Our little mini-adventure on the way back to Calis from Denizli took us from Akyaka to Dalyan. We’d been there on a day trip once before as part of an organised coach tour but didn’t see any of the main town, so this time we decided to stay for the night and see a bit more.
We arrived at lunchtime and drove around for what seemed like forever trying to find our hotel! It seems the whole of the main town has a one way system going on and Berkay ended up very lost and very confused! After asking a lot of passers by, we finally found our hotel, Dalyan Tezcan Hotel, which was right on the waterfront.
After checking in, we packed a bag ready for the beach and headed to the waterfront and marina, literally only a 30 second walk took us to the ‘dolmus boat’ which runs regular trips down the river to Iztuzu Beach. I think it was 15tl each for a return journey.
The trip down the river, twisting and turning through the reeds lasts for around 45 minutes. On the way, the boats pass the very impressive Lycian rock tombs, carved into the cliff face. There are 6 main ones, the largest of which is unfinished. They have been there for thousands of years, silently overlooking Dalyan, watching the changes happen and the people come and go, oh the tales they could tell!
When we done this trip 5 years ago the boats stopped half way through and a nearby fisherman offered to sell you freshly cooked blue crab, but I don’t know if they still do this as we didn’t see any this time!
After the 45 minute trip along the river, the boat came to a sandy bank at one end of the beach, with a small jetty where people were able to disembark. The first thing we saw was this interesting sign, with lots of places listed and the distance to each one.
Iztuzu Beach is an arc shaped, 5km stretch of sand, it’s quite narrow and looks beautiful from above. You can get the boat to it like we did, or drive (or walk if you’re feeling adventurous!). The boats dock at one end of the arc and the car park is at the opposite end, so I suspect the car park end of the beach is probably less busy. It has toilets, a cafe and sun loungers/umbrellas, but other than that is relatively untouched, even the facilities are environmentally friendly though. Years ago there were plans for a hotel to be built on the beach, until in 1988 Prince Philip, as the head of the WWF, stepped in and begged the Turkish government to rethink. Following a study into the impact it would have on the environment and nature, the project got cancelled and the whole beach and surrounding area became a protected site.
The beach is a nesting site for the famous Caretta Caretta turtles, so you can only access it during the day, at night during the summer seasons the turtles come to lay their eggs. A team from Pammukale University have been researching and studying the turtles over a long period of time and have a turtle sanctuary set up at one end of the beach which we visited, but that deserves it’s own post, so I will write one soon!
The best thing about the beach is the golden sand, there aren’t many sandy beaches in the Dalaman area, a lot are stony and pebbly, with only Iztuzu and Patara really standing out to me as pure sandy beaches. The downside to the sand of course is how hot it gets, you know that feeling when you’re walking along in flip flops, getting your toes burnt, and the ridiculous run/dance you do to reach the sea when you decide it’s time to swim, then realise you’ve underestimated how hot the sand is and you have to run back to get your flip flips and take them to the waters edge with you anyway!
When we arrived at the beach it was lunch time and we were really hungry so we went to the wooden cafe and ordered some chips and drinks. Surprisingly, the prices were very reasonable, they could easily take advantage and charge a lot more. The shaded benches provided a very welcome break from the sun too.
There are wooden sun loungers and umbrellas available to rent on the beach, one sun bed and an umbrella was 10tl, and two beds and one umbrella was 15tl. We hired two and laid down sunbathing for a while before heading into the sea to cool off, it was an afternoon in early June so it wasn’t overly busy.
Apparently it gets very windy at this beach in the afternoon so it may be better to visit in the morning, although I can’t say that we had any problems, the sea wasn’t too wavy and it was lovely and relaxing.
When it was time to leave, we just headed back to the boat area and boarded one of the dolmus boats, then started the 45 minute trip back to Dalyan – the boat was very full though, barely enough room to squish our bums in!
Iztuzu beach is definitely worth a visit, if you want to do something really touristy, I recommend the boat taxi to the beach, but if you prefer things a bit quieter then maybe avoid the boats and make your own way to the beach instead, the boats can sometimes be a bit chaotic! The whole area, the reed-lined river, the pine covered mountain and the golden sandy beach is beautiful and very clean and it’s clear that it’s very well looked after, thankfully!