Kalkan is situated within a region of Turkey that’s steeped in ancient history. As a result, there are many places of historical interest (as well as areas of natural beauty), that are within easy reach and are well worth a visit. You can visit these places independently, or book an organised excursion. Here are just a few examples of interesting places to visit in the vicinity:
The more bohemian town of Kasis a 30-40 minute drive away from Kalkan. En-route, the stunning coastal road snakes its way along the edge of a rocky coastline providing truly spectacular views out to sea. Kas itself is situated in a sweeping curved bay (the name ‘Kas’ translates as ‘curved’). It was first mentioned in Lycian times as ‘Antiphellos’ and the modern town is built on the ancient site with the ruins of Antiphellos still scattered around the town. Wandering around the winding streets, you may stumble across the ancient sarcophagus – a symbol of this ancient Lycian city. Out of town, 500 metres along from the harbour on the Hastane Caddesi Road, sits a small well-preserved Hellenistic amphitheatre. Situated behind the amphitheatre on the top of a hill is a Doric tomb. At the time of writing, an impressive new marina is being constructed at Kas and once completed, it will be well worth a visit.
Although Fethiye is a resort town, it has managed to avoid intense commercialism, retaining a recognisably Turkish character. It has a quayside that bustles with activity each morning with boat trips to nearby beaches and islands. It also has plenty of restaurants, hotels, lively bars and a Turkish Bath. The lovely golden sandy beaches of Ölüdeniz and Çaliş are nearby. One highlight is the fish market, where you can buy your fish and get it cooked at one the adjacent restaurants. You’ll be treated to a selection of salads and fabulous Turkish bread to go with your freshly cooked fish - just don’t forget to ask for a bottle of wine! Fethiye is about 80km northwest of Kalkan, about 1 hour by car along the N-400.
Many of the villages around Kalkan remain untouched by tourism and their way of life has remained unchanged for centuries. Berzigan village is approximately 17km inland and has several Lycian rock tombs to explore. The area is a haven of plenty and oxen still plough the rough terrain. Islamlar village is situated in a cool, green valley next to Kalkan. The village itself has a rambling collection of old houses, a beautiful mosque and an original water-powered flour mill. It’s also famous for its trout farms and restaurants (typical food on offer consists of freshly prepared local meze, fried goats cheese, local trout and fresh fruit – delicious!).
Saklikent Gorge is home to the rushing torrent of the Xanthos River which has carved itself deep into the rock and created a 100m long canyon, 4km of which is walkable after April, once the snow from the Taurus Mountains has melted and passed through the gorge on its way to the Xanthos.
The gorge is a 35km drive from Kalkan and with an expert guide and a ropeway, it is quite safe to enter it (if you don't mind getting wet). The best time to visit is during the summer season. Sturdy footwear is essential and the water is icy cold. Very refreshing on a scorching hot day!
Just outside the gorge are a selection of riverside restaurants at which you can enjoy a relaxed Turkish-style lunch in the shade.
Letoon was an important religious centre for the Lycian people and has remains of temples to Leto and her children, Artemis and Apollo. Legend has it that Leto was persecuted by a jealous Hera, the wife of Zeus, when he fell in love with her and Leto found sanctuary here.
Until 1962, there was little to be seen here other than a theatre, but since then, French archeologists have uncovered Leto's sanctuary and adjoining buildings, some of which are under the water-table.
A boat trip to Kekova could be the highlight of your stay in the Lycian region. Usually reached by boat from Kalkan or Kas, this little bit of the coast is full of surprises and history. A typical trip will take in the village of Simena (Kale) which can only be reached by boat. The island of Kekova will probably be your next stop. Again you'll see the remains of buildings and walls beneath your boat, and, depending on the knowledge of your guide, various antiquities will be pointed out to you. You'll no doubt stop a couple of times for swimming and snorkelling.
En-route to the magnificent beach, you cannot fail to note the ancient ruins of Patara.
These include an amphitheatre, a triple-arched triumphal gate, a cemetery (or necropolis) filled with Lycian tombs and a public bath. Two thousand years ago, Patara was the largest and most important sea port of the Lycian region and it's also the birthplace of St Nicholas!
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