If you were promised that a day at a spa could make you look ten years younger, you would think you were in a dream. Well, that is exactly what the Sultaniye Spa of Köyceğiz and Dalyan promises, that along with scientifically proven information that the magical volcanic, thermal waters of Sultaniye have healing properties that attract thousands of people to the spa every year. For most, it is a fun day out from nearby Dalyan, the town of Köyceğiz and for day trippers from Marmaris and Fethiye. Many a tourist has enjoyed the chance to swim in mud, bake in the sun looking like something from the ‘Walking Dead’ and then relax in the soothing hot pools. Whether you believe the hype or you are just looking for a fun experience, the Sultaniye Spa is certainly worth a visit if you are staying in Dalyan.
Using the Mud Baths
As mentioned in our article “The Top Ten Tourist Attractions in Dalyan”, the small village of Sultaniye, which sits on the southwest bank of Lake Köyceğiz happens to be located on a natural fault line and on the slopes of a now dormant volcano, Ölemez Mountain. Due to its location, sulphurous waters seep out of a crack next to the spa’s domed thermal baths which has been used since ancient times as a remedy to various complaints and illnesses. Manager, Mr Ibrahim Yıldırım said that the spa dates back over 6000 years and archeological finds at nearby Kaunos and Sultaniye indicate that there must have been a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Leto near the present spa. Roman ruins have also been found nearby which suggests that some kind of spa and treatment facility also existed back then, probably as a social meeting place.
Hundreds of people visit the spa every day during the tourist season and recently it was discovered that the intense properties and slightly radioactive components of the thermal waters were destroying the concrete domes that had originally been built to contain two of the thermal pools. Last year the spa underwent a huge renovation to replace the concrete with wooden structures covered in plastic. There are many reasons why the pools are covered, one is so that women and men can be separated if they wish, another reason is that it is much better for the environment to keep the waters contained. The new enclosures are impressive, attractive on the outside and stunning on the inside, with marble pools and floors and beautiful star shaped spotlights on the roof. The heat from the water also serves to create a sauna like feel to the domes.
The main building at the complex displays a large sign in English which informs you of the water’s ingredients and lists the complaints that the mineral filled waters claim to cure. This list includes neurological diseases, skin disorders, cardiovascular, respiratory and gynaecological problems, kidney and urinary tract disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, neural and muscle weaknesses, neuralgia, arthritis, ophthalmological disorders, post-operative complications, malnutrition and pre-menstrual tension. There is also a small spring on site which contains a naturally watered down version of the medicating thermal waters which can be consumed to cure intestinal and stomach problems.
Medicating Thermal Drinking Water
Facilities at the Sultaniye Spa include a mud bath, four thermal pools, two of which are enclosed, three fish foot spas, a café and a small restaurant which serves traditional pide, pizza and toasties. You can also stay on site in one of their many accommodations, which many do to use the facilities as a retreat. They currently have over 30 traditional Turkish cottages, 11 one bedroom apartments and 9 with two bedrooms. Currently the nightly rate is 85TL (approximately £20). If you visit the spa as part of a boat trip, you will pay 5TL to use the facilities for as long as you want.
The Sultaniye Spa may not make you look ten years younger, but you never know, the medical myths may just be true! Whatever the case, a trip to the mud baths and the thermal pools certainly make for an interesting excursion and a fun day out with friends and family in one of the most stunning locations in the world.
The Dalyan exposé has begun! The project will run until the 23rd of May and will include a lot of exciting articles and videos on our YouTube channel with interesting interviews with business owners and those who work in tourism in Turkey. We'll also be tackling safety issues and what terrorism means for Turkey and the beautiful riverside town of Dalyan.