A Week in Kalkan, Turkey

If I had a pound for every time someone said to me ‘tell me about Kalkan’ I’d be sat writing this blog post from the beach in that very place. I don’t mind at all, I’m just highlighting that it’s been a very popular topic of conversation since I got back in November. I didn’t think of it as a particularly unusual holiday destination but I thought I’d write this blog post so I could answer lots of commonly asked questions I’ve had. Also any excuse to look at my holiday photos again quite frankly. My Instagram has never looked as good!

This was my first family holiday since I was 2 and a half, I’ve been on holiday with my parents in my teens ( for years we went to Porto Pollensa in Majorca, another place I’d highly recommend), but my brother and I haven’t been on holiday with my Mum and Dad since 1988. Might’ve been the fact I did a very public number two in a water park pool that my brother had to fish out, every 13 year olds nightmare right?! Well this time I promised I would use the toilet instead of the pool, so off we all went in good faith.

The flight to Dalaman in Turkery takes 4 hours, and honestly I was worried about taking an 18 month old on a plane for that length of time for the first time as June pretty much screamed the entire way back from Paris in the previous November. Do you know what, I need to stop under estimating my daughter, June didn’t bat an eyelid about the fact she was on a plane. And luckily there were 6 adults (and one teenager) to keep her happy. June lap surfed and when safety permitted, walked up and down the aisles waving at everyone like she was the queen on an official visit. Kalkan is a two hour drive from Dalaman and you can easily book a taxi, with a car seat to do the drive or hire a car if you prefer. June fell asleep on the way to our villa, as my number one paranoia was her getting car sick in a carseat which wasn’t hers. Again, my worries came to nothing.

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We flew with Easyjet on the way there, who allow you to take two pieces of baby paraphernalia in addition to your luggage for free, we actually only needed our pram as there was a travel cot in the villa and the car seat in the taxi. We decided to take our Bugaboo, as we paid a small fortune for the thing. so there was no way I was buying a second smaller buggy for travel. I also thought that June’s so accustomed to napping in it, that it was better for her to take something she is familiar with, than chance it with something else. We did buy the Bugaboo travel bag to put it inside at the gate, and a few times had to explain what this giant bag on wheels was, but generally was quite hassle free.

The frame of our pram was slightly bent upon inspection back in the UK, but was easily bent back into shape, and that’s the least of my worries when it comes to that pram. Cream pram hood Charlotte? Terrible choice.

I have been asked a few times for details of the villa we stayed in, but it’s a family friends, so you can’t all tip up I’m afraid, however there are lots of beautiful villas to rent online, you’ll have no trouble at all I’m sure. There’s a Facebook group called ‘Visit Kalkan’ you can post in there to find villas / places to stay that might not be listed on traditional travel sites.

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Charlotte Jacklin Kalkan Steps.jpg

Kalkan is a fishing town and centres around a main bay, and upon a google search I can tell you is ‘nestled by the Taurus Mountains’. The temperature at that time of year (late October) reached the mid twenties and was perfect for me and my prickly heat inclined skin. It really is a beautiful place, and it’s main revenue is tourism, and Turkish hospitality is so friendly. Lots of people come out here for the summer, and after the season closes in mid October go back to their families / hometowns for the winter. They are very family orientated, June had a strong fan club, and after a few days got very accustomed to the ice cream she was offered before dinner.

The reason I wasn’t going to share Kalkan on the blog was that I don’t really have a million and one recommendations, I treated this like a holiday where I wanted to rest. I didn’t ask for a big list of recommendations before I went, or more unusually didn’t have a big itinerary of things to do. I wanted an ‘easy’ holiday, as easy as it can be with June and a pool edge. In that way, Kalkan exceeded my expectations, simply as I didn’t have any. I think the measure of a good holiday is would you return, and would definitely go back in a heartbeat.

In the old town, there are a few steps, like the ones pictured, but you can avoid these and use the slopes to get up and down from the beach and around. Another reason we wanted to take our pram as it has good wheels (can you believe I am typing that sentence).

