A Walk Through Time – The Lycian Way (Part 1)

Located in the south of Turkey in the Teke Peninsula is the beautiful Turquoise coast; a breath-taking combination of gorgeous beaches, clear waters and forest-covered slopes. On this little patch of paradise is the Lycian Way. Spanning between Fethiye in the west to Antalya in the east, the full Lycian Way route is an impressive 300 miles long and can take up to 29 days to travel. It is considered by many to be not only one of the best places to go walking in Turkey but one of the world’s greatest hikes. Along its route, hikers can enjoy some of the most breath-taking views to be found in Turkey from rugged mountains to pristine sandy beaches caves and coves. At the same time, also experiencing the diverse and fascinating history of ancient Lycia every step of the way.

A PATH LESS TRAVELLED

Lycia was home to an ancient civilisation that existed during the “Bronze age” of human civilization (between 3000 – 1200bc). Its history is one of diversity including times under the rule of Persia, Alexander The Great and The Roman Empire. The result is a truly varied and intriguing exploration into human history. Despite this long history, the Lycian Way as we know it has only been established since 1999. It’s the result of historian Kate Clow; who researched, designed and marked the route which took advantage of ancient Lycian foot and mule paths.

The traditional route begins at Ovacık (although, you can begin in Fethiye if you wish) in the west and finishing in Hısarçandır in the east. You can, of course, do the trek in reverse. 

This route takes travellers via the Sidyma Ruins and includes climbing or taking the cable car up the Tahtalı Dağı on the path from Çıralı to Hisarçandır. The early section is the gentlest on the legs and prepares you for the steeper sections towards the end. For anyone looking for those extra miles, the route was expanded in 2014 beyond its official end in Hısarçandır to include Geyikbayırı.

STEP BY STEP

Walking the Lycian Way is going to be a challenging but rewarding undertaking. The ground can be hard, uneven and narrow as you traverse rugged, natural terrain. The trail also includes inclines and declines which can often be very steep and sudden as you move away from and toward the coast. For this reason, it is recommended you wear a decent pair of soft-soled, ankle-grasping hiking boots. To navigate the route, you can use the physical way markings, however, the use of GPS trackers and a map of the Turkey Coast is also advised. Further recommended equipment includes a backpack, water bottle, and a change of clothes. 

Walking the Lycian Way can take up to 29 days and you’ll be able to find accommodation along the route. However, if camping is more to your style, then you’ll be pleased to know that doing so is possible, across almost the entire route.

For those with less hiking experience (or without the luxury of 29 days to traverse its full length) there are a number of smaller walks and sections of the Lycian Way which are suitable – including parts of the western portion. For those looking to cycle, alternative routes including along the Lycian Way are available using modern roadways. These routes still enable you to experience many of the same beautiful sites and historical wonders.

lycian-way-trek

WHATEVER THE WEATHER

So you’ve decided to take on the challenge, the next question is when. You can trek along the Lycian Way at any time of year. However, spring and autumn seasons tend to be the best, weather-wise. If you were to opt to take part in spring you’ll get to enjoy snow atop hills while the lower landscapes are covered with flowers (which is why this time of year is our favourite). If you decide to take part during the winter, the nights can be cold despite the Mediterranean climate, so ensure you carry winter-ready gear. It is also advised that the mountainous parts only be taken by experienced winter hikers. It is to be noted that storms are also a possibility in the latter part of the year. Finally, summer is likely to be extremely hot and dry. 

It is recommended that you start your journey earlier in the morning while the temperature is lower. It is also important to note that some sections of the Lycian Way lack suitable cover. However, these areas can be bi-passed.

A JEWEL IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

The Lycian Way rewards the days of tough walking with a truly spectacular and unique experience. Along your journey, you can visit places of historical significance, including an ancient Roman aqueduct, The Letoon, a religious ruin dedicated to Greek goddess Leto near the ancient city of Xanthos, the ruins of the river city Olympos, Patara – The Lycian Capital and the underwater ruins of Kekova-Simena.

Alongside the historical, you’ll also get the opportunity to visit numerous modern towns from tourist hotspots including Finike, and Kalkan, to less well known rural towns such as Çıralı giving you an excellent opportunity to enjoy real Turkish culture and of course no end of delicious food. 

