On the southern coast of Turkey, looking out over the turquoise Mediterranean sea you'll find the town of Kalkan, nestled at the foot of the Taurus Mountains. This former Greek fishing village is situated on what is known as the Lycian Coast and is possibly the prettiest resort of the Lycian Coast. The Lycians were an ancient civilization which inhabited the area perhaps as early as 1250 BC. The ancient Greek and Roman civilizations have together with the Lycians left evidence of their impact on the area in the form of spectacular ruins situated throughout the area nearby Kalkan. This makes Kalkan a great hub from which to go exploring into Turkey's distance past with over 25 sites of interest within 2 hours travel.
If it's the sun you're looking for then this is the place for you as Kalkan is reputed to enjoy over 300 days of sunshine each year. Although Kalkan is a fishing village it does have a clean beach adjacent to the harbour. The beach is pebbly and has a fairly steep shelf into the water. There are also a number of beach clubs available which offer the usual sunbathing and water sports facilities.
Whilst Kalkan relies heavily on tourism trade, it does still have an active fishing harbour which is the focus of the town. Fresh fish are brought in each day and served in the local harbour facing, open fronted restaurants and throughout the other roof-top terraced restaurants which populate the town.
If you enjoy your food then you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants and bars in Kalkan. There are well over 100 to choose from, many of which have roof top terraces where you can enjoy some excellent cuisine or the local 'Efes' beer, whilst watching some impressive sunsets. It's acclaimed for having the highest number of restaurants and bars per inhabitant!
As you explore the town, making you way up from the harbour, through a maze of narrow cobbled streets, you'll discover plenty of shops, restaurants, bars, old houses with balconies hung with flower rich bougainvillea vines and whitewashed villas. The further you climb the more you'll enjoy of the view of the beautiful bay which Kalkan overlooks. The town has managed to avoid mass tourism and the high rise buildings it brings, leaving the town as a peaceful mountain retreat ideal for romantic vacations and relaxed breaks. The Independent newspaper listed Kalkan among the best tourist destinations for 2007.
The nearest airport is at Dalaman which is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes drive away. Expect to pay in the region of £40 to £50 taxi fare for transfer to the resort.
Things to do in Kalkan
Kalkan's market day is on Thursdays so get ready to haggle! There are also many shops to explore selling carpets, ceramics and local crafts and jewellery.
Walk the Lycian Way - or perhaps just part of it! Kalkan is situated on the 509 km long Lycian Way, a way-marked footpath from Fethiye to Antalya. This walk is not for the novice trekker and was described by the Sunday Times as one of the 10 best walks in the world.
Enjoy some watersports from one of the local beach clubs situated around the bay which Kalkan overlooks. These clubs feature platforms by the sea. The usual fun can be had here including snorkeling, banana boat rides, donuts, jet skis etc... There are several PADI dive centres in the village.
Patara is a short 10 minute Dolmus drive west of Kalkan and is home to one of the most un-spoilt beaches you'll find anywhere in Europe. Situated within a national park, this soft white sandy beach is 18km long, one of the longest on the Mediterranean. It's one of the few significant sites left in Europe where Loggerhead Turtles still lay their eggs. For this reason the beach is closed at night. Patara was once an important sea port and the ruins which remain include the city gate and amphitheatre. It's also claimed to be the birthplace of St. Nicolas (Santa Claus).
To the east of Kalkan is another fine untouched beach - Kaputas beach. Again it's about 10mins away by Dolmus. Perfect crystal clear turquoise water awaits.
Olu Deniz beach, perhaps the most photographed beach in Turkey, is around an hour's drive from Kalkan.
Why not try Sea Kayaking over the Sunken City at Kekova. Or take a boat trip into the pirates cave. You won't get many opportunities to try something like this.
Go canoeing on the Xanthos River.
Try paragliding above the town of Kas
Visit Saklikent Gorge, the longest in Turkey at 20km. Summer is a great time to visit with it's cool water and shade the gorge is a welcome retreat from the intense summer sun.
The ancient sites of Xanthos, Letoon, Pinara, and Tlos are all a short Dolmus drive away.
Daily boat-trips can be taken from the harbour to the nearby snake and mouse islands.
Kalkan sits between the towns of Kas and Fethiye and both are worth a visit. Kas is approx. 30 minutes away on the dolmus while Fethiye with it's lovely harbour, restaurants and shops is approx 1 hour drive.
40 kilometres from Kalkan, along the coast, is the village of Kaya, where the Louis de Berniers novel, 'Birds Without Wings' was set. The village is now deserted, but there are several small restaurants.
* Photo used under Creative Commons from SLR Jester
** Photo used under Creative Commons from afanc
*** Photo used under Creative Commons from SLR Jester