Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-1.jpg

Kalkan – Turkey – Information


MAY 2019:


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OVERVIEW:

PLEASE NOTE: The currency in Turkey is the New Turkish Lira (I will refer to them as T$s). At the time of writing, US$1 = T$6.

I was making my way from Antalya up the Mediterranean Coast to Istanbul. I didn’t know my exact itinerary, but I had done my research and summarised it on Google Maps:Turkey Targets Map

  • Yellow Stars were places that I booked in advance (because I could get great advanced booking discounts of up to 50% in May)
  • Blue Flags were Historical Sites and other places of interest
  • Red Hearts were towns & villages that were said to be beautiful and worth visiting
  • Green Flags were places that I definitely wanted to get to

My brother (Paul) and I had just finished a 4 night Historical Sites Trip (from Izmir to Antalya).Ephesus-24.jpg

We, then, met up with my sister (Diane) and brother-in-law (Jeff) in Antalya.

Our first stop was a 4 bedroom villa in Kalkan …


GETTING THERE:

We still had our rental car so we arrived at Antalya International Airport and parked up in the car park at 6pm. Within 30 minutes we were on our way. We paid T$12.50 to exit the car park and hit the road. We used Google Map directions to find the best route to Kalkan:Antalya to Kalkan Route Map

We were not directed down the coast road (as expected).

SUGGESTION: If you are driving during the day, take the coast road. The coast road takes about 30 minutes longer but it is much more scenic.

We arrived in Kalkan Town centre just after 10pm to meet up with our villa owner. We followed him up the hills to Islamlar and our property (which was located near the ‘Village Cafe & Restaurant’). We arrived at about 10:30pm.Kalkan Area Map

We quickly settled in but it was too late … all of the local restaurants were closed. Dinner that night was Marmite on toast 🙂


ABOUT:

Kalkan is a small seaside town and major tourist destination located about 25km west of Kas and 70km South East of Fethiye / Oludeniz. It is the only safe harbour between Kas and Fethiye.

The area includes many sites of interest such as the ruins of Tlos, Xanthos, Myra, and Pinara as well as natural sites like Kekova Island, Patara Beach and the Saklikent Gorge.

Kalkan is built on a steep slope from the sea up 600 metres (and more) into the surrounding back-hills.Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-1.jpg

Until 1920 the majority of it’s inhabitants were of Greek origin. In 1923, the Greco-Turkish war resulted in most Greeks relocating to Attica.

Less than 10 years ago the British dominated tourism in Kalkan. Nowadays it is the Russians.


PHOTO GALLERY:

The streets around the historical centre are nice but nothing special. The main street leading down to the historical centre is well kept:Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-14.jpg

Our walk starts in the historical centre streets which are riddled with tourist shops … many of which sell designer ‘knock-offs’ at cheap prices. Paul bought a ‘Cartier’ watch for GBP125 and 3 ‘Designer’ T-Shirts for GBP20.Kalkan-Old-Town-Street-2.jpg Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-6.jpg Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-7.jpg Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-8.jpg Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-9.jpgKalkan-Old-Town-Walk-10.jpg

Many of these streets are riddled with cafes and restaurants … as you approach the harbour, the prices can DOUBLE. Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-11.jpgKalkan-Old-Town-Street-1.jpg Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-12.jpg Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-13.jpg

The harbour area is the most touristic.Kalkan-Old-Town-Harbour-1.jpg Kalkan-Old-Town-Harbour-2.jpg Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-2.jpg Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-3.jpg Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-4.jpg Kalkan-Old-Town-Walk-5.jpg

All-in-all, a pleasant town.


ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS:

This is what you can expect online 1 week before your arrival.

BOOKING.COM:

PLEASE NOTE: Booking.com did not work in Turkey whilst we were there.

HOTELS.COM:

I suggest that you use HOTELS in Turkey … they consistently offer the best prices, selection, and discounts.Kalkan Hotels.JPG

PLEASE NOTE: HOTELS usually displays prices INCLUSIVE of TAXES.

HOLIDAY RENTALS:Kalkan AirBnB.JPGKalkan Homeaway

PLEASE NOTE: Holiday rentals usually work out cheaper per night but you, usually, need to rent for 1 week or more. Other sites (such as FlipKey and VRBO are also worth a look).

IN SUMMARY:

GRANDPAckers cannot afford to come to Kalkan in Peak Season: June to September. You will have to come in Shoulder Season (May or October). For the best discounts / prices, book at least 2+ months in advance

PLEASE NOTE: When we started looking in February 2019 for dates in May 2019 we could get a 3 bedroom private villa close to town centre for 5 people for under US$500 / week. This included a private pool. BUT, these properties disappeared FAST! This would have been under US$15 each per night.


OUR ACCOMMODATION:

There were 5 of us and we wanted a 3+ Bedroom Villa with 3 Double beds and a private pool. We booked too late. All of the good ones and the ones in town had already been booked.

However, we were lucky and had our own car so we were able to book a villa up in the hills in Islamlar village. We paid US$558 for 7 nights. We booked through HOMEAWAY.

It was a nice villa and had everything that we needed including a private pool, cable TV, and good wifi.