This combination of history, breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and true Turkish culture means walking the Lycian Way has something to offer everyone and is a truly incredible experience.

patara ruins

HOW CAN KALKAN HOLIDAY PROPERTY HELP YOU?

If you’re looking for a luxury property to enjoy before embarking on your adventure or for more information on walking The Lycian Way, please get in touch with one of our specialist operators who will be more than happy to assist you.

The Sunken City Of Kekova

Crystal balls speak the future. Crystal waters speak the past.

Beneath the clear Turkish Mediterranean encircling Kekova Island, a breath-taking ancient settlement hides in plain sight. These sunken ruins of Kekova are what remains of a major port for Lycian and Byzantine civilizations, what remains after a history of numerous successive natural and man-made upheavals. A visit to Kekova and its sunken city is truly a visit to the ancient world: all that separates the visitor from a rich and tumultuous Turkish past is an aqueous window.

THE BEST THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES

Brushing against Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, Kekova is a small island but one with major importance. Only 500m wide and 7.5 km long, the island is a place of outstanding environmental and architectural beauty. Kekova Island and the 260 km² surrounding region has been governmentally recognized as a Specially Protected Area since 1990. UNESCO also lists it as a candidate for World Heritage status.

Boasting blankets of wild thyme (from which the name “Kekova” meaning “plain of thyme” derives), the popular yachting “Kekova Roads”, beautiful terracotta rooftops, a wealth of waterfront restaurants and the striking fortress in Kaleköy village, the island is a picturesque retreat from the clamour and bustle of mainland Turkey.

The island is uninhabited, apart from the grazing mountain-goats, and, of course, the ghosts which lurk in the Sunken city to the north of the island.

A SUNKEN CITY?

The sunken city of Kekova is arguably a misnomer. The geological movements of the island have meant that half of the city is underwater and half above. Even the underwater ruins are not quite fully submerged, with public buildings and staircases partially protruding out of the water. What is more, Kekova is still sinking: the coasts have tectonically sub-sided at a minimum rate of 1.6 mm/yr over the last 1400 years. Even today, it is as if the island wants its visitors to feel its historical turbulence.

THE SUNKEN CITY: BEFORE IT SANK

The modern visitor to Kekova will see beautiful and mysterious underwater remains:red-green tiled mosaic, foundations of buildings, stone staircases and a few striking tombs.

Fast-backward around two and a half thousand years, this was all part of a thriving city. A city which went through repeated natural disasters, invasions and raids, before sinking into the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

The ancient town of Dolchiste in Kekova was politically and economically significant. During the Lycian civilisation, it formed part of the influential Lycian League: a pioneering democratic union, whose ideas actually came to influence the writing of the founding documents of modern democracy, such as the U.S. constitution. 

Economically, Kekova was considered part of a trading tetrapolis, with its sheltered and maritime location making it a strategic point on trade routes. Exports from the area included timber, wine and stone masonry, which fuelled the city’s prestige, prosperity and concomitant population density. Dolchiste in Kekova later came to serve as an important base for intensive shipbuilding and repair, and later as a Byzantine military base. Archaeologists have discovered shipwrecks dating from Archaic to Byzantine periods in the region, evidence that Kekova was a major economic port for several centuries.

However, Kekova’s location was also a drawback. Numerous destructive natural disasters occurred in this dangerously active zone. Ancient historical documents by writers such as Tacitus and Cassius reveal that:

  • Earthquakes destroyed the cities of Pergamum, Laodicea, and Collosse in A.D. 60
  • Major devastating tsunamis hit the region in A.D. 68. and A.D. 142
  • A particularly significant earthquake hit in A.D. 529, which forced mass exodus from the region.

This compounded with an outbreak of plague in A.D. 540 and bloody conflict between Arabs and Byzantines. Following an Arab naval victory against the Byzantines in A.D. 655, repeated Arab invasions began in the unprotected region: Kekova was pummelled away to become the partially underwater city it is today.

KEKOVA TODAY: WHERE TO LOOK

Downwards: When exploring the Sunken City, take your time.Whether you choose a glass-bottom boat or steer your own canoe, sail slowly so you can take in all the fascinating underwater remains.

