminated in the evening with splendid effect.
Another popular attraction in Dalyan are the mud baths and the thermal springs which are accessed by boat. The mud is said to have anti-aging properties when applied to the body and allowed to dry in the sun. As it dries it shrinks and is supposed to draw out the wrinkles. The thermal springs are said to be good for skin complaints and respiratory problems.
Dalyan nightlife is fairly low-key reflecting the relaxed nature of the resort. There are numerous venues where you can dine under the stars enjoying traditional hospitality.
Dalyan has a range of shops providing for most needs and there is the usual number of gift and souvenir shops. Every Saturday there is a market in the middle of the town where, apart from local produce, you will find a large number of designer fakes. These are often good quality and are, of course, cheap. Leather goods are a popular buy as are textiles, ceramics and jewellery.
There are many restaurants serving a wide variety of food from traditional Turkish fare to international cuisine. Being a coastal resort, fish features prominently on menus and Dalyan claims to have some of the best fish restaurants in the region.
Turkish food is very tasty and includes stuffed peppers, aubergines and vine leaves, clay-pot casseroles, kebabs and of course feta cheese, olive and tomato salads. Borek are puff pastry pies filled with meat, cheese or potatoes that make delicious snacks. Rice dishes are also popular. If you wish to sample local cuisine, try a plate of meze, the Turkish equivalent of Greek Tapas, where you are given small portions of a variety of dishes.
Apart from strong black coffee, the national drink of Turkey is ‘raki’, an aniseed and liquorice flavoured alcohol.
Children are always given a warm welcome even in the more exclusive restaurants.