I’d heard so many great things about Kalkan in Turkey but it wasn’t until we spent a week there this summer with Simpson Travel that I fully understood the attraction of this beautiful fishing town on the south coastline, dubbed the Turkish Riviera.
We completely fell in love with the area and everything is had to offer. Nothing was too commercialised or tacky. Kalkan is very much still an authentic Turkish town offering fresh Turkish food, beautiful narrow, cobbled streets and gorgeous independent shops. With all this in mind, I thought I’d give you my run down of the top ten reasons to visit Kalkan…
It’s a Food Lover’s Paradise – First of all, Kalkan is famous for it’s incredible restaurants, offering high quality food in beautiful surroundings. Think rooftop and beachside restaurants looking out over the bay, serving fresh fish caught that day, mixed with authentic Turkish recipes all made in-house. Honestly, if you’re a ‘foodie’ you’ll love Kalkan, the standout restaurants for me were The Junction for breakfast, Trio, Sade and Baharat for great evening meals and Foto’s for yummy cheap pizzas (with an amazing view).
Authentic Charm – I’ve already mentioned this a few times but it really does feel pretty untouched despite the fact that it is very much a tourist destination these days. All the restaurants and shops are independently owned and sympathetically decorated to the area. Nothing looks too modern or out of place, if that makes sense? Around every corner is another flower lined street or pretty painted staircase – and more little shops and restaurants to explore.
Beautiful Beaches – Kalkan has a beautiful pebbled beach that’s fun for the kids but the real jewel in the beach crown can be found around 15minutes away in Patara. Honestly, this is a beach to rival any found in the Caribbean, with its powdery soft sand – although it does get crazy hot in the summer months. That being said, the size of this beautiful beach (12 miles long) means that you can always find a spot all to yourself – even in the peak summer months. We were there at the beginning of August and as you can see from the pictures it was not too busy at all. Also, the waves offer great fun for the kids and fun loving adults. We spent hours in this sea, running in and out as the big waves came crashing down on us. Summer memories are made of this!
Beach Clubs – If beaches are not your thing, Kalkan has two brilliant beach clubs, giving you the opportunity to lie on sun beds and jump into the sea whenever you like. The beach clubs also offer the luxuries of a cafe and bar for food and drinks throughout the day, along with fun water activities and sea slides. One of the clubs even has a trampoline in the sea!
Boat Trips and Day Cruises – Kalakn harbour is full of boats and gulets offering day excursions out to the bay. We were lucky enough to be given a day cruise on The Poseidon owned by The Kalakn Regency (as part of our Simpson Travel holiday) but there are many other independent companies offering similar day trips. Our day out on the sea was easily the highlight of our holiday. We all loved exploring the area by sea and jumping into the water from the boat and snorkelling in the clear blue water.
Pretty Painted Steps – Yes, I know the pretty steps again! But they’re so sweet and charming that they need to be a reason in themselves. They’re an Instagramer’s dream!
Turquoise Seas – Have you ever seen The Big Blue, a movie about a free driver who’s obsessed by the sea? Kalkan bay reminded me so much of this film because the sea was so blue and beautifully clear, just as I remember from this film. Whenever I think of Kalkan, the first thing that comes to mind is that amazing turquoise sea because it really was so striking.
Beautiful Views – Wherever you looked there was another breathtaking view of the bay, or the mountains or the pretty narrow white washed streets. It really is one of the most Instagramable places I’ve ever visited and my camera roll and Instagram feed is testament to that. The colours and vibrancy of this little fishing town really does stand out and gives it the most authentic character and relaxing atmosphere.
Great Shopping – Now I MUST talk about the shopping because the products in the little shops and market stalls were stunning. Yes, there are lots of ‘fake’ products available if you’re into your designer brands but there are so many beautiful leather shops making non-branded goods, gorgeous cotton shops making pretty dresses, jewellery shops making their own unique pieces and rug shops selling the most amazing rugs – that I now wished I’d brought. I did however buy an ankle bracelet for £1.50 (which I’ve worn every day since – in the sea, the pool, the bath and shower and still looks as good as new), a lovely leather belt for £16 and three large hammam towels for £10 to name a few things.
Brilliant Value for Money – Turkey has always been great value for money for us Brits as they don’t have the more expensive Euro. However the current political and economical issues mean that the exchange rate between the pound and Turkish lira is now better than ever (for us). A few years ago you’d get around 3 lira to the pound, this summer it went up to 8 lira to the pound making things very cheap indeed. Just to give you an example, we were able to eat out as a family of five for as little as £18 (without alcohol), which is pretty amazing! Of course, all this comes at a cost to the Turkish people who have seen their currency devalue considerably, which is very sad.
Honestly, this list of reasons to visit Kalkan could go on and on but that seems to cover the main ‘stand out’ features. We’ll definitely be going back to Turkey and to Kalkan because it has so much to offer. And the country definitely needs the economic push of tourism, now more than ever! Thank you Kalkan, you were all that we wished for and so much more.
Disclaimer: Thank you to Simpson Travel who gave us this stunning holiday to Kalkan.