Kalkan – Overview

Kalkan is one of the most enchanting spots on Turkey's Lycian ‘Turquoise’ Coast. An important port during the 19th century, Kalkan had been fading into decline when it was ‘discovered’ by the English yachting fraternity. Hoping their future might lie in top-end tourism, the denizens of Kalkan set about conserving all the things those early enthusiasts loved about their town – their unique ‘Kalkan’ architecture, their glorious beach, their historic old town. It has been a great success.

Today, as yesterday, narrow streets of old whitewashed villas and shops, selling everything from carpets to Turkish Delight, wind down to the pretty harbour. As you explore, you will certainly be offered a tulip-shaped glass of tea and you can accept without fear of ending up with a rug. The genuine warmth of its people was another thing those yachties loved about Kalkan.

Kalkan has its own beach, and not far away are two of the most spectacular beaches in Turkey, Kaputas and Patara. But what clinches it for most are its profusion of good restaurants, many of them on roof terraces offering wonderful views of the town and the sea beyond. You won't find a noisy nightlife - unless you count cicadas.


Dalaman Airport (DLM)


4 hours


+2 hours


Turkish Lira

Kalkan – Location & Map


Kalkan – Villas


White Lodge

  • Kalkan, 8 bedrooms/sleeps 16
  • Elegant and luxurious
  • A short drive or 20 minute walk to Kalkan
  • Air-conditioned
Sorry, we don't have any accommodation matching your criteria. Please amend the above filter.
Kalkan – Regions
Kalkan – Our Guide

Like music and fashion, holiday destinations tend to fade in and out of favour, but Kalkan has enjoyed an unbroken run of popularity since the affluent yachting crowd first dropped anchor in its sheltered harbour in the 1960s. Nestled on the spectacular Turquoise Coast in southern Turkey, this former fishing village retains a certain white-washed charm, though today it’s a genuinely sophisticated little resort, where classic bougainvillea-draped Ottoman buildings house upmarket restaurants and the surrounding hillsides are studded with sleek villas and boutique hotels.

Kalkan is an excellent base for a beach holiday, with both pebbly coves and wide sandy beaches within easy reach. The entire Lycian coast is littered with important remains, some protected as part of major sites, others just strewn across the landscape in a way that could only happen somewhere so extraordinarily rich in antiquities. And if the heat of summer becomes too much at the coast, make like the locals and head for the hills just inland for a cooling breeze and a more traditional Turkish experience.

Kalkan – History & Culture

The town of Kalkan

Despite the many important historical sites around Kalkan, including the ancient ruined Lycian hilltop citadel of Tlos, the sunken city of Simena beside Kekova and of course Patara, the town itself only appears to have come into existence in the 1800s. With strategic and practical importance as a convenient safe harbour between Fethiye and Kas, Kalkan grew from a small fishing village into a thriving trading post.

It was settled by both Greeks and Turks, and known by its Greek name of Kalamaki. Goods such as raw silk, olive oil, cotton, flour, grain and even timber from the surrounding forests were brought to the port for transportation to the far reaches of the Ottoman Empire. By the turn of the century Kalkan had its own customs house and restaurants and businesses set up to service the flourishing cargo trade.     


In 1923, the forced Exchange of Populations between Greece and Turkey saw the departure of the predominantly Greek population after the Turkish War of Independence. Some abandoned Greek houses can still be seen in the area.

Sea trade went into a slow decline in the 1940s and 1950s due to competition from an improved road system, and the population of Kalkan dwindled. The attraction of a safe harbour on a stunning coastline remained however, and by the 1960s, the wealthy British yacht crowd were starting to put Kalkan back on the map. Tourism remains the number one industry in Kalkan today, but thanks to strict planning laws, many of the town’s buildings are listed and preserved as having cultural and historical importance.

