With a reputed 300 days of sun each year, those who worship at the shrine of Ra should consider making a pilgrimage to Calis beach in Turkey this summer 2017. Holidaymakers are flocking in their droves to this resort found on Turkey’s hugely popular Aegean coast (also colloquially referred to as the ‘turquoise coast’), drawn by a mixture of the crystal clear deep blue waters and swathes of golden sand; which of course, are the foundations of any good sunshine break a long way from home. For those wondering where the name, ‘Calis’ comes from, the historical truth of the matter isn’t quite as glamorous as what tourists are confronted with today. Not least because the literal translation of Calis Beach is ‘work beach’. And specifically relates to the presence of a small railway which spanned the length of the beach to the jetty and was used to transport chromium which had been mined and extracted inland, back in the more industrial day. Fast forward many years, and the only physical endeavours being observed in these same parts are visitors rigorously applying Factor 30 before focusing on topping up that all-important tan.
At a glance
- Language: Turkish
- Time Zone: GMT +3
- Average flight time: 4h 5m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Unsurprisingly most of the entertainment and recommended things to do and see in Calis Beach are based outdoors and focus almost entirely on relaxation. That said, what – if not getting some essential R&R – are Calis Beach holidays all about anyway, you may ask? Thanks to its unspoilt sandy coves and aforementioned turquoise waters, this part of Turkey is like a magnet to tourists from all corners of the planet; all sharing the common goal. And that’s to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime. And boy, are those waters we’ve just mentioned inviting, tempting everyone who encounters them to dive right it and splash about during the heat of the day, before later cooling off and relaxing in a 16th Century hammam spa, which, understandably, remain all the rage in this part of the world.
In terms of the scenery at your immediate beck and call, and much of it can be witnessed from the comfort of any number of waterfront bars for those visitor to Calis Beach still intent on turning the activity dial down to the lazy minimum; and indeed, why wouldn’t you? However for some, Calis Beach holidays present the perfect opportunity to let of some much-need steam via countless leisure pursuits which inevitably crank the action dial back up the max; such as indulging in full-throttle water sports. An area which this region of turkey really excels in offering visitors should they choose. If you’re after a happy medium, where you can balance a more chill experience with a bit of to’ing and fro’ing, then perhaps an alternative would be setting out to explore the natural marvels of nearby Fethiye Bay. Comprising 12 small islands – all reachable by boat trips – tourists might want to stop off and sunbathe or swim off as many or as little as appeals to them at the time.
Wine and Dine
Calis Beach – and the broader outlying area of Fethiye where the resort is ideally situated – play host to an extensive selection of eateries to appeal to all tastes and palettes. Indeed, even the fussiest of eaters would be hard pressed not to find something to tempt their tastebuds once they start perusing the menus at the bars, cafes and restaurants jostling for tourists’ attentions. And if you still don’t fancy anything you see, then don’t forget you can take dinner into your own hands by way of grabbing some delicious fresh fish from Reis fish market and then asking the restaurants adjacent to prepare it for you! We know, our Turkish friends think of literally every eventuality! But really it shouldn’t come to this, given that just about every style and taste are well catered for in Calis Beach, which routinely offer an eclectic mix of traditional Turkish fayre, alongside Indian, Mexican, Chinese and familiar British dishes to boot.
Among some of the culinary highlights, various restaurant names tend to crop up time after time, and for notable reason. That being they come highly recommended. These typically include the seafront-located Anna Bar, Bamba Restaurant (both of which specialise in Turkish and English menus), Bella Mammas (which as the name implies, concentrates on pizza, pasta and steaks on account of its Italian connections), as does Casa Di Mamma, which is another seafront-discovered Italian and Mexican establishment. Elsewhere Gunisik Restaurant offers an array of more home-spun produce, including an enduring favourite of both locals and holidaymakers alike, kebabs.
Families will rejoice at the myriad of ways in which they can spend their Calis Beach holiday, and moreover make it one to remember for a long time after the sun tan has faded. Delving straight in, why not make a bee-line for the national park situated in nearby Olu Deniz, where sightseers will be greeted by loggerhead turtles? Or if you’re hoping for something a little more, let’s say, thrill-a-minute, then maybe a trip to Sultans Aqua City in Calis Beach should be top of your family priority list once you’ve familiarised yourself with the lay of the land. And shortly after you’ve unpacked and settled into your new surrounds. Admittedly it’s not necessarily the biggest water-based theme park, but it sure delivers the fun-time goods and holds planned events throughout every day. Away from the water, yet still extremely close to even more water (this time the actual coastal variety consistent with the Aegean Sea), and Fethiye Rock Tombs could well be the next port of call.
