Tangohostel banner

Where we are located in Turkey

Map of Turkey

Scenic Koycegiz Lake, located near to Dalaman Airport and within convenient distance of Fethiye and Marmaris, is well known for its natural hot springs and mud baths. The lake narrows into a channei, flowing into the Dalyan river and arriving into the Mediterranean at one of Turkey's most spectacular beaches. The beach is the breeding ground of the Caretta caretta sea turtle. The reed-edged river meanders to the sea,surmounted by 4th century BC Lycian rock tombs. Nearby are the ruins of the ancient city of Caunos.


Situated next to a natural channel between Koycegiz Lake and the Mediterranean Sea, the Riza Cavus Thermal Baths form a water pool and a mud pond, with a flow rate of about eight liters per second. The mud and mineral baths can accommodate 1,000 persons per day. A second spring, Velibey Thermal Baths, is located 1.5 km north of Riza Cavus, has similar qualities and a flow rate of 20 litres per second.

Physio-chemical characteristics and indications

The Riza Cavus natural hot springs contain sodium chloride, hydrogen sulfur, bromide, fluoride, natural radio active (3,770 picokuri/ liter = 139 bekerel/liter), with a total salt and mineral content of 28 gr/lt. Temperature of the mud and water is 30 to 38 C, and PH about 6.5.

Having very attractive physio-chemical qualities, these hot springs are good for the treatment of rheumatic, dermatological and gynaecological diseases, as well as neurological and physical exhaustion.

The treatment consists of covering the body with a layer of mud and then soaking in the hot mineral waters.

Climatic conditions in Koycegiz

Altitude: 24 m


Months and average monthly temperatures (C)

Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May. Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
9 11 13 16 21 26 28 28 24 19 14 11

Number of sunny and partly-cloudy days

Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May. Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
19 18 22 25 27 30 31 31 29 28 25 18

Relative humidity

Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May. Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
75 74 71 69 69 61 58 62 65 70 76 77



Desperately in need of a respite from the dirty air and chilly weather in Istanbul, I decided to head for the south coast for a well-earned break. In between two busy tourist centres, Marmaris and Fethiye, is the peaceful, not so touristy town of KOYCEGIZ. Even in high summer, the place is a quiet, refreshing retreat from the madness of Mediterranean tourism. In winter, it’s the perfect place to regroup and inhale huge lungfuls of fresh mountain air. The feel of the warm sun caressing my cheeks in the middle of winter was the ideal cure for the horrid flu that I had caught.

KOYCEGIZ is a little fishing town nestled on the plains at the edge of the KOYCEGIZ Lake at the western end of the Taurus Mountain Range. Surrounded by orange groves and cotton fields, the town is a quiet getaway from the bustle, traffic and filthy air of Turkey’s big cities. Situated right on the edge of the lake, it’s the perfect starting point for fishing trips and canoeing, windsurfing and swimming in the hot summer months. In winter, there’s mountain hiking, treks to the Selale Waterfall and the hot springs at Sultaniye to soak in, ancient ruins to explore and endless fresh air to breathe.

I stayed at the Tango Pension, owned by Sami and Sahin Sagıroglu. These guys are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met in my years in Turkey, and the range of activities they have on offer from the pension is sure to leave you breathless. If you thought you could just chill out and be a lounge lizard here – think again! There’s so much to see and do every day while you’re here that you’ll find yourself whisked off to the highest mountain peaks, grumbling and moaning at the rather early hour of departure, only to discover magnificent views and vistas from exhilarating heights that you wouldn’t have missed for the earth! Each day brings a new place to explore and the guys are excellent guides, even Sahin’s early 80’s rock can’t put a damper on your mood! He has all the greatest hits from Twisted Sister, The Knack, Bananarama and Split Enz to keep you bopping throughout the day! And... he never tires of it! Compensation comes in the form of delicious home-cooked meals every night and an amazing array of card tricks to keep you amused.

Sahin has a couple of boats moored on the lake during the spring and summer months to take his guests on a full-day cruise around the lake and through the canals to Turtle Beach, where the huge turtles come to lay their eggs between March and September. The seven kilometres of white sand and emerald coloured sea is an attraction all by itself. We stopped at the ancient city of Caunos, which is said to be over 3000 years old, and wandered through the ruins of the metropolis for an hour or so. Caunos was built by Caunos, the son of Miletus, who fell in love with his sister and was banished from the kingdom. Then, we headed off to see the Lycian King’s Tombs carved into the rocks in the cliffs overlooking Dalyan. It’s ‘officially’ forbidden to climb up to the tombs themselves, but it’s possible to get a good photograph of the intricately carved granite tombs from the lake. Lunch on the boat is an interesting affair, noisy and fun. Everyone eats and drinks their fill, laughing and talking non-stop the whole time. The atmosphere on the boats is like that of an impromptu party.

The aromatic mud baths on the trip back are well worth the stop, they don’t smell too pretty, but the magical effects of their remedial properties will soon help you forget that. Smearing sticky mud all over yourself and your friends is lots of fun anyway! You can hang out by the pools and let the mud dry before you wash it all off in the springs, or just sit in the middle of the mud and feel the good it’s doing you. The mud is said to cure rheumatism and aid in the treatment of gynecological ailments as well as reducing stress and increasing sexual prowess, not to mention getting those horrible blackheads off your nose!

At Sultaniye, the natural hot springs have been captured by the locals and pools carved out of the rocks hold the hot water to bathe in. It’s usually around 38° C, unless the level of the lake creeps up to blend with the spring water. The sulphuric smell is said to be a wonderful cure for asthma and other lung ailments - breathing in deeply is not too painful an experience! The hot water is just relaxing and soothing to sit or swim around in for hours at a time - you can’t wash with soap here - it ruins the PH of the water. Further down the road there are hot streams coming straight out of the side of the mountain and flowing into the lake. It’s this water that people drink for all kinds of ills and pains. It can’t harm you, even if it doesn’t help much!

Wandering off by yourself to discover the lost treasures of KOYCEGIZ is highly recommended. The little town is very peaceful, typical of a small Turkish town and the inhabitants are very friendly. The local markets on Monday are a sight to see as well. The one most important feature of the town is that there are NO carpet shops or annoying touts! If you’re into major touristy areas, head elsewhere! All in all KOYCEGIZ is a great place to relax any time of the year. It hasn’t been overrun by mass tourism (yet) and it’s quiet enough to enjoy the full benefits of the Mediterranean Coast without the hassles. And the Tango Pension is a great place to stay while you’re there! Get yourself down there! This is a last chance to discover one of Turkey’s last secret treasures before the boom.

Written by Roni Askey-Doran