Dalyan Turkey: Best Things to Do

Dalyan, Turkey sits along the Mediterranean Coast, a few hours away from the major cities of Marmaris and Fethiye. This charming town has only in recent years shifted from an agricultural hub to an area favored by visitors to Turkey. This recent shift has created a pleasant town to explore the riverside cafes and fantastic views. 

A rich history, in combination with breathtaking beaches and outdoor activities, ensures Dalyan remains a unique must-visit place in Turkey. Whether you’re familiar with Turkey or are planning your first trip to the country, you’ll want to add this beautiful destination to your itinerary if you’re making your way along the Turkish coast. 

Below, you’ll find a complete guide on the town, including Dalyan, Turkey’s top things to do, accommodation options, and transportation information.

Some links on this page are affiliate links—that means that at no extra cost to you, we earn a small commission if you book through these links, and that helps keep this blog running.

Table of Contents

Dalyan Fast Facts

BEST TIME TO GO
April–October
LOCATION
Mugla Province -
Near Fethiye
CURRENCY
Turkish Lira (TL)
PLUGS
Standard C | 220 V | 50 Hz
CLIMATE
Hot humid summers
Mild spring & fall
Cold rainy winter
BEST TRIP TYPES
Beach
Boat Trip
Historical

History of Dalyan, Turkey

This town, situated alongside the Dalyan River (originally the Calbys River), features attractions like ancient Lycian Rock tombs and the picturesque Iztuzu Beach (home to the local Caretta Caretta turtles). As this town is a preserved area, there are restrictions on the construction of homes, allowing the town to keep a traditional Turkey feel.

One of the most famous attractions is Kaunos, originally known as Kaunos City; it was an important port town in ancient times. Kaunos is a few meters away from the modern town of Dalyan. This town is shrouded in legends, with stories that note Kaunos (grandson of Apollo) as the builder of the town. This town began as a separate state, though it eventually shifted to being part of Lycia.

Dalyan is considered a tourism spot with its location making it easy to access nearby attractions like the ancient city of Kaunos and the tombs that overlook the town.

Map of Dalyan, Turkey

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rock tombs dalyan

How to Get to Dalyan, Turkey

There are multiple ways to reach Dalyan, some more simple than others. This destination is about an hour from Fethiye and Marmaris, making it easy to reach if you have rented a car. However, if you don’t have a rental car at your disposal, you can also use the below methods to reach this town.

Fly into Dalaman Airport

Dalaman Airport is about 16 miles southwest of Dalyan, offering local and international flights to and from the area. If you’re traveling from outside of the country, you’ll need to fly into Dalaman Airport when traveling to Dalyan. From the airport, you can rent a car, take a private transfer or take a bus from the Dalaman Airport to Dalyan, Turkey. 

By Car

You can rent a car at the Dalaman Airport and it is about a 35-minute drive to Dalyan. Once you arrive in Dalyan, it is walkable so plan on your parking your car at your hotel and set off on foot. 

Private Transfer

Instead of using the airport coach, opt for a private shuttle service to avoid additional stops and delays due to changing buses. This is the quickest and most direct method to reach Dalyan. Pricing is similar to what you would spend on a taxi, and most shuttle services can hold up to three people. Keep in mind that you’ll need to schedule the private shuttle beforehand.

Bus

There are no direct bus routes from Dalaman Airport to Dalyan. However, you can ride on a local bus until you reach Ortaca, about five miles from Dalyan. From there, grab a taxi to get you to your final destination.

dalyan riverside cafes

What to Do in Dalyan

Dalyan, Turkey is ideal for any vacation, from a relaxing trip involving a soak in the local hot springs to a history-focused vacation with a visit to the ancient ruins. The below activities and attractions will ensure that your trip to Dalyan fits your interests and includes exciting things to add to your itinerary.

Riverside Restaurants and Cafes

With its location alongside the river, Dalyan provides ample opportunities for riverside dining in the form of restaurants and cafes. Most of the eateries alongside the river include outdoor seating options, providing pretty views to enjoy while consuming your meal.

