This summer we ventured to Turkey for the first time, and spent two salty weeks exploring a portion of the Turkish Mediterranean coast. I didn’t know what to expect; I’d heard whispers of it being described as the Turkish Riviera; and, much like the south of France, Turkey’s ‘Riviera’ exceeded all expectations.
We spent the first week on a small yacht exploring the coast with MedSailors (more on that soon). During this week we spent a night moored up in Kalkan – a quaint little beach town – and I totally fell for the place. So, after getting off the yacht (and spending an afternoon in a Turkish hospital – don’t travel with a broken collar bone, it sucks) we headed back to Kalkan (armed with several pairs of Ace & Tate sunglasses) for a full week of read, swim, eat and repeat.
Given the more ‘obvious’ European summer beach destinations, I appreciate that Kalkan may not currently be at the top of your list. But given it’s idyllic turquoise waters, quaint cobbled streets and a location just remote enough to whittle down the crowds, it may just be the perfect place for a holiday when all you want to do is relax.
How to get there: We flew directly from London to Dalaman airport and then booked a car with a local driver. The two hour drive was about £50.
When to go: Turkey gets super hot by mid-June (around 40 degrees) so either May/early June or September is your best bet. We went during Ramadan (by chance) which was perfect as local tourism is generally pretty quiet during this time.
Where to stay: staying true to our usual last minute style, we booked Fidanka Hotel one night in advance after seeing it on Instagram. Hot tip – if you’re every unsure about a hotel, stalk it’s geo-tag on Instagram. I wouldn’t advise booking last minute (unfortunately that’s often how we end up traveling) but in this instance we got a last minute deal which made it super affordable/a total bargain.
Created and run by a Turkish family, Fidanka is a quiet, leafy oasis with beautiful wooden cabins and immaculate views. The also serve cake and chocolate crepes at the breakfast buffet – so naturally I would emphatically recommend.
Where to eat: I’m not going to lie: vegetarian Turkish food is pretty slim pickings along the Mediterranean coast. You’d think there would be more falafel than you could eat, but I only found it on the menu twice in two weeks.
Belgin’s Kitchen offers traditional food in a casual rooftop setting which makes for a fun place to hang out. Sea views, excessive cushions and bougainvillea; you can’t go wrong.
Small House is another local spot with casual vibes (and prices) and fresh seafood. Nothing fancy, just good honest Turkish food.
Conveniently for us, Fidanka Restaurant ended up being where we found the best food in Turkey. Flavoursome, generous portions and always fresh; I would recommend coming for dinner regardless of whether you’re staying here.
For the best beaches: if you follow me on Snapchat (find me at ‘wethpeoplefsn’) you will have noticed there was no shortage of translucent, sparkling waters to leap into (or in my case with a broken collar bone, slowly lower myself into).
Kapatus Beach is famous for it’s postcard worthy rocky cliffs and milky waters. It’s a sight for sore eyes, although it’s also a super windy spot so it pays to head there first thing and leave around lunch before the wind picks up. You’ll need to pay for a lounger and umbrella if you want one, and remember to take your own supplies (namely water) as there are no facilities here.
Mahal Beach Club is a private beach (which is less of a beach and more of a rocky edge along the water) connected to a hotel, so you need to pay for loungers etc. Worth every penny as this spot is super serene. The food at the restaurant is also delicious and a nice change of pace from the other restaurants around – although portions are small and prices a little higher than usual.
With it’s free loungers and pebbled beach front Kalkan Beach is a more casual affair. I loved this spot for it’s warm water and rugged appeal.
Created in collaboration with Ace & Tate