Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dalyan, Turkey: turtles, crabs and ancient ruins

Every year on our holiday in Turkey, Tanya and I take a one-day excursion to someplace with ancient ruins.  We both love history and Turkey has a great deal of it.  The first year we went to Demre and Myra, then to Pamukkale and last year to Phaselis. This year we went to Dalyan (not to be confused with Dalian; THAT would have been an expedition).

We left our hotel at 5:00 am.  Dalyan is a 4 hour bus ride mostly east from Antalya on very good but very winding roads crossing at least four mountain ranges. We stopped for breakfast going and supper returning, all included in the Odeon Tour price.
Southwestern Turkey from Antalya to Dalyan
Turkish country side
Dalyan is a popular tourist resort area with a sandy beach, sea turtles, crabs galore, muddy sulphurous hot springs and ancient ruins.  The Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area covers an area of over 460 sq km and is home to many unique plants, animals and birds.  The Iztuzu beach, a sandy spit at the end of the Dalyan River  estuary is the nesting site for the Loggerhead Marine Turtle and includes a sea turtle research centre run by the University of Pamukkale.

If you click on this link HERE, you get a very detailed picture of the beach and the estuary of the Dalyan River which is slowing filling up with silt and forming reed bed islands.  While we could have driven to Iztuzu beach, we were given the "three hour tour" down the river.  We stopped to go crab fishing.  A simple process in which a piece of chicken is tied to a string and thrown overboard.  It is immediately grabbed by a crab which will not let go and is scooped into a net.  For $10 they would cook us one for dinner.  Yeah, right.
Dalyan Estuary
As we approached the beach, we saw a crowd of boats around one boat which had raised a sea turtle with a bait on a line.  We got close enough to see it.  It was still at this boat when we left 1 1/2 hours later which made me wonder.  Either the turtle was dumb as spit or it had the gig down cold and would perform for treats or, and I hoped this was NOT the case, it was somehow anchored to the spot.
Loggerhead marine turtle
One our way back from the beach to Dalyan we stopped for lunch.   After lunch we threw pieces of bread into the water for the fish.
Feeding frenzy.  The fish loved bread.
From there we went to the mud baths, which were swarming with tourists.  Tanya and I are just not team players.  We didn't have crab with our lunch, we didn't go swimming at the beach and we didn't go into the mud baths.  What we wanted was to tour the ruins of the ancient city of Kaunos,  Kaunos (2nd link).  It was not to be. The ruins are a local tour and not included in our day trip.  We only saw the tombs and some rock structures from a distance, while we were on the river.
Ruins of ancient Kaunos
Lycian rock tombs similar to those at Myra
 Anyhow, it was still a good day, we saw some new country and got back to our hotel about 9:00 pm dead tired. 


  1. Love the scenery. You're game to sit 4 hours in a bus. My husband starts to complain after one hour in the car.

    1. In Saskatchewan, one drives four hours to go anywhere. But I agree, four hours on a bus is not easy. And it was five hours from pick-up as it took an hour to get everyone picked up and to drive to Antalya.

  2. Jeepers, creepers, you're not just back, you're back with gusto. Welcome.


Comments are encouraged. But if you include a commercial link, it will be deleted. If you comment anonymously, please use a name or something to identify yourself.