Laid-back, sophisticated, and authentically Turkish, quaint Kalkan might just be one of Antalya’s best kept secrets. This charming seaside town on the Mediterranean coast is spread around a gorgeous bay, and embodies all the best of Turkey without the hustle and bustle of the busiest holiday resorts. Sunseekers can soak up the sun at Patara Beach or Kalamar Bay, adventurers can go exploring through the ancient ruins at Xanthos, soak in the hot springs at Pamukkale, and kids can run wild in the Tlos Yaka Forest Park. And if all that's not enough, Kalkan is handily located right next to Kas, another small-scale resort where you’ll find even more beaches, bars, and restaurants.
Most popular hotels in Kalkan
Samira Resort Hotel & Apartments
Happy Hotel Kalkan
At a glance
- Language: Turkish
- Time Zone: GMT +3
- Average flight time: 4h 0m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Kalkan's gorgeous setting overlooking a beautiful bay, its stunning beaches and charming historic quarter are the biggest draws. You can sprawl on the beach, have a stroll through the ancient streets admiring the boutiques, enjoy an elegant dinner on a rooftop restaurant, and linger over coctails in a sophisticated beach bar. It's also close to the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site of Xanthos, capital of the ancient Lycian civilisation, the ancient rock tombs of Tlos, and the enchanting sunken city of Simena. If you’re feeling brave, you can try out river-rafting at Saklikent Gorge, or take a jeep safari experience through the rugged hills.
Wine and Dine
Get a taste of Kalkan cuisine throughout your stay on the Turquoise Coast. Start off with a tasty Turkish meze, which might include the spicy tomato dip Antep ezmesi. Lamb dishes are very popular in the south of Turkey – lamb tandir is a local favourite, or why not try lamb with a side of haydari, a minted garlic yoghurt? For an authentic Turkish dining experience, manti is a must – it’s made up primarily of dumplings spiced with pepper and topped with yoghurt. For lunch, tuck into some tasty gozleme, or Turkish flatbread, before sipping a sweet shekerli Turkish coffee. Trout, known locally as alabalık, is a favourite of Kalkan, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy simple fish dishes. Plus, no holiday in Turkey would be complete without some baklava for dessert, perfectly accompanied by a glass of raki.
For laid-back and affordable family holidays, Kalkan is ideal. You and the kids will have plenty of fun in the sun on Kalkan beach, which boasts crystal-clear waters, and great facilities, from lifeguard posts to sunlounger and parasol rental. There are scores of family-friendly cafés and restaurants close at hand, too. You could also spend the day at nearby Patara Beach, where, as well as sandcastle-building and swimming, you might be lucky enough to spot some of the endangered loggerhead turtles that nest here. If you fancy a change of scene from the seafront, why not book a family day out at the Tlos Yaka Park? This forest is a popular attraction, not only because of its streams full of fish and waterfalls, but also because of its fun atmosphere, restaurant and bar, plus low-key daytime activities.
Action and Adventure
Don’t be fooled by the traditional style of this Turkish resort – Kalkan holidays have plenty to keep active types entertained. For starters, a trip to the Saklikent Gorge near Fethiye is a must. It’s about half an hour away from Kalkan by car, but this ‘hidden city’ is well worth the drive. Pack your sea shoes and go for a walk through one of the deepest canyons in the world, before taking a dip in the river water swimming pool. Thrill-seekers will also get to enjoy unforgettable rafting experience at the gorge, where you can speed down the rapids in an inflatable, before relaxing in a mud bath at the end of the river. As well as jeep safaris through Kalkan’s natural landscape and boat tours around the island, you can also give river canoeing a go.
Life's a Beach
Holidays to Antalya are all about the beach, and you’ll have plenty to choose from in Kalkan. This seaside town has everything from secluded bays to family-friendly beaches. Picturesque Kaputas Beach is perhaps the most popular, and it’s easy to see why. It’s set between the resorts of Kalkan and Kas, with a stretch of white sand and clear turquoise waters, ideal whether you’re planning on swimming, sunbathing, or having fun with the kids. The larger Patara Beach is with favourite of locals and tourists alike, set right on the coast of the Turkish Riviera, and close to the ancient Lycian ruins. Relax on the Blue-Flag, white-pebble Kalkan Beach, or venture around the coast to Kalamar Bay. Kalkan is also a popular spot for scuba diving, thanks to the colourful reefs and marine life.
You won’t find too many nightclubs in this quaint seaside town, but that doesn’t mean that Kalkan doesn’t have plenty going on in the evenings. Rooftop restaurants are scattered all over the resort, meaning that you can head upstairs with a cocktail or a raki, and soak up the views of Antalya by night. Many bars have a wealth of live music on offer, too, ideal for getting a taste of the local Turkish culture. There are some fabulous beach clubs, many of which are accessed by colourfully painted boats that depart from the harbour. You could also take a sunset cruise on a gulet, one of the traditional local sailing boats, sipping cocktails and listening to music.
With romantic views of the Mediterranean and the Taurus mountains, plus a whole host of daytime activities to choose from, Kalkan is the perfect destination for couples’ holidays to Turkey. A visit to the famous Pamukkale is an ideal daytrip for two. This natural phenomenon is a series of cascading white cliffs (the name translates as ‘cotton castles'), surrounded by wonderful hot springs and mud baths where you can take a dip. You could also take a moonlight tour on a traditional gulat sailing ship, or visit one of the exclusive beach clubs, accessed by complimentary boat from the harbour.
Kalkan is set in the heart of a region once occupied by the remarkable ancient civilisation of Lycia, and is packed with spectacular ancient ruins. Foremost amongst them is the Lycian capital of Xanthos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the ruins of an immense amphitheatre attest to its former importance. There are more ancient ruins at Patara, including a Byzantine basilica and the Granary of Hadrian. At Tlos, you can enjoy spectacular views from the acropolis which crowns the hills, and visit amazing rock tombs. Then there is the breathtaking sunken city of Simena, which was destroyed by an earthquake almost two thousand years ago.