The growing but still beautiful riverside resort of Dalyan, 24km west of Dalaman, is home to around five thousand people. It makes a good base for visiting nearby attractions like the ancient site of Kaunos across the river, İztuzu beach at the river mouth, and the beautiful freshwater lake of Köyceğiz with its shoreline hot springs.

Dalyan first came to prominence in 1986, when controversy erupted over a proposed luxury hotel on nearby İztuzu beach, a hatching ground for loggerhead turtles. Conservationists succeeded in halting the scheme, and now the beach is statutorily protected between May and October, when eggs are laid. In the wake of this campaign, the town styled itself as ecologically correct, but with its mess of identikit restaurants, trinket shops, T-shirt vendors and loud bars, it’s now, riverside location apart, little different from other mainstream resorts. You’ll notice the turtle motif everywhere, from the turtle statue in the main square to restaurants and pansiyons being named after the creatures.

Life in Dalyan revolves around the Dalyan Çayı, which flows past the village between Köyceğiz lake and the sea. Many choice pansiyons line the river’s east bank, and the boats that put-put up and down it are the preferred means of transport to the major local sites. Craft heading downstream pass a series of spectacular fourth-century BC “templetombs in the west-bank cliffs.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Turkey features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Reconsidering Turkey: why the time to go is now

Reconsidering Turkey: why the time to go is now

Turkey is the most accessible of the Middle Eastern nations. A natural land bridge, it connects the eastern part of Europe to the Caucasus, and the viridian Bl…

09 Apr 2018 • Marco Ferrarese
Middle East and North Africa: 10 spectacular sights off the beaten track

Middle East and North Africa: 10 spectacular sights off the beaten track

The Middle East and North Africa have plenty of world-famous attractions – Petra and the Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings and the souks of Marrakesh, the mi…

27 Mar 2018 • Gavin Thomas
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right