Kekova Bay

Kekova Bay

Rocky bays and richly strewn ruins

The deeply indented Bay of Kekova, hemmed in by the island of the same name, is edged by two waterfront villages strewn with a picturesque assortment of ