There are few cities that have as much to offer as Antalya in terms of urban life, history, nature experiences and activities on land, at sea and in the air. At least in my optics, Antalya has something near the complete package, where there is something for everyone.
After all, it’s no secret that we’ve been in town for many years now. And are nowhere near being tired of it. And that even though we have seen the entire city and the sourroundings back and forth. But we still haven’t seen it all and the city do develops all the time.
Although Antalya is so lovely and has so much to offer, it can sometimes be nice to get outside the city.
We really enjoy using Antalya as a base and then drive on longer trips away from the city, if we have the time. It provides a very fun combined holiday, where there is both time to laze and at the same time good opportunities to have unique experiences along the way.
The coastal road towards Kalkan:
If you have a few days, taking the coastal road from Antalya towards Kalkan, Kemer and Kas is an obvious option. It takes about 3½ hours each way, if you drive directly (or an hour less over the mountains). The coastal road is one of the most beautiful routes, I can ever imagine and a bit of a dream. And it just goes on like this for several hours. You can almost compare it to some of the old popular coastal roads around Nice in France and Naples in Italy, which are just beautiful with beautiful on. Don’t you agree ??
But I have to admit that it is also a difficult road to drive. It twist and turns more or less all the way – especially from Kemer and the rest of the road towards Kalkan (with few exceptions). Really in and out along the many bays, but high above the water. It’s not a road, that I’m happy about. Not at all (ok, not the best selling argument here 🧐🤔). But the view alone removes some of the discomfort I think (does that help a little?). I’m just one, who isn’t so good at the combination of high up, water, winding roads and heat. But it should not hinder the trip to Kalkan anyway. So if only air conditioning works and you can make a few stops – possibly with built-in swimming trips, then even someone like me survives 😉
Today, a newer and slightly faster road has been built, that goes on the other side of the mountains. And here you save a lot of time, but some of the charm goes away too. The coastal road is still undisputedly one of the most beautiful roads one can see. So, after all, I would recommend it.
Excoursions on the roadtrip:
If you’ve been following this blog, then I’m sure you’ve noticed the many suggestions for trips west of Antalya. I have previously written about excursions to the river cafes in Ulupinar, to the beautiful beach at Cirali and Adrasan, the ancient city at Olympos. And especially the beach, water and ruins around Phaselis, I have written about many times. And EVERYTHING is just down the road here from Antalya to Kalkan. Literally.
The slightly larger city of Kemer can also be nice to visit (but there are many Russians eventually = noise and loud music).
When you drive by anyway, you should in no way avoid visiting “Santa’s Church” aka Skt. Nicholas aka Baba Noël. It may seem like one big charade, but Santa Claus actually originated from Turkey (just ask wikipedia !!). And his church is right here on your way. It’s pretty hard to find with nearly no signs (but just follow the flow of Russians – for them the place is a pilgrim destination), or be sure to download a card before going . We didn’t have that; / 😀
If you have time, the caves in Myra are also worth a visit. I’ve yet only seen them from outside the entrance, but I had a really good zoom. And then it was simply too hot that day, so we didn’t managed to walk directly in the sun.
Kas and Kalkan:
Kas and Kalkan are a bit like Alanya and Antalya. The names of the cities are very similar and many people mix them up. But they are two completely different cities. Kas is the first city you come to on the coastal road from Antalya. And waaauuuvv there are AMAZING views as you drive in and down to the city. Allow yourself some stops here to take pictures and a little break.
Kas is a somewhat larger city than Kalkan and with many tourists, especially English, Dutch and Germans have always been happy with the city. It is a real holiday town with many activities, boat trips, hotels, restaurants and city life. And then there’s a HUGE big port there – and that’s understandable. For the city is as beautiful as one could possibly imagine and with a few Greek islands only ½ hour sailing from there. Many diving excursions take their starting point from here (also by boat). I have been told that the whole Kas / Kalkan area is a superb place to dive.
We made a pitstop and had lunch here at an amazingly good restaurant. Just such an ordinary family one. Selected according to where there were most Turks (gives greater guarantee of good food).
Although it seems close, it still takes an hour to drive from Kas to Kalkan. The town is not nearly as big as Kas, but a little more cozy I think. Last time I was there was about 18 years ago. And I have to admit that the city has grown so big, that it was almost hard to recognize. But somehow, there is still a little village vibe over it (in the good way 😉) along with many good eateries, shopping and nightlife.
Nice hotel and lots to see:
We stayed at what we thought was a small hotel, True blue Boutique Hotel Kalkan. It was bigger than expected though, but it was such an amazing place. Small enough (yet), intimate and welcoming and above all very personal and friendly. And then the (breakfast) food was totally, totally exceptional. I thought I had experienced a lot in that direction – but this one … it was beyond crazy and amazing and good (yes, yes, I’m a foodie). At least I can easily be persuaded to drive the entire trip from Antalya to Kalkan only for breakfast here (and a single night stay 😉).
But it turned out that the place was the perfect starting point for trips around the area. Andthere are astonishing much to see here. We did not reach a fraction of what we planned, because the kids vetoed and just wanted a full day of poolside fun. And yes, that was great. Especially when the weather was so good – 35 degrees and high sun in October !!
Visit the famous beaches:
Not surprisingly, there are many ruins here in the area, but the protected Patara beach (where the unique Caretta Caretta turtles breed) and Ölüdeniz beach is a must. Unfortunately we only reached the last one – together with about 500 other tourists. But it is undeniably an amazing, beautiful area.
Maybe this thing with a roadtrip sounds a bit too stressful for you. The trip from Antalya to Kalkan and back again is both long and a bit demanding. And yes, we never get bored, when we are on vacation. And we often drive a long way. But that’s how we like it. And we get to experience a lot – not least beautiful scenery. And Turkey has so much to offer. Especially in this part of the country, so it would be a shame not to say yes thank you.
From Antalya to Kalkan:
So if you are in any way considering a trip along the coastal road from Antalya to Kalkan, I can only recommend it from here. It’s fabulous. Whether you only have 2-3 days, a whole week or longer doesn’t mean all the world. But keep in mind, that the drive is somewhat harsh, even if it only takes a few hours. Just go. But remember to plan your trip in advance. Find ideas here on the site or look at a map, because there is so much variety to see and do. And not everything is signposted equally well. Just so you don’t miss anything. That would be a sham
But again – is there anything more adventurous than just driving out in the blue …?