This morning we drive approximately two hours to Sultaniye, a small dot of a town on the banks of Lake Koycegiz, well-known for its thermal pools. We'll drive just a very small way out of the village, before starting our four kilometre hike towards ancient Caunos. The hike is not too strenuous, with just one hill climb, but the terrain is rocky in many places, with some woodland paths and rough underfoot areas.
After four kilometres, Caunos appears. The ancient site is half eaten away by shrub and olive trees, and encroached upon by the Dalyan delta, but hidden in the ruins are some fascinating features that span many civilisations from the Persians, Alexander the Great's Hellenistic era, the Byzantine period and through to the Romans. The Byzantine church dates back to the 6th century, and contains some beautifully intact mosaics that can be viewed from surrounding platforms. The Temple of Zeus and the Roman Baths also provide some highly photogenic material, backed as they are by the lush valley. Possibly the most famous feature of this little-visited site are the 'tombs of the kings'; tombs cut directly out of a rugged, vertical rock face, in the shape of Hellenistic temples. This was the first place in Turkey to originate this type of tomb design, back in the 4th century BC.
After exploring the site, we'll continue walking downhill for two kilometres, where we meet the river at Candir and cross in a little rowing boat to Dalyan town. In total today, we'll be walking for 6 kilometres, expected to take us approximately 1-2 hours and with 300 metres of ascent and 200 metres of descent.
Our vehicle will drive from Sultaniye to Dalyan with our bags, so while the walk and the ruins are both highly recommended, there is the option to drive directly to Dalyan and spend the afternoon exploring this laid back, riverside town.