In the heart of the Turkish Riviera sits the town of Fethiye and one of its principal beach resorts; Çalış Beach (Calis Beach).
This is our beach. Our local hangout.
The name of the beach is pronounced Chalish (but with the ‘i’ like the ‘i’ sound in “bird” rather than the ‘i’ sound in “win”).
Whether it’s a morning run, an afternoon stroll or drinks and food with friends, there aren’t many days of the week when we’re not to be seen somewhere along this stretch of promenade.
So, it’s only right that we have our guide to Çalış Beach on the pages of this blog.
Whether you’re looking at booking your holidays to Çalış Beach or you’re wondering if it’s worth a day of your time whilst you’re spending time elsewhere in the area, this is our take on a little corner of the place we call home.
Our Guide To Çalış Beach, Fethiye
A beautiful – and very welcome – breeze in the hot summer months; long, sunny – and sometimes stormy – winter afternoons; spectacular views, approximately 4 kilometres of shingle and pebble beach…
And, of course, our starting point for this guide; that time when the sun goes down…
Çalış Beach Sunset
Yes, we’re talking about the famous Çalış Beach sunset.
The stretch of beach is west facing so you’re in the perfect place for witnessing truly awe-inspiring sunsets.
And don’t worry if it’s a cloudy day.
Those clouds often make for a more dramatic sunset as the sun dips below the horizon. Or, depending on the time of year, sinks between the silhouetted slopes of Red Island and Rabbit Island.
On crisp, clear winter days, the lowering sun also sometimes reveals views of the summit of the 1,215 metre Attavyros Mountain on the Greek island of Rhodes.
A burning orange glow in the summer months, the Çalış Beach sunset often paints the sky with vibrant fuschia pink swaths in winter.
A Wildlife Haven
A stroll south along Çalış Beach promenade will bring you to the end of the promontory and to the protected nature reserve.
Across the wetlands in this photo is the more urban setting of Duck Island (Ördek Adası). This is all part of the same protected area known as Kuş Cenneti (Bird Paradise).
At this end of the beach, there are now wooden observation terraces and a hide for bird watching.
Bring your binoculars or use the observation viewer on the terrace. Or just come and sit and chill for a while. We love this area!
Depending on the season, various migratory birds can be spotted. As well as local birdlife like kingfishers.
Çalış Beach is also a nesting area for Caretta Caretta Loggerhead Sea Turtles.
As their nesting time falls in the summer months, you will often see pyramid-shaped metal frames on the beach.
These are placed over areas where turtles are known to have laid their eggs and should not be touched.
Keep your eyes peeled when looking out to sea, too. Schools of dolphins can sometimes be seen from Çalış Beach.
We always say we’re not beachy people.
What we mean by that is we’re not the type to sunbathe all day.
If you do come to Çalış Beach to sunbathe, you will find a shingle public beach – this means it is free to enter and there’s a small charge for your parasol and bed.
The summer breezes can be quite strong. But trust us when we say you will absolutely love this coolness in summer.
People struggling with the summer humidity of the area truly find solace on Çalış Beach.
The breezes whip the waves up so the water can be choppy in the summer months. But lots of people love choppy waters. Just bring your beach shoes along for any rocks and pebbles.
If you want to swim in calmer waters, you can head down to Çalış Beach in the mornings when the clear waters are often flat calm and the water’s edge is a gentle ripple on the shingle shoreline.
This is when we like to be in the sea, here.
Straight after an early morning run when it’s roasting hot. Blissful to wade into the cool water!
We’re not gonna lie, here. If you’re looking for pristine turquoise waters, by the time the summer surf has arrived late morning and whipped up the waves, the shingle is churned and all is murky.
A completely different sea to the clear, pondlike waters of the morning hours!
Room For Everyone
Public beach space is, rightly, a hot potato at the moment along the Turkish coastline as private beach clubs and all-inclusive hotels scoop up stretches of beach and secluded bays.
This renders them out of bounds to those who don’t have the funds to enter.
Although a couple of Çalış Beach hotels have their own beds out along the sand and shingle, there is still oodles of room for those of us that want to stroll, swim or lie under the sun.
And, unlike many beaches, there is plenty of space between the sun loungers.
In summer 2023, Çalış Beach Tourism Association staff are out along the beach in the mornings clearing litter and raking the shingle for the day ahead.
For smokers, there are buckets placed at intervals for cigarette butts.
And in winter, when all of those summer beds and umbrellas have been packed away into hibernation, the beach becomes the fishermen’s home.
A stroll along the promenade reveals a shoreline lined with people fishing. Deck chairs set up and fishing rods galore!