Kalkan Boat Tour Charlotte Jacklin.jpg
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Boat trips are a wonderful way of seeing all the coves and beaches around the coast, we booked a boat trip for the day (we went for the super big boat, because why not) and that worked out at about £70 per person including a beautiful freshly cooked lunch and several glasses of fizzy wine. There are also lots you can hire privately too, and you can definitely get cheaper than that, just walk down to the bay and you’ll see them all there. I swam in the sea for the first time in a very long time, it took until our second stop on the boat trip for me to brave it, and I am so glad I did. You couldn’t get me out by the end of the day, the sea is so so clear, I have never seen anything like it, they call it the turquoise coast for a reason. It really took my breath away.

The food is incredible. It’s my favourite kind of cuisine. It’s very affordable to eat out, especially against the pound. You’ll get a lot more for your money than you will in a UK restaurant and the food is the kind I could eat until the end of eternity. Fresh fish, meat, cheeses, salads, kebabs, borek, I’m no food critic so know I am doing a terrible job of explaining, but it’s really delicious. If you love coffee, and I really tried to like it, you’re in for a treat. I really loved the way everything was presented, everything was a ceremony or ritual and I am officially a Turkish delight convert. They taste nothing like those ones that are found lingering in the back of the Christmas cupboard in March, these were addictive!

A few places I enjoyed included:

The Small House

It’s rated number one on Trip Advisor, which I don’t always buy into, but it really is fantastic - and small. We just walked in and got a table, but they only have one table on the balcony, so really worthwhile booking if you’d like the best seat in the house. Hands down the best prawns I think I’ve ever eaten.

Belgins Kitchen Kalkan.jpg

Belgin’s Kitchen

I was a bit concerned this place might be more style than substance, but this was my number one restaurant of the holiday. If you go, head to the roof terrace, and see how long you can last sitting on cushions on the floor before you start to complain about one of your joints. Also order the cheese çibörek, I’ve not stopped thinking about those little clouds of cheese pastry since I got back. You can also have coffee and shesha after dinner here too if you’d like.

Botanik Garden Bar

A real treasure trove of little tree houses, with lots ofhammocks and hidden corners to enjoy a drink in.

Just Silver

I went in here pretty much everyday, just to have another look at the jewellery. There was SO MUCH CHOICE. And oddly unlike the name, they don’t just sell silver but I guarantee you won’t come out of there empty handed.

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Ceramics Kalkan Turkey.jpg

All the Shops…

Sadly I cannot find the name of the ceramic shop I went a little bit wild in, but it’s on ‘Hasan Altan Sokak’ it’s the first one at the top of the hill on the left and there are a few around there. You can’t miss them. The shops are full of hand painted bowls, plates, you name it, they got it! Worthwhile noting it can also be couriered back to the UK if you would like, but I decided to go for it and put them in my hand luggage (be careful if you are travelling with Thomas Cook as their hand luggage limit is 6kg, had to plead for the extra 1kg I went over as Jack’s was so light), luckily they made it back in one piece. Other things to look out for are traditional Hamam Towels, I bought a few and also they have the most lovely dressing gowns too. In fact textiles in general is a big industry there, I was close to bringing a rug home but really had to draw the line somewhere.

Another shop I had to draw the line in was one filled with glass lanterns and traditional silver coffee sets, give them a quick google and you’ll see why I was seduced. I will be back with an emptier suitcase, be warned. Here is a great post on what you can expect to find on a visit that you might want to bring home.

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Turquoise Coast Turkey.jpg

Other things to mention is that you’re looking for a daytrip, I’d recommend driving to the less touristy Kaş which is a half hour drive from Kalkan. And I’d also recommend going to a Turkish bath too, we didn’t go this visit, but my parents have been lots of times and my mum can’t recommend it enough. My mum knows pampering! We also visited Kaputas Beach and whilst it was the windiest place I’ve ever visited, it was spectacularly beautiful, I imagine in warmer months it might be a bit calmer.

If you have any more questions, let me know below and I can answer them. Thank you for giving me an excuse to make a trip down holiday memory lane in January, I am very grateful.

Things to Note

Currency: Turkish Lira. However we also paid for somethings in Euros and Pounds too, a little bit confusing, but we mainly used Lira.

Time Zone: GMT + 3