Kalkan – the harbour village
Kalkan is located on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast, famously known as the Turquoise or Lycian Coast. Kalkan is 54 miles to the west of Fethiye and 16 miles to the East of Kas. The nearest airport is at Dalaman, just one and a half hours drive to Kalkan. The next nearest airport is at Antalya, about a three hour drive.
Kalkan is set in one of Turkey’s most breathtaking Mediterranean bays with the majestic Taurus Mountains as a backdrop. The harbour is the home to numerous Turkish wooden gulets and other smaller fishing craft. It is bordered with waterfront restaurants, a beach and a beach club.
Once a traditional fishing village, Kalkan has developed into one of the most exclusive resorts in Turkey, whilst retaining the charm of its whitewashed houses with wooden balconies and trailing bougainvillea. During the day Kalkan’s Old Town provides a quiet and relaxing environment to enjoy a coffee (or local Turkish tea) and a leisurely wander of the maze of delightful cobbled streets and the opportunity to browse the many small boutique shops. As the sun sets, the Old Town, whilst retaining its serenity, becomes a vibrant and bustling place to enjoy an evening out – a truly magical place.
Dining out in Kalkan
The narrow and winding nature of Kalkan’s cobbled streets has resulted in an unusually imaginative approach to the creation of a large variety (and number) of restaurants. Some of the most interesting and unusual spaces have been cleverly used to create some very special places to dine out.
Restaurants line most of the harbour front and continue up into the winding streets of Kalkan (and beyond). Many include roof terraces with stunning views across Kalkan’s roof tops to the sea.
The Kalkan cuisine typically consists of fresh fish, beef, lamb and chicken dishes complimented with fresh fruit and vegetable ingredients, mostly sourced locally. Chefs take a great pride in their cooking and are happy to adapt menu choices to suit individual needs. Restaurant staff are amongst some of the most hospitable you will meet.
The charm and character of it all – the delicious food and drink, the friendly service, watching the sun set from the roof terraces and the vibrant atmosphere make your evenings out a real treat. Dining is certainly one of our defining memories of Kalkan.
Kalkan’s Market takes place on Thursday when locals from outlying villages come to sell their wares. There is a wide range of ‘real fake’ watches, designer T-shirts, Jeans and tourist gifts as well as local produce including fresh fruit and vegetables, a mindboggling range of spices, Turkish Delight and a household goods section.
The market is a short walk out of the Old Town. Stall holders are keen to make a sale and they are happy to engage in a little haggling.
Other local village markets worth a visit include Kinik Market on Friday & Akbel Market on Sunday. Fethiye Market takes place on Tuesday and Kaş Market is on Friday.
Things to do (in & around Kalkan)
Whilst Kalkan is generally regarded as a quiet and relaxing destination there is a variety of activities to meet the needs of almost everyone. Here is a summary of them…
Beaches – the white pebble ‘blue flag’ beach of Kalkan is located at the harbour entrance, just a 15 minute walk from Jasmine Apartment. It is popular with locals and visitors because of the remarkably clear water and its proximity to Kalkan. For most of the time the water remains calm making it ideal for bathers and for families with young children. The amazing sunsets also make it a perfect place for those on a romantic Turkish escape. There are several other beaches a short drive from Kalkan, including Patara’s famous 8 mile sandy beach and Kaputas Beach located between Kalkan and Kaş
Watersports – a variety of watersports are available in Kalkan, including diving, water-skiing, banana boat rides, jet ski, paddle boarding, boat hire and parasailing. White water rafting is available at Saklikent Gorge, a family affair and great fun.
Mud Bath – enjoy a bit of detoxification with a relaxing mud bath near Saklikent Gorge.
Boat trips – these wonderfully lazy days at sea are great fun, a family favourite of ours. Several Kalkan boat companies offer a range of boat trips, usually involving a delicious fresh lunch and swimming/snorkelling stops during visits to different islands. Boat trips to the Sunken City of Kekova can also be arranged. This involves a short drive from Kalkan to Üçağız village (transport is usually part of the package).
Walking / Trekking / Climbing – you don’t have to go far to enjoy a walk or climb, either along parts of the beautiful ‘turquoise coast’ or into the striking Taurus Mountains. The ‘Lycian Way’ is an iconic long distance walk (listed by the Sunday Times as one of the world’s top ten walks) and runs through Kalkan.
Quad Biking – explore the Patara National Park (near Saklikent Gorge) riding through the dusty paths and unspoilt dunes.
Turkish Baths (Hammam) – several Kalkan hotels welcome non-resident guests to use their Hamman’s. More traditional Turkish baths around Kalkan and Fethiye are also available.
Interesting places to visit
Saklikent Gorge – Saklikent, meaning ‘hidden city’, is one of the deepest canyons in the world. It is located 30 miles from Fethiye in the Mugla province. Tours of Saklikent Gorge, which also includes the historic site of Xanthos and Patara Beach run on a daily basis.
Tlos – Tlos is an ancient hilltop citadel located near Saklikent Gorge. It is believed to be one of the most important religious Lycian cites with settlement on the site said to have begun more than 4,000 years ago. Ancient temple like tombs are carved into the hillside and you can still walk into them. From the top of the hill are breathtaking views over the Xanthos valley.
Sunken City of Kekova – a devastating earthquake over 2000 years ago resulted in the submersion of the ancient settlement of Kekova. Tours include transport to Üçağız village to board the boat which will take you to see the Sunken City usually with several island/swimming stops and lunch along the way.
Xanthos – Xanthos, a short drive from Kalkan, is the capital of ancient Lycia located in the Xanthos Valley. The Xanthos river flows close by and there are fantastic views of the valley surrounded by the Taurus mountains. Xanthos is listed as a Unesco world heritage site. You can visit ancient tombs, an amphitheatre, a Roman arch, a fortress and a Byzantine church with its original mosaic flooring.
Meis (Kastellorizo) – The Greek Island of Kastellorizo (known as Meis to the Turkish) is just a 30 minute boat trip from Kaş harbour. Meis’ harbour is a pretty maze of terraces and quaint houses and home to waterfront shops and lovely Greek Tavernas. You can visit the local castle, churches and museum and on a hot day enjoy a swim in one of the pretty secluded bays. The ferry operates Monday to Friday – remember to take your passport if travelling to Meis!
Mountain Trout Farm Restaurants – fresh water springs amongst the nearby mountain villages have been used to create some amazing Mountain Trout Farm Restaurants. Streams are often diverted to run through the restaurant courtyards where you can dine in the open, enjoying spectacular views while enjoying a delicious meal of fresh trout and mezes.