LOOKING out over the brilliant blue waters of Kalkan’s horseshoe bay, cradled by the Taurus Mountains which stretch out to embrace two small islands floating on the horizon, two words spring to mind…
Whether enjoyed from the beach, rooftop restaurant or your own balcony, that spectacular view across the Mediterranean continues to lure tourists back to this popular hideaway on Turkey’s southwest turquoise coast.
We flew into Dalaman, where we were met by our transfer driver.
The picturesque 90-minute drive to the coast snakes through a wide, green valley lined with towering, tree-covered mountains.
Our home for the next 10 days was Kalkan Magic’s Villa Sultaniye, ideally located on the northern tip of the old town.
It has three generously sized en suite rooms and a huge open-plan kitchen, dining and living room spread over two floors.
Outside there’s a lovely sun terrace with comfy loungers and a table where we enjoyed breakfast most mornings, and lazy days sunbathing beside its private pool.
Our bright and comfortable master bedroom has a large sheltered balcony facing the sea. But our favourite feature was the roof terrace, with views of Kalkan’s old town and the bay beyond.
Kalkan’s food scene also impresses. The resort boasts close to 200 eateries, from high-end rooftop restaurants to cheap kebab houses and cake shops.
Many are dotted about warren of limestone streets and cobbled alleyways lined by whitewashed houses.
The old town has a quaint, almost bohemian charm. In the high season, it’s buzzing with tourists exploring the boutique shops or chilling out in the restaurants and bars.
Another lure for holidaying in Turkey is the exchange rate. At around 5.6 lira to the pound right now, it’s much kinder than the Euro, so you have an excuse to splash out on a five-star meal.
We enjoyed a whole baked, white fish in restaurant Aubergine including starters, sides and drinks for around £40. It’s one of the pricier places thanks to its location right by the harbour, teaming with small fishing boats and large wooden yachts.
The latter offer trips around the bay and to nearby secluded beaches and the Mouse and Snake islands opposite Kalkan (named after their shape, not their inhabitants!)
Every Thursday, the Kalkan Market pops up with stalls selling spices, fresh fruit and veg, and an array of “genuine fake goods”.
As well as boat trips, shopping and stuffing your face, there are lots to do, from relaxing in the Turkish baths to braving jeep safaris, paragliding, quad biking, river canoeing and rafting. Kalkan also has a nice white pebble beach and there’s several beach clubs dotted around the bay on rocky platforms, which offer sunbeds in return for the purchase of drink or food.
But a must-visit is nearby Patara, often cited as one of the world’s top beaches thanks to its 18km of golden, unspoilt sand.
It’s a 15-minute drive away and we opted for a private day trip to Patara, Xanthos and Saklikent, arranged by Volume Travel Agency for £30 per person.
Xanthos, ancient capital of Lycia, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
We were free to explore its ancient tombs with mosaic floors, and the wonderfully preserved amphitheatre.
Next, we visited Salikent Gorge, which rises to 600m.
During high season, when the river cutting through it runs at a calmer pace, you can walk along the gorge.
We ended the day with a walk along Patara’s seemingly endless stretch of golden sands, as the waves crashed along its pristine shores.
I’ll say it again, absolute bliss!
Villa Sultaniye costs from £1045 per week for six people. Kalkan Magic also offers deluxe apartments from £265 per week. See kalkanmagic.com.
Volume Travel offers airport transfers from £35. See volumetravelturkey.com.
Thomas Cook and Jet2 operate return flights from Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively from £215pp.