The most extraordinary day trips around ancient Lycia, Turkey

Posted In: blog | Turkey

Spending the first three months of this year in Turkey wasn’t our plan at all. We were going to fly to East Africa from Dubai and spend the next months exploring that exotic region. However, when the end of the year was coming, we felt that the three wonderful weeks we had spent house sitting in Dubai hadn’t  been enough to recharge batteries after our 2-month long journey around northern India. Long story short, we ended up house sitting in Kalkan on the gorgeous Turkish Mediterranean coast. We went for a few day trips from Kalkan to explore the incredibly beautiful surroundings that boast a number of amazing mysterious ancient cities left by the Lycian civilisation and gorgeous beaches.

Kalkan is a nice smaller coastal town and a popular tourist destination, especially during summer. The historic centre of Kalkan is quiet tiny, but pretty. Kalkan also has got a small beach just by the port. The history of this town is interesting – until the early 1920s, the majority of its inhabitants were the Greeks who left Kalkan in 1923 for Greece. Nowadays, Kalkan is a lively town with its own character – you will find fine restaurants, cafes and local markets there. It’s just a perfect base if you want to explore the region.

We made a few day trips from Kalkan and in this post we would like to tell you about the best ones. We went to see all the sites independently by car provided by Define Tours.


The most extraordinary day trips from Kalkan


Day trip from Kalkan 1: Tlos

Tlos is the home of the mythological hero Bellerophon and his winged flying horse Pegasus, and it is  one of the oldest and largest settlements of ancient Lycia. 

Lycia was a geopolitical region in Anatolya, today’s  provinces of Antalya and Mugla on the southern coast of Turkey and Burdur province.

The impressive ruins contain tombs, a castle and an amphitheatre – it took us two hours to explore them all. We arrived to Tlos just before the sunset;  we couldn’t have chosen better time! The views from the top with the sun going down were stunning!

Distance from Kalkan: 58 km (in direction towards Fethiye) 

tlos ancient lycia turkey, day trips from kalkan

Day trip from Kalkan 2: Kaputas Beach

Located just a stone’s throw from Kalkan, Kaputas beach will take your breath away!

On windy days the waves create a fabulous turquoise lagoon which is really very inviting. If the sea wasn’t so cold in the first quarter of the year, we would be swimming in the lagoon all days long! 

Distance from Kalkan:  7 km  (in direction towards Kas)

kaputas beach turkey, day trips from kalkan

Day trip from Kalkan 3: Pinara

Pinara is an absolutely amazing historical site that still remains undiscovered by most people who travel to this region of Turkey. Founded in the 5th century BC, Pinara was one of the most important cities of ancient Lycia.

What you see in the photos used to be tombs! 

Looking at the 450 metre high mountain, we couldn’t imagine how the Lycians had managed to carve the tombs into such a high mountain.  Pinara was abandoned in the 9th century AD.
What a mysterious place set in gorgeous mountainous countryside!

Distance from Kalkan: 42 km (in direction towards Fethiye, turn left after Esen when you see a Pinara signpost, then drive another 4 km to Minare, then turn left again when you see another signpost)

pinara lycia turkey, day trips from kalkan


Day trip from Kalkan 4: Patara

We love the sea, beaches and historical sites so when we found out about 12 km long Patara beach and the nearby well preserved ruins, we couldn’t wait to see it all! 

Patara is a fascinating ancient city that was the largest and most important seaport of the Lycian civilisation more than 2500 years ago. It didn’t loose its importance even under Alexander the Great, and later during the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empire. 

Nowadays the ruins of the ancient city form a part of a protected area together with a wild deserted 12 km long Patara beach. Not only the beach is long but it is wide and has beautiful sand dunes.

Patara is a remarkable unique place that shouldn’t be missed.

Distance from Kalkan: 17 km (in direction towards Fethiye)

patara beach turkey, day trips from kalkan


sunset patara beach turkey, day trips from kalkan


 Day trip from Kalkan 5: Arykanda 

The stunning remote Lycian ancient city of Arykanda is set on a steep hillside with ruins dotted on five terraces among cedar trees. The architecture of the amphitheatre, the stadium, the bathhouse complex, villas and tombs is really impressive.

The site is often compared to Delphi in Greece. We loved the quiet place set in beautiful countryside, hidden high in the mountains, and could easily imagine the hedonistic lifestyle of the Lycians. As the site is off the beaten path, we were the only visitors there.

Distance from Kalkan: 109 km (via Gombe), 130 km (via Finike)

arykanda lycia turkey, day trips from kalkan

arykanda lycia turkey, day trips from kalkan

arykanda lycia turkey, day trips from kalkan

arykanda lycia turkey


A big thank you goes to Define Tours for sponsoring our car hire for all the wonderful day trips from Kalkan. Define Tours is a company based in Kalkan that offers a car hire, airport transfers and villa rentals in Kalkan. If you look for a reliable car hire company with friendly and helpful management while staying in Kalkan, stop by in their office by the port, give them a call or book your car hire on-line on their website.


Have you been to the south of Turkey?

What was the most spectacular place you visited there?

  • Katie Featherstone
    April 1, 2016

    I’m extremely jealous of your time in Turkey, it really does sound like you found some amazing places to recharge your batteries! Beautiful photos.

    • Simply Nomadic Life
      Katie Featherstone
      May 23, 2016

      Thank your for your comment, Katie. The time we spent in the south of Turkey was really wonderful. We loved exploring that part of the world so much.. ancient ruined cities, gorgeous beaches and landscapes. We couldn’t wish for more. If you have a chance to go, we really recommend you to take a trip to the region around Kalkan. Some travellers also walk the Lycian way which is a long-distance trekking route along part of the coast of ancient Lycia. Happy travels!

  • Jo
    April 9, 2016

    I stayed in Bodrum for a couple of weeks to reunited with a childhood friend! Lived stir key very much and would love to return one day! Loved your photos and narrative of your trips in Cappadocia! What a fascinating place!

    • Simply Nomadic Life
      May 23, 2016

      Thank you for your comment, Jo! That’s great you spent some nice time in Bodrum. We didn’t go to that part of Turkey, but would love to visit Bodrum next time. Turkey became one of our most favourite countries in the world and we would like to return soon to explore other regions. We are happy to hear you liked our photos! We wish you all the best and happy travels. 🙂

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