20 things to do in Kalkan

Kalkan has a rich and ancient history, world-renowned walks, excellent beach clubs, fine cuisine and plenty more to absorb you, from sun up to sun down.

On the water

1. A day out on a traditional wooden gület is the best way to experience the full beauty of the Turquoise Coast, with time for a swim and a delicious lunch on board. Or join a sunset cruise and watch the stars come out.

2. Enjoy a kayak trip along the Esen River from Xanthos to Patara Beach, 12km of soft white sand, just a 15-minute drive west of Kalkan. You can stop off for a therapeutic mud bath on the way.

3. For some child-friendly archaeology, visit the sunken remains at Kekova. A leisurely boat trip reveals the half-submerged ruins of houses, staircases and the original harbour. There’s Simena’s Ottoman castle to visit en route too.

4. Teenagers will love the watersports available around the beach clubs, from kayaking and paddle boarding to jet skiing.

5. Take a boat trip from nearby Kaş to the Greek island of Kaştellorizo. Its huge harbour serves as the local pool with the most magnificent backdrop. Look out for the resident turtles and don’t forget your passport.

Follow the history trail

6. Still being excavated, Patara is one of the most rewarding ancient sites to visit. There’s a huge theatre, recently restored parliament building and impressive Roman baths, not forgetting the incredible 11-mile long Patara beach.

7. Xanthos dates back to the 4th century BC. It was the capital of ancient Lycia and the original home of the Nereid tomb monument, now in the British museum. Four kilometres away, in Letoon, you’ll find the Temples of Leto and her children Artemis and Apollo.

8. Abandoned after the Turkish-Greek population exchange of 1923, the preserved ‘ghost village’ of Kayaköy consists of hundreds of deserted, Greek-style houses and churches. It’s a 90-minute trip worth making.

9. Located around a fortified hilltop in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, ancient Tlos was one of principal cities of Lycia. Most of it has now crumbled away, but you can still see the remains of the acropolis, fortress, cave tombs and a Roman stadium.

10. The city of Myra was once important as Ephesus; the current site includes a large Roman amphitheatre and Lycian rock tombs cut into the cliff face. And just a few kilometres away, you’ll find The Basilica of St Nicholas.

11. The stunning location high in the cedar forests adds another dimension to the well-excavated Lycian site of Arycanda, built into the mountainside on five terraces. It’s home to the largest bath complex in Lycia, as well as two necropolises, a stadium and an amphitheatre.

Enjoy the beach life

12. There are some beautiful beaches, including Kaputaş Beach – located along the amazing coast road between Kalkan and Kaş – a stunning cove with turquoise water, shingle and sand. It’s accessed via 180 or so steps, but don’t let that put you off as this is a beautiful place to swim, particularly in the mornings.

13. Kalkan's own beach is formed of bright white pebbles lapped by stunningly clear water, ideal for a spot of snorkelling. With Blue Flag status and handy facilities such as restaurants and changing rooms, this is a great family choice close to Kalkan harbour.

14. Voted one of the top beaches in the world by the Times Online, the lovely Patara Beach is the longest in Turkey at an impressive 11 miles. Patara sits within a national park and is rich in birdlife. It’s also the breeding ground of the endangered loggerhead turtle and a short stroll from the area’s ancient ruins.

15. For easy access to facilities, try one of Kalkan’s beach clubs. They’re essentially platforms on the rocky shoreline with ladder access into the sea and they all have umbrellas and sunbeds, changing and toilet facilities and a café/restaurant. Most charge an entrance fee per person, although the Indigo Beach Club is free to Simpson Travel guests.

Try a taste of Turkey

16. Soak up the wonderfully romantic views of Kalkan’s harbour and bay from one of its famous rooftop restaurants – many are open to the stars too. With places to eat and drink on every corner, you can feast on a range of traditional Turkish and international cuisine.

17. Follow the circular drive from Kalkan inland, via the traditional farming village of Bezirgan and over the top to Islamlar for lunch at one of the famous trout restaurants – and experience a different way of living.

18. Take a break from the coast and drive up into the relative cool of the mountains, passing through forest of enormous trees along the Kibris Canyon and enjoy a relaxed lokanta lunch in Gombe Town Square.

Take a stroll, ramble or hike

19. Saklikent Gorge is 300m deep, cut through by an icy river along the bottom of the 18km canyon. You can explore along the bottom of the gorge, but wear good shoes and be prepared to get wet!

20. The landscape around Kalkan is covered in walking trails, including the famous Lycian Way. From gentle half-hour ambles to strenuous full-day excursions, you can discover a wealth of history and culture at whatever pace you choose.