On a day trip from Bodrum, I visited the Dalyan River Delta. This is an area of natural beauty and contains one of the most popular beaches in Turkey. Trips are available from most tour companies located in Bodrum and prices vary. I wasn’t satisfied with the trip overall because I wanted to see more, but I’m glad I went and got to experience the beach.
I was picked up from my hotel in Bodrum early in the morning and transferred to Dalyan. There, I boarded a boat and crossed the river to a mud bath. The mud on the banks of the river is said to have healing properties because of all the minerals.
After changing and leaving my things with the guide, I jumped into the mud pit and covered my body in the mud. Then it was time to stand in the sun like a fool and let the mud dry. That took a good 15 minutes because I had it caked on really thick. When it was dry, I took a shower and removed all the mud from my body. Did my skin feel different? Not really, but it was fun rolling around in the mud.
From the mud baths, our faithful boat captain, Dilo, who also happens to be single and available, took us to a small restaurant across the river for lunch. My group ate from a large buffet and then got back into the boat for an hour long cruise through the river delta. The scenery was stunning.
Near the mouth of the delta we stopped to see the endangered loggerhead turtles (Caretta Caretta). They feed on blue crab that live in the river. We pulled up to another boat that had a stash of blue crabs. They put the crabs on a string to draw the turtles near the surface for the tourists to see them.
From there, it was a short ride to İztuzu Beach where we were given a couple hours to relax. This is in my opinion the most beautiful beach in Turkey and easily the best and cleanest beach I’ve seen in the country. The sand is powdery and soft while the water is calm and warm. One side of the beach faces the Mediterranean Sea while the other side touches the Dalyan River. Offshore is a small islet where yachts and sailboats like to stop. It’s also a nesting ground for the loggerhead turtles.
The beach has quite a colorful history as well. In 1987, a resort was going to be built there but was stopped by environmentalists after the plans caused international outrage. Nowadays, access to the beach is forbidden during night hours. In most sections you’re not allowed to dig holes or lie on towels. Sticks sometimes mark areas where turtles have laid eggs, warning people to avoid these areas.
On the way back to Dalyan, we passed by the ruins of ancient Kaunos (Καύνος), an ancient Greek city of Caria (Καρία), with famous rock cut tombs. We didn’t stop but I’ll be back one day to see them from up close.
Finally, we ended the trip back at Dalyan where I was transferred to Bodrum. Dalyan is where many tourists visiting İztuzu Beach and the ruins of Kaunos choose to stay. From there it’s possible to reach the beach via dolmuş or boat. You can get to the ruins of Kaunos on foot or by taxi.