Across the bay, to the east: A ring of olive trees crown an ancient Lycian necropolis with sarcophagi overlooking the Mediterranean. A beautiful tribute to the strong ancient Lycian civilisation.

Upwards: The nearby fishing village of Kaleköy boasts an imposing castle on the top of a hill, built by the Knights of Rhodes, partially upon ancient Lycian foundations. Inside the castle is the smallest amphitheatre of Lycia. Most of the ruins date from Byzantine times, while some come from the 4th century. 

To the south: Tersane: a calm and quiet bay where you can swim and snorkel, and watch the local elders fishing among the ancient ruins.

Young and old, history-enthusiasts and nature-lovers, the sporty and the more laid-back, Kekova and its sunken city truly provide a magical experience for every type of traveller.

Looking ahead: A visit to Kekova is incomplete without a souvenir. While diving into the ruins for pieces of mosaic is sadly out of the question, you can bring home the fragrance of your Kekovan experience. Large bags of the region’s famous dried thyme are available to purchase in Üçağiz and in Kaleköy.

kekova

FOOD

Exploring Kekova and its sunken city will give you a taste for the island. The next step: get a taste of the locality by exploring the delights of Kekovan gastronomy.

–     For lunch or dinner: Sample the vibrant cuisine of Kekova at a beautiful waterfront restaurant. Home-cooked seafood specialities, grills and Turkish mezze boards are some of the highlights not to be missed. Try Kordon restaurant and Hassan Restaurant for something more traditional, or Hold&Bite for a superlative burger.

–     For the best Turkish ice-cream: Visit one of the local ice-cream-parlours dotted around the island. Cafe Mola 1 offers luxurious goats-milk ice-cream in an array of delicious flavours, with Vegetarian, Vegan Options, Halal, and Gluten-Free Options.

HOW TO GET TO KEKOVA

In A.D. 1191, King Philip Augustus anchored at Kekova on return from the Third Crusade.

In 1817, famous inventor Francis Beaufort visited the island.

In 2017, 10.5 million tourists arrived in Antalya, the province including Kekova, making it the second most visited destination in Turkey after Istanbul.

Kekova’s popularity has rocketed. What hasn’tchanged is the means of getting to the island. Kekova and its sunken city are only accessible by boat, but there are plenty of options:

–   Take an official gulet tour. Tours arrive here on a regular basis from Kaş or Üçağiz (19km off the main Kas-Finike highway), with boats operating on a private hire as well as mixed group basis.

–   Rent a canoe-style boat and meander along the waters at your own pace.

–   Ask a local fisherman to take you. Contribute to the economic well-being of the local community and make your Kekovan experience even more unique and memorable.

DO I NEED TO BOOK BOATS AND BOAT TRIPS IN ADVANCE?

–    If you do decide on a guided Sunken City Ruins of Simena boat-trip, it is advisable to book ahead of time to secure your spot.

–    If you decide to hire your own canoe, booking is advisable during July and August, the peak tourist season.

WHERE TO STAY

If the charms of Kekova and its sunken city draw you to spend the night, you have a wealth of options to choose from. Family-run pensions, such as Baba Veli Pension and Kekova Fish House Pension, offer a high-quality and authentic residential experience. There are also several Airbnb’s available to hire.

Kaleüçağiz is more practically accessible, while Simena is arguably more picturesque, the choice of location is yours.

WHEN TO VISIT

Kekova and its sunken city is open all year round, from Sunday – Saturday from 09:00 – 21:00. Rarely falling below 15°C in winter and with hot and sunny summers, Kekova guarantees its visitors a warm welcome. For a more lively atmosphere, plan your trip during the tourist season: May to October.

Visiting out of season also has its charms. Most pensions and restaurants during these months will be open upon reservation. Enjoy the privilege of freshly prepared local delicacies and having the run of the whole site all to yourselves.

A UNIQUE VISIT

A visit to Kekova is uniqueWhere you stand one year will be subtly different the next, due to the ongoing and invisible tectonic shifts under your feet. With a balance of historical and geographical wonders, Kekova and its Sunken City are an unmissable experience. The island is a place where sinking sights never equal sinking spirits.

WHAT CAN KALKAN HOLIDAY PROPERTY DO FOR YOU?

