The Mediterranean and Aegean coasts span many kilometres. Beaches vary from powdery sand to coarse shingle.
To the south of Dalyan lies Iztuzu Beach, a fine place for sunbathing and swimming, but more famous for the Caretta Caretta Loggerhead Sea Turtles which have been in existence for 95 million years! This beach was once voted the best beach in the world. Enjoy, but please also treat this unique area with the respect it deserves. Be sure to observe the Turtle Alert rules which are strictly enforced. These include markers to sunbathe behind to prevent the nests being disturbed and avoiding leaving litter behind to hinder the turtles’ quest for survival.
Iztuzu is the ideal beach for everyone; children, sun lovers, walkers and nature buffs. Turtle tracks, scrapings where the turtles have hauled themselves onto the sand, are visible in June and July. The beach is frequented by other wildlife as well including lizards and tortoises. The swimming is very safe along the length of the beach EXCEPT for the area where the river joins the sea – here the currents are strong and there is a great deal of boat traffic. The never failing afternoon breeze, known as the Meltem, can whip up the sand and means the water can be choppy and murky but the gently sloping seabed makes the beach ideal for youngsters.
There are a few snack bars on the beach but you may wish to take your own picnic, and sunbeds can be hired.
There are regular shuttles to the beach and the best and cheapest way to do this is to use one of the boat co-operatives. In high season the boats head out from around 09.00 hrs to mid afternoon. If driving, it takes 20 minutes to travel the 12 kms from Dalyan to Iztuzu beach by road.
The way is picturesque and clearly signposted from the centre of Dalyan. Profusely flowering oleander bushes and gnarled trees deformed by the harsh winter winds line the route, which offers unrivalled views of Sülüngür Lake before ascending to offer glorious views over the delta. This road is particularly scenic, and en-route there are several small stops selling gözleme or Turkish pancakes – perfect for a light lunch.
The “road end” of Iztuzu is more scenic, pleasantly sheltered and, as Dalyan’s municipality beach, cheaper for sunbed hire and refreshment. If you are using public transport access by road is also an easier option if you want to stay for just couple of hours, than by boat.
To walk from one end of Iztuzu Beach to the other along the several kilometres of untouched, golden sand between is a pleasure certainly not to be missed.
Turtle Beach, the name given to the middle section Iztuzu is the point to which the co-operative’s river taxis and daily boat excursions are destined. The journey, taking around 40 minutes, provides an amazing insight into the life of this immense delta as well as the best possible vantage point from which to view the rock tombs. As at the ‘road end’ of Iztuzu, there are sunbeds and umbrellas for hire, toilets, changing facilities and a café but in both cases menus are limited so take a picnic if you plan to spend more than a few hours on the beach.
A well-protected bay tucked into the coastline with a restaurant. . At the head of the bay there is a fine shingle beach and short walk to the village of Ekincik. There are underwater caves where there is some interesting snorkelling. This is a popular hideaway for private yachts.
Located just south of Dalyan, day trips on boats out of Dalyan offer a day on the beach along with a barbeque. The bay has many caverns and caves and an island. It is a popular lay-over point for yachts. There is a restaurant on the beach. It can only be accessed from Dalyan by jeep via the Gökbel road or by boat.
Bakardi Bay is just south of Ası Bay between Dalyan and Sarıgerme and is a very quiet and secluded beach with clear aquamarine water – more for nature lovers than sunbathers. Can only be accessed by jeep or boat.
12 Islands of Göcek
A boat cruise around the islands is highly recommended. The 12- islands of the Bay are famed and consist of:
Şovalye (Knight or Cavalier) Adası at the mouth of the inner bay in Fethiye is the closest island to mainland Turkey. The many summer villas share the island with the ruins of late Roman walls, cisterns and churches. In the late Middle Ages, knights turned pirate made their base here, hence the name.
Kızıl (Red) Ada with its steep shores. There is no trace of an ancient settlement on this island, where the only inhabitants today are a restaurant and the lighthouse keeper and his family.
Delikli (Holy) Adaları
Tavşan (Rabbit) Adası is the name for the rocky islets to the north of Kızıl Ada.
Katrancı Adası, offshore from the beach of the same name at the mouth of the Kargı River to the west of Fethiye. Ancient geographers refer to this island as Telandria and it is thought that there was a port of the same name on the mainland.
Yassıca(lar) (Flat) Adası – a group of five islands, one with a sand/shingle beach, tame rabbits and tremendous views from the island peak.
Topan (Round) Ada
Şeytan (Devil) Adası – It is believed evil spirits inhabit the island and it is unwise to visit, especially at night!
Zeytin (Olive) Adası – also known as Hacı Halil.
Tersane (Dockyard) Adasi is the largest island in the Gulf, where on the shores of the northwest bay are ruins including a watch tower and a mausoleum in a better state of preservation. There are also later Byzantine ruins and the remains of a boat-building industry
Domuz (Pig) Adası – privately owned, with fascinating underwater Byzantine ruins. On the eastern shore of the island is a ruined building dating from the late Roman period which has been badly damaged by winter seas. Around 200m to the south is a church thought to date from the 12th century. Its position on slightly higher ground means that it has been protected from waves and its walls are still intact. It is rumoured that wild boar swim from island to island, hence the name.
