The Turquoise Coast : Places to Explore


Simena and Kekova Sound

Simena (now known in Turkish as Kaleköy), Kekova Island, and its surrounding coastline are some of the most enchanted spots in Turkey, especially as the reflection of the full moon slowly traces its way across Kekova Sound. Most local transportation is by water, and there are many day tours from Kaş, but a new road to nearby Üçağız, off Route 400, has eased the overland journey, which has magnificent views.

Kekova Island stands slightly off a shoreline notched with little bays, whose many inlets create a series of lagoons. Anchoring many are small fishing communities. The disappearing apse of a Byzantine church backs one beach known as Tersane, whose bay is a favorite swimming spot. It is also famed for its "sunken city" though with swimming now banned there isn't much to see; the main attraction is just exploring the beautiful inlet. The village of Üçağız has small pansiyons and waterside restaurants, and is the base for boat trips across the bay to the island.

Simena, a concrete-free village has the look of the Greek islands before development. Reached by a 10-minute boat ride or half-hour walk from Üçağız, it's a pleasing jumble of boxy houses built up a steep rocky crag alongside layers of history: Lycian tombs, a tiny Greek theater, and the medieval ruins of Simena Castle atop the rocky hill. There are now numerous basic pansiyons that are rather expensive for the quality of the rooms, but you're pay for the sublime view from the balconies. All offer boat pickups from Üçağız. Reserve well in advance, in season.

Simena and Kekova Sound at a Glance