Kekova

A day trip to Kekova, Ucagiz and Kale is a highlight not to be missed. Usually reached by boat from Kas or Kalkan, this small coastline is full of history. A typical trip will take in the sites of three ancient cities, Aperlae, Teimiussa and Simena (Kale).

As you pass the little Greek island of Meis on your right your boat may take you into the bay that housed the harbor of Aperlae, founded by the Lycians but never a very important city. Despite this you’ll pass over some of the sunken remains of its harbour buildings.

The island of Kekova will probably be your next stop. As trade between the Lycians and the other Hellenistic Greeks increased so did piracy and many harbours and ports were fortified in the same way that Kekova is. Again you'll see the remains of buildings and walls beneath your boat, and your guide should help explaining what you’re seeing. You'll stop a couple of times for swimming and snorkelling, although watch out for the spiny sea urchins and don’t swim near the precious ruins.

As you move on to the mainland village of Kale (ancient Simena) you'll notice the unusual shapes of the islets and outcrops that you pass. These are the results of quarrying the stone for the local buildings. The approach to Kale is delightful. The medieval castle sitting high on the hill is surrounded by the remains of the ancient city. You can climb to the summit through the little village where you'll probably have lunch. It is worth it just to sit in the little theatre and gaze out over the bay to Kekova. The village itself is charming as it has been rebuilt and renovated based in the traditional architecture. Don't forget to check out the other side of the castle with its view to Ucagiz. You’ll also discover the odd Lycian ogival tomb, which is common throughout this part of Turkey.

The 'three mouths' of Ucagiz are the two openings east and west of Kekova and the channel to the village itself. Ucagiz is accessible by road from the main Kas - Kalkan highway and is therefore a little more developed although it’s still fairly sleepy and laid back. There are pansiyons and restaurants and you could plan to stay a couple of nights to explore the area.