POINTS OF INTEREST
İztuzu Beach & Dalyan Lagoon
The 5-km long golden sand beach of Iztuzu is one of the best protected beaches of the world. As being Caretta caretta sea turtles’ nesting zone, the beach is under environmental protection, limiting access to day hours only and facilities to a minimum, with zero development! A true paradise composed of a river delta, natural waterways, lakes, hills, pine forests, the turquoise sea and the separating beach... Iztuzu is the natural habitat for many endangered species like sea turtles, lycian salamanders, otters and sea daffodils. No wonder it has been named consistently among the top ten European beaches and top 25 world beaches.
And for everyone, Iztuzu and the lagoon is the reason to come to Dalyan! The shallow waters are excellent for kids to swim and play; however, expect seabreeze, hence the waves in the afternoon. A scenic 30-min. boat trip through the reeds takes you to the NW end where the river meets the sea; the SE end is accessible by car, minibus shuttles, or by bicycle. For walkers, there's a 14-km track (not waymarked) from Kapız region in Okçular to the beach via Gökbel hills. One rich option is to make a circular trip combining the boat, the minibus, and a beach walk.
At the SE end of the beach, visit DEKAMER, Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center, to see the injured sea turtles and the late-hatch baby turtles, and Kaptan June Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation and learn why you shouldn't feed the turtles, nor be a reason for overfishing of crabs!
Kaunos Tours organises daily boat tours along the river and out to the sea where you can experience all in one, and daily trekking tours over the hills down to the beach.
Kaunos & the Rock Tombs
Kaunos is located at a very pictoresque landscape next to the Dalyan river and the reeds delta. Getting there from Dalyan is already a nice start: walk the pier, take the row boat to the other side of the Dalyan river, take the tractor shuttle to the site or take the 20-min. walk on paved road with views of the rock-cut thombs from the 4th century BC.
The findings suggest first settlements date back to as early as 3000 years ago, but Kaunos itself had been here from the 5th century BC until it started to loose trade due to the fill up of its important harbor with river silt probably starting from late Hellenistic period. It was once part of the Lycian league of states and went under rules of several invaders, but it was considered to be a city-state with its own language squeezed between Caria and Lycia. Archeological excavations still continue each summer, and the findings so far have been from the Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantium era.
Amongst the notable buildings you can visit at Kaunos are a 5000-seat Hellenistic theatre, a Roman bath, a restored monumental fountain dedicated to the Roman emperor Vespasianus, a 5th-century AD Byzantium domed church, stoa and several statue bases at the holy temple section from the 2nd-century BC. Acropolis is on top of the 150-m high hill with ruins from the castle walls. A 30-min. uphill walk will take you to the top for a rewarding overview of Dalyan, the Iztuzu beach, the reeds delta and Kaunos with its border walls built in arcaic, hellenistic and roman periods.
Place not to be missed if you are in Dalyan... The spring area is a favourite place for locals who come to cool off during hot summers, having picnics as well as for thousands of toursists who visit this small paradise during their holidays. A nice trek along the river from the restaurants to the spring takes half an hour. Your reward is a nice refreshing dive and a delicious lunch at family-run trout restaurants.
In addition to its fame from cold water, the river is also famous for its successful struggle against a hydro-electric powerplant project. When some 300-year-old monumental plane and around 1000 pine trees were cut as part of the project in December 2009, villagers reacted with a protest camp at the river source that would last day and night for 11 months. Determined efforts of locals and The Platform for the Protection of Yuvarlakçay, a non-profit group voluntarily working on behalf of the villagers eventually proved to be successful: courts ordered immediate cease of all works by the company and the government, and later the cancellation of the project.
The jeep safari of Kaunos Tours takes you to this paradise. Try to have a swim and let’s see if you can stay longer then 1 minute in the river! Enjoy the finger licking lunch in a cosy setting above the river. When you rent a car ask for the road directions, so you can spend more time here.
Toparlar Waterfall & Canyon
Located just north of Köyceğiz Lake, Toparlar Waterfall serves the locals as a natural pool to cool the hot summer days. Toparlar creek runs year around with little difference in volume during seasons. A 15-minute walk from the end of an earth road branching off the main Muğla highway takes you to the waterfall area; a small natural lake underneath the waterfall is safe to swim. It’s crowded during weekends, but comes with a free show of high rock jumps and dives performed by local teenagers.