The village was nice and we had 5 local restaurants at good prices. All with pleasant views:Islamlar - Village Restaurant - 2.jpg

PLEASE NOTE: I do not recommend this for other people. The drive up from Kalkan was very steep and you could rarely get out of 2nd gear. The driveway to the villa was a steep dirt track and we had to be very careful not to bottom-out the car on rocks.


WHERE TO STAY:

If you DO NOT have your own transport, I strongly suggest that you stay in Kalkan Town:Kalkan Where To Stay Map

Target the Green Shaded area. If you don’t mind walking include the Orange Shaded area.

If you have your own transport, you can look wider afield but personally, if I went again, I would still stay in town.


ACCOMMODATION SEARCH:

Have a look yourself:


Booking.com






EAT & DRINK:

There is a Migros Supermarket in town which means that you can keep costs down by eating and drinking back at your villa.

EAT:

We had Breakfast and Lunch back at our villa and went out for Dinner most nights. We didn’t want to drive home up the steep hills at night, so ate in the restaurants around Islamlar.

Islamlar has its own Trout Farm, so all of the local restaurants offer cheap trout meals varying in price from T$20 for Pan Fried to T$40 for something ‘exotic’.

The local restaurants were all much of a muchness. Our favourite restaurant was the Village Cafe & Restaurant which tended to have the best prices.Islamlar - Village Restaurant - 1.jpg

A typical selection of meals for 5 people with 1-2 500ml local beers each averaged T$275 (T$55 per person).Islamlar-Village-Restaurant-3.jpg

It is ‘normal’ to leave a 10% tip on top of that.

DRINK:

A local 500ml beer in a supermarket costs T$10. T$13 for something more ’boutique’.

You will get the same T$10 beer in the cheapest restaurants for T$15 but expect to usually pay T$20. Down in Kalkan harbour expect to pay T$25-30 for the same.

IN SUMMARY:

Expect to pay an average of T$30 for a cheap local Breakfast with tea / coffee.

Expect to pay an average of T$35 for a cheap Lunch with fruit drink.

Expect to pay an average of T$50 for a cheap Dinner with a Fruit Juice / Small Beer.


TRANSPORT:

You can walk everywhere around town.

I don’t know taxi prices, sorry.

A local bus to Kas should cost about T$7.


BANKS / ATMs / MONEY:

You can pay in Euros almost everywhere. Some places take GBP. A few take US$s. For the best prices, pay in T$s.

You will find several Banks & ATMs in town. There is no Bureau De Change but many of the shops offer ‘Money Exchange’ at varying rates. Many places take Credit Cards.


INTERNET / WIFI:

Your accommodation should provide good wifi. You will, also, find free wifi in almost all of the restaurants and bars.

TURKCELL:

Back in Selcuk, I bought a new TurkCell SIMcard for T$100 and a 1 month Promotional Package for T$25. The latter came with 2GB of Facebook / Twitter data, 3GB of Internet data, 300 minutes of talk time, and 200 free SMSs.

I could re-buy this package for T$35 as and when needed.


WHAT TO DO:

You can get to all of the, following, places on organised tours. I don’t know the prices, sorry.

We took advantage of our rental car …

SAKLIKENT GORGE:

Saklikent was a 45 minute drive from our villa.Saklikent - 1.jpg

Entry was T$8 each.Saklikent-2.jpg

In less than 5 minutes, you come to the end of the trail where you find a small cafe and a pleasant seating area.Saklikent-4.jpg Saklikent-5.jpg

To get the best out of this trip, you need to wade up the gorge. If you are up to it, you will get to a waterfall after 2kms.Saklikent-7.jpgSaklikent - 3.jpg

If you don’t have appropriate footwear, you can rent water shoes at the cafe for T$10.

XANTHOS:

From Saklikent we drove on to Xanthos. Entry was T$12. From what we could see it wasn’t worth it … especially not after what we had already seen on our Road Trip.

PINARA:

From Xanthos we drove on to Pinara to see the cave tombs.

You have to walk up an unkept goat track to the tombs.Pinara - 3.jpg

The only advantage of Pinara over other cave tomb sites is that entry is free and you can get inside the tombs.Pinara-1.jpg

I don’t recommend it. The final part of the drive is a few kms down a dirt track where you have to drive carefully and slowly to avoid bottoming out your car on rocks.

Myra is much better (see below).