Winter sees a good few storms along the beach. In the past, the swell and waves have climbed so high as to breach the beach walls and spill over onto the promenade.
But after those storms, for a few short hours, the shingle is washed away and parts of Çalış Beach are beautifully smooth and sandy.
Çalış Beach Watersports
With all of these breezes and choppy waters, you won’t be surprised to learn that Çalış Beach is also well known for its watersports.
If you want to learn a new skill – or hone those existing skills – kitesurfing and windsurfing lessons are available further along the shoreline in Koca Çalış.
If you’re not a watersports enthusiast, you can lie on your sunbed or do what we do – sit in a bar and watch the pros zoom up and down the coastline, showing off their kitesurfing skills.
The surf centre in Koca Çalış is where Taner Aykurt, 7-time Turkish freestyle kitesurfing champion and 2012 Kite Tour Asian Champion cut his cloth in the late 1990s.
This is said to be the birthplace of kitesurfing in Turkey!
Taner Aykurt went on to be co-founder of the famous kitesurfing school in Gökova, Akyaka.
In the summer months, there’s parascending and other ways to bob about on the waves of the Mediterranean Sea.
Local kids also use Çalış Beach as their base for their sailing club.
Çalış Beach Bars & Restaurants
Let us take you off the actual beach, now, and onto Çalış Beach promenade for some food and drink.
Whilst there are plenty of bars and restaurants, we’re not going to say there’s something for everyone.
Çalış Beach is more low key with a mixture of coffee shops, bars and restaurants that cater to various tastes and crowds.
In years gone by, we rarely spent any time along Çalış Beach because it just wasn’t our scene.
In recent years, however, a few additions to the promenade have attracted a younger, local Turkish crowd, meaning there’s now a happy mix of Turkish locals and holidaymakers. As well as the foreign resident community in the area.
These newer bars have live music on occasion and DJ sets. We love these in winter when afternoon sunset chillout music or a live band is the order of the day!
Some offer free puffy balloon bread as an appetiser.
If a feast of seafood is your thing, places like Çalış Balıkçısı won’t disappoint. We love this place for a seafood treat.
As well as being a local hangout, Çalış Beach is a summer holiday resort, so there are Italian restaurants; Chinese restaurants; Çalış Beach Restaurant does great Indian food whilst Calisto does great pizza as well as other bar snacks.
These are the places where we like to go and relax in a bar atmosphere. But also enjoy some decent food if we get hungry.
And they’re also places that are open year round.
And there are well established bar-restaurants that serve a bit of (almost) everything to suit all tastes.
Including, yes, if you’re British (or not) and craving some famous British dishes you should find what you’re looking for in these places.
Some of the bars and eateries mentioned above are listed on our Fethiye area bars and restaurants page.
Don’t Forget To Turn Left
Most people who enter Çalış Beach via the main entrance shown in the top photo will make an immediate right turn and head towards their favourite bars and restaurants.
From 2023, however, there’s now even more reason than there was before to tempt you to turn left, too.
They also do a decent Turkish village breakfast.
Further along, still, right on the nose of the promontory, this is now Big Chefs – a famous chain of restaurants in the country.
For setting, this place is spectacular – and the location of the stunning bird watching area mentioned above.
Walking back along the promenade towards the main entrance, a well known Çalış restaurant, Brothers, has relocated to the space in front of Mutlu Hotel.
The bar area has been fully refurbished and looks very inviting. Coffee fans will also find a great little coffee bar, here, too.
Çalış Beach Events
If all of the above isn’t going to tempt you to set foot along Çalış Beach promenade, maybe some of the local events would.
In October, we have the annual Fethiye & Ölüdeniz Air Games.
As part of the games, Çalış Beach is the location for paramotor displays. And also, if they’re performing, the Türk Yıldızları (Turkish Stars) aerobatic display team.
When the Benyamin Sönmez Classical Music Festival takes place (dates change), what better than the Çalış Beach sunset for a sunset cello recital?
Çalış Beach also occasionally hosts national sailing regattas.
And let’s not forget the annual Çalış Christmas Fayre and Spring Fayre. An opportunity for local artisans to sell their wares!
Beyond Çalış Beach Promenade
Continuing to follow the stretch of beach brings you to Koca Çalış.
Koca Çalış is an area of beach clubs, campsites and a growing amount of construction.
The beach clubs here tend to be relaxed places where you can use beds and umbrellas for free as long as you have a drink and/or food.
Some beaches have a minimum spend before the sunbeds are free to use. Otherwise, you can pay a small fee to use them.
This is also the area where you can get those kitesurfing and windsurfing lessons mentioned above.
