Labyrinth Of Waterways

Dalyan is an aquatic paradise with its world-famous İztuzu Beach, its Caretta Caretta turtles and its Lycian monuments. Here is a Dalyan itinerary in 7 steps.

Located in the province of Muğla, it lies on the northern shore of Lake Köyceğiz. You will perceive the loveliest sounds of nature in this town, of which writer Çetin Altan has said, “It’s a good thing this Köyceğiz exists!” The market is also very enjoyable here in this town where lake and sea, forest and spa, intermingle. The streets around the market with its old-fashioned shops, working class restaurants and open air coffeehouses are ideal for leisurely strolls.

Gliding through the winding canals of Dalyan, which join Lake Köyceğiz to the Mediterranean, is like waking up from one dream into another.  The tour boats that leave from the lake shore about 10 kilometers from the sea reach İztuzu Beach in approximately an hour. You will pass verdant green slopes, steep rocks and reeds as tall as a man as your boat floats slowly down the canal.

The beach you will come to is protected by signs saying ‘You are in an area where the Caretta Caretta lay their eggs’. The close to five kilometer long beach is 50 meters wide at its narrowest point. There is another tiny lake at the place where the fine sugar sand meets the Dalyan canal. Although the sea is usually rough at İztuzu, the crystal clear water and fine sand suffice to make guests happy.

The ancient city of Kaunos on the boundary between Köyceğiz and the village of Çandır was founded by the legendary king of the same name. The rock-cut tombs are the architectural masterworks of the people of Kaunos, who are said by Herodotus to have been Carians. The magnificent examples you can see on a canal cruise date to the 6th century B.C. At Kaunos you can see a Roman theater and the remains of Roman baths, temples and defense walls.

The underground spring that bubbles up to the surface on the southwest shore of Lake Koyceğiz is famous for its mud baths, which are a big hit with tourists. Bathing in the special pools here can cure rheumatism, sciatica and various skin conditions as well as aiding the circulation.  Lie in the hot, sulfuric waters and let the mud cover your entire body. Then let it dry for half an hour. The drying mud firms up the skin and opens the pores.

Although transport to Ekincik Cove is usually by sea, we opt for the land route. The sea pops in and out of view along the road through the village of Hamitköy. The slopes on both sides are covered with pine forest. As you start the descent to the shore, Ekincik Cove comes into view in all its beauty.

Not far from Koyceğiz, this river welcomes tens of thousands of rafting enthusiasts every year thanks to its proximity to touristic centers like Fethiye, Marmaris and Bodrum. What’s more, the rafters who pass under its century-old bridges are treated to spectacular views. There are two main levels of difficulty on the 12-kilometer-long route. The easier one is perfect for novices.