Whilst the number of visitors to this area of Turkey has increased in recent years, Dalyan essentially has remained a small fishing town throughout. Strict planning regulations have been in place for some time that have restricted all buildings to no more than two storeys high, meaning that there are no high rise buildings or hotels anywhere to be seen.
Dalyan has lots of restaurants, shops and bars, together with a good selection of supermarkets, all within 10-15 minutes walking distance from Villa Kiydan Apartments. Everyone who visits remarks on how friendly and welcoming the local people are - which probably explains why so many holiday makers return there on a regular basis.
The town is set on a river that leads upstream to a beautiful freshwater lake (Lake Köyceğiz), where you can visit the local mudbaths and hot springs, and downstream via a reed-filled delta to the sea and the famous Turtle Beach conservation area - home of the loggerhead (Caretta Caretta) turtle.
Just up the river from Caunos mountain with its historic city ruins and amphitheatre are the ancient Lycian rock tombs carved into the mountain side, Dalyan's most famous feature.
Turtle Beach can be accessed either by boat downstream through the river delta or by taking a Dolmus public minibus from the town centre on a wonderfully scenic route that passes alongside a lake and through mountains on its way around the bay.
And if you want to visit Caunos, a small group of enterprising elderly ladies in the town centre offer river crossings by rowing boat for a fairly nominal fee!
If you are in Dalyan, you surely must take a boat tour. You certainly cannot find an answer to the question “how does it feel to be in nature?” until you live the breathtaking view of the Dalyan Delta or the magic of the rush that makes you feel like you are in a gigantic labyrinth or wandering on a world map.
When moving along the rush, the grandness of the steep rocks is a proof of the nature’s generosity. The multicolored bird that appears suddenly and demonstrates a nice show on “how to catch fish” with its long rostrum is the kingfisher. Many observers from different parts of the world come to Dalyan to see rare birds such as this. The water is so clear that you can watch the fish accompany the boat all through the tour.
The places such as bars, restaurants, cafes, built on the river, are one-flat facilities and in great harmony with the nature. Of course, of the greatest view is the Stone Tombs appearing on the right when moving towards Iztuzu. The magnificent appearance that has been standing there for other 3000 years definitely takes your breath. It used to be possible to walk through the tombs in the past but four years ago, because of the damage caused by the people, it was prohibited and still is.
As you move along, you can see the walls of the antique Kaunos on your right. As the boat drains off, you lose your sense of direction, the minute you think you will go right; the captain turns the wheel to the opposite direction. Due to the geographic conditions, many twists and lakes have been formed in time. As the boat flows towards the sea, you come to the Iztuzu Beach, which is the second best natural beach in the world where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean and where you can swim either in fresh or in salt water.
When you move up from the delta, you come to the Lake of Köyceğiz. If you are traveling with one of the daily tours, this lake is the second stop after the mud baths. The boats drop anchor in the middle of the lake for you to enjoy swimming in fresh waters.
By the way, do not be surprised to see the dalyans (fish farms) that you might come across in the delta.