Deciding on a summer break to the Antalya coast in Turkey, raised one big question for two families travelling together – Kas or Kalkan? Let their experience guide you to choose the best destination out of the two for you!
Set in the the province of Antalya, stunning scenery is guaranteed. This area is also known as the turquoise coast (and the seas here really are a stunning shade of blue), as well as the Turkish Riviera.
Kalcan itself is surrounded by the arid Taurus mountains, and is one big very steep hill from top to bottom! But don’t let this put you off if you feel hiking up and down hills isn’t your jam, because here no one does that anyway. It is so steep that everyone hops in a taxi to get from top to bottom, or drives their own car or if you are brave enough a moped!
The steep incline means that the views are just incredible. Whether looking away from the coast at all the gorgeous houses and villas that seem to trickle down towards the sea, or from higher up across the sheltered bay and the twinkling Mediterranean Sea.
Where to go and what to see in Kalkan
- Terrace restaurants and bars – these were a firm favourite with our group, not only because of the stunning views across the town and the entire bay, but also because nothing feels better than a warm evening breeze while dining alfresco!
- Beach clubs – a family-friendly way to spend the day in the shade of a cabana right next to the sea. Most have easy access to the sea either by being on the beach, or by having platforms that lead to the sea as well as having a pool.
- The weekly local market – a bustling space selling spices, fresh fruit and veg, and all the genuine fakes you could dream of! You can also bag yourself some freshly made turkish treats to keep your energy up as you go round. Only on a Thursday.
- Arts & crafts boutiques – there is so much local talent hidden among the many winding streets in Kalkan. Look for handmade and artisan pieces – pottery, glass, and macrame.
- Petara historical site – just a short drive from the town is Petara, the ancient capital of Lycia – a glorious place to be as the sun sets, with a wealth of tumbled down ruins and semi restored areas and amphitheatres complete with very friendly goats!
Is Kalkan good for a family holiday?
A resounding yes from us all! We were fortunate enough to have a villa with a pool – so plenty of space to chill and keep cool until the temperatures dipped enough to venture out. The sea was safe and gentle for the little ones, and the Beach Club we spent a day at had a wealth of water toys (sea tractor and trampoline!) to keep the kids occupied for hours.
All the restaurants and bars were super kid-friendly too – and while we didn’t stay out late it certainly seemed safe enough while we were there. For older kids and adventurous adults there were a range of outdoor adventures to choose from such as mountain biking, parasailing, jet skiing, and boat hire.
Kas – a better destination than Kalkan?
It seems like everyone talks about Kas more than Kalkan – and on a day trip there we could kind of see why. For a start the atmosphere is more gentle, less touristy, and has areas with more of an authentic local feel. The inclines are also less intimidating and it isn’t too much trouble to wander from the car park by the harbour right up to the highest street in the town.
Once again, the setting is absolutely beautiful as it sits along the same part of the turquoise coast, and it has a wealth of wonderful boutiques to explore and a more than its fair share of terrace restaurants to enjoy spectacular views across the harbour! All in all it seemed more grown up, less glitzy and less like a place only tourists frequent!
Is Kas a good destination for a family holiday?
I guess it all depends on the vibe you are looking for! It is a more gentle, more Turkish version of Kalkan and I would say more relaxed too. Would the kids think it is better? Chances are the bright lights and more accessible beach clubs of Kalkan would get their vote!
- Flights: Jet2 to Dalaman
- Villa: Villa Palmi kalkanvilla.org
- Transfers: Taxi – 1h 50m from Dalaman to Kalkan
- Travel date: August 2023
- Weather: HOT HOT HOT (upwards of 35 °C) humid and sunny!
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Travel Writer Bio:
Kerry McCarthy is a Writer, Editor, Artist & Breathwork Instructor who loves to travel with family, friends and also solo. You can find out more about her adventures over on instagram at @kerrymccarthystars