A few years ago we went for a mini-break to Gümbet in Bodrum. Bodrum I really liked, but Gümbet honestly I found awful. It just seemed dirty, the beach was tiny and cramped full of sunbeds, bar street was full of booming music with men dancing on bars and bars only letting women in… it was just weird and definitely not our thing at all, but it must appeal to someone! However, Gümbet does look really pretty with its whitewashed buildings, something that is seen everywhere in Bodrum, reflecting its Greek influence. The photo above was taken from the hotel we stayed in – palm trees, beautiful blue sea, boats, green hills and white washed buildings. Despite not liking the area ourselves, we did still find it beautiful by day.. it’s just at nighttime it became a little too wild for us. That’s part of the beauty of Turkey – something for everyone’s taste!
Kalkan is a beautiful former fishing town about 1-1.5 hours drive from Fethiye. Its inhabitants were mainly Greek until the 1920’s. It is now a popular tourist resort but the focus is still very much the stunning harbour and sea views, with hundreds of roof top restaurants providing the perfect dinner spot. It is very hilly, with steep slopes and cobbled streets and the lovingly known ‘cardiac hill’ – we have walked it a few times, its easy to see where it gets its name! There is a small beach and the lighthouse and breakwater give great views around the bay and back over the town itself. I haven’t visited for a few years but it was always much more classy than other resorts, we all know how much I love Fethiye and Calis, but Kalkan is just a little more upmarket, but the restaurant menu prices definitely reflect that. There aren’t many hotels, most of the accommodation in the area is in the form of apartments and villas, some of which are high up and have beautiful infinity pools looking over the bay. Boutique stores and lots of bougainvillea line the old town centre… It’s also quite popular with celebrities!
A few days ago we hired a car and went off exploring once again – this time following the D400 road that stretches the length of the southern coast of Turkey, to Kalkan, Kaputaş and Kaş.
I’ve been to Kalkan before on holiday long before I met Berkay and we’d been for a day trip together, but never driven, and driving is definitely all part of the fun because the views from the road are stunning.
It took just over an hour to reach Kalkan, we pulled over at the side of the mountain side road overlooking the bay to admire the view, honestly photographs do not do it justice, it’s breathtaking – I bet watching the sunset would be beautiful from there.
We then drove down to Kalkan in the hope of getting some lunch. It was only 11.30am, so we went for a walk around town first. It really is pretty – lots of little backstreets, boutique shops and restaurants with rooftop terraces overlooking the sea. The only problem is it is a town on a mountain side, so walking down to the sea and harbour area means walking down very steep and very slippery stones and pavements. When we got to the bottom we headed towards the town’s tiny beach, although we didn’t actually go for a swim it did look very inviting. The whole of Kalkan is sheltered from wind as it’s a bay, which means the water is clear, calm and very beautiful.
We walked along past the VERY expensive restaurants over looking the harbour (31-39tl for a pizza!) and to the otherside, along the breakwater towards the lighthouse. There were people doing watersports, swimming and snorkelling on the sea side, and on the harbour side although all the boats were out on their day trips and it looked very empty, the view of the town going up the mountain side was lovely.
Kalkan is a much classier, upmarket resort than others. There are no cheap hotels, you won’t find a ’50p English breakfast’ and there aren’t many loud bars. There are very few hotels at all, the town consists mainly of apartments and villas with sea views. The atmosphere is very different to other resorts I’ve been to, it’s a quaint town perfect for couples, it’s definitely not a party place, nor is there much entertainment for small children. There are many small restaurants with rooftop terraces overlooking the sea, perfect for sitting and watching the sunset over dinner with a glass of wine or two! The beautiful views and more upmarket feel comes at a price, everything is more expensive here. We looked at a few menus and found prices were significantly more expensive than we’re used to, I joked that if we lived here, we’d be stick thin as we’d never be able to afford to eat and the steep uphill roads would be brilliant exercise!
When it was time to head back up to the car, which was parked at the top of a very steep hill, we definitely chose the wrong way up. Instead of choosing the shady, steep but relatively easy walk up through the backstreets the way we came, we walked up a big, ridiculously steep road next to ‘Foto’s Pizza’. I wish I’d taken a photo of how steep it was… we underestimated it, and the midday sun along with the fact we had no water with us and had not eaten a single thing all morning made it so much harder, we suddenly realised how unfit we are!
We stopped at a little Migros on the way out of the town, as we decided it was too expensive to eat anything in Kalkan and we were starving! Refreshed and fed with mini chocolate croissants, we blasted out the aircon in the car and drove back to the main road high up in the mountain side heading towards Kaş. This stretch of road is beautiful but a little scary! The views are stunning, blue sea, islands in the distance, waves crashing on the rocks below… We drove for around 20 minutes and then saw the sign for Kaputaş beach. I’ve been a few times before but never seen it so busy, there were so many cars parked on the edge of the road that it was difficult to pass through, we had to park a good few minutes walk away from the entrance as there were just too many cars!
I guess Kaputaş is very popular with local people, rather than tourists. It’s kind of a hidden gem, at the bottom of a mountain gorge. When we parked up we climbed over the crash barriers on the mountain edge and admired the view, the sea is SO blue, these photos are an accurate representation of just how turquoise the water is.
