If you imagine that Turkey’s Dalmatian coast is all purpose-built resorts and noisy nightclubs then you’ve clearly never been to Kalkan. Authentic, traditional charm is something the small resort and fishing village of Kalkan takes very seriously. Nestled into the hillside with the Mediterranean in front and the Taurus Mountains rearing up dramatically behind, development has been restricted to ensure that the character of this beautiful old village is maintained. The locals here work hard to make sure that visitors are welcomed but never hassled, so the elegant restaurants serving traditional cuisine, quaint shops and lovely beaches all have a relaxed, welcoming vibe.
The result is a truly beautiful Turkish resort, unspoilt by the ravages of mass tourism, which, when I visited with my husband, made us feel as though we were enjoying the luxury and hospitality of a bygone age.
Beautiful Deserted Beaches
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to visit a beach where I have to pick my way through a sea of people to find a tiny patch of sand to call my own. In Kalkan this wasn’t a problem. The village’s main beach, a pretty shingle stretch just east of the harbour, offers sunshades and beds, which are rarely full. The turquoise water here is fabulous for swimmers, as the shingles fall away quickly to a perfect swimming depth.
Those looking for an extra special beach experience should head along the coast to Kaputas, a secluded cove of golden sand dipping in to the crystal waters. Often featured in advertisements luring people to Turkey, even so it doesn’t get too busy (or certainly didn’t when we were there).
Stylish Beach Clubs
If you like a bit of luxury (and who doesn’t?) it’s worth getting a water taxi to one of the exclusive beach clubs along the coast here. With terraces that jut out over the sea and steps leading down to the water, a day spent lazing in the sun, eating excellent food and enjoying a sundown cocktail at one of these elegant clubs certainly made us feel we were living the highlife.
Exhilarating Water Sports
I love snorkelling and the clear waters around Kalkan provided a stunning submarine world to explore. My husband is a keen scuba diver and he had a wonderful time discovering the local reefs and islands – he was thrilled to spot a stingray and an octopus on his first trip out (although the nurse sharks which bask in these waters eluded him).
We came for a luxury getaway without the kids so we didn’t go in for the usual high octane water sports we enjoy as a family, but we saw lots of people at the Beach Clubs parasailing, jet skiing and riding the inflatables.
Unwind After Dark
Kalkan comes alive after dark with its numerous elegant eateries offering candlelit tables spilling out on to the street. Some of the hotels offer traditional entertainment and there are a few discreet night clubs for dancing after dark. If you’re a party animal then Kalkan nightlife is not for you. If, however, you want to enjoy some delicious food made from fresh local ingredients, a few cocktails or excellent wine in a welcoming traditional bar, then you’ve certainly come to the right place.
A Spot of Night Shopping
You may not feel like shopping during the heat of the day, but that’s okay because in Kalkan the shops – selling everything from beautiful Turkish carpets to Turkish Delight – stay open until midnight. So after dinner you can take a leisurely stroll through the cobbled streets, window-shopping until late at night.
A Wonderful Selection of Restaurants
Kalkan famously has more restaurants per square metre than any other resort on the Turkish coast. The best are those serving the traditional meze starters (great if you like to share) and then a grilled meat or fish option for your main. The food here was excellent and – as you might expect – the seafood was fresh-from-the-sea delicious.
How to Get to Kalkan
Getting to Kalkan couldn’t be easier with regular direct flights to Dalaman Airport. Flights take from two to four hours, depending on which UK airport you fly from, and are offered by a range of airlines including British Airways, easyJet and Jet2. To get to the resort I would recommend booking an executive private transfer in advance, with Shuttle Direct. The journey time is around an hour and half and, with Shuttle Direct, you will be met at the airport by a smartly dressed driver and transported in the comfort of a premium car directly to your accommodation.
Where to Stay
True Blue Boutique Hotel – Embracing the authentic charm and character of Kalkan is the stylish True Blue Boutique Hotel. Built into the hillside, the outdoor space descends to the water’s edge in a series of beautifully landscaped terraces, which offer a range of secluded areas shaded by umbrellas. There is also an outdoor pool and a bar. Those preferring to swim in the sea can reach the water by steps from the terrace or by diving off one of the jetties that jut out over the sea. The bright rooms blend traditional stone with contemporary design and there’s free wifi throughout the property.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is the leading provider of airport transfers across Europe and North Africa. Shuttle Direct’s Premium service ensures that a smartly-dressed driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals lounge when you land, ready to drive you to your accommodation in the style and comfort of a premium vehicle.