Set into the rock face overlooking Fethiye are the exquisitely carved rock tombs, said to be the final resting place of the great local Lycians (some 2,500 years ago). Rumours apart, well worth a walk once you have taken the boat over to Fethiye in the first instance. While you’re in the vicinity of the sea, another box-ticking holiday exercise should involve taking a boat trip along the coast; preferably one where participants can explore the seabed courtesy of a glass-bottom boat. You can also explore the nearby twelve islands in the bay and stop off for a bit of sunbathing (as we suggested above) and to ensure that it’s that extra bit spesh, remember to request a gullet. Which to those not in the know is a traditional wooden boat.
Action and Adventure
Water skiing, windsurfing, parascending, banana boat or even pedalo, fun and frolics in or around the water are just around every corner here on this strip of the Dalaman coast; and goes some way to explain why Calis Beach holidays are just so in-demand in recent years. If you’re more of an adventure person rather than an action man, woman or child, then why not immerse yourself in another form of sea-based pursuits, namely diving. This leisure pastime is well subscribed to in these parts, doubtlessly helped by the lovely calm, clear and warm waters of the Aegean, not to mention plenty of sea wrecks, reefs and marine life to explore while you’re down there. Away from the water and on dry land – however no less exhilarating for those taking part – and paragliding is another way to enjoy your Calis Beach experience. In this case by way of ascending Babadag Mountain (no mean feat in the hiking department), before throwing caution (and yourself) to the wind!
Life's a Beach
As we’ve already alluded to, Calis Beach holidays are pretty much ALL about the beach, because let’s face it, it would be rude to ignore the stunning choice of sandy areas at the holidaymaker’s disposal on this part of the Aegean’s coast. With sun loungers, comfortable chairs and towels to ready hand, the only chore you need to complete when spending some quality time up close and personal with the cornucopia of beaches which make up the Turkish Riviera is to strategically position yourself for the morning or afternoon ahead. Arguably one of the most visited beaches in this neck of the woods is Olu Deniz Beach, widely recognised as one of the most photographed beaches in this region, with the Blue Lagoon the unchallenged jewel in its already sparkling crown. Habitually voted one of the world's best beaches, those opting to holiday in Calis Beach are but 30 minutes journeying away from it, and is a sojourn which comes highly recommended by one and all.
The marina and waterfront venues are the places to be once darkness creeps and falls over Calis Beach resort and its neighbouring Fethiye, where the word on the street is that the Old Town rules. Take a trip here and your night time experience will commence with the savouring of great food in any one of the countless restaurants which this area of town is home to, and which serves as the starters to the evening’s entertainment which closely follows. In no particular order of preference, Club Bananas, Cenzig bar, Car Cemetry Bar, Café Park Teras, Deep Blue Bar, Lighthouse, Bar 52 and Kum Saati won’t be licked. Yet if you’re still in the mood to trip the light fantastic then a little further afield you can literally dance the rest of the night away in nearby Hisaronu until the sun comes up.
The ‘Old Town’ (or ‘Old Quarter’ as it’s alternatively known as; although ‘Paspatur’ is the actual Turkish pronunciation) provides the ideal ambience and genteel pace of life for couples with an altogether different Calis Beach holiday agenda. So if you’re interested in finding out more about Turkey’s fascinating and impressive history, explore the medieval fort and historic rock tombs carved into the cliffs, or instead wander around the narrow, cobbled streets in the old quarter and pick up some souvenirs in the bazaar-style shops, were even gold can be sourced for retail therapy reasons, naturally. Failing that, you might care to enjoy a meal with a view at one of the restaurants along the bustling harbourside, while a day trip to the nearby Blue Lagoon in Olu Deniz will also bring the two of you closer together during a more romantically-tinged break. Getting from A to B (at least in some more localised parts) can be quite the romantic affair to, thanks to the water taxis that leave the canal just behind the seafront. These unique water taxis leave every half hour and to facilitate the service simply go to the kiosk and purchase your tickets; and once the boat is docked you will be ushered on. Once again you’ll discover it's a very laid back method of transportation and as long as time is on your side, you could say it’s the ideal way for couples to travel!
Culture vultures have a wealth of riches from which to dip into when they holiday in Calis Beach, including everything from poking around ghost towns and gorges to rediscovering Roman archaeological ruins aplenty. Kaya Koy (the ‘Ghost Town’ bit) looks down across the Kaya Valley and is the eerie abandoned Kaya village. Formerly a Greek settlement of several thousand until the repatriation of Greeks & Turks in 1923, today tourists can walk through the streets and pay a visit to the old Greek Orthodox church. Meanwhile Saklikent is a gorge which was only discovered in relatively recent times, and believed to have been caused by seismic activity. Often part of a day trip that includes Tlos and Yakapark, the gorge at Sakklikent is a terrific experience to walk along and moreover a wonderful naturally-occuring waterway that is only around 40 minutes from Calis Beach. With regards to Tlos, this was once an important area of the ancient land of Lycia, and is one of the many historical treasures found in this part of the world. The one relatively small area comprises of Tlos Fort, rock tombs, the Roman amphitheatre, stadium and bath remains, and was considered to be one of the most powerful cities of Lycia.