Dilek Peninsula National Park in Kusdasi Turkey

A Day Trip to Dilek National Park in Kuşadası, Turkey

Do you love the sea and the mountains? Exploring the Dilek National Park in Güzelçamli, just 23 kilometers south of Kuşadası, Turkey, may be just the place for your next adventure! This day trip is great for anyone staying in the Izmir/Ephesus area and wanting to have a beach day or go hiking. Kuşadası is only about 15 minutes away from Ancient Ephesus, a site 1.5 million tourists visit every year.

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Dilek National Park Kusadasi Turkey
Hiking Trail at the Dilek National Park in Kusadasi, Turkey

Most people refer to Dilek Peninsula National Park as “Milli Park,” which just means national park in Turkish. This hidden getaway is so close to the island of Samos, Greece that your phone won’t even think you’re in Turkey anymore. It is also unlikely you will get cell service out there. Dilek National Park is about 20 km in length and 6 km wide. It is easy to get to by car or by taking a “dolmuş” (minibus) from the bus station in Kuşadası. The bus ride is about half an hour and will bring you to the park entrance. There is an entrance fee, but it is very affordable. It is 5 TL (Turkish Lira) per person. If you enter with your car, then it is 15 TL. I recommend going by car if you can, so that you can explore the various beach coves and choose which one you like. The length of the park is 20 km, so you can’t really get through the whole park on foot. A great alternative would be to go by bike, but you have to gamble whether or not you can trust the Turkish drivers on those mountain roads. Your call.

Dilek National Park Kusadasi Turkey
You can see many of the boat tours coming and going while hanging out at the beaches in Dilek National Park during the summer. They stop at many of the coves so people can swim in the clear blue water.

There are several coves where you can stop off to swim in some of the cleanest, clearest water you will ever see. We explored the very last beach, Karasu Köyü, but all of them look very beautiful and worth visiting. You will notice turnoffs on your right several times, those roads lead to the various coves.

Karasu Koyu Dilek National Park Kusadasi Turkey
The beach at Karasu Köyü in Dilek National Park
Karasu Koyu Dilek National Park Kusadasi Turkey
The beach is made up of rocks like these instead of sand, so it is a good idea to bring water shoes if you have sensitive feet. This is true for most beaches in Turkey!

The hiking trail is located on the left side about 10 minutes after you’ve entered the park by car. There are many unique plants and trees that you can see on this hike and signs to explain them to you. I’ve been to this national park in the winter, as well, and all you need is a good jacket to keep warm. It doesn’t snow on the western coast of Turkey, so it’s not too cold and it is much emptier than in the summer months. My husband and I went on a hiking date and really enjoyed the hike and sitting by the water afterwards!

Hiking at Dilek National Park
Hiking at Dilek National Park for a fun, adventurous winter date.
Hiking at Dilek National park Kusadasi Turkey
Shamelessly using our selfie stick while hiking the trails at Dilek National Park.
Dilek National Park in Wintertime
Even in the month of January, sitting by the water was beautiful. He is pretty handsome, huh?

Right by most of the beaches are picnic tables where you can set up for the day. You are not allowed to start any fires for barbeques so bring your food ready to eat. Unfortunately, there is one major downside to this park. There are a lot of bees. They are not likely to sting you, they just want to take your food. So, be prepared to protect your food and yourself from the very hungry, aggressive bees. Just try to remain calm.

Picnic in Dilek National Park in Kusadasi Turkey
Having picnics are great, but you have to be careful of the bees! They don’t sting easily, they just want to take the food.

A second unique characteristic of the park is the wild pigs! I am not joking, there are wild pigs, in Turkish called “yaban domuzlar” that wander through the park looking for food to eat. So, whenever you pull out your food, they are also likely to come around hoping for some scraps. They are also pretty harmless and fascinating to see. We saw a herd of about 20 rolling through, some very large and most pretty small. They aren’t like pigs I am used to seeing, they were a different shape and dark brown.

The wild pigs roaming for food in the park!

One other popular location in the national park is Zeus’s cave. We did not have the chance to go there this time, but it is a popular spot and looks beautiful. It is somewhat hidden and surrounded by beautiful plants. Since it is so well known, it may be crowded on the weekends. The water is much colder than the usual temperature of the sea, so be ready for cold water if you’re thinking of swimming here! It is located quite close to the entrance of the national park.

Karasu Koyu in Dilek National Park Kusadasi Turkey
Karasu Köyü at Dilek National Park

Overall, a day spent at Milli Park in Guzelçamli, Kuşadası, is a day well spent. The water is clear, the sun shines bright, and you will definitely feel the Mediterranean vibes (but this is the Aegean Sea, the smaller sea that connects to the Mediterranean Sea).

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