The majority of our exploring of this Aegean coast line is based from Kalkan, Turkey. We have kindly been lent Tom’s family apartment for ten days and based on the hill side, I look forward to waking to the hot summer sun, turquoise sea and the biggest bowel of peaches I’ve ever seen!
The town has grown up considerably since 1953 from a calm fishing village to the tourist centre that is now Kalkan. Until 1923 and the forced exchange between Turkey and Greece, Kalkan had a largely Greek population and you can still see the influence in the town’s architecture. Whitewashed houses sprawling with bougainvillea flowers line the town’s narrow streets. The Orthodox church is now used as a mosque, and the call to prayer floats across the bay. It is believed that Kalkan was originally settled by the merchants who came from the nearby Greek island of Megistis about 150 years ago.
Since the nineties a concerted effort has been made to attract tourism to the region and the British have been returning year on year. In a local survey commissioned by Turkish News, 96 per cent of visitors to Kalkan came from the UK and with 300 days of sunshine a year, you can understand the popularity. However, unlike Fethiye, Kalkan has retained it’s Turkish charm. Local craft makers and kuafors (barbers) mix alongside brilliant knock-off-shops with well-made genuine fakes. Tom enjoyed putting his feet up whilst the deftly skilled kuafor took a cut throat razor to his jawline. We spent most of our time wandering the narrow streets and popping into Cafe Del Mar, a small establishment with walls lined with arabic coffee paraphenalia, for a iced Frappe and a piece of baklava.
A considerable number rooftop terrace restaurants boast excellent views over the sheltered harbour and each serves a mixture of the best Turkish cuisine – if you are to believe every slick, olive skinned doorman that greets you with ‘Hey lovely couple…’ It is said that Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian from the 5th Century, once referred to Kalkan as ‘the place nearest the stars’, sitting on Salt and Pepper’s terrace overlooking the marina, you could certainly believe it.
Get the Knack
If you’re man fancies being pampered, Tom recommends the kuafors on the main high street by the taxi rank.
Cafe Del Mar, on the main street heading down to the seafront, serves a wicked frappe by day and turns into a great cocktail bar at night.