Dana Adası lies parallel to south coast of Turkey at 36°11′N 33°46′E / 36.183°N 33.767°E in the province of Mersin. The distance from the shore is 2.5 km. (≈ 1.55 mi or 1.35 nmi) The passage between the main land and the island which is known as Kargıcak strait is a convenient passage for maritime traffic. The shape of the island is roughly rectangular with dimensions 2.7 x 0.9 km. The highest peak is 250 metres (820 ft). Dana Adası is quite rocky and covered with maquis shrubland and yellow pine forest.
According to recent research, there were many shipyards in Dana Island, probably dating to the Late Bronze Age (c. 1200 BC). Assistant professor Hakan Öniz says that the island was the largest proven shipyard in the ancient world. There are also some ruins at the southern coast of the main land facing the island. Probably, these two settlements were the control posts dominating the two extremes of the strait. The island was inhabited during the Roman and early Byzantine era. There are ruins of a few churches, graves, houses, aqueducts, a Roman bath and a harbour establishment at the north of the island. According to some sources, French merchants also used the island as their port during Middle Ages.