A Boat Trip Through The Secret Valley, Dalaman

Have you ever been somewhere where you have felt like the only people on the planet? Somewhere where you’ve almost felt like an intruder, disturbing all that is natural life? Somewhere that feels like paradise? I’m not exaggerating when I say we were in that somewhere yesterday.

We picked some friends up from Dalaman airport in a hire car and so took the opportunity to return to Secret Valley and Akkaya Garden Restaurant on the way back to Fethiye.

The marketing manager for the area, had told us there was so much more to Akkaya than a few villas and the restaurant and arranged for us all to take a boat to visit the private beach. Join us on a boat trip along the Dalaman River…

Dalaman River, Secret Valley

The Dalaman River hosts the biggest dam in the area

Hmmm, well humans are very good at chipping away at paradise and your imagination has to be very good if it’s going to ignore the fact that we are on a body of water that’s been dammed off (the biggest dam in this area of Turkey).

You can’t miss the dam as it’s clearly visible from the high approach road to Akkaya Garden Restaurant. But never fear; we’re sailing away from that.

Dalaman River Secret Valley Boat Trip

Cheer cliff fasces and lush greenery


We’re chugging upstream towards the gorge in the distance.

Dalaman River Boat Trip

Sailing towards the unknown


The river is very calm and the only noise is the chugging of the boat’s engine and echoing birdsong. We’ve not seen our friends for a while but even we’re quiet (for some of the time) as we take in the scenery; the gorge, the sheer cliff faces, the pine forests.

Secret Valley Boat Trip Private Beach

Approaching a private beach on the Dalaman River


After around 30 minutes, a jetty comes into sight. Nothing else; just a jetty. The boat approaches, the captain jumps off and helps us all climb onto the jetty, from where we all just assume we need to take a right. It’s a narrow bank and all that is straight ahead is the cliff face.

Left is where we’ve just come from and there was nothing there so right is the logical option. We set off through the trees and then all of a sudden…

Dalaman Secret Valley Private Beach

Idyllic, almost jungle-like setting


…we see the roof of a beach bar, a few scattered umbrellas and sunbeds – and a barman, waiting for us with a cooling Efes Pilsen.

Apart from the barman, the boatman and a couple of other members of staff, we’re the only other people on this beached area. Head down to the waterside and it’s here where you feel really privileged – but also like an intruder at the same time.

Oleander On The Dalaman River

Oleander in full bloom


Oleander (zakkum, in Turkish) is in full bloom at the moment and the pink blossom adds an extra touch of beauty, just when you think nothing could be better than what you’re already experiencing.

Secret Valley Private Beach

Leave the beach area behind for a moment…


Now, join us as we stray away from the beach area and the bar, leaving the umbrellas and the sunbeds behind. Only 50 metres or so, just along the sandy bank.

Secret Valley Boat Trip

Pure tranquility


This is the ultimate in tranquillity. Our friends have just landed at Dalaman after flying from Manchester. They can’t believe we’ve suggested this as a minor detour on the way back to Fethiye. We stand for a moment and listen to the birdsong…

Unfortunately, we can’t stay here all day. After a drink and a paddle (this is refreshingly cold water) it’s time to head back to civilisation to sample some of the other menu choices at Akkaya Garden Restaurant. First of all though, you must sample the loos at this beach bar. I did take photos but see for yourself. We’ll not spoil it for you. They’re wonderful!

Secret Valley Boat Trip

Our transport awaits


Our transport awaits to take us back to the real world. All good things must come to an end…

Thank you very much to Hilal for arranging the boat trip to the private beach for us all. It was fantastic and we can highly recommend it.

There is definitely more to Akkaya than just the restaurant and a few villas. The boat along the river is so peaceful and the scenery amazing. In the coming days, we’ll be doing a couple more posts on the rest of our day there because there’s too much to fit into one. It’s a must-see area!

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  1. Anonymous says

    Julia, sitting here in my Montreal living room with a bad pneumonia, I close my eyes and only dream your dream made to reality. I am taking so many notes from you; you are my english Robinson Crusoe in a Turkish decor. Wow, I cant wait to be there in Sept and follow your footsteps. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful life with all of us, fans of your super blog. This river looks magic. Been doing a lot of research on line for my many months to come in Fethiye and really, YOU are the best. Suzanne and mini

  2. Photos are stunning – it is almost like you’re the only people! How romantic.

  3. Superb and definitely on my list this year! 🙂

  4. @ [email protected] Get well soon, then you can enjoy all of this when you get here.

    @ Belinda: The whole area is stunning. We were with friends, so not too romantic. 🙂

    @ Rob: You’ll love it!

  5. Wow, what a landscape, makes you really feel in peace with the universe..

  6. I will certainly be adding this to my to do list and things to see in Turkey. What wonderful sights, just beautiful.

  7. @ Angela: It really does. It was a special experience.

    @ Kerry: It’s not to be missed. Hope you get to see it soon.

  8. fantastic pictures, added onto my places to visit list!!

  9. oh Julia. What a lovely post: great pics and great text! Your friends must have absolutely loved it! Lucky you!

  10. @ Paul: Thanks and yes, you must visit.

    @ Claudia: Our friends absolutely loved it. they said they felt overwhelmed because they had only just landed in Turkey. 🙂

  11. Anonymous says

    Julia, this is a beautiful and stunning area, thanks so much for sharing it with us! I have not posted before but I read your posts daily. I and my family are visiting Fethiye later in the year but I dont think we will be there long enough to see all the beautiful places you tempt us with!! I do think this place is a must see (hopefully there wont be too many people with the same idea!!), would you mind telling me how you book it please? I am struggling to post this due to my firewall setting so am going to try as anonymous which doesn’t help you in telling me, but if there is some way we can get in touch that would be great. Jayne

  12. @ Jayne: Thank you for persevering with your comment. It can be difficult sometimes! If you look at our previous post on the restaurant area, we’ve put a link to the website right at the bottom (and some directions.) You can make reservations via the website. Here’s the link to our last post. http://www.turkeysforlife.com/2011/05/dalaman-akkaya-garden-restaurant-secret.html

  13. Hi how did you arrange this? I want to do it going to olu in 4 days!!

    • Hi Leanne, if you go to Akkaya – there’s a restaurant, too – you do it from there. We’re not sure if any of the travel agents around here do it as a day trip but it might be worth asking and they could possibly arrange something for you. If not, you’ll need to hire a car to get to Akkaya and go from there.

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