Historic remains of Tlos

Kalkan – Climate

Coastal breezes keep humidity down

Kalkan enjoys a long, typically Mediterranean summer which runs from May to the end of October. The daily maximum temperature in May and October is 24˚C, rising to peaks of 32˚C in July and August, though the moderating coastal breezes keep the temperatures from feeling too intense and high levels of humidity are rare. Evenings are noticeably cooler even in high summer, when you can make the most of Kalkan’s celebrated roof terrace restaurants.      


Kalkan claims around 300 days of sunshine a year, and an impressive 14 hours per day in the height of summer. Rain is rare from May to October, and the sea is warm enough to swim in comfortably right into November. You are likely to see plenty of sunshine at any time of the year here, but for sightseeing and exploring we recommend April, May or October when the temperatures are more moderate.

Spring and Autumn are great for sightseeing

Kalkan – Activities

Pataras Beach

The warm clear sea around Kalkan is ideal for water sports. There are professional companies offering motorised and non-motorised activities, including sea kayaking, water-skiing, jet skiing, wake boarding, sailing and scuba diving. You can hire boats by the day or the week: take a picnic in the provided cool box and explore the hidden coves and beaches of the bay, or hire a skipper and sit back and enjoy the ride. Fishing trips are also available, and there is nothing quite as satisfying as barbecuing your own catch for dinner.

Kalkan’s own beach (to the east of the main harbour) is small and pebbly with brilliantly clear waters and coveted Blue-Flag status. If you prefer a sandy beach, hop on a dolmus (shared minibus taxi) and head for nearby Kaputas or Patara beaches. Around 10 minutes from Kalkan, Kaputas is a gorgeous sandy cove backed by imposing cliffs. Patara beach is an astonishing, protected 18km stretch of fine sand backed by dunes.       


Kalkan sits at the heart of Ancient Lycia, and there are many significant historical sites to explore. The extensive ruins of the ancient city of Patara, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are easily one of the most spectacular sites in the whole region. There are tantalizing glimpses of city life almost two millennia ago, from the temple remains to the excavated theatre which would have once seated some 10,000 people. Other nearby Lycian sites can be found at Xanthos, Myra and Letoon.

Modern Kalkan is a vibrant, cosmopolitan resort, however you can still sample more traditional activities such as visiting a coffee house or taking a day trip on an original wooden gulet. If you are self-catering this is a great place to visit a colourful local market and sample the exciting flavours and aromas that are the staple of every Turkish meal, not to mention the freshest fruit and vegetables all grown within a few miles of the town.

Ancient Lycia tombs

Kalkan – Feasts & Festivals

Celebrations centre around the religous calendar

The majority of public holidays and celebrations in Turkey centre around either religious or historic events. On 3 April, Turks celebrate the first assembly of the modern Turkish Parliament which took place during Turkey’s War of Independence. The event is combined with national Children’s Day, and on this day children are allowed to take seats in parliament and are granted symbolic powers. The day is celebrated in Kalkan with speeches and street performances from local school children, and is a public holiday.

Ramazan, the Islamic Holy Month, is a time for prayer and reflection, during which Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset. It is also a time of celebration, and families gather together after sundown to enjoy a meal together. In resorts such as Kalkan, its very much business as usual, with restaurants open as normal, though it is considered respectful to avoid eating or drinking in the street during this time. The exact dates of Ramazan vary on the Western calendar, but it usually occurs in June.


In marked contrast to the fasting, July sees a 3-day national holiday called Ramazan Bayrami: the sugar feast. Lots of sweet treats are enjoyed, children receive small gifts and cards are exchanged. This is a big pubic holiday and many services such as banks, schools and government offices are closed, though many tourist activities continue to run, with the exception of some of the main archaeological sites which close on day 1 of Ramazan Bayrami.

