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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Iztuzu Beach, Dalyan

Dalyan felt like another country – less people, less cars, less tourists and more laid back. Iztuzu Beach is a very beautiful, long stretch of white sand with views of verdant coastal mountains with no sign of urban development.    
 

Dalyan

 
Day 13 AM: We had a large breakfast at the Melrose Hotel (Pamukkale), including very tasty homemade hot dishes washed down with sour cherry juice – yummy. We saved the best tasting halvah for a snack while we were driving.
This morning it was not just cloudy, it started snowing as we crossed mountain passes at about 1010m above sea level. Then we began to descend on a small mountain road (D550) to Mugla and  reached the birding area of Lake Köyceğiz.

At a short distance afterwards, we turned south and arrived in Dalyan at 13:00 hrs. Suddenly the sky was clear – our first sunny and warm day since we started the trip. Did we just change countries? It was around 20+ °C (70+ °F) – not bad for March! Well time to hit the beach!  
Iztuzu Beach Boat
Even the Boats are Turquoise

Iztuzu Beach

The best part of Iztuzu Beach is the absence of resorts, hotels and other commercial development. There are two ways to get to two different beaches – by dolmuş or car to the east side of the river mouth, or by boat to the west side , which is much busier in-season. Probably most tourists take the river boats since that makes for part of the experience. There are boats run by the local municipality for TRY 10. Beware of sharks (the people kind) as you run the gamut of private individuals with boats.  
Dalyan River
Dalyan River View
However, we had a car so we drove and stopped along the way for photographs since the road is perched above the beach and the Dalyan River valley.  The river makes a huge elbow and comes close to the road viewpoint.  In fact, the Iztuzu Caddesi (road) as it approaches the beach is also very natural.   
  
Iztuzu Beach View
Iztuzu Beach View
We had the beach to ourselves because it was off-season. But as the beach is 4.5 km long, there should be adequate space for lots of people though the parking lot seemed small. There was no charge for parking in the off-season.  If you would prefer off-season but would still like to swim then go in the fall.  High season ends around mid-September. 
Iztuzu Beach
Iztuzu Beach Up Close
Right from the lot you can see the beach, the turquoise sea, and the mountains across the water. There were only four other people to share the white sand beach. This is one of the top three beaches that we saw on our trip – it would be hard to rate which position but the Patara Beach (coming soon to a post near you) was the best.  
The beach is also well known for the Caretta caretta (Loggerhead sea turtle). It is sad that a species that is 45 million years old is now endangered. An organization sets up seasonal barriers to protect the turtle nesting grounds and the beach is closed between 20:00 and 08:00 hours from May to October. There were lots of interpretive signs but turtles not included (off-season). However, this conservation effort stopped the building a major resort on the beach.  
Iztuzu Caddesi View
Iztuzu Caddesi View
The adventure did not stop there. This was the 13th day of our trip (fortunately it was not a Friday the 13th). When we arrived, the owner of our pre-booked hotel said his solar panels were knocked off the roof by a wind storm the previous night and he had to turn off the water. So he brought us to his friend’s hotel nearby. Otherwise it certainly was a lucky day - glorious weather, inspiring rock-cut Lycian Tombs and turquoise sea views. In fact, this was one of the places where we wished we had booked more than one night.  
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