PATARA BEACH:

Patara Beach is the longest beach in Turkey: about 20 kms long.Patara-Beach-3.jpg

It is about 10 kms north west of Kalkan.Patara-Beach-4.jpg

It is surprising unspoilt with only a small cafe …Patara-Beach-1.jpg

… with lounger and umbrella rentals.Patara-Beach-2.jpg

Entry is T$10 each. Add another T$10 if you also want to walk around the associated ruins.Patara-Ruins-1.jpgPatara-Ruins-2.jpgPatara-Ruins-3.jpg

KEKOVA ISLAND:

It was a 45 minute drive from our villa to Kaleucagiz (Ucagiz).Kekova - 1.jpg

This is where you catch the boat tours to Kekova Island. You can buy these tours in Kalkan for GBP30 each including lunch. On these package tours you share the boat with up to 30 other people.Kekova-2.jpg

We negotiated our own private boat for 5 people. We were initially quoted T$1,250 but searched around to find one for T$600 excluding lunch (we left the crew a further T$100 tip).Kekova - 3.jpg

The tours all do the same thing. You sail over to Kekova Island and start with a swim in a small bay. If you bring water shoes, you can go for a walk around some ruins.Kekova-4.jpg Kekova-5.jpg Kekova-6.jpg Kekova-7.jpg

From there, you slowly cruise over the Sunken City.Kekova-8.jpg Kekova-9.jpg Kekova-10.jpg Kekova-11.jpg

This is followed by a cruise across the water back to the mainland to pop the front of the boat into a small cave.Kekova-14.jpgKekova-12.jpg Kekova-13.jpg

Followed by another bay, another swim, and another chance for a shore walk.Kekova-15.jpg Kekova-16.jpg Kekova-17.jpg

Your last stop is Simena Village.Kekova-18.jpgKekova-19.jpg Kekova-29.jpg

For a T$12 entry fee, you can get up into the castle.Kekova-22.jpg

Kekova-24

Kekova-25.jpg Kekova-26.jpg Kekova-27.jpg Kekova-28.jpg

The whole trip lasted over 4 hours. Excellent value for money..

MYRA:

Myra is only 10 kms from Ucagiz.Myra - 16.jpg

We stopped by to see the cave tombs.Myra - 1.jpg Myra-4.jpgMyra-3.jpg

Entry is T$30 each. Parking is free.Myra - 5.jpg Myra-9.jpg Myra-10.jpg

Myra also has an interesting amphitheatre.Myra - 6.jpg Myra-7.jpg Myra-14.jpg


HEALTH & SAFETY:

The first thing that you notice is the number of smokers; there is still a large % of smokers here. They even smoke in ‘no smoking’ areas without anyone complaining.

There is no reason to feel unsafe. As always, exercise normal levels of caution … don’t make yourself an obvious target.


WHEN TO GO:

Kalkan boasts an average of 300 days sunshine each year.Kalkan Climate Chart

We arrived on the 17th May … it was perfect timing … our landlord told us that the good weather had only just started 4 days before our arrival.

We had sunny weather every day with no rain.

Alas, our villa’s swimming pool had not heated up yet and it was a bit too ‘refreshing’ to swim in.


GRANDPAcking COSTS:

Read About – GRANDPAcking Costs if you don’t know how to interpret my figures.

SPREADSHEET SUMMARY:Kalkan GRANDPAcking Costs

MY ACTUAL COSTS:

My costs are broken down into:

  • Cost of Existence: The basic costs of just being there
  • Cost of Living: The additional costs that make being there fun
COST OF EXISTENCE (COE):

I existed to GRANDPAcking standard.

My 1/5th share of the villa was T$121 (US$21) / night.

What ‘blew’ my budget was the rental car which I shared with my brother. It cost me an average of T$119 / US$20 / day.

I already had my TurkCell SIMcard and 1 month plan. I didn’t need to top it up in Kalkan.

I have apportioned T$30 for my Turkish eVisa.

I averaged about T$60 / day on food.

My COE worked out to be about T$267 (US$45) / day. Without a rental car this would have been only T$148 (US$25) / day.

COST OF LIVING (COL):

I did not LIVE to GRANDPAcking standard. I only ate out in restaurants for 5 dinners and my sister picked up the bill for one of those.

In / Out Costs:  Because of the rental car, I had no in/out costs.

Living Costs: I averaged about T$28 per night on drinks. I spent T$225 on entertainment and excursions. I spent T$69 on other items.

My total COL was about T$328 (US$56) / day. This was only 6% over budget.

COSTS FOR 2 GRANDPAckers:

Again, costs are broken down in Cost Of Existence (COE) and Cost Of Living (COL).

COST OF EXISTENCE (COE):

Accommodation: I have booked you in to an Holiday Rental / villa. This is likely to be your cheapest option.

Transportation: I have budgeted a return trip to Kas on a local bus each week.

Communications & Fees: I have budgeted a TurkCell SIMcard and 1 month promo package. I have included the cost of 2 Turkish eVisas.

Food: Your meals budget averages about T$243 (US$41) / day for 2 people. This is to eat all of your meals in Cheap Restaurants.

Your COE is about T$347 (US$59) / day. This is 13% OVER budget.

COST OF LIVING (COL):

This leaves you nothing to LIVE on.


CONCLUSION:

To afford a month in Kalkan you will need to:

  • Come off-season (e.g. in May or October)
  • Rent a Holiday Home (and book it months in advance whilst you can still get deep discounts)
  • Rent in town to avoid transport costs
  • Buy groceries so that you can eat (mostly) at home

If you do this, you can easily reduce your food costs by half and, by doing so, have enough spare money to LIVE on.


RETIREMENT:

Could you afford to retire in Kalkan on a GRANDPAckig budget? YES

BUT only just.

TTFN

 


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