Most restaurants along the river are local spots without websites, so it’s best to call ahead for reservations or stop by the location while exploring Dalyan for a bite. Some top options include The River Terrace and River House Restaurant, which both feature traditional Turkish food options.

Riverboat Cruise

Many riverboat cruises are available, which leave from Dalyan. We were surprised at how many many boats we saw as we walked to town. You can hire a private boat or take group boat with 20-30 other people. You’ll go cruise the river past Dalyan, through the canals, and over to Iztuzu Beach for some time at the sea. Afterward, you can go to the Dalyan Mudbath & Hot Springs. 

Some cruise boats will go out onto the Mediterranean where you can visit swimming coves, islands, and caves.  These cruises offer various activities, including swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing on private beaches, and other options for enjoying the beautiful nature views that Dalyan offers.

These cruises are excellent for all travelers, from friend groups to families, solo travelers, and more. Each available cruise features different activities, so it’s easy to cater this activity to the needs and interests of your group. You can easily walk up to the boats in Dalyan to book your spot on a boat or negotiate a private boat tour. 

Iztuzu Beach

Iztuzu Beach is one of the most beautiful in Turkey, offering views of incredibly blue waters and the option to sunbathe on the pristine sandy shoreline. This beach is a protected area from May to October annually when the Loggerhead Turtles lay their eggs.

While protected, you can still visit the beach as long as you’re careful of the turtle nests and the hatching turtles shifting toward the water. This beach is a family-friendly attraction, with snack and ice cream kiosks at each end of the beach. The water can sometimes be choppy, though the shallow areas create kid-friendly swimming spots.

As a note, there are no shaded spots on the beach, so renting an umbrella is the best option for a full day of fun under the sun. Or, you can select a sunbed, though there is just a handful available.

kuanos Kings Tombs Dalyan

Dalyan Rock Tombs & Kaunos

The ancient world of Kaunos and the Dalyan Rock Tombs are undoubtedly, one of the top attractions in Dalyan. They’re also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kaunos holds many important archeological sites to explore, including an amphitheater, acropolis, basilica, temples, churches, and Roman baths.

Kaunos is accessible via a car ferry ride, rowboat, or drive from Dalyan. Once you’ve explored the ruins, you can head to the Rock Tombs carved into the cliffs. These tombs are said to hold the most important members of the Lycian society. The Tombs of the Kings feature stunning Greek-style pillars and depictions of gods.

The whole area is walkable, allowing you to explore as many historical sites as you want.

dalyan mudbath and hot springs

Dalyan Mudbath and Hot Springs

Another top attraction in Dalyan is the collection of mudbaths and hot springs in the area. These natural spa sites provide a relaxing activity for travelers and locals. The mudbaths are believed to offer healing properties such as helping with rheumatism, sciatica, and wrinkles. You’ll find similar qualities in the Pamukkale hot springs. 

There is a specific process for enjoying the mudbaths, which includes smearing the mud on your whole body and letting it dry for about 20 minutes before stepping into the sulfur bath to rinse off. Afterward, you can spend time in the hot springs. At the time, it cost us about 100 TL each to enter. We spent about 2 hours here, playing around, laughing at each other covered in mud, and then had Turkish tea before heading back to Dalyan via boat.

You can reach the mudbaths and hot springs via a boat ride, as they’re located on the Lake Koycegiz side. It’s said that these mudbaths are so well-known that Cleopatra used to travel to take a soak in them. Now, this location continues to be frequented by various celebrities.

Shopping at Dalyan Market

Shopping at local markets is an excellent way to learn more about the local culture and allows one to mingle with locals. There is a weekly market in Dalyan, which occurs each Saturday. You’ll find everything from locally sourced honey to produce, spices, meat, handicrafts, clothing, and more.

The Dalyan Market is ideal if you’re looking for a spot to purchase souvenirs. You can also find prepared food at the market, like Gözleme. This prepared food is a traditional Turkish dish, a flatbread stuffed with various savory fillings such as cheese, potatoes, minced meat, and spinach. It’s a simple yet flavorful and filling dish beloved by locals.

