Sitting on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast is Dalyan, a little fishing village popular for its relaxed, traditional charm. Surrounded by unspoilt greenery and inspiring scenery and cut gently in two by a wandering river, holidays to Dalyan are perfect if you like your downtime to be low-key, laid back and leisurely. If you simply can’t have a holiday without a beach, then don’t worry because there are some beautiful soft sandy spots just a short trip away. Join the locals and jump into a water-taxi, which will take you on a laid-back cruise to the mouth of the estuary. The entire stretch is protected, partly due to the presence of the nesting Loggerhead Turtles that have made their home on Iztuzu Beach. However, there’s much more to this part of Turkey than meets the eye, and it also houses some of the region’s treasures including the 9th century remains of Caunus.
Things to do
With a rich history in its wake, Dalyan is an atmospheric and romantic place to take a break. Take a river trip to see the vast, Roman theatre or the Caunus’ Kings’ Tombs. If natural attractions are more your thing, hop on a water taxi to Iztuzu Beach and watch the Loggerheads scraping their way along the sands. Once the sun’s slipped over the horizon, try some tasty mezes in a Turkish restaurant then pick a riverside bar for a glass of raki.
As the river curves and winds around tiny islands, bays are created, so expect to find beautiful beaches in remote areas. Travel by boat along the water to find Iztuzu Beach, nicknamed Turtle Beach, for a long stretch of soft sand in a unique setting. The picturesque beach is a protected loggerhead turtle nesting reserve so is usually closed at night. Relax under the sun in front of the green, pine backdrop and swim in the calm, shallow waters.
History and culture
The once working fishing village still has the harbour in the heart of the resort. A big part of Dalyan’s culture is the river that flows through the thick natural surroundings. The calming sound of the tide lapping up against the shore only adds to the relaxed ambiance. The fascinating history of the area is hidden among the rich greenery along the riverbank. Dalyan’s most admired feature, the ancient Lycian Tombs, can be found carved into the rocky cliff side dating back to the Roman period.
Food and drink
The small village has a variety of delicious cuisines to try in the range of restaurants and cafés along the waterfront. Wander down to the main street to find more restaurants and bars that provide an idyllic spot to eat and drink in a serene setting. The nightlife here is quite relaxed, although some of the bars do stay open until the early hours.
Every Saturday a market takes over the main streets. Have fun haggling with the local sellers for a fair price as the market stocks everything from locally grown fruits and vegetables to handmade clothing and quality, designer inspired goods. After a long morning shopping, stop off for some lunch and enjoy the resort’s most popular item on the menu, Gözleme (filled pancake), and watch the boats sail past along the river.