At Kalkan Holiday Property, we can help you plan your visit to Kekova, from transport, boat trips, accommodation and restaurant recommendations. We will share our local knowledge and years of expertise with you, ensuring that your Kekovan experience is happy, memorable and tailored to you.

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact a member of our lovely friendly team on +44 776 588 7906, or drop us an email at bookings@kalkanholidayproperty.com.

The Best Kalkan Restaurants

When holidaying in Kalkan, it is an absolute must to sample a selection of the wide variety of cuisine the town has to offer. Famous for the largest density of restaurants across the entirety of Turkey, with over two hundred to choose from, Kalkan provides something for everyone, no matter your taste or budget! From traditional Turkish cuisine, mezes and fish restaurants on the marina to rooftop terrace fine-dining, you are simply spoilt for choice.   

Renowned for its rooftop dining culture, Kalkan radiates sophistication, timeless elegance and a style to rival that of France and Italy. Offering an abundance of dining experiences like no other,  Kalkan emanates a unique charm and postcard-worthy scenery that many return to experience year after year. 

The running theme throughout all Kalkan dining is that everything is made fresh. With an abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat, the food is cooked to perfection without the need for additives or preservatives. Even the takeaways are free from processed foods!

At Kalkan Holiday Property, we are passionate about Kalkan cuisine, so we’ve put together a list of our favourite, tried and tested Kalkan restaurants to help make your trip extra special.

CHAMELEON

Described by many as one of the best restaurants in Kalkan, Chameleon is famous for its Beef Wellington, cooked to perfection. A little bit more on the expensive side, but worth every penny, Chameleon boasts exquisite high-quality food and a service to match. This restaurant has a smaller menu than most in Kalkan but puts a great emphasis on the delivery of quality food, cooked to a professional standard. If you’re looking for a spot of lunch, a spectacular evening dining experience, or cocktails in the evening, in a chameleon-esque style, this restaurant changes to suit the needs of its customers.

TRIO

Offering both a cocktail bar and dining experience, Trio mixes the best of both effortlessly. With stunning views of the harbour and subtle notes of jazz, this restaurant is the ultimate place to chill out in style. Trio’s menu is very extensive and caters for all eating habits. The food is well-presented food and the service is first-class, without the extortionate price tag attached. If a mixture of Mediterranean and Asian food sounds like something you’d enjoy, then this is the place for you.

SALT AND PEPPER

Right in the heart of Kalkan’s Old Town, with spectacular, unobstructed views of the bay and surrounding mountainous scenery, Salt And Pepper offers diners an eating experience at any time of the day. The imaginative menu blends both traditional and fusion flavours with fresh, organic and homegrown ingredients, sourced straight from the family farm. Why not sample a selection of the expertly-crafted signature cocktails, exclusive to the restaurant?

If wine is your poison of choice, then you are in luck! Salt And Pepper specialises in wine, with an extensive range on offer from the Kayra winery, one of the oldest and largest wineries in Turkey. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or even an evening nightcap, Salt And Pepper has it all.

LIKYA HOTEL

If you’re looking for a fine dining experience at a beautiful boutique hotel without the pretentious outset, then you’ve come to the right place! The Likya Hotel offers diners an elegant, beautiful and relaxing atmosphere with spectacular views of the gardens below and the bay. The head chef, Yilmaz, is always mixing things up, creating inspiring and flavourful dishes that leave you wanting more. Large portions, exceptional cooking and spectacular presentation, what more could you want?

GOURMET

Boasting one of Kalkan’s highest roof-top terrace restaurants and with two terraces to choose from, Gourmet oozes a romantic atmosphere that simply cannot be beaten. The presentation and quality of food is outstanding and the service is second to none with the staff being extremely attentive. If you’re a steak lover, Gourmet’s steaks are cooked to perfection, on a slate stove, right at the table! Looking for a fine dining experience? Gourmet is the answer.

AUBERGINE

Widely regarded as one of the finest Kalkan restaurants, Aubergine offers a number of meat, fish, vegetarian and vegan options, providing an inclusive menu to suit all lifestyles. 

Fresh fish is caught and cooked on a daily basis and only the finest quality, locally produced, organic fruit and vegetables are used in their cooking. The head chef combines his extensive knowledge of both French and Italian dining with traditional Turkish cooking to create a mixed Mediterranean and Anatolian-inspired menu. Why not try the house dish that inspired the restaurant’s name, Imam Bayıldı?

