CarettaCaretta

During the day people swim, walk, lie in the sun to the sound of the crumping waves but at night a barrier comes down and the beach is claimed back by nature, in particular by hundreds of loggerhead turtles, one of the oldest surviving species in the world, which lay their eggs there from May to September.

Iztuzu is the second most important site for endangered loggerheads in Turkey, and with its hinterland of briny lakes and reed-fringed river channels, arguably its most beautiful beach.

The greenest way to reach the beach is by bike, and it’s an exhilarating climb through the resinous mountain road, with panoramic views of the beach and the lakes from a number of roadside pancake houses.

There’s a co-operatively run dolmus (minibus) service too, which takes the same route, and a fleet of co-op river taxis which travel at 5mph down through the reedbeds. This gentle pace is the official speed limit for the delta, but patrols are rare and conservationists are concerned that the reedbeds are degrading, especially at the mouth of the river, partly because of the wash from powerful, fast-moving boats.

On the beach, however, the 24-hour patrols by SPA officials ensure that the demands of mass tourism and of the Caretta caretta turtles, which have become Dalyan’s unofficial logo, remain in balance. ‘It’s not perfect’, says June Haimoff, who would like to see many more signs, fewer sunbeds and an environmental tax levied on day trippers, ‘but it is a magnificent beach and we are very lucky that we have protection for the turtles.