Whilst Kalkan’s best beaches, superb rooftop restaurants and slick beach clubs make it the perfect place to sit back and do nothing, the endless activities on offer both inland and out at sea, will leave thrill-seekers chomping at the bit. Yes, the Turquoise Coast has the usual gulet cruises and island tours, but Kalkan also has world-class hiking trails on its doorstep; transporting keen walkers from mountain groves and rugged clifftops to sandy shores and dramatic valleys. Whilst the Taurus Mountains’ gushing rivers and gorges offer everything from canoeing to ‘tubing’ to full on canyoning. Here are a few of our favourite things to do in Kalkan, from pottering around the local market to setting sail for Greece!
Canoe down the Xanthos River
Starting in Xanthos you canoe through the countryside, eventually ending up at Patara Beach. Many tour operators, such as Abi Travel, stop en-route for swimming and mud baths, before finally enjoying a well-earned dip at Patara. Despite heading downstream, it’s still pretty hard work, especially for novices! Book in spring or Autumn, when the weather is more manageable and remember to take spare clothes, sun cream, a towel and a hat!
Dive in the region’s famously clear waters
If relaxing on one of the Kalkan beaches isn’t exciting enough for you, then hit the waters – this coastline is brilliant for diving. In fact, nearby Kaş is one of Turkey’s best dive sites and its cobbled streets are peppered with dive shops selling equipment and offering excursions. Kalkan itself also boasts plenty of reefs and islands to explore.
Kalkan Dive Centre offers a range of courses catering to all abilities – it has a particularly exciting offering for experienced divers, including eerie night dives!
Visit ancient Lycian cities
As well as boasting Turkey’s longest beach, Patara is also home to the remains of an ancient Lycian city. Tucked behind a wall of sand dunes, you’ll find Roman baths, a Byzantine basilica, a colonnaded main street and the main entrance arch. Today, many of the ruins are partially covered in grass, and whilst they are not totally intact, it’s Patara’s blissful beachy backdrop which makes this site so special.
Hike the Lycian Way
Kalkan resides on this spectacular hiking route, which traces the coast for 300 miles around ancient Lycia. It stretches from the popular holiday resort of Ölüdeniz to the city of Antalya, taking in ancient ruins, peaceful pine forests, scenic mountains and empty beaches along the way. The path is clearly marked by red and white signs, but we recommend downloading one of the many online maps. This adventure is best reserved for the cooler months.
Jump aboard a traditional gulet cruise
It won’t take you long to spot a Turkish gulet and a trip on one of these traditional wooden yachts is a great way of seeing the Turquoise Coast from the water. You’ll find lots of companies offering excursions in Kalkan harbour – remember to pack your sun cream, sun hat and swimming gear as they often stop off at the region’s best beaches for a refreshing dip.
Take the boat to the Greek Island of Meis
This tiny Dodecanese island is a 45-minute boat ride from Kaş. Once you arrive at Meis (or Kastellorizo, to give it its Greek title) you’ll find lots of local sailors hovering in the harbour offering trips to the island’s Blue Cave. Accessed via a tiny hole in the rocks, the sun illuminates the cavernous space with a wonderful blue light – it’s most impressive first thing in the morning.
Wander Meis’ tiny streets, take in the pastel-painted houses and if you are feeling athletic, hike to the castle for panoramic views – you may even spot a turtle or two at sea. Whatever you do, don’t forget your passport!
Kalkan weekly market all-day Thursday
The main town is brilliant for shopping, and stocking up on local souvenirs is one of our favourite things to do in Kalkan. However, if you enjoy the thrill of a market, save your haggling for Thursday, when it holds its weekly market. It sells everything from fresh spices, fruit and vegetables to clothes, leather goods, jewellery and gifts.
If you miss this, or simply crave more bartering, head to nearby Kaş market, which takes place each Friday.
Watch a sunset at Kaş’ amphitheatre
The bohemian town of Kaş is a warren of lantern-lit backstreets, filled with attractive Greek Ottoman buildings, great independent restaurants and sweet boutiques. Mooch around the shops before watching the sunset at its striking sea-facing amphitheatre.
Do seek out the King’s Tomb – the grandest of the town’s 4th-century BC Lycian sarcophaguses crowns the town’s prettiest (and steepest) street (it’s nicknamed Slippery Street… you’ll understand why if it rains). Then pick a restaurant for a real Ottoman feast – Bay Riza has a spacious roof terrace away from the crowds and cosy Ikbal Restaurant does fantastic slow-cooked lamb.
Cool down in the Saklikent Gorge
One of the deepest canyons in the world, the Saklikent Gorge stretches a mammoth 18km and reaches 200m high in places. Walking its refreshing waters are just the ticket in summer, but to make the most your adventure, follow our top tips; wear grippy shoes that can get wet, leave valuables at home, be prepared for a chilly start and only attempt if you are mobile and reasonably fit! You can also try your hand at a spot of ‘tubing’ (paddling a rubber ring!) on the Saklikent River.
Of course, you’ll need a relaxing place to come back and recharge in after all these activities. Our selection of villas in Kalkan are the perfect match! From architectural masterpieces to chic and luxurious stays… your holiday home awaits.