81km (50 miles) southeast of Fethiye; 25km (16 miles) west of Kas; 19km (12 miles) south of Xanthos; 18km (11 miles) east of Patara; 25km (16 miles) southeast of Letoon
At first glance, Kalkan, terraced down a steep slope from the main road to the harbor, presents itself as the quintessential Mediterranean fishing village that made good. Dilapidated Ottoman and Greek era houses have been restored to their characteristic yet simple splendor of shuttered windows and timber balconies. The scenery is stunning: undulating mountains rising above tranquil waters, with nothing but the odd minaret or mast to obstruct it.
But it is this very good fortune that threatens to be Kalkan's undoing. A decade ago, locals reassured me that because the surrounding Mediterranean brushlands were protected, the village was safe from overdevelopment. But economic interests once again prevailed, and building (mostly hotels) has sprawled almost all the way to equally stunning Kalamar Bay. Today, the town's population of around 1,000 swells to 8,000 in summer, a density that Kalkan handles with difficulty during the high-season months of July and August. This is when the English presence in Kalkan becomes overwhelming, as Brit-based tour operators prebook most of the town's better B&Bs and hotels, thus creating a shortage of rooms for the independent traveler during the main tourist season.
Nevertheless, Kalkan retains its small-town feel. The warren of streets leading down to the picturesque harbor are colorfully adorned with the bright colors of vacation memorabilia, handcrafted silver jewelry, locally made carpets, and terra cotta, baking under the hot sun and sharing the ambiance with the pleasant odors of grilling produce.
Like its equally splendid neighbor Kas, Kalkan's location is convenient to many historical sites, making either a perfect base of operations for sightseeing, shopping, dining, and spending lazy days on the beach. Indeed for those who struggle with the decision on which town to use as a base, keep in mind that Kas is more laid back and townlike, while Kalkan has a more villagelike feel, plus better restaurants.