From Kalkan to Antalya, Turquoise Coast, Turkey

Breakfast in Kalkan

The most remarkable feature of the White House B&B in Kalkan is the terrace with superb views overlooking the bay. A lovely place to start your morning. It’s a pity that they only serve instant coffee. They are, however, kind enough to mix it up for you thus allowing you to at least pretend you are enjoying the views with a fresh cup of brewed coffee.  

In addition they serve a choice of a hard-boiled egg, a basket of white and wheat bread, and a breakfast plate that includes an assortment of sliced fruit, yogurt, cheese and packets of various jams and honey.

Drive to Antalya

For most of the drive to Antalya the road traces the coastline with fantastic views of the rocky shore, blue sea and turquoise coves (about four hours from Kalkan to Antalya).

Few towns or villages mar this long mountainous coastline. On the eastern edge of the Lycian Way, heading north out of Finike, the road turns inland passing through a high mountainous pine forest.


Here we turned off to take a quick peek at Olympos, once a sleepy little backpack enclave (according to Lonely Planet) now packed with tour buses and vacationers enjoying a pretty Saturday afternoon. We skipped the ruins and headed over to Cirali, another beach town in this lush valley surrounded by high mountains. Unlike the towns on the western side of the Turquoise Coast whose pensions are perched on the hillside and boast sea views, Cirali is a lush flat town of hidden gardens. Note that although there is a foot path that connects Olympos and Cirali (about 1K), to drive from one to the another you must climb back out  to the main highway, D400, and descend back down.


A couple of kilometers outside of Cirali is Chimaera. At the end of a dusty road is a shaded little park area with a cafe at the foot of the path that leads up to the hill of spontaneous flames. A natural phenomenon caused by gas escaping from crevices in the rock. Buy your 4TL ticket and walk along the stone path uphill through pine forest, about 20 minutes.

While the site has a certain interesting National Geographic’s aspect, it is rather underwhelming during daylight hours. For maximum impact be sure to visit the site after dark.


Finding the way to our hotel in Antalya’s historic district, Kaleici, was an exercise in patience and determination with the GPS not working and very few signed streets. I finally got out and walked the last two blocks, led by a nice Turkish man, to our unmarked hotel located on an unsigned alleyway.

The Tuvana hotel, a lush oasis in the heart of Kaleici, has spacious rooms with parquet floors, decorated in an old world Europe style with a touch of Turkish flair. Comfortable and clean if a little worn. Charming garden/pool areas as well as their “world class” restaurant are interspersed between the small group of residence buildings.

In the late afternoon light we wander the maze of quaint pedestrian streets of Kaleici past cafes, bars and myriad shopping opportunities down to the water.

Restaurants ring the upper lever of the boat filled harbor. Young Turkish lovers try to find a bit of privacy along the jetty; young men sell fresh mussels with lemon along the dock while boat men hawk short jaunts out to sea.

A true slice of Antalya life with a mix of tourists and locals.

Dinner at Seraser

Dinner at Seraser, touted as Antalya’s best restaurant and listed as number 2 on Trip Advisor, has an unbeatable setting in the comfortable yet elegant garden patio of the Tuvana hotel.

The meal unfortunately was a mixed bag of outstanding dishes and real disappointments. Clearly the folks at Lonely Planet have never eaten in a true “world class” restaurant. My favorite dish of the evening was the goat cheese and aubergine soufflé, fresh hot from the oven with a crispy exterior and a light fluffy, creamy interior.

The oddest dish was the stuffed quail. Two small whole birds with a honey mustard glaze and stuffed with a raisin-walnut rice served on a Mediterranean ratatouille style vegetable mélange. A marriage that most certainly should end in immediate divorce!

Their signature dessert, Sultan’s Kavfe is a coffee flavored crème brûlée served in a tiny Turkish coffee cup, aesthetically pleasing and good with the classic crackling caramelized sugar capping a coffee-flavored custard that was not as rich and luscious as found in other versions of this dish.

Go for an elegant evening under the stars of Antalya, think again if you are primarily coming for the food.

May 5, 2012

For links to all the posts in this series see the Turkey page.

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