Kalkan: Turkey’s Hidden Gem

Nestled discreetly on the Lycian peninsula on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, the expanse of white washed buildings spread around the hills overlooking the harbour make the old fishing town of Kalkan unmistakeable. With narrow streets snaking down to the docks, and striking explosions of bougainvillea at every turn, the village is picture perfect. As yet unspoilt by the effects of mass tourism, Kalkan remains a charming destination boasting delicious Turkish delicacies, romantic roof top dining, stunning azure waters, as well as a whole host of exciting activities!

By day the village is largely subdued, offering the opportunity for a leisurely wander through down to the harbour, allowing you to browse the many shops and boutiques, offering both tourist-aimed merchandise as well as an extensive selection of traditional Turkish goods. On Thursdays the weekly market is a hive of bustling activity, and definitely not one to miss!

The blue flag pebble beach of Kalkan is incredibly clean and relaxing; with numerous cafes within easy reach for an al fresco lunch. Alternatively there is the chance to jump on a dolmus (a combination of a taxi and a bus!) and make your way to one of the two stunning sandy beaches nearby. A  distinctive element of Kalkan are the plentiful beach clubs dotted along the coastline, which are the perfect places to relax and sunbathe, enjoy a cocktail or three, or indulge in the wide variety of water sports on offer (ranging from snorkelling to jet skiing to banana boats!). The majority also provide a free water taxi service to and from the shore, making getting to the clubs as easy as possible.

A fantastic experience is a trip along the coast on a Turkish gulet. The boats leave the docks around 10am, and can be booked through either travel agencies or in the harbour itself. Including swim and snorkelling stops, exploration of the hidden bays and coves, and a traditional Mediterranean lunch, this excursion should definitely be number one on every holidaymakers list! For the more adventurous, there is the chance to go paragliding in the nearby village of Kas, once again easily arranged through tour operators or at the tourist office in the harbour.

If history and culture is the order of the day, the choices are endless. There are approximately twenty sites of historical and architectural interest spread around Kalkan, the closest being just half an hour by car. There is also the chance to walk the longest canyon in Turkey, the 20km long Saklikent gorge.

An unavoidable part of Kalkan is the authentic Turkish cuisine, which can be sampled at one of the many restaurants which line the main street. The majority offer roof-top tables, allowing stunning views over the bay while you enjoy your meal. Afterwards, the numerous bars come alive in the evening, offering live music, sumptuous cocktails, jazz and even belly dancing!  It is also common in many Turkish hotels to offer a Turkish night once a week, often encompassing a traditional buffet, music, dancing and other entertainment. There are a couple of nightclubs to enjoy, but Kalkan’s very strict regulations forbid loud music late into the evening, so it is not the destination for all night partying, but rather relaxed, sophisticated evenings followed by a good night’s sleep!

Kalkan is the perfect destination for families, solo travellers, and couples alike. There is so much to do and see, and when coupled with 300 days of sunshine every year and an average temperature of 32 degrees in the summer, this hidden gem on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast is totally unmissable.

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