Dilek Peninsula National Reserve area and the park is in the region of Kusadasi and Soke, in the province of Aydin.
The national park can be reached via the Kusadasi – Soke highway, and lies roughly in the middle of the two towns.
Guzelcamli village , at the northeast edge of the national park and at the foot of
Dilek mountain, was used as the assembly place for the political and scientific center of Ionia in the 9th and 8th centuries BC.
Panionion, the sacred gathering center of the 12 Ionian cities in the 9th century B.C.
The Ancient city of Thebai, Panagia Monastery, the historical village of Doganbey and Karina, the Hagios Antonios Monastery and the Cave of Zeus are located within the boundaries of Dilek National Park near Kusadasi.
The National Park of Dilek Peninsula Buyuk Menderes Delta covers an area of 27.675 hectares (68.357 acres).
10.985 hectares of this land belongs to Dilek Peninsula, which was declared as a national park in 1966.
Buyuk Menderes Delta, adjacent to the southern part of the peninsula covering an area of 16.690 hectares (41.224 acres), was also included in the national park in 1994.
Owing to this unique diversity of plants the European Council declared Dilek Peninsula as the Flora Biogenetic Reserve Area in the European Biogenetic Reserves Diagram.
Besides the geological and geomorphological structure, it has a rare botanic quality for the Mediterranean.
Because of this quality it gained a scientific value from the researches made by the botanicians.
The northern side of the park has plants rarely seen in the Mediterranean region.
The morphological structure of this area embraces a number of hills, valleys, a canyon and bays.
The average altitude of the peninsula is 650 m and the highest point is the Dilek Hill (Mykale), from which the national park derives its name, with an altitude of 1237 m.
There are many bay and chestnut trees, and it is the only area where the Finike juniper and pirnal oaks are found together.
There are endangered species in the area; the most typical example is the Anatolian Leopard.
The National Park, there are lots of reptiles, mammals and species of birds.
Also at the shores of the field, almost all kinds of fish are unique to the Mediterranean, have the inns of living and reproduction.
The Mediterranean seal which is under protection is one of the typical animals of the region.
Fauna at Dilek National Park
Boar (sus scrofa), caracal (caracal caracal), lynx (lynx lynx),
jackal (canis aureus), hyena (hyaena hyaena), wild cattle and horses are among the fauna of the peninsula.
Dilek Peninsula hosts 8 species of mammals, 42 species of reptiles and a great number of marine animals.
Furthermore, the peninsula is the western most point where the extinct or nearly extinct Anatolian panther (panthera pardus tulliana) lives.
The Mediterranean monk seal (monachus monachus), which is among 10 most rare sea mammals of the world, lives on the shores of this peninsula.
Birds of Dilek National Park in Guzelcamli
Buyuk Menderes Delta region of the National Park is a marshy area with a few lagoons, salty marshes and mud plains with an overflowing character.
Owing to its reach biodiversity and hosting critically endangered and endemic species, Delta is under protection through International Ramsar, Bern and Rio Arrangements and Barcelona Convention.
Among the 256 species of birds living in the area 70 of them breed there.
Globally endangered pygmy cormorant (phalacrocorax pygmeus).
Dalmatian pelican (pelecanus crispus) which the world population is estimated at 3000 in the world, little egret (egretta garzetta), lesser kestrel (falco naumanni) and white-tailed eagle (haliaeetus alblcilla) are among the important species of birds which breed in the area.
Flora of Dilek National Park
The Flora of Dilek Peninsula has a rich variety of plants belonging to 95 families and 904 kinds of plants belonging to various species, sub-species and varieties.
6 species of these plants are endemic, peculiar to the area.
In addition to that, the peninsula includes 18 species which are endemic for Turkey.
The area contains most of the samples of the Mediterranean Maqius Flora in their liveliest and healthiest forms.
Dilek Peninsula is the only area where Anatolian chestnut (castana sativa) peculiar to the forests of the Northern Anatolia grows in the south; and snowball (viburnum tinus), which grows only in a few areas of Turkey.
Phoenecian juniper (juniperus Phoenicia),
holm oak (quercus ilex & coccifera), cypress (cupressus sempervirens var. horizontalis) are other species which only grow in this area in the form of small forests.
The park also provides tracking and climbing opportunities at the inner-forest pathways for the nature-lovers.
The beaches and picnic areas in the National Park
The beaches and picnic areas in the National Park area are very popular for the visitors between April and October.
To prevent the damage of the natural structure, overnight resorts are not welcome.
The visitors, in the designated areas can carry out sportive activities on the blue flagged beaches, or take trekking tours together with various activities such as rock climbing, mountain biking, photo safari, view watching, fishing, (with fishing lines only), cultural trekking, bird watching, horse safari, bike safari and botanical tours.
It is possible to stay in the park in tents or caravans, and there is food available.
Simple facilities like water, WC, dressing cabins, picnic area and tables and cook-stoves have been developed in the Park, to make the daily excursions to Icmeler Bay, Aydınlık Bay and Kavaklı Beach easier.
Beaches around Kusadasi