There is a rock painting of a fish at the entrance to Taşyaka Bay, drawn by the famous Turkish painter, Bedri Rahmi Eyuboĝlu. This Bay is also known as Tomb Bay after the ruins and tombs on the shore which date from Lycian times.
Tour boats take visitors to the bay known as Cleopatra’s Bath on the Kapidaĝ Peninsula. Subsidence over the centuries has resulted in buildings that were originally on the shore being submerged and it is these 6th century ruins that have been given this romantic name.
This is a very pleasant beach with beautiful clear, shallow water. There is a restaurant and, as they rent the beach, no refreshments other than those purchased at the restaurant are permitted. The food is fairly reasonable and the menu is simple and consists of grilled meats and fish, salad and fried potatoes.
There are sunbeds and umbrellas available to rent from the restaurant. Also, the trees come down nearly to the sea and provide shade.
There is a shuttle service to the island from Göcek for a small charge, and the boats and timetable can be found on the sea front near the Harbour Master’s office. The boats run at 10.00 and midday and return at 16.00h and 17.00. However, please check these times as they can vary, especially early and late in the season. The journey time to Göcek Island is approximately 20 minutes.
Yanıklar, Katrancı and Günlüklü
Around the Fethiye area you can choose between finding a secluded bay off the beaten track, or head towards the more popular stretches of beach. The more accessible beaches are at Yanıklar, Katranci and Günlüklu.
Pronounced Chalush, means ‘Work’, is located 5km to the north of Fethiye and has grown into a resort in its own right, with hotels, restaurants and bars lining the beachfront, Çalış has a 2km long, beach of coarse sand and shingle and good conditions in the area for windsurfing and similar wind reliant activities.
How to get there: Go to the main D400 Göcek to Fethiye road and head for Fethiye. Keep on this road until you see, and then follow, signs for Çalıs Plajı.
Turkey’s most famous and most photographed beach. A blue lagoon sweeps around on its seaward side into a vast crescent of course pale sand and pebble beach, all framed by a spectacular backdrop of pine forests and mountains.
The beach in the height of the summer is very crowded but makes spectacular viewing early in the day before the crowds or in the evening.
On the beach front in Ölü Deniz there have been recent improvements with new childrens play areas introduced for younger children. Sunbeds and umbrellas are available for approximately 6tl each. The beautiful turquoise sea can be slightly choppy here so if you like more calm shallow waters head on to the world famous Blue Lagoon…
Continue towards the seafront and at the very end near the bus (Dolmus) stop follow the road to the right. You will see the entrance to the lagoon. The entrance fee is 20tl per car or 6tl per person on foot. Once inside you can walk to the very end of the beached peninsula and see the gorgeous mirror calm sea. Sunbeds and umbrellas are available for a fee and you will find a restaurant and small stalls where drinks and ice creams are available. The Blue Lagoon at Ölü Deniz is perfect for children as the water here is calm and has a shallow decline into the sea. Very small pebbles are softer on the feet! There are many small shops in both Hisaronu and Ölü Deniz that sell all kinds of water inflatable beach toys and beach shoes (for adults and children!) You can also find colouring books, crayons and other toys in these shops.
If you were to follow the road to the right of the lagoon entrance instead you will find various small beach clubs. They provide a scenically stunning setting and a peaceful haven in which to relax by the water’s edge listening to the sounds of the sea and the occasional background music. The swimming at the beach clubs is fabulous, with access from the sandy, very gently sloping beach into the sea.
In the lagoon area the sea is gentle and shelves gradually making it ideal for young children. There are two areas of beach, the public beach which is free of charge, and the right-hand side of the beach which incorporates the lagoon, which has an entrance fee. Sun loungers and umbrellas can be hired for a fee. Every morning you will see numerous pin pricks of colour in the sky as the paragliders descend from Babadaĝ or Father Mountain – 1975 metres in height.
How to get there : Go to the main D400 Fethiye road and head towards Fethiye. Keep on this road until you see signs for Ölü Deniz and Sehir Merkezi (NOT Çalış Plajı) at the second set of traffic lights. Turn right and go straight over several mini roundabouts and sets of lights. At the main Dalaman/Ölü Deniz roundabout go straight across, following signs for Ölü Deniz. When you reach the bottom of the hill and Belcekiz Beach, you can park on any of the surrounding streets where there are yellow marked spaces for a fee of 5tl. A car parking attendant will make himself visible. Alternatively you can continue towards the seafront and the last turning on the left is a private car park, charging slightly more.
Kıdrak beach is only a 5 minute drive further on from Ölü Deniz. As you come down the hill into Ölü Deniz you will pass through a large stone archway “Welcome to Ölü Deniz”. Immediately after that, turn left and follow the road that takes you behind Ölü Deniz town. It will climb around the hill to the left. Follow the road until you see Kıdrak beach below you on the right– you need to pass most of the beach before you reach the entrance. There is a charge of approximately 5tl per person on entry, or 9tl per car. There are some facilities available here such as a small snack kiosk and toilets. Sunbeds are 9tl each. The beach has more sand than Ölü Deniz with pebbles in the water and there are plenty of shady areas under the pine trees. Perfect for a peaceful swim!