If you’re wanting to visit the dilapidated town of Kayakoy, this is approximately a 1hr 20 minute hour drive from Kalkan.

SADE

At Sade, it’s all about the food. Whilst other restaurants rely on first-class service and spectacular views, the dishes at Sade speak for themselves. Well known for its steakhouse quality steaks, this rustic restaurant offers a wide selection of quality dishes far beyond their main offering. Why not get hands-on with the surf and turf? The passion that goes into this restaurant’s cooking is unparalleled. 

Diners can enjoy excellent sea views, fantastic value for money, beautiful food and staff who go above and beyond to ensure their customers are well taken care of, what’s not to love? We think it’s pretty hard to beat!

MUSSAKKA

We’ll give you one guess what the house special is! A little more on the pricey side, but still reasonable in terms of the quality received, this pink themed restaurant offers a brilliant service and a wide variety of dishes, not to mention an instagram-worthy, chic atmosphere! Complete with an elegant cocktail bar that could have been plucked straight from the heart of London, it’s easy to see why this restaurant is the place to be! Due to its popularity, we would recommend booking Mussakka in advance.

It’s also great to mention that if you’re holidaying with children, the children’s menu is brilliant for choice!

KALAMAKI

Best known for hosting the King of Hell’s Kitchen that is Gordon Ramsey, Kalamaki is a must-visit restaurant, especially if you’re looking to sample some traditional Turkish food. This pub/restaurant not only specialises in authentic Turkish food but also dabbles in a fusion of Turkish dishes with a European twist. 

A sophisticated restaurant renowned for its quality, presentation, finishing touches and reputation, Kalamaki is the perfect choice for a romantic evening.

KORSAN MEZE

One of Kalkan’s first restaurants, Korsan Meze holds a warm place in the heart of the local residents. With stunning Harbour-front views, the restaurant is well known for its excellent fish dishes, its popular atmosphere and offers tourists great value for money where quality is concerned. This restaurant is also regarded for its delicious fresh vegetarian meze (akin to tapas) to be enjoyed either on the street-side terrace or open-air rooftop. 

Going the extra mile for its customers, Korsan provides a delivery service direct to your door, meaning you can enjoy restaurant-quality food at any time of the day from the comfort of your holiday villa. Why not enjoy a cold crisp glass of their homemade lemonade, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, a bottle of fabulously flavourful Turkish wine from their vault?

WHAT CAN KALKAN HOLIDAY PROPERTY DO FOR YOU?

We understand how important it is to support local business and the team at Kalkan Holiday Property are very passionate about what Kalkan has to offer our clients. When holidaying in one of our properties, our concierge services allow you to enjoy your holiday to the fullest. If you are looking to book a specific cuisine or fancy sampling a number of the best restaurants in Kalkan mentioned above, a member of our friendly team will be more than happy to organise your reservations. 

To include a tour of the cuisine that Kalkan has to offer in your initial booking, please get in touch.  Don’t forget to tag us at @kalkan.holidayproperty next time you visit and snap a foodie picture at one of these splendid eateries!

What Are The Best Beaches In Turkey?

Turkish beaches are known for their beauty and are arguably some of the most spectacular beaches in the Mediterranean, with the clearest of turquoise waters and either sparkling white sand or beautifully polished white pebbles.

With a rich ancient history and unrivalled scenery, it’s not surprising that Turkey is a sought after holiday destination and those who visit return time and time again. 

At Kalkan Holiday Property, we’re passionate about everything Turkish, so we have prepared this handy guide to the best beaches in Turkey.

KALKAN BEACHES

Kalkan boasts a number of the best beaches in Turkey, often ranked in the top ten beaches in the whole country.

PATARA BEACH

One of Kalkan’s most well-known beaches is Patara Beach, famous for its length stretching over 11 miles, the longest in the entirety of Turkey, and one of the breeding grounds of the Loggerhead turtle. 
Not only is Patara part of a national park brimming with exotic birds, but it also boasts fantastic ancient Lycian ruins, once an important city within the Roman Empire, including houses of parliament, bath houses, temples and a grand amphitheatre. Archaeologists from Antalya University have pumped millions into the reconstruction of these beautiful buildings, and they are definitely a must see. Patara Beach was also dubbed as ‘One of The Best Beaches in Europe’ by The Sunday Times.

