Our guide to Discovering the Best of Kalkan
If the crystal clear turquoise waters, blue skies, fine food, stunning coastline and pretty bougainvillea-clad old town aren’t enough of a draw to bring you to Kalkan, there is a wealth of history, activities and attractions to enjoy all around.
Here we tell you about our Favourite 15 things to see and do while you’re staying in Kalkan –
1) Take a Boat Trip – no visit to Kalkan would be complete without a day of relaxation on a cruise around the bay. Join one of the day boats such as our own Usturmaca to explore the beautiful waters of Frenk Bay, Firnaz Bay and Camelstone Rock, while enjoying a delicious leisurely lunch and plenty of opportunities for swimming from the boat.
2) Explore Saklikent Gorge – At 300m deep and 18km long, this is one of the biggest gorges in the World and a must-see while you’re here. In the winter the waters rise as they run down from the towering Taurus mountains and into the sea, but from April you can walk along nearly 4km of this incredible gorge.
3) A beach surrounded by history at Patara – At 18km long the sandy beach of Patara is one of the longest in the Mediterranean and is also a protected breeding ground for the endangered Loggerhead turtles. A beautiful beach for a day of relaxation, just behind the beach you will find some of the most incredible ruins dating back to the 5th Century BC, including the beautifully renovated Lycian Parliament building and the Temple of Athena.
4) Discover UNESCO’s Xanthos – The ancient capital of Lycia, Xanthos has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. Two of the city’s tombs are now exhibited in the British Museum and many hugely significant artifacts have been found at the site. Covering a wide area, Xanthos gives an incredible insight into the history and prominence of Lycia over many years.
5) Head down to Kaputas – Just 6km from Kalkan, Kaputas is often cited as one of the World’s most beautiful beaches. Reached by a flight of steep stone stairs, Kaputa beach is set at the mouth of a stunning gorge and is a mix of sand and stones, with the most incredible turquoise waters that are a delight to swim in.
6) The Sunken City of Kekova – A fabulous day out, 15 minutes by boat from Kas, Kekova is rumoured to be a possible site of the lost city of Atlantis. The city was destroyed following an earthquake in the 2nd Century, and you can see the ruins below the clear waters. Also visit Simena, where you can visit the well-preserved castle that dominates the ancient town and enjoy lunch in one of the local restaurants.
7) Take a Dolmus to Kas – A dolmus is one of the local mini buses that run regularly between towns and villages across Turkey. One of the best ways to experience a dolmus trip is to jump on one to the neighbouring town of Kas. Kalkan’s big sister, Kas has a pretty old town, lovely restaurants and a bustling harbour area, together with a large new marina that is attracting a growing number of luxury yachts.
8) Head to the Mountains – Hire a car and head out of Kalkan into the Taurus Mountains and you’ll discover hidden villages and old traditions. Take the road to Bezirgan and up to Gombe, Ucarsu Falls and Yesilgol (Green Lake) and enjoy the cooler air, lush landscapes and incredible scenery. Make sure to stop in Gombe to try the traditional roasted goat, for which this town is famed.
9) The Blue Cave – Or Mavi Magara as it is known in Turkish, is close to Kaputas beach and is best visited on a boat trip. 18 meters wide, 10 meters high and around 35 meters deep, it has the most amazing fluorescent turquoise blue colour, created by the sunlight reflecting off the water.
10) Explore by Canoe – If you fancy exploring some of the sites by canoe there is plenty of choice – you can explore Kalkan Bay or Kekova from your own canoe, or you can choose to take a trip down the Esen river, which finishes at Patara. A fantastic day out and a very special way to explore this beautiful area.
11) The ancient city of Pinara – Founded in the 5th Century BC, Pinara – which means ‘round’ – sits on the slopes of a rocky, oval shaped hill. Its eastern side is covered in rock tombs, while the site also boasts an incredible 3,000 seat theatre, a castle, marketplace and worship area. If you love delving back in time, this is a fascinating place to explore.
12) A bird’s eye view – See Kalkan from a completely different angle, when you take to the skies and try paragliding over the Kalkan/Bezirgan mountains. A breathtaking experience, you glide down and over Kalkan Old Town with fantastic views out over the bay and islands, before landing close to the harbour. A truly memorable experience of a holiday in Kalkan!
13) Meet the sea life – Kalkan has some of the best diving in the Mediterranean, so if you love discovering marine life, or if you’ve always wanted to give scuba diving a go, Kalkan is a great place to try it. August and September see the sardines and tuna come into the bay, but there are always turtles, star fish, damsel fish, rask, octopus and much more to discover.
14) The Lycian Way – One of the most famous walks in the World, the Lycian Way passes close to Kalkan and it’s easy to walk parts of it from a comfortable base in the town. The best months to stride out are from March to May and from September to November, when temperatures don’t reach the heights of summer but it’s unlikely to rain!
15) Trout for dinner in Islamlar – A 10 minute drive into the mountains from Kalkan, Islamlar is a traditional village set in a stunning valley. Here local restaurants serve the freshest trout, caught from their own pools, together with fantastic mezze. The views down the valley and over Kalkan Bay are breathtaking, so remember to take your camera!