We’ve listed these beaches on our Fethiye Beaches page.
Çalış is a small, low key resort. But, once you’re away from the beach, there’s still shopping, eating, drinking and entertainment to be had.
Every resort has one. And Çalış Beach is no different. That street which people call ‘the strip.’
In Çalış, it’s the first part of the road that crosses the canal bridge and runs perpendicular to the main Çalış Beach entrance – Barış Manço Bulvarı.
Just across the bridge on the shore of the canal is where you’ll catch the Çalış Water Taxi (more details below) to Fethiye and also book your daily boat trips.
(The Çalış Fishermen’s Cooperative is a few metres further along the canal.)
If you like bars that show oodles of sport – mainly football – and a bit of karaoke/party night thrown into the mix, you’ll be happy along the strip between the beach and the traffic lights at the roundabout.
That’s why we’re not along here, often!
There’s a handful of restaurants – Günışık is part of the Çalış furniture – and a number of stores selling the famous ‘genuine fake’ goods.
Throw in some varied local shops, including souvenir shops and an optician, and you pretty much get the picture.
If you’re not in the mood for a good wander and just want to pick up a few bits and bobs, you’ll probably find what you need along this little stretch.
There’s a smattering of lovely boutiques, jewellery shops and stores selling beach goods along the beach promenade, too.
But if you really want a bigger full-day shopping experience – a wide choice of souvenir shops selling mosaic lamps, spices, Turkish Delight, cushions and fabrics – then you’ll need to head to Fethiye town centre.
There, you’ll also find high street shopping such as Turkish chain stores and locally owned boutiques.
From Çalış Beach entrance to the traffic lights at the roundabout, when you’re walking along the strip, also keep an eye out for the entrance to a compact square on your left.
It’s easily missed. But this alleyway takes you to Bedesten Bazaar.
Again, not a summer haunt for us – but we do have the guilty pleasure of fish and chips at Charcoal Palace.
Miosch is a bar and eatery in the square where a winter afternoon tipple is sometimes on the agenda.
A good selection of imported beers there.
As well as food and drink, Bedesten is also home to tailors (bring your clothes and bags for repairs and alterations), artisan souvenirs, hairdresser and a reputable jeweller who will buy, alter or create precious jewellery.
Beyond The Roundabout
We’re still only a few minutes’ walk from the beach here so we’re not taking you too far.
Take a right at these lights and you can head to Meri Bar for sport, live music, pool and there’s a coffee bar as well as a full bar.
If you’re not into sea swimming or the kids are bored, Sultan’s Aqua City is also along this stretch, too.
At Sultan’s Aqua City, if you’re looking for real adrenaline rush, the park is also home to Fethiye Bungee Jumping Centre. 164 feet high!
Head straight on at the lights, along Barış Manço Bulvarı, and you’ll come across places offering dishes of a more traditionally Turkish variety: Çalış Kebabs & Dürüm, Mehtap Lokantası and Babzen Kebab are just a few.
Getting Around – Beyond Çalış Beach
If you are using Çalış Beach as your base and you want to explore further afield, there are various modes of transport you can use.
The water taxi
The Çalış to Fethiye water taxi runs through the summer season and will take you to the opposite side of the bay in the centre of Fethiye. Look out for the ancient ruins of the castle and Amyntas rock tomb in the hillside as the boat crosses the bay.
On Sundays, the local dolmuş drops off and picks up at the Sunday market en route to Fethiye.
The Fethiye-Çalış dolmuş terminates in Koca Çalış so you can bus down to these beaches if the walk is too far.
More info here about how to use the dolmuş in this area and beyond.
If time is short and you don’t want to travel under your own steam, tour companies along the beach and the main street offer experiences such as hamam visits (Turkish bath), day trips and longer tours to places like the ruins of Ephesus and the Pamukkale travertines.
And lots of other trips besides.
Many of these companies will also be able to arrange car hire and tickets for the high speed Rhodes ferry.
Çalış Beach – FAQs
If you are arriving to the area by air, the nearest airport to Çalış Beach is Dalaman Airport.
Because of the summer breezes, Çalış Beach is the best place to escape the intensity of the summer heat.
Whilst average temperatures in high season are in the low to mid 30s, it can – and often does – get much hotter.
These are the times when you will be grateful for the beach and promenade.
Check out our Fethiye weather page when you’re visiting the area for current weather conditions.
Yes. The beach is free to enter. There is a small charge for sun loungers and parasols.
Yes. The walk is an easy, flat stroll.
The walk takes around 90 minutes and there are bars and restaurants along Fethiye harbour. The walk takes the same route as the blue cycle track.