One of the most tranquil sailing routes for boats, Kekova is the most suitable location for those who not only seek escaping from noisy city life and spending holidays in a peaceful environment, but also those who want to stay in the middle of pure nature and the sea.
It is hard to write brief information about Kekova, it has to be seen to be understood.Your lasting memories of this hidden paradise will be all the myriad shades of blue and green in it’s texture and pure waters, it’s rich history, and it’s exquisite nature welcoming all visitors. For these riches Kekova attracts thousands of tourists every year to this region of historical value which is situated between Kas and Demre districts of Antalya.
The most spectacular ancient remain in the region is the fortress on the top of a hill built by Knights of Rhodes (Knights Hospitaller). The wall fragments below the sea level and the old pier carved into the rocks are also worth visiting.
If you want to see the best places in and around the island of Kekova, you’ll have to take a boat tour from Kas or Demre. This is because even the coves found not on the island but on the mainland are very hard to get to over land, some are even impossible.
During the Lycian period, most of Kekova Island submerged due to earthquakes. That’s why the region is also referred to Sunken City. Facing Kekova, it’s Kalekoy (also named as Simena) where you will notice a 300-seat theatre carved into the rock within the Medieval castle on the hillside.
At the same time, you’ll see totally lovely houses and restaurants in Kalekoy. Local girls and young women display their traditional handicraft works at these restaurants.
We go on a fun an adventurous journey on each boat tour of Kekova. The coves with hundreds of shades of blue, calm sea, the green forest covering the coast, relaxation, and the feeling of getting away from it all give you indescribable energy.
What to Do in Kekova
Kekova region is a must-see for sailing routes of all yacht charters as Kekova has everything a tourist is looking for: a long-established historical texture, the purest bays of the Mediterranean, a unique nature, a rich cultural heritage. As for other Kekova facts, the ruins of Lycian tombs can be found in Ucagiz harbour town within the boundaries of Kekova region.
The region is famous for its breath-taking bays and the sunken city dating back to the Lycian period. If you like, you can rent a crewed yacht exclusively for you or join the boat trips for groups in this region so that you’ll have the opportunity for swimming in the charming bays which are accessible only from the sea, and closely exploring the sunken city.
Sports fans can enjoy the sea kayak tours organized at Ucagiz. They will be able do watersports, swim, and discover the sunken city in the meantime. If history and nature are your passions, you can take hiking trips in the region to explore the ruins dating back to Lycian and subsequent periods.
1. Kekova Island
Kekova Island is a small, rocky island across from Kalekoy and Ucagiz near the city of Demre. There is no settlement on the island. Covered in green trees, wild thyme, bush, and rock, it spans parallel to the mainland. It’s thought that the name Kekikli Ova (Thyme Plains) was eventually shortened into the name Kekova.
You’ll see ancient Lycian ruins on a boat tour around the island. The highest density of ruins is found on the northern side of the island. In this area, the sunken ruins of the ancient city of Dolkisthe, which sunk after earthquakes in the 1st century CE, are still visible. Including Kekova Island and the nearby coast, this special area was placed under protection in 1990. Swimming is forbidden in this area, but on boat tours of Kekova we visit multiple nearby coves where you can swim.
2. Kalekoy Simena
Kalekoy (Simena) is not only Kas’s but one of Turkey’s most beautiful villages. It’s an unusual village sitting on top of a rocky peninsula looking out towards Kekova, ver y different from a traditional village. The houses here start at the seaside and spread uphill. At the very top sits a castle with paths leading down to the coast, houses decorated with flowers, and a wonderful view of Kekova front and center.
The only way to reach Kalekoy is by boat, which is how they’ve managed to preserve their unique atmosphere for so many years. You can swim between sarcophagi just off the coast of Kalekoy. Another thing that makes this village special is the absence of cars; you’ll have to walk through the adorable, narrow streets. If you have time, we recommend climbing up to the castle. The view from the top is incredible.
Simena is full of quaint cafes and restaurants. It’s famous for its ice cream. You have to try the ice cream made with locally grown fruit. The restaurants here usually serve fish but will serve any kind of food and drink upon request. Those that wish can also take a small boat to Ucagiz and eat at the restaurants there.
