Ucagiz is a small village found in Demre County. Built on the coast, Ucagiz was known as Theimeussa in ancient times. Sitting on a natural harbor, Theimeussa’s history isn’t known in detail. What we do know is that this city was one of the cities that created the Lycian League and was a city of sailors.
Ucagiz faces one of Kas’s most special places, Kekova Island. The village was once connected to what is now one of Turkey’s biggest Mediterranean islands. This connection along with most of the city became submerged after a local earthquake. The wonderful island view that you see from Ucagiz only appeared after the earthquake.
Ucagiz Travel Guide
Ucagiz is located in the Kekova region, one of Turkey’s rare places. Ucagiz is just next to Simena Kalekoy, and near the sunken city of Kekova, Aperlai in the direction of Kas and Gokkaya Bay in the direction of Demre. When visiting Ucagiz you’ll be right next to all of the wonderful places of Kekova.
Upon arriving in Ucagiz, you’ll be greeted by ancient cities buried in the water, crystal clear bays, and bright green islands rising out of the sea like emeralds. Many tourists from all over the world come here. Australians, New Zealanders, Japanese, and Canadians come to see Ucagiz and its surroundings every year.
Ucagiz has managed to stay so calm and beautiful because it’s far from any main roads. It’s one of the few settlements along the Mediterranean coast that hasn’t been affected by mass tourism. With its nearby sunken city and turquoise bays, it’s very different from the general picture of a village we have in our minds.
Many of the villages near the sea on the Mediterranean coast have grown and turned into towns, but Ucagiz has managed to avoid this fate. Reminiscent of a fishing village, Ucagiz’s history stretches back to the 5th century BCE. It has a population of 450.
A portion of the Lycian ruins are submerged due to rising waters and the sinking of some areas of land after the earthquake. You’ll see important tombs belonging to the Lycian civilization in the water just in front of the village. With the ancient houses and walls of the sunken city, Ucagiz is home to an unmatched atmosphere.
Ucagiz is home to a natural harbor. Its sheltered bay protects the village’s boats from the wind and storms. The dock just in front of the village fills with daily passenger boats and yachts in the summer. Ucagiz Bay is perfect for watersports classes because it’s as calm as a lake. It’s heaven for kayakers in particular and there are many kayaking schools in the village.
Ucagiz, one of the most popular stops on the Kekova tours departing from Kas, is also located on the Lycian Way. Those hiking the Lycian Way stop in Ucagiz on their way to Demre, pick up basic necessities such as food and water, and continue on their way.
A quiet, relaxing, coastal town, Ucagiz is even quieter in winter. Since daily boat trips take a break during this time, only the few people that come in private boats liven up the village for a couple hours. When spring arrives and its surroundings turn green, the village springs to life. Boat tours begin and the harbor fills with boats all day long.
Places to See in Ucagiz
After arriving in Ucagiz by boat, you’ll have lots of time to wander around the village. You can eat fresh seafood in the restaurants on the coast or look around the souvenir shops. If it’s hot the day you come, the best thing to do in Ucagiz is swim in the clean, calm sea of course. Rent a kayak from one of the kayaking schools and paddle around; you’ll definitely enjoy yourself.
The few remaining ruins of Theimussa are among the things you can see in Ucagiz. You can also walk to Kalekoy in 15-20 minutes.
1. Ancient City of Theimussa
The Ancient City of Theimussa is right next to Ucagiz Village. The name of the ancient city was found in a Lycian inscription from the 4th century BCE. The ruins belonging to the ancient city of Theimussa are spread across the coast of Ucagiz in the direction of Kalekoy Simena. There isn’t much left. Most of the ruins consist of pieces of stone tombs. There is a fortress perched on a low, rocky hill, a part of the city wall now underwater, and a dock carved into the rock on the eastern edge of the city.
2. Kalekoy (Simena)
Kalekoy (Simena) is just a 15-minute walk from Ucagiz. It’s one of Turkey’s most beautiful villages. Only accessible by boat for many years, Kalekoy is home to a combination of rare beauty: its magical view of Kekova, the rows of houses that rise up from the coast, and its ancient ruins.
When you come to Kalekoy, taste the village’s famous ice cream and climb up to the fortress to look out over all of Kekova. Especially at sunset, Simena is unforgettably beautiful.
3. Kekova Island
Kekova Island is the island this special region is named after. It spans 4.5 km across from Simena Kalekoy and is under protection. Kekova became an island when the isthmus connecting it to the mainland sunk after the major earthquake in 141 CE. The coast of Kekova facing Kalekoy and Ucagiz was buried under the sea.
Half of the ancient remains here are above water and half are underwater, up to 4-5 meters deep. There is no settlement on the island and it’s only accessible by boat.
By participating in our boat tours, you can see the sunken city surrounding Kekova. Kekova boat tours depart at 9:00 or 9:30 from the Kas Harbor.
Aperlai is a sunken city you can visit around Ucagiz. It’s located on the Sicak Peninsula, just a half an hour by boat from the center of Ucagiz. Since there is no road running to Aperlai, the only way to get here is by boat from Kas or Ucagiz.
Like many places in Kekova, a large portion of Aperlai was left underwater after the earthquake. Sarcophagi are found among the underwater ruins. The harbor buildings are completely underwater, but some are visible from the water’s surface.
Especially in the morning when the sea is flat and calm, you can dive with a snorkel and see the ruins in the water. The remains of two Roman baths are visible near the harbor. By participating in our Aperlai tour program, you can take advantage of the private tour we run to this bay. Our Kas boat tour, during which we visit the amazing bays around Kas, might interest you as well.
How to get to Ucagiz
Ucagiz is accessible over land and by boat. The easiest and most enjoyable way to get to Ucagiz is by participating in one of our boat tours departing from Kas or Demre. If you want to come over land, there are two different options for those coming from the direction of Kas and those coming from Demre.
You can reach Ucagiz, located 36 km from Kas and 33 km from Demre, by getting off at the Ucagiz junction that minibuses running from Kas to Kalkan pass and try to hitchhike the last 20 kilometers. There is also a minibus that runs from Antalya to Ucagiz once a day. The closest airport is in Antalya.