Spotlight on: Kalkan, Turkey

Location: Antalya Province, Turkey

What to expect:  a lively mix of working fishing port and bustling tourist destination. Kalkan is a small town which is rapidly expanding but has still retained its beauty. The locals are extremely friendly and welcoming and, unlike in other parts of Turkey, accept no for an answer allowing you to wander past their restaurant uninterrupted.

Kalkan beach
Kalkan beach

Where to stay: Hotel Pirat cannot get any closer to the harbour and is perfectly placed for visitors to watch the world go by whilst relaxing by the pool, but is also within touching distance of the beach (not recommended as the local dogs use it as their area to relieve themselves) to and the main restaurants, bars and shops. Ideally placed to really feel the buzz of this lively town. The rooms are spacious and clean and most face the sea and the ‘eat all you can’ menu, whilst slightly basic, is more than adequate. The staff speak English and some also speak German, French and Italian.

View from Hotel Pirat
View from Hotel Pirat

What to do:

  • Climb the very steep hill (or get a taxi) to the weekly food and produce market. The stallholders unintentionally amuse with their (sometime rude) phrases they have picked up from tourists and the selection of gifts, home ware, jewellery, linen, candles and beautiful Turkish boxes will make the trip worthwhile. The food market is worth a visit especially if you are self-catering as it will halve the cost of buying from the supermarkets.
  • Escape the tourist traps and explore the real Kalkan, beautifully unspoilt and quiet. Move off the main street and dive into a side street and get lost in the cobbled backstreets; pick up a bargain in the often missed gift shops and eat in the ‘locals’ restaurants. You will not be disappointed.
  • For a romantic evening out, eat in one of the numerous rooftop restaurants at sun set; the photo opportunities are worth it alone.
  • Book a boat trip to the island of Kekova and explore the ancient Lycian sunken city of Simena. A word of warning; this is a long day trip and some may find the sunken city disappointing because, as the name implies, there is very little to look at. However on a clear day, with calm waters, the ruins are clear to see.
Take a boat trip to the island of Kekova and explore the ancient Lycian sunken city of Simena
Take a boat trip to the island of Kekova and explore the ancient Lycian sunken city of Simena