These two perennially popular Turkish home spots have a number of common elements: 300 days of sunshine, striking sea views and fantastic seafood restaurants, not to mention almost horizontal way of life.
However, that's where the similarities end. Kalkan and Bodrum are vastly different in terms of general appeal, culture, social life and landscape. Let's explore those differences so you can decide whether you should head for a home in Kalkan or in Bodrum.
Bodrum - a year round destionation
Bodrum is Turkey's most established second home destination, and that's not for overseas home buyers alone but for the Turkish elite in particular. It was the very first of all Turkish coastal towns to develop into a well recognized and sought after brand among Turks from major cities and with deeper pockets. As in the verses of the Fisherman of Halicarnassus (sent to Blue Exile in the late days of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century) 'those who came here were never the same again, they all left their hearts in Bodrum when they returned'. No less than 80% of all properties in Bodrum are owned by Turks, a sharp contrast to Kalkan, where the market is mainly foreign driven with Brits owning majority of holiday homes.
Vibrant, colourful and full of life, this working town is busy and bustling all year round. A recent revamp of Bodrum’s marinas has meant a renewed surge of interest in this pretty peninsula. Bodrum’s population more than doubles during the summer months but thanks to its local economy and strong Turkish population it remains a lively place all year round.
The Bodrum Peninsula is dotted with no less than a dozen towns, each with its own unique features and character. Bodrum Town is centred around a large harbour and overlooks Bodrum Castle, a striking fort built in the 15th century. Its shops and restaurants rival those anywhere in Turkey. The second largest town, Yalikavak, is a lovely modern marina town with a number of new developments, shops and restaurants. If you’re after somewhere a little smaller, there are a few sleepy fishing villages nestled in Bodrum’s many bays, where time seems to have stood still since the days when the Fisherman of Halicarnassus put Bodrum on the map. In short: whether you’re into active beach clubs or rustic villages, there’s a place for you in Bodrum. In addition, we should add that Bodrum also hosts the world's most exclusive brands such as Mandarin Oriental and Aman Ruya exclusive hotels, where one can easily shed Euro 1,000 per room per night. Do not be alarmed, however, Bodrum is not just for Billionaires and their yachts.
As well as having great facilities for year-round living like 3 international hospitals, supermarkets and medical centres, Bodrum is just 45 minutes from the nearest international airport, Bodrum Milas Airport. These features means Bodrum is ideal as a year-round home.
A number of people choose to rent out their Bodrum property to earn some extra income. You can earn up to 5 to 6% rental returns each year in Bodrum. However, if your chief desire is to make top possible rental money from your property, you might want to consider Kalkan.
Kalkan - laid back summer resort
In sharp contrast to diverse Bodrum, Kalkan is a more laid back resort located on the Mediterranean coastline. It’s known for its peace and quiet, cobbled old town and striking views over the bay and its abtique harbour. Thanks to its distance from the airport (around 1.5 hours’ drive from Dalaman) Kalkan’s retained its unique character and fishing village vibe in the face of development elsewhere along the coastline.
Most popular with British retreat-holiday makersand home buyers, Kalkan has a sophisticated atmosphere and its foreign and Turkish population like nothing more than drinking wine under the stars at one of Kalkan’s famous rooftop restaurants or relaxing in one of the few bars or cafes on Kalkan’s waterfront.
Like the Bodrum peninsula, Kalkan’s elevated position means that Kalkan properties enjoy incredible views over the water, and homes are designed to make the most of these views - from the infinity pool to the master bedroom, the sea looms large from every space.
Kalkan is inferior to Bodrum as far as permanent living is concerned. This resort closes down around October as mainly foreign owned holiday homes are locked up till the next season. On the other hand, if you own a holiday home in Kalkan and fancy earning some extra income, Kalkan has the edge over Bodrum, with many property owners earning around 7% of their property value every year.
As a year-round base Bodrum definitely takes the cake. This small peninsula has all the cultural, social and lifestyle facilities needed for a comfortable and happy life, while Kalkan is more suited to long, lazy summers - and topping up your income with lucrative rentals.
In terms of property styles and prices, Kalkan has a good number of modern panoramic villas for sale under Euro 500,000. Once you go over this range, you are into Kalkan's top 10% by value and possibly the most exclusive. There are a number of beachfront villas available in Kalkan between 500k - 1m range.
In Bodrum, there is a much larger variety on offer naturally. However, if measured as Euro per square metre, quality homes with WOW factor come at a slightly higher price than Kalkan. Although it is possible to find some real great property deals in Bodrum, if you are looking for something unique, something with a real WOW factor, you are likely to pay a little more than you would in Kalkan. It is also interesting to note that the level mentioned above for Kalkan - 500k to 1m - does not even come close to Bodrum's top 25% by value. You can find some amazing mansions in Bodrum with price tags well in excess of Euro 5m. The most expensive property we viewed was a 15 bedroom waterfront mansion with its own little harbour offered to market at USD 20m. This is the Bodrum difference.