Day Trip From Fethiye – Dalyan

As the Turkey’s for Life blog heads towards its first anniversary, we’ve been thinking about what we’ve covered over the last twelve months…and realised we hadn’t done a single post on Dalyan; not too far from Fethiye and a place we are both very fond of.

Dalyan Day Trip Boat

In high season, hundreds of boats chug through the Dalyan wetlands each day

Dalyan – A Day Trip From Fethiye

As with many other places on the South coast of Turkey, Dalyan is known for its natural beauty and also for the Lycian rock tombs embedded into the cliffs overlooking the river. It’s a special place, not only because of its Lycian and Roman history but also because it is an area of vast wetland and Iztuzu Beach is the nesting place of many of Turkey’s loggerhead turtles.

Rock Tombs in Dalyan

The king of Caunos was entombed here

If you’ve ever been to Dalyan, you will no doubt have a similar version of the photograph above stored away. These Lycian rock tombs, from 4,000 BC, are what a lot of people come to see. Sadly, they’ve recently made the news because natural erosion and years of neglect means the rock tombs are slowly crumbling. Teams backed by the Turkish government are setting projects in place to restore and protect the tombs. I’m a bit of a history boffin so we’ll always continue to visit Dalyan just so we can view any progress.

Entrance to Iztuzu Beach

Entrance to the protected area of Iztuzu Plajı (Turtle Beach)

The last time we went to Dalyan, we took a people’s boat (water taxi) along the river to Iztuzu Beach because we had read that Özlem the loggerhead turtle was being released back into the wild from the turtle sanctuary. This is another reason why we love to visit Dalyan and why the area is so important.

Iztuzu Beach from the turtle research centre

View of Iztuzu Beach from the turtle research centre

Thankfully, Iztuzu is now a protected area so, in theory, turtles should be able to lay their eggs unhindered (this is a constant battle and the Kaptan June Sea Turtle Foundation does an amazing job). The Sea Turtle Research, Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre, situated at the end of the far end of Iztuzu Beach is now a registered foundation so if you go (be prepared to get all kinds of emotional!), we’re sure they will be very grateful for any spare kuruş or liras you may have. If you click the link underneath the first photo, it takes you to a post we did about Özlem the turtle’s release and there is a very cute (and yes, emotional) 15 second video of her flip-flopping from the beach and into the sea.

If you know anything about Dalyan, you’re probably wondering why we haven’t mentioned the famous mud baths yet. Well, neither of us have ever seen much attraction in standing in sludge and caking our bodies in mud and have therefore never taken part in the activity, so no experience to report there. We’ll leave that one up to you…

Fethiye To Dalyan Day Trip – Useful Info

  • Dalyan is easily reached by public transport. We took the Ortaca Coop bus from Fethiye Otogar. At Ortaca otogar, take the regular dolmuş into the centre of Dalyan. (Many intercity buses make a stop at Ortaca if you are arriving from elsewhere.) We have written a detailed post about how to get from Fethiye to Dalyan by bus.
  • To reach Iztuzu Beach or the turtle centre, you can either take the dolmuş straight there from Ortaca otogar or (in season) you can make a round trip.
  • For the round trip, take the Dalyan dolmuş into town and jump on a water taxi to the beach. You will have to walk to the opposite end of the beach – a beautiful one-hour walk – visit the turtle centre and then take the dolmuş back to Ortaca from the car park beside it.
  • If you’re staying in Dalyan, the ticket on the water taxi is for a return trip so you can get the boat back to town.
  • Dalyan makes a perfect day out if it’s the last day of your holidays and you’re waiting for your flight from Dalaman.
  • An overnight stay in Dalyan also makes a mini-break from Fethiye, if you fancy sticking around a bit longer.

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  1. oh, you took me back in time. It is years since I went to Dalyan. Must go back again someday. I remember doing the mud baths in a white bikini. duh! I didn’t think they were all that fantastic either. I think my face on the photos was one of doom and gloom!

  2. i feel shame a bit as a turkish that i never been there before, i ll do that soon.. 🙂

  3. Natalie, we didn’t go to Dalyan for ages when we came to live out here but when we saw it, we just kept going back – without doing the mud baths! 🙂

    Yeşim, you should come down this way and do a tour of the area! 🙂

  4. What an amazing place.. you really make me want to visit Turkey!!

  5. you can also get a dolmus to the other end of the beach where the turtle foundation is, catch this in the centre of town too. If you wish to take the very pretty drive there is a large car park at that end of the beach also.
    Bear in mind saturday is market day and the centre of town gets very busy then.

  6. Welcome any time Kimberly! 🙂

    Anonymous, thanks a lot for this information. We can only post about the transport we’ve used. Really useful for others visiting the area. 🙂

  7. Those rock tombs look amazing. I’d imagine looking at them, the mind wanders towards the past… Looks like an idyllic location for a day trip 🙂

  8. The rock tombs are fabulous, Corinne. They’re dotted all along the Lycian coast. We have a couple in Fethiye, too.

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