Kalkan Magic

Kalkan Magic

Kalkan descends to the sea in terraces of whitewashed houses, its steep cobbled streets and colourful harbour sleepy under the midday heat. 

Once the sun has set, the pretty seafront and picturesque alleys come alive again when locals and visitors stroll along to their favourite café or restaurant, or wander around the Aladdin’s caves that line the principal back streets. 

The little carpet bazaars, arty jewellery shops where lovely pieces are made to measure in silver and gold, turquoise and amber, and even the fruit, vegetable and grocery stalls stay open until bedtime alongside a handful of outdoor cafés and a few bars catering to varied musical tastes.

Diving down the narrowest of alleyways you soon find yourself in the tiny intricate maze of old houses-some crumbling, some restored - draped with swathes of brilliant bougainvillaea. 

During the day, Kalkan is almost disarmingly laid-back, as visitors either choose to enjoy the crystal clear waters lapping the Lycian coast, or go off exploring the wealth of fascinating sites nearby. 

The shingle beach next to Kalkan’s harbour was recently extended and is more than adequate for swimming and sunbathing, but one of the joys of staying in this area is to explore the coast by sea taxi or dolmus. 

At Kalkan’s beach clubs, just a short boat ride from the harbour, you can swim or snorkel in astonishingly clear wafer off the rocks, whilst beautiful Kaputas Bay, between Kalkan and Kas, offers a delightful sand and pebble cove at the mouth of an impressive gorge.

To the west of Kalkan lies Patara, a stunning and undeveloped nine mile stretch of soft golden sand, where the evocative ruins of a once-fine city protrude out of the encroaching sand dunes.

So outstanding is Patara that it was voted the world’s best beach in a 1998 survey of 100 tour operators carried out by The Sunday Times.

Going on a languorous ‘Blue Cave Cruise’ on a fishing boat around little ‘Mouse and Snake’ islands to secluded coves will give you a taste for further exploration.

In the heart of Lycia, Kalkan offers easy access to many of the great classical sites, almost all of which are set in stunning natural surroundings. 

You can explore up into the mountains, entering a lush region of lakes and streams, pastures and alpine villages. 

At the village of Bezirgan you can watch carpets being woven and at Arycanda there is a wonderful archaeological site, whose remains and setting rival those of Delphi.

At Kekova you can hire a boat over to the pretty little harbour of Kale and clamber up to the hilltop Byzantine fort past the eerie sarcophagi of the ancient Lycians.

Peering from the boat into the pellucid blue water you may spy the sunken city. At Letoon, the half-submerged remains of Leto’s temple are still inhabited by frogs, whilst at Xanthos, enigmatic inscriptions and bizarre ‘harpy’ tombs occupy a dramatic hilltop site.

However you choose to spend your days, no-one can resist being back in Kalkan by evening, for the variety and quality of eating places on offer is quite astonishing for such a compact village.

You can sit cross-legged on kilims or floor cushions and be served Turkish dishes the traditional way or indulge in an orgy of seafood in one of the smart waterfront restaurants. There are even little backstreet restaurants so low-key most foreign visitors never notice them - just the place to enjoy delicious and genuine local cooking.

Magic surroundings, a dash of relaxed sophistication and a seemingly limitless variety of places to explore make Kalkan irresistible." - Kalkan Post Magazine Issue 20