Monday, January 14, 2013


Best for a boat trip

Drive 90 minutes southeast to Ucagiz via Kas

executive summary by darmansjah

It’s sunrise on a still Mediterranean bay, and wooden gullets (traditional Turkish sailing boats) ease silently away from the cove like sheepish morning after partygoers. From the water, the ramshackle village of kalekoy appears to cascade downhill from a ruined fortress on the top, all the way to the shore, where Lycian tombs poke up out the shallows – towering sarcophagi topped with domed, ridged lids reminiscent of Norman helmets.

the submerged town of Simena, off the coast of the  Turkish Riviera

While the beautiful scenery is encouragement enough to take a boat trip, The real draw is beneath the waves. A short trip brings the boat to a spot just off the island of Kekova, where lies the Sunken City – formerly Simena, half of which was consigned to a watery grave by earthquakes in the second century AD. For a 500-meter stretch, staircases and the stumpy remains of walls disappear into the sea. Black fish dart over the submerged, ancient district, its foundations picked out pale green by the morning sun.

boats are not allowed to stop above the ruins, but they do pause at Simena’s shipyard, where flagstones lead into the water, and passengers wade to the b each.

While he waits, a chain-smoking captain. Salih Yilmaz, busies himself with a plastic bottle and a piece of string, fishing for calamari to serve in his restaurant. He is from Kalekoy and, like many of his fellow villagers, he runs these boat trips to supplement his income. ‘Before tourist started coming 30 years ago, it was a hard life. Now it’s a bit easier,’ he says. He peer down into the blue. ‘We knew the ruins were there when I was growing up, but they didn’t seem very special to us. Now we know how important they are.’

Further Information

Boat trips to Kekova, which normally include lunch, depart from Ucagiz (US$30) and Kas (US$35;

Where To Eat

Dine in the courtyard at Bahce Balik, where dishes include grilled octopus and calamari with chestnut mayonnaise (mains US$16: Dogruyol Sokak, Kas).

Where To Stay

Mehtap Pension reached only by a 10-minute boat ride or a 45-minute walk, Kalekoy has 50 houses and three pensions. It’s a wonderfully preserved spot, thanks to its isolated position on a peninsula. Methap’s bougainvillea-covered terrace are perfect for a long breakfast or sea food dinner. The air-conditioned rooms with en-suite bathrooms occupy two stone cottages (from US$95;

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