For full disclosure, I’ve never had the desire to go to Turkey. I can’t recall why really but it’s just somewhere that hasn’t appealed to me. That was until my friend decided this was where she wanted her hen party to take place; as the good friend I am, I wasn’t going to miss that. And I was actually, pleasantly, surprised.
We went to Kalkan which is about an hour and forty minutes from Dalaman, the nearest airport. Kalkan is a mountainous town on the Mediterranean coast with spectacular views and plenty to keep you occupied and entertained. It is primarily a tourist destination so operates seasonally. Easter was quite early this year (which is when we went), and as such Kalkan was in the throes of preparing for the summer season; hotels, restaurants and shops were only just starting up again, some still closed, carrying our repairs and improvements for customers. Although the area seemed quieter than usual for them, I think it was actually more desirable for it.
The temperature was favourable and being out of season, flights and hotel prices were of exceptional value. In fact, if you have the opportunity, it’s the place to visit out of season so that you can fully enjoy it, without competing with tourists. Additionally, even though it was out of season, many were still more than accommodating in coordinating excursions and extending their opening hours and services; though suffice it to say that may have been because there were enough of us to justify this. However, with the value of Turkish Lira to pounds being in our favour, you wouldn’t necessarily begrudge paying more to be able to enjoy everything the town and local area has to offer. Even out of season the town is bustling and if you stay just a little out of town, slightly in the hills, you get quiet and tranquillity. It is the perfect blend for any vacation or occasion.
For me, Kalkan is reminiscent of what I imagine Greece to be like; white stucco buildings with pink blossom entwined around pillars and posts that overlook the turquoise Mediterranean sea. The food too is very much Mediterranean cuisine with Turkish flare. Something for everyone to eat with Mezze and BBQ being quite a popular dining format.
If you’re looking for somewhere to dine, I would strongly recommend The Junction which has quite a varied menu with meat and vegetarian options; the service, food quality and price was exceptional. Additionally, they had sourced and make a range of homeware items that would be fitting in any coastal inspired home. The Marina restaurant was also favourable; we happened to be there for a fundraising event but although noise of works being carried out could be heard, the view of the bay and marina was spectacular and a perfect setting to enjoy a relaxed lunch. I’d also firmly recommend Black & Gold in town for an incredible cocktail experience. Burak, the owner of this delightful lounge, is an award winning mixologist who really knows his stuff. He makes the most inspiring cocktails, presented in the most brilliant ways and he’s only too happy to impart his wisdom on those that want to explore cocktail making further.
As for location, the Happy Hotel is a cheap and cheerful location. The views are remarkable but the rooms could do with a little energising. However, for somewhere to rest your head it was more than comfortable. Additionally the staff were more than welcoming and accommodating. If you’re looking for something a little more exceptional, Vila Kismet is the place to be; a villa that accommodates up to 12 people with infinity pool that overlooks the Med, it has all the mod-cons needed for a relaxing and enjoyable holiday with a contact more than accommodating, that is happy to connect you to locals to provide you with any products or services you require and even carry out errands on your behalf. If you can gather a few of you to travel with you, it is also exceptional value for the quality of stay you get.
As for flights, Easyjet travel from most UK airports to Dalaman quite frequently, particularly in the high season months; prices of flight vary depending on time of year. Once there, Brave Tours or Shuttle Direct provided a very pleasant and satisfactory transfer to the Kalkan bay.