Exploring Dalyan Delta

Dalyan is a small town in Turkey’s south-west Mediterranean region that keeps its secrets tucked away behind the coastline. Overlooked by ancient Lycian rock tombs the town itself is only small but the region offers many distractions for explorers. Tourists swell the population of Dalyan during the summer months but the region is otherwise occupied with being a productive agricultural region. Especially noticeable in the fields surrounding the settlement are crops of citrus fruit, pomegranates and cotton.

Things to do in Dalyan

Azaleas line the edge of the Dalyan Delta on the road to Gokbel, Turkey


Rock tombs embedded in the rock slope facing Dalyan, across the Dalyan river, evidence the area’s ancient history. The grandness and height of tombs above others indicate the social standing of the person the tomb was built for. According to mythology Kaunos was established after Byblis told her twin brother that she had fallen in love with him. He left Dalyan and established Kaunos. Byblis was so distraught about her unrequited love that she attempted suicide and it is believed her tears formed a river.

Wooden boat on Dalyan River, Turkey

Dine in riverside restaurants

A great way to take in the fantastic view across the river to the Lycian tombs that are thought to date back to 500 BC is from one of the many riverside restaurants in Dalyan. The views, traditional Turkish food and the breeze, make a fantastic spot to stop for lunch.

Boat trip through Dalyan Delta

Wooden boats travel up and down the river all day, providing transport to and from the beach and also pleasant tours of the Dalyan delta, which is a popular fishing area. The river links Lake Koycegiz and the Mediterranean.

Dalyan mud baths

One of the stranger pastimes in the Dalyan region is bathing in mud. It is commonly believed that covering yourself in the stinking, warm and grey mud found around the shores of Lake Koycegiz is the secret to looking younger. The process is not simply a quick dip however, you slap it on your skin and then bake in the sun until it is dry and starts to crack, then rinse it off. Quick word of warning, try to wear dark swimsuits or they may retain a residue of grey.

Mud bathers, Dalyan, Turkey

Iztuzu beach

The jewel in Dalyan’s crown is the nearby beach. Iztuzu Beach is a glorious stretch of golden sand with no nearby development because it is a protected area due to it being the nesting choice of local loggerhead turtles. Visitors are allowed on the beach during daylight hours but are unable to spend evenings or nights there due to turtle activity.

Iztuzu Beach, Dalyan, Turkey

Gokbel lookout

Iztuzu beach can also be accessed by road. The journey leaves Dalyan town and passes through a small village called Gokbel before coming down to the beach. Gokbel clings to a Cliffside and if you follow the road leading uphill, rather than the one leading downhill to the beach, you are rewarded with an amazing view over Iztuzu Beach, across the Dalyan Delta and up to Lake Koycegiz. If you get hungry in Gokbel keep an eye out for the village women who sometimes sit by the roadside selling freshly prepared gozleme, which are pancakes, and can be savoury or sweet.

View over Dalyan Delta from Gokbel hill, Turkey

Have you been to Dalyan? What did you think?


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