Nightclubs and karaoke not your cup of tea? Then you'll revel in the quiet delights of Turkish fishing port of Kalkan
By any standards it was a tough decision. Should I swim in the private pool on the terrace outside my hotel bedroom, or should I plunge into the pool by the bar? I chose the latter, only to find myself with another tough call. Should I order a glass of the local wine, or a bottle of local beer? Life at the Asfiya Sea View Hotel in southern Turkey is full of such tough decisions. Sometimes, it’s simply easier to order both wine and beer. The Asfiya is the newest hotel in Kalkan, a historic fishing port that’s stacked up against the surrounding mountains like some Turkish version of Polperro. This is the Med as it used to be. No nightclubs. No karaoke. No hassle.Like the town itself, the hotel is built into the rock, with little private pools on several levels and a main pool by the bar. It’s informal, friendly and intimate: there are only 30 rooms, 16 of which have their own pools. Next year, it will also have a spa. This stretch of Turkey has become increasingly popular with holidaymakers in recent years. Charter flights to Dalaman from Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh and Gatwick have made the resort towns of Fethiye and Marmaris extremely accessible.Kalkan is rather different. It’s a 90-minute drive from the airport and this acts as a filter to the number of tourists coming here. It has also enabled the town to remain unashamedly upmarket. If Fethiye is Blackpool, then Kalkan is Southwold. When you summon the energy to struggle up from your sunbed, it’s a ten-minute saunter into Kalkan’s bustling little centre. It comes into its own at night, when the lights twinkle like it’s Christmas. Virtually every building in the old town is a bar, a restaurant or both. Choosing which one to eat in each night is not easy. One night I plump for Trio, for no other reason than that I’m told by the owner I won’t regret it. ‘Why not the one next door?’ I ask. ‘’Cos it’s terrible,’ he says with a loud belly laugh. I think he’s joking. I decide to ‘go Turkish’, starting with mezze. And thus begins an endless procession of thick minty yogurt sauces, houmous and fried aubergines drenched in olive oil, served with puffed bread the size of a balloon. As I knock back a few glasses of the local white wine, I chat with Murad, the owner. He’s keen to show me a promotional video he’s just made – five minutes of people eating, drinking and swimming. It seems to capture the place perfectly.