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Boat tours of the Dalyan River [hot springs & mud baths]

  • Dalyan, Aegean Region, Turkey

Last updated: 05 April, 2024

Dalyan’s fleet of shaded timber caiques, which operate from the riverbank in the centre of the town, are the key to these wonderful waterways, and offer two different experiences, whether you travel up or downstream.

Downstream, the caiques range through the channels that wind among the reed beds, allowing stops at the ancient ruins at Kaunos and the turtle beach (also known as Iztuzu Beach) at the delta’s mouth. A wide stretch of sand, with a simple café, there are loungers and parasols to hire, and the sea is shallow and safe for swimming.

Heading upstream are sulphur mud baths at several locations; boats stop to allow time for slathering the mineral-rich mud onto your skin. Koycegiz lake, the final stop, offers the chance of a dip to rinse off any remaining mud. It’s wonderfully rich in birdlife too.

Other operators offer guided kayaking trips, stopping at all the main sights and great for spotting wildlife.

Logistics

Price from: £20
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around
Duration: 5 hours

Getting there & doing it

The caiques are for private hire, with (supposedly) set prices. Find the boats moored along the Dalyan waterfront, especially from mid-morning, where available captains are sure to be offering their services.

Departures and arrangements are flexible, with varying lengths of visits to beach, ruins etc. Agree a price and time with the captain beforehand; it pays to share boats with others to reduce the price.

For those only interested in Iztuzu Beach, a regular boat service shuttles between Dalyan and Iztuzu direct.

Some boats are fixed with barbecues and can include lunch in the price. However, the river banks are rich in lunch stops; a favourite is the family-run Gozde Cafe which serves gozleme (savoury pancakes) and salad on timber platforms among the orange trees. Perfection.

When to do it

Most departures are mid-morning, returning late afternoon, between May and October. Boat availability falls away between November and March when there are few visitors and the water is cold.

On some mornings turtle tours leave at or around dawn, the best time for spotting these endangered creatures.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • Bodrum

Cruise down the River Dalyan on taxi boats. Look for Caretta Caretta sea turtles and taste some grilled blue crab. See the rock-hewn tombs of the ancient city of Kaunos and take a bath in the mineral mud baths. Sunbathe on famous Iztuzu Beach, a natural habitat of these huge turtles. This is a full-day river trip with lunch included.

Price €75

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Rating 4.36 / 5 [19 ratings]

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  • Marmaris

Combine a day in the sun with Dalyan’s loggerhead turtles, Lycian tombs and mud baths on a full-day cruise from Marmaris! After leaving the city, enjoy a swimming stop in the clear waters of Adaköy peninsula before cruising east to the coastal village of Dalyan. Swim, sunbathe and turtle spot at İztuzu Beach; cruise along the Dalyan River to visit the local mud baths and thermal pools; and then cruise past the ancient King’s Tombs at Kaunos. A delicious lunch is included on board.

Price €25

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  • Bodrum

Cruise the beautiful Dalyan River and experience Dalyan’s mud baths and Kaunos’ ancient tombs on this unforgettable full-day trip from Bodrum. Head for riverside Dalyan by air-conditioned coach and spend much of the day sailing the peaceful Dalyan River. Watch for the rare loggerhead turtles that frequent the area; relax at the protected turtles’ breeding ground, sandy İztuzu Beach; and take a fun-filled dip in Dalyan’s gooey mud baths and sulphur pools. Views of Kaunos' famous Kings’ Tombs — carved into a cliff — and a hearty riverside lunch provide the finishing touches.

Price €99

Min age 0

Rating 4.14 / 5 [7 ratings]

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