The only way to access the beach is either by boat or by walking down ALOT of steps – in fact Berkay counted 191 in total. Going down the steps isn’t so bad – climbing back up nearly 200 steps to back to your car afterwards is the hard part! When you’re at the bottom you can see the bridge that joins the mountain side together, with Kaputaş canyon behind. I believe you can access the canyon by walking towards the back of the beach, but we’ve never tried.
I’m not sure if we picked a particularly busy day, but the beach was full! I could understand if it were a Sunday when lots of locals have the day off, but it was only Friday! The beach is free, but there’s not many facilities. There was an old man at the top of the steps selling fruit, and a stall at the bottom where they were selling traditional Turkish pancakes – I’m not sure if this is a new thing as I’d never noticed it before. There were also umbrellas and sun-cushions to rent, but no sunbeds. There were 4 small cubicles to change clothes in, and a hose pipe on the floor behind some bushes which people seemed to be using as a shower. There were also 2 toilet cubicles (which I didn’t even notice until we were back at the top of the steps looking down) but I’m puzzled at how anyone is supposed to access them as they were higher up on some rocks, blocked off by bushes, plants, pipes and more rocks… quite comical really!
We went for a swim in the sea, but it was very wavy as it’s not sheltered at all – just open water. We could hear people screaming everytime a large wave approached, and they were pretty powerful too, definitely not a place for non-confident swimmers to float and relax. It was beautiful nonetheless, the clean turquoise water is much nicer than the murky looking water here in Calis.
We stayed at the beach for around an hour then got back in the car and carried on driving to Kaş. Neither of us had ever been there before so we didn’t really know what to expect to where to go! We ended up parking in the main town which reminded me a lot of Fethiye actually, just a smaller version. We found a cheap-ish (but still more expensive than good old Fethiye!) Turkish lokanta and got some lunch. Berkay had rice and beans and I had some kind of mixed dish with potatoes, green beans, tomatoes and aubergine all cooked together in a tomato sauce – it was lovely.
We didn’t do as much exploring as I hoped, we really didn’t know where we were going! We wandered to the small harbour area and down a few back streets where there were lots of small boutiques, jewellery shops and more traditional shops selling carpets and rugs. One shop name in particular stood out, ‘Kaş and carry’. (Kaş is pronounced ‘Kash’). When walking around different towns and cities in Turkey one thing I love to do is spot the statues of Ataturk – the founder of the Republic of Turkey as we know it. There are statues of him in every single town in the country, something I find really impressive. Can you imagine having a statue of the same person in every single town in the UK? You’ve got to love their pride. I love seeing Turkish flags flying high everywhere too.
Berkay was tired as he’d been working all night and hadn’t slept all day, and he’d had enough of walking around in the heat, so at around 3.30pm we got back in the car and started the journey back to Fethiye. The views from the road are just stunning, photos don’t do it justice at all. The gorgeous blue sea, the waves, the boats sailing, the view across to several islands, including the Greek Meis… The only part which is a little frustrating is getting stuck behind tractors or big trucks carrying concrete etc, especially when you’re driving up steep sections of mountain side road – I felt as if if we were going any slower we’d end up going backwards – literally!
We arrived back in Calis at around 5pm and after a quick stop at home to get BBQ supplies we jumped back in the car and drove to Fethiye. There are so many lovely bays around there to stop and have a swim and a picnic, but one of my favourites is Aksazlar Koyu – it’s not ideal for swimming as it’s relatively close to the dock yard and all the boats mean the water is not the cleanest, however, for BBQ picnics, it’s brilliant. Pine trees cover the whole area so it’s always shady, it’s often empty and there are picnic tables which means we can bypass the typical Turkish method of eating a BBQ – sitting on a rug on the floor. The only thing I’m not a fan of is the bees – lots appear when they sense the food, but luckily we were there later in the evening this time and as it started to cool down there were hardly any at all.
Apart from realising we’d forgotten the plates and Berkay having to speed off in the car to borrow some from a local shop while leaving me in charge of the BBQ (which meant everything took twice as long) we had a lovely time and a lovely dinner.
By the time we had finished it was nearly 8.30pm, the sun had gone down and it was getting dark. Berkay had arranged to go into work an hour later than normal at 9pm as he was owed some time, so we made the most of being together out of daylight hours and drove up to the ‘hill of the lovers’ (Asiklar Tepesi) to get a better look at Fethiye. I never see Fethiye at night, the last time I did was on my last night here last September before heading to the airport (how was that nearly a year ago?!) as Berkay is always working, so I’d forgotten how beautiful it looks. Once again, my photos don’t do it justice. We also took the scenic route home past the town centre fountains, I’d not seen them lit up since last September either, unfortunately I couldn’t get any photos as I only had a glimpse through the car window, but it was nice nonetheless!
As you can tell, we had another busy day. I’m so glad Berkay got his driving liscene so we’ve been able to hire cars and drive to places we’d never normally go to. Although it’s using money we don’t really have to spend, it’s worth it.
There’s a short video of clips of our day over on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/livingtheturkishdream 🙂