Visit Dekamer Sea Turtle Research & Rehabilitation Center

The Dekamer Sea Turtle Research and Rehabilitation Center opened in 2009 in Dalyan; it provides the public with information about turtle rehabilitation. There are year-round educational activities that travelers can participate in to learn more about the efforts Dekamer is putting into aiding the turtle population.

Muğla University runs the Dekamer Center in partnership with Pamukkale University. The center specializes in helping injured turtles heal. During a visit, you can learn about the injured turtles and have any questions answered by the student volunteers.

Radar Hill

Visiting Radar Hill provides incredible views of the Dalyan Delta (at the conjunction of the Dalyan River and the Mediterranean Sea) and Iztuzu Beach. Radar Hill is a mountain that requires a car journey on a bumpy, windy road. It’s best to take a jeep tour to reach the top, though you can drive the route yourself. If you decide to take a rental car or your own car up to the top of the mountain, be prepared for a pothole-laden road.

Alternatively, you can take various walking paths to the top of Radar Hill. These pathways have different starting spots, including a route from Iztuzu Beach.

Sulungur Lake

Sulungur Lake is a smaller body of water nearby Iztuzu Beach with offerings of a picnic area with incredible views. While enjoying a picnic, you’ll likely see goat herds as they like to frequent the area. It’s also great for birdwatching and viewing other local wildlife like turtles and crabs.

Unfortunately, you cannot swim at this lake. However, the picturesque scenery, including the lush surrounding hills, provides an excellent backdrop for breakfast or lunch before continuing to other attractions like the hot springs.

BC Spa Hotel Dalyan Turkey

Dalyan Turkey Hotels

Here are some top stays in Dalyan, providing you with options for your next trip to Turkey.

Dalyan Live Spa Hotel

Dalyan Live Spa Hotel is near attractions such as Turtle Beach, Sulungur Lake, the Rock Tombs, and Kaunos. This hotel costs around $72 per night and offers an elegant stay with a large outdoor pool, private patios, and extensive lake views. While you can bring children to this hotel, it’s best for couples seeking a romantic stay.

Other amenities include a spa, fitness center, restaurant, and bar. Use this luxury hotel as a home base for visiting the many Dalyan activities.

BC Spa Hotel

The BC Spa Hotel is slightly more expensive than the Dalyan Live Spa Hotel, though only by about $10 more per night. This spa hotel is located a few minutes from the heart of Dalyan. It’s a short walk to the Rock Tombs from the BC Spa Hotel, with other top attractions less than three miles away.

This hotel features amenities such as multiple swimming pools, a spa, a restaurant, and shuttle transportation from the airport. The spa includes a Turkish bath, masseuses, a steam room, a hot tub, and more. This hotel is also ideal for a couples’ or family getaway.

Arp Dalyan

Offering the best location in the heart of Dalyan, this hotel is the most budget-friendly, with rooms priced at $62 per night. The premises features a breathtaking garden and exquisite views of the Rock Tombs and the river. You can watch the turtles swimming in the river during breakfast at the hotel.

Arp Dalyan is a great spot for families visiting Dalyan. The Rock Tombs, Kaunos, Iztuzu Beach, and other attractions are nearby. The hotel’s highly rated meals and comfortable beds make it a top spot for a stay.

iztuzu beach dalyan

Final Thoughts

The above guide on Dalyan, Turkey, top things to do will aid in curating the ideal schedule for you and your fellow travelers. This destination offers an idyllic setting for vacations due to the incredible views of the rivers, lakes, mountains, and hills that spread through the town. A rich history, ample activities, and food makes Dalyan a great location to visit in Turkey with kids.

If you’re traveling along the Mediterranean Coast, you can view the Myra Rock Tombs between Antalya & Kas

Some links on this page are affiliate links—that means that at no extra cost to you, we earn a small commission if you book through these links, and that helps keep this blog running.

dalyan turkey

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Family Travel to Turkey: Enes and Dania

Hi, we're Dania & Enes

We’re an American Turkish couple who’ve worked in the tourism industry and traveled extensively in Turkey. We understand that it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to Turkey when you don’t know where to go, where to stay and the best way to get there. We’re dedicated to helping you confidently plan a trip to Turkey and have a more authentic experience when you get there.

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