Things to Do in Kas
Though Saklikent translates from Turkish as Hidden City, urban life is the last thing that comes to mind in Saklikent National Park (Saklikent Milli Parki). Encompassing a dramatic gorge that cuts through the mountains, the national park is a playground of river rapids, streams, waterfalls, and cliffs.
Rocky coves and pine-clad cliffs make a scenic backdrop for a boat cruise, but the biggest attraction of Kekova Island (Kekova Adasi) is underwater. The uninhabited island harbors the sprawling ruins of an ancient Lycian city, submerged after an earthquake in the second century and now lying at the bottom of the Mediterranean.
Demre, formerly known as Kale, is a small agricultural town on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. It was also the ancient Lycian town of Myra. A community of Christian Greeks lived here until the 1920s when they were forced to relocate to Greece during the population exchange between Turkey and Greece. Abandoned Greek houses serve as a reminder of this time.
Though not as big as the areas closer to the Antalya airport, Demre's history, warm weather, and proximity to the sea make this town a pleasant and popular vacation spot. Many tourists, especially Christians, come here on a pilgrimage to visit the tomb of Saint Nicholas and his church. Saint Nicholas was the historical figure who eventually became Santa Claus. He lived in and was the bishop of Myra during the 4th century.
Other attractions in Demre include the ruins of Myra, such as a Roman theater and tombs cut into the rock walls. There are also boat trips to see the sunken ruins of the nearby island of Kekova. The well-known long distance hiking trail, the Lycian Way, also passes through Demre and the ancient town of Myra.
A Greco-Roman amphitheater and rock tombs carved into the cliffside make the ruins at Myra a popular stop along Turkey's Mediterranean coast. Dating back as early as the 1st century BC, the ancient Lycian capital of Myra lies just outside the modern town of Demre.
Kaleköy (Simena) is located in the small town of Kalekoy along the southwestern coast of Turkey. It is quiet traditional village that was once a Lycian settlement. While visitors can get there on land, taking a boat trip from nearby Kas is a much more enjoyable experience. The journey takes you past the rocky, dramatic coastline and passes the submerged remains of an ancient Lycian settlement near Kekova Island. A popular yachting town, and you'll usually find several boats in Kalekoy Harbor.
At the top of the village is the Kalekoy Castle built by the Knights of St. John, and next to castle is the remains of the Lycian Simena graveyard. From this vantage point, you will have a great view of the village and the Mediterranean Sea. Down by the harbor, you'll find several restaurants and cafes selling local Turkish cuisine and freshly caught fish, as well as a few small pensions for those who decide to stay overnight.
Just outside the ancient Lycian city of Patara, Patara Beach (Patara Plajı) is known as one of the most beautiful on the coast of the Turkish Riviera. At 11 miles long, it is one of the longest beaches in the area. Its soft, white sand and calm blue waters make it a particularly welcoming Mediterranean beach, in an area known for beaches of pebbles and stones.
As it is part of a national park, seasonal wildlife is protected by the Turkish government and can be spotted seasonally. There are many native birds and sea turtles, who come to nest in the sands. At Patara Beach’s easternmost point, there is a scenic rocky cove worth seeking out.
History exists here as the half-buried remains of an ancient Roman amphitheater partially covered by sand. Because of its nearby historic ruins and national park status, the beach area cannot be developed and sees very few tourists. Many archaeological sites can be viewed along the road to the beach.