Kaunos Tours offers daily Canyoning tours, starting from the section past the waterfall and taking you deep into the canyon. Roping at some sections for better security, walkers enjoy natural pools one after another, a picnic lunch at a wonderful spot, small jumps on the way back and a big one at the waterfall.
Aşı beach is roughly located betwen İztuzu and Sarıgerme. There’s a dirt road that can take you to this tranquil, small pebble beach surrounded by limestone caves. A restaurant serves food and drinks and charges a fee to get in.
Seakayak tours offer a great opportunity to explore the turquoise coastline and every single cove along it. From April through October, Kaunos Tours offers daily seakayak tours at Aşı beach where you can enjoy a cool day, perfect beaches, small caves and what’s around it. Jeep safari tours also stop here for a short swim.
The biggest river in the region, with many branches born at Mt. Çiçekbaba... It gives life to everyone and everything around, directly or indirectly. It’s the reason for the Dalaman and the Dalyan plains, now very fertile agricultural lands.
The river is known for the rafting tours offered on Meşebükü-Akköprü sections; it requires a long drive but is worth the fascinating views of the valley and the river. For more, go for a scenic ride or drive on many roads along the Dalaman river, or walk around the villages of Akköprü, Narlı or Karaçam, find the yet unspoiled nature away from concrete blocks of dams.
Koycegiz is an old town with most of her history in the lake according to the myths that water all of a sudden covered the valley and only left a few houses at the edge of the lake.
Köyceğiz is known by backpackers as well as the tranquility-seekers and is famous for its Monday market where you can experinece the real Turkish local bazaar. Kaunos Tours sails every Monday to the market and back in the afternoon also visiting the Sultaniye Hot Springs.
Port town of Göcek
Once a small sleeping fishing town, some small wooden boats and bundles of nets along the harbor, Göcek has grown to a pitoresque port town just like at the Cote D’Azure... Small streets, different shops with fashion brands, lazy lounging cafes and restaurants along the harbor.
It's a sailor's paradise thanks to its protected, modern marinas, easy access to larger towns and airport, beautiful, secluded coves spread along the coast, and of course summer winds in the afternoon.
The famous 12 Islands tour is departing from this idyllic place. Kaunos Tours sails out with a traditional large gullet. Enjoy the sound of the sea, watch the bays passing by on you.
Hot Springs & Mud Baths
So we have ice cold springs to the north... and hot springs to the south! Thanks to the tectonic activities along fault lines, there are some 38 of them in Köyceğiz basin, the majority at lake floor. Boat trips take you to the popular options, one in Horozlar just NW of Dalyan, and the other in Sultaniye on the SW coast of Köyceğiz Lake. Both have mud baths, but the Horozlar one has become more like an amusement show of the masses.
The not-so-known options are the two natural hot springs before and after Horozlar, and the two sulphur springs of amazing turquoise colour near Fevziye and Kapıkargın villages in Dalaman. Only the one in Fevziye has a small facility.
The Agla mountains are visible at the north (lake) side of Dalyan and are covered with snow from December till late May.
The village Agla is at 2500ft high, especially in the summer comfortably cool, and has its own small bakery, butcher and even a very good restaurant: “the lady with the hat”. Further up, 1 hr drive on a dirt road, is the Gokceovacik Lake at 5000 feet. A good place to do some fishing or have a picnic. The multi active package of Kaunos Tours includes even camping on this spot.
It is the first long-distance walking route in Turkey brought in life by Kate Clow with sponsorship from Ministry of Culture & Tourism and Garanti Bank. The trail along the turquoise coast is a must-do for outdoor enthusiasts even with children. It is some 550 km in length, mostly following the coastline from Ovacık near Fethiye to Hisarçandır near Beldibi, Antalya. Magnificant seascapes and landscapes, ancient sites of the Lycian league of states one after another, real feel of the Turkish villages, excellent home made meals at village houses or family-run restaurants, unspoiled nature rich in flora and fauna... no wonder it is voted one of the world's 10 best walks in a Sunday Times survey.
You may camp as you walk or stay at small hotels along some sections of the way. The terrain is good to walk for 6 to 20 km a day depending on your desire, backpack weight and performance; the track is well way-marked in red & white stripes. The best times with comfortable temperatures are from March through May and September through November.
Kaunos Tours frequently organises 3 to 7-night guided walking holidays on the Lycian Way with luggage transfers; most preferred routes include Ovacık to Patara via Faralya, Kabak, Alınca and Gey; Kaş to Kekova via Kılıçlı; and Karaöz to Olympos via Adrasan.