Well it’s coming up to Xmas 2018 and, as the weather turns ever more chilly, it won’t be long before thoughts are turning to where to book those summer holidays in 2019. Spookily we came across this fabulous feature by Ingo Hippisley published in the Sun after his family’s holiday in Kalkan earlier this year. We’ve reproduced it here because it’s a genuinely independent view which beautifully sums up the appeal of this lovely slice of the Turquoise coast.
We hope you enjoy it and get inspired to book your holidays with us at Villa Kingfisher next year…..
Turkey’s back on the menu for family hols full of fun and sun
By Ingo Hippisley
It was the dream boat trip – but there were no end of shrieks piercing the lazy Mediterranean air. But not annoying ones, you understand. Those squeals were ones of delight — at snorkelling with loggerhead sea turtles. It was GoPro gold for my kids as they pursued these fleet-of-flipper wonders of the deep. We were holidaying in the town of Kalkan on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast where its south-west kisses the Med.
We had hired a traditional gulet — a converted wooden fishing boat — to visit the sunken city of Kekova with two other families. It cost about £25 a head. As well as the turtle-spotting and eerie seabed ruins, we enjoyed sunbathing on deck in 35C heat, snorkel stops in dreamy coves, an ice cream break at a Byzantine castle and a gut-busting on-board BBQ. We even got to pitch the boat’s canoe off the back for more fun and games. But the Kekova jaunt is just one of many thrilling day trips from Kalkan — which is why I have holidayed there TEN times in 25 years and even got engaged to my wife Nicola there.
Another treat is canoeing down the Xanthos River to Patara Beach. Your day begins at the amphitheatre of Xanthos, in the wild Taurus Mountains, before a day’s gentle paddle, via a mud bath and BBQ stop, to emerge at sandy Patara Beach for beers. Action types will love Saklikent Gorge for Indiana Jones-style, splish-splosh trekking through a watery canyon. You can also enjoy a waterside lunch of fresh fish while dipping your toes then ride on white-water rafts downstream.
But the pull of Kalkan is such that you will not want to overdo the day trips. I have seen it grow from a small fishing village to a twinkling tourist town — spread over three or so coves and famed for its whitewashed stone houses, rooftop restaurants and chic sea-bathing platforms. By some quirk, Kalkan’s clientele are almost entirely British — but of a more adventurous, discerning kind who like to mix with the visiting Istanbul crowd that also run businesses here.
One reason the town has escaped mass, high-rise tourism is that it has no sandy beaches. But its bathing platforms, perched stylishly on rocky outcrops, more than make up for it. There are eight or so, from the ultra-chic terraces of Mahal to watersports-central Indigo by the harbour, and family-friendly Kalamar with more watersports, scuba and a sea-trampoline. Another reason for the lack of mega-tourism, strict planning laws aside, is Kalkan’s position in the steep foothills of the Taurus Mountains — and it is these pine-clad giants that spill icy spring water into the sea to surprise and delight bathers.
If you do want sand between your toes, 30 minutes’ bus or taxi away is epic Patara Beach, stretching for mile after mile and with more ancient ruins nearby. The world-famous white-shingle cove of Kaputas is quarter of an hour’s drive, and in Kalkan the white-pebble town beach is a favourite of ours for a moonlit dip.
Of an evening, talk turns to which of its 200-odd restaurants and bars to try. The many family-run rooftop restaurants are works of art and where the hosts’ creativity and attentiveness are as entrancing as the candles and calls to prayer from the local mosque.
The food ranges from old-school Turkish meze, meatballs and kebabs, to the fanciest fish and seafood, from cheap as chips on the outskirts of town to nearly London prices at top spots in the old town. Tip-top rooftop bites include Baharat, Sade and Olive Garden, and as well as Ko.Co. Another fabulous cocktail bar is Botanik Garden, in a glade with treehouse and hammocks. There is a growing number of music bars, though they are often still drowned out by those calls to prayer.
Turkey has had a rough press because of trouble in Istanbul and the border regions. But all that is as far from Kalkan as from London to Scotland, and most visitors to Kalkan fly in to Dalaman Airport, about 90 minutes’ drive away (the transfer to Kalkan is best booked through your accommodation). A wide range of airlines fly directly to Dalaman Airport, with return fares from about £400 in season. Slightly cheaper Turkish Airlines flights go via Istanbul.
The Pound is also strong against the Turkish Lira nowadays — making holidays cheaper than in the eurozone. We, for sure, will be hurtling back for some more turtling.
Hey folks, this could really be your experience next year too…