The Dalyan delta is a world renowned nature conservation area. It has been voted the best open space in Europe by The Times in London and the 20th best beach in the world by TripAdvisor members.
Nature is abundant - Loggerhead turtles, Nile river turtles, kingfishers, harriers, eagles, egrets, finches and tortoises can all easily be seen in one holiday.
There are family owned hotels and pensions, but no high-rise developments. There are bars with music, but no nightclubs or Red Lion pubs. There are many Turkish restaurants, but no burgers from a certain American chain. In short Dalyan is a natural, family orientated paradise where development is strictly controlled, but the town is a real life working town with an economy based on fishing and tourism.
Dalyan has plenty of restaurants serving everything from gourmet fresh fish, shellfish and steaks in riverside restaurants to home style cooking restaurants, pizzas or kebabs. There are also patisseries, bakers and coffee houses selling snacks. Some of our personal favourites are...
Saki is the best place in Dalyan for a Turkish mezze meal. This is a family restaurant run by Ayse and her daughter Binnaz. There is no menu as everything is selected market fresh, so go up to the counter and select from the 30-40 home made hot and cold mezzes. If you want or need more later, just order more ! The main courses are usually grilled chicken, meatballs and lamb served with rice, all very nice but the mezze are the specialities.
Kordon Restaurant on the harbourside is the best place in Dalyan for fish and steaks. The calamari, prawns, swordfish and tuna are especially good for fish choices and the garlic butter steak is delicious for meat lovers. The chef Duran and head waiter Muharrem will help you plan your perfect meal. For a Turkish pizza (pide) visit Cagri near the market square or Firat in nokta market, both very fresh and cheap. Try a traditional Turkish pide, a long fresh baked pizza filled with cheese and herbs, meat or vegetables or Lahmacun a thin arabic style pizza with finely minced spicy lamb.
For a fabulous Turkish breakfast visit Ekin Club on the beach road and next to Sulungur lake. Look to arrive between 8am and 9.30am when the lake is perfectly still. This is a wonderful setting and a wonderful way to start another lazy day. The Iztuzu beach mini bus will be happy to drop you and collect you from here. Topguzu Pinar restaurant in the hills at Yavurlakcay serves lovely fresh trout and slow cooked lamb. Most taxi drivers will know where to go. The driver will wait for you so relax and have a good time. Swimming is permitted in the mountain river at the restaurant, however it is very cold as it comes straight from the mountains.
To sit and watch the world go by while you have a Turkish tea (cay), a coffee, soft drinks or ayran go to Cinaralti - the mosque tea garden in the main square. Husseyin's café is a great place to relax after a few hours in the market. You can also get a toasted sandwich snack (tost) of cheese, salami or cheese and tomato. The best bakers is Yesil Dalyan in the Maras area, look out for the pale green building, but you can follow your nose ! Fresh breads, borek, biscuits, baklavas and more…
For patisserie try Mahmut's Demet Patisserie in the main street. Perfect homemade desserts to eat in or take away, cakes and biscuits. A good choice for a coffee and sweet after dinner or as a morning snack. For drinks, our favourite bars are Mufit and Mustafa's M&M Rock bar (free air guitars!) and Hassan's Albatross bar, both in the main street. Further information and where to eat is contained in the guest files at the villas.
The Dalyan Delta is a world renowned nature conservation area with hundreds of species of birds, fantastic stocks of fish and sea and river turtles. There are many local days out, but some of our favourites are:
Iztuzu beach, voted the best open space in Europe by the Times in London and the 20th best beach in the world by TripAdvisor members. It is a 3.5 mile stretch of fine golden sand which is perfectly safe for family bathing. Visit the turtle rehabilitation centre behind the beach while you're there– some are over 60 years old. You will also find a small café, pancake house, shaded seating areas, changing rooms and toilets at each end of the beach. Our favourite beach day is to pack a picnic before walking the beach. Across the river from Dalyan is the ancient city of Caunos. It is fascinating to walk over history studying the ruins of the 5000 seat Amphitheatre, roman baths, churches, temples ,agoras and the old harbour.
Upstream from Dalyan is the beautiful Koycegiz lake, the 5th biggest lake in Turkey and it takes about 1.5 hours to cross on a boat. The best day to go is Monday as that is also Koycegiz market day. The water is warm, the nature abundant, the mountain views spectacular and the famous Sultaniye mud baths on the lakeside are a special experience too. Out to sea through the beach, Ekincik and Bacardi bays are easily accessible on a day trip and provide clear blue bays to anchor along this part of the turquoise coast. The boat captain will BBQ a lunch on board.
Up in the mountains, Yavurlakcay is a collection of natural restaurants set over an ice cold mountain river, perfect for a refreshing pre lunch dip or a great place for a long lazy cool lunch on a hot summers day Further afield Gocek is one of Turkey's smartest marinas. It is a 30 minute journey down the coast and a perfect base for a lazy day on a crewed gulet exploring the 12 islands of Fethiye bay.
Fethiye, one hour down the coast past Gocek is the largest town in the area. The fish market is heaven for fish lovers – the number one place for a fish meal. Buy your fish and shellfish direct from the fishmongers, then for a fixed price of £3 pp the surrounding restaurants cook it as you like and serve it with bread and salads.