The Dalyan River Tour to ancient Caunos is an absolute "must" during a cruise along the south-west coast of Turkey. It is fun to hop aboard a local style of putt-putt boat, better known as a “piyade” for a half-day tour that takes you up through the mouth of the Dalyan river and along the winding, reed-lined channels of its delta to the site of ancient Caunos.
The gentle swish of the water against the reed beds is relaxing as you sit in the shade, taking in the beauty of the delta with its dramatic backdrop of tall mountains. This delta is a nature conservation area home to many birds, fish, reptiles and most importantly, the Loggerhead Turtle, or “Caretta Caretta”, which come every year to nest on the long sandy beach at the mouth of the river. Whilst en route to the ruins, your English-speaking guide will tell you about the lake at Koycegiz from which water flows into the Dalyan River and the "fishing weirs" which gave the river its name and the locals of the town, a source of income.
Arriving at a small landing below the ruins, your guide will then walk you up though the site, relaying information about the fascinating ruins around you and explaining why Caunos came to be such an important site in antiquity. You will visit among other structures, an early Byzantine church, a Roman bathhouse, a large amphitheatre and an agora. The visit to the ruins takes about an hour and a half. Your guide then takes you back back down to the river’s edge to your waiting riverboat, for the second leg of the river journey, which will have you pass underneath an impressive set of Lycian rock tombs carved high into the cliffs.
You will have a chance to walk around the town of Dalyan and take in the atmosphere, perhaps having lunch riverside before making the journey back downstream.