KAPUTAS BEACH

Only accessible by a series of 200 or so steps set into the rock, Kaputas Beach is a spectacular picturesque cove. Set in the protected area of the ‘Five Wonders of Antalya Conservation Project’, the cove is home to a species of endangered plant called the Kaputas Inula, which is found only on Kaputas Beach! 

Slap on your sunscreen and prepare to get your tan on, because this beach is completely protected from the wind. It’s also a popular mooring point for Gulet day cruise guests to anchor down and take a dip in the crystal waters. In recent years, the facilities have vastly improved with free use of the showers, toilets and changing as well as a small cafe that is renowned for its pancakes!

kaputas

KALKAN BEACH

A beach popular with the locals, Kalkan beach is covered in small white pebbles and incredibly clear and calm water perfect for snorkeling and swimming. It also boasts one of Kalkan’s blue flags for cleanliness, offering tourists great facilities including toilets, changing and a number of beachfront restaurants, shops and cafes, to relax and enjoy the sun. Enjoy fabulous views and watch the yachts and gulets meandering lazily to and from the harbour.

kalkan beach

TOP 3 TURKISH BEACHES OUTSIDE OF KALKAN

IZTUZU BEACH

Also known as Turtle Beach, home to the endangered Caretta Caretta sea turtle and complete with a specialist turtle sanctuary, Iztuzu Beach is about 4km long and surrounded by stunning mountainous scenery. Conservationists ensured this beautiful stretch of beach was uninhabited to protect the nesting place of these gentle creatures. This beach is only accessible during the day from the months of May to September and the nest sites are protected by a line of wooden stakes, indicating a no access area. 

If you look carefully, you may spot the Lycian Kings Tombs from the 4th century BC, carved into the rock formations above. Why not visit the natural mud and sulphur baths whilst you’re there? They are said to be healing, kind to your skin and can promote youthfulness.

If you’re planning to make a trip to Turkey’s famous Turtle Beach, this is approximately a 3 hour drive from Kalkan. 

turtle beach

OLUDENIZ – THE BLUE LAGOON

The Blue Lagoon is one of the most peaceful beaches in Turkey, famous for its varying shades of turquoise waters. As a protected national park with limited access for boats, paddle boards and canoes are the main mode of transport here. The waters are shallow, making it a safe relaxation location for families with small children. A tourist hotspot without the rowdiness of bars and nightclubs, The Blue Lagoon is truly a Turkish paradise. If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, Sugar Beach is private with it’s own restaurant, bar and bungalows for an overnight stay.

If you’re a thrill seeker that wants to make the most of the scenery, paragliding is the perfect activity for you. For those who love nature, the must-see remote nature reserve of ‘Butterfly Valley’ is tucked peacefully away, accessible by coach or a boat ride. If you’re one for culture and history, the Ghost Town of Kayakoy boasts beautiful but derelict homes, shops, churches and other infrastructure, after being abandoned in 1923 during a population exchange between Greece and Turkey. 

If you’re wanting to visit the dilapidated town of Kayakoy, this is approximately a 1hr 20 minute hour drive from Kalkan.

blue lagoon

ICMELER BEACH

Previously a fishing village, Icmeler Beach is now a popular spot for holidaymakers with views of the pine forest mountains, offering a number of water sporting activities from scuba diving and fishing, to water skiing and banana boating, there’s something for everyone. Hire a pedalo or a powerboat, the options are endless! Travelers can also benefit from a number of restaurants and beach bars. 

If you’re looking for something more than just relaxing on the beach, there are plenty of exciting activities to get that adrenaline rush. Choose from mountain and quad biking, hiking and even horse riding!

icmeler beach

WHAT CAN KALKAN HOLIDAY PROPERTY DO FOR YOU?

Looking to be inspired and plan your next amazing holiday to Turkey? At Kalkan Holiday Property, our specialist operators can provide you with dedicated itineraries based on your requirements and provide you with a number of recommendations for activities, eateries and unmissable experiences in Kalkan.

For more information, please get in touch with a member of our team.