Exploring Dalaman with Hilton Hotels

The last couple of days have been spent in an area of Turkey called Dalaman in collaboration with Turkey’s Tourism board and Hilton.

Dalaman is on the Southwestern coast of Turkey, in the Muğla Province, and it’s an area I haven’t really explored that much. We usually drive straight passed it towards Fethiye/Oludeniz or we stop just before when we’re going to Marmaris. I was excited to see what this area had to offer and what we could explore.

The Hilton Dalaman Sarıgerme Resort & Spa kindly hosted us during out 3 days down there and when we arrived at dinner time on the Monday evening we were in for a treat. Hilton had made a reservation for us at their Chinese restaurant ‘TAO’. I really miss decent Chinese food in Turkey so I was stoked to be able to try their à la carte restaurant which was the best Chinese food i’d eaten in a long time.

Ok enough about the food as i’m already making myself hungry again! 🙂

It took awhile to explore the hotel grounds as they are so large… lots of pools, their own private beach, a farm, a small waterpark, restaurants, cafes and Gazeboland where you can hire your own private gazebo, some of which come with their own jacuzzi.

We retired to our room which was huge with 2 bathrooms, a living room, bedroom, 2 balconies, a jacuzzi and even a backdoor exit which lead straight to the pool as shown in the above photo.

Each day started with a delicious breakfast at the hotel. The main restaurant has a really extensive buffet with so many choices on offer it was hard to know what to pick, so naturally we went for all of it… 😉

Which set us up nicely for the long, hot day ahead and the 30 minute drive to a little town on the river we decided to visit called Dalyan.

Dalyan is famous for it’s Lycian rock tombs and is somewhere i’ve always read about but never ventured to. It was the cutest little town located right on the river with bright pink bougainvillea growing everywhere making it look so picturesque.

We wandered round the town for awhile, stopping to sip tea in the shade and taking photos of pretty much everything.  The weather was glorious so we jumped on a water taxi (15 TL return trip) and sailed along the river, passed the rock tombs, seeing how many turtles we could spot, towards Iztuzu beach.

Iztuzu beach is one of the main breeding grounds for loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean and is often referred to as “Turtle Beach”.  The beach, which is 4.5 km long, is a narrow spit of land which forms a natural barrier between the fresh water delta of the Dalyan river and the Mediterranean. You’ll find a cafe (selling the usual tost, hamburgers etc) toilets, changing areas, sunbeds and umbrellas.

We walked around whilst the sun played hide and seek with the clouds until it was time to sail back towards Dalyan enjoying the cute riverbed views and keeping our eyes peeled for turtles along the way.

To get a better view of the tombs head to the Belidiye Cafe where you can pay a lady 5 Turkish lira to take you over the river in her little rowing boat. You can’t get too close, but if you can make it to the graveyard you can a better view from there.

The next morning and our final day in the area, we woke up and made the 2 hour drive to one of my favourite beaches in Turkey; Kaputaş Beach. I have been there a handful of times, and each time it’s so different.

This time we struck lucky and there was no wind making the water calm and crystal clear, just the way I like it! After taking a couple of obligatory Instagram pictures from above legs dangling over the edge, we headed down the many (many) steps to the beach. Kaputaş Beach is formed by a gorge which opens out into 150m of golden sand displaying the most beautiful turquoise sea, it’s a must visit if you come to the Antalya region of Turkey.

From here we drove back towards Ölüdeniz and stopped off at Kayaköy, formally known as Livissi when Greeks had settled there between the 11th and 14th centuries.

It’s now one of the best ghost towns due to it being abandoned in a population exchange with Greece.  In 1923, the 2,000 residents of Kayaköy were forced out of their homes and back to Greece. Turks that had been living in Greece were also forced to return to Turkey and settled in empty places such as Kayaköy. Due to the rocky land that was unsuitable for agriculture, they didn’t last long there and after an earthquake in 1957 , the village was completely devoid of inhabitants.

It’s a very popular tourist attraction for the Fethiye area and UNESCO have named it a world friendship and peace village. It was too hot to walk around that much but we’ll be back someday, Kayaköy!

Tip: research the town before you go so you can get a sense of the history and wear comfy clothes, walking around slippery stoned hills in flip-flops is not ideal!

We headed back to the Hilton, just in time for the sunset to end a glorious day exploring this amazing country.

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