Kalkan hosts an annual Festival of the Sea in July, which is a light hearted event combining commemoration of Ataturk followed by lots of water based races and games. Other public holidays include Victory Day on 30 August, which celebrates the end of the Turkish War of Independence, and Republic Day, on 28 and 29 October. The most important religious festival of the year begins on 22 September, the eve of the Feast of the Sacrifice, which is a 4-day celebration of charity and compassion for the less fortunate members of society.

Enjoy sweet treats during the annual sugar feast

Kalkan – Food & Drink

Aubergine based baba ghanoush

Turkish cuisine combines all the flavours of the Ottoman Empire, with influences from Central Asia, the Middle East and the Balkans, as well as other Mediterranean rim countries. As might be expected in such a huge country, there are regional specialities and the cuisine of the Kalkan area is Mediterranean-style, characterized by lots of vegetables, fish and herbs, especially mint, parsley and oregano. Key ingredients are tomatoes, aubergines, onions, green peppers, garlic, beans and lentils, and most every dish will use locally-produced olive oil.

Turkey has five main wine producing regions, with the biggest producers located in Marmara, Thrace, Central Anatolia and the Aegean coastal region. The wines you are most likely to come across are from the Kavaklıdere and Doluca vineyards, which produce decent quality reds and whites at a reasonable cost, although wines on the whole are expensive here, especially compared to prices for other drinks and food.      


Beer is a good alternative on a hot day: the best-selling Turkish beer (80% Efes Pilsen, brewed in Izmir. The national drink is a powerful spirit called Raki, distilled from the solid remains of grapes after pressing, similar to the French marc, and flavored with anise seed. It is often served chilled as an accompaniment to food.

A traditional Turkish meal often begins with a thin soup, served hot or cold, followed by a meat or, more commonly, vegetable dish, accompanied by Turkish-style pasta, flat bread, couscous or rice. Desserts are usually milk or pastry based, very sweet and flavoured with honey and nuts. Another favourite way to enjoy a meal is with a mezze or mixture of small dishes, usually served as an appetizer. Classic mezze dishes might include baba ghanoush (aubergine salad), cacik (yoghurt with cucumber, mint and olive oil), kizartma (mixed fried vegetables) kofte (meatballs) and coban salatasi, a mixed salad of tomato, cucumber, onion, green peppers, and parsley.

Cacik with skewers

Kalkan – For Families

Take a day trip to Kevoka

While the sandy beaches are just a dolmus ride away, families often find the half dozen beach clubs around Kalkan a more convenient way to enjoy the sea. Comprising paved platforms and tiny gardens cut into the cliffs, the beach clubs offer sun beds and umbrellas to hire, plus small bars and restaurants and water sports options to keep everyone entertained.


For an unusual and child-friendly archaeological excursion, visit the sunken remains of the city of Simena at Kekova. A leisurely boat trip reveals the half-submerged ruins which slid into the sea as a result of violent earthquakes in the 2nd C AD. Kekova itself makes an ideal family day trip from Kalkan, combining history with natural beauty and plenty of opportunity to cool off in the tempting turquoise water.

Sandy beaches are a short drive away

Kalkan – For Couples

Kalkan is vibrant with peaceful nights

For all its village charm, Kalkan is a vibrant resort that can cater for sophisticated tastes and special occasions, ideal for a little us-time. If you crave solitude, there is always space on the wild and beautiful 18km Patara beach, or tackle a stretch of the Lycian Way walking route which runs over 500km from Fethiye to Antalya, taking in some of the region’s most important archaeological sites as well as the simple beauty of the coast without the crowds.       


The nightlife is restrained to protect the overall peace of Kalkan, but you can find live music, folk or belly dancing several nights a week in the main season, or simply relax Ottoman-style on floor cushions and try a glass of raki or a hooka pipe. Keen shoppers will love Kalkan. The shops stay open well into the evening in summer, and you can buy pretty much anything from gold and silver jewellery sold by weight, to made-to-measure clothing direct from the tailor or an authentic Turkish carpet.

Find treasures in shops at evening

Kalkan top properties