Kekova is one of the most relaxing boat tour routes available. It’s perfect for those looking to get away from the noise of the city and stay somewhere quiet while at the same time spending time in nature and by the sea. The pristine area of Kekova is also very small, which means that accommodation options are limited. The three guesthouses and one boutique hotel in Kalekoy host guests looking for some peace and quiet. Those staying here can swim and hike through the historic region.
Ucagiz is another nice village near Kekova. It’s less touristic and quieter than Kalekoy. Known as Theimussa during ancient times, Ucagiz is in the province of Demre. The village sits on the coast of a natural harbor. It used to be connected to Kekova Island, but this connection sunk during earthquakes.
Ucagiz is a small fishing town that has preserved its traditional feel thanks to it being so far from main roads. Swimming around the sarcophagi in its harbor is unforgettable. In spite of the many boats and yachts that anchor in the harbor, the water here is clean and calm. After wandering through the village, be sure to visit the ancient city of Theimussa and the 4th century BCE Lycian inscription dedicated to the ancient city.
In this area, you can either join a group or book a private boat tour. Thusly, you’ll be able to swim in unbelievably beautiful coves that can’t be reached over land and see the sunken city up close. Those who like sports might enjoy one of the kayaking tours that depart from Ucagiz. On these kayaking tours, you’ll get some exercise, swim, and see the sunken city up close.
4. Hamidiye Bay
Hamidiye Bay is a small and deep bay east of Kalekoy and west of Koyun Island. During the Balkan Wars, Cruiser Hamidiye and Commander Rauf Orbay hid out in this bay while battling enemy ships. It gets its name from this cruiser. A couple dilapidated arches, the remains of stone tombs, and a Turkish flag painted on a rock still remain.
5. Gokkaya Bay
Gokkaya Bay is one of the best bays surrounding Kekova. It’s one of the places our guests don’t want to leave. Boats on ‘Blue Cruises’ anchor here. With its calm, lake-like water, freshwater springs that mix with the sea water, and the smell of nearby pine trees, this bay is home to an unbelievable atmosphere. With nearly zero waves, Gokkaya Bay is perfect for swimming and exploring via kayak.
6. Pirate’s Cave
Pirate’s Cave is one of the area’s most popular stops on boat tours. It’s located on the coast of Asirli Island, to the north of Kekova Island. It’s thought that it gets its name from the pirates that used to live here. Large boats can’t enter the cave. You can anchor out in the open and go inside with kayaks. We should mention that there are lots of bats inside.
Aperlai is a sunken city located on the Sahilkilincli peninsula to the southwest of Kekova. There is no road running here despite it being on the mainland. You can reach it by boat from Kas or Ucagiz. Like most places in Kekova, a large portion of Aperlai sunk after an earthquake. We recommend snorkeling around to see the underwater amphorae, ruins, and stone tombs.
To note some more brief information about Kekova, the accommodation options available are rather limited as the region is still untouched and small in area. With just 3 guesthouses and 1 boutique hotel, Kalekoy cordially receives its guests, who seek peace. You can both swim and make excursions to the historical ruins there.
There are utterly lovely restaurants and cafés in Simena. While the restaurants usually serve daily fish meals, they also offer all types of food and drinks according to your request. If you wish, you can take the small tour boats to Ucagiz, departing from Simena and eat at the restaurants there.
There are no big stores or gift shops in this small friendly town. But if they wish, our guests can choose to buy some of the delicate handicraft work of the local girls and young women in the island as a memory from Kekova.
Kekova is a quite pristine region and hence, there are no entertainment facilities available. However, we should note about Kekova facts on nightlife that there is a bar at Gokkaya Bay, accessible by boats only.Your music is the sound of the sea,your sparkling lights the stars above.
Along with its historic wonders, Kekova is home to some of the Mediterranean’s cleanest coves, unmatched natural beauty and cultural heritage. It’s a hidden paradise full of every shade of blue and green where you can find sea, history, and nature all in the same place. The Kekova region is always included in ‘Blue Cruise’ routes. By participating in one of our boat tours of Kekova, you can experience this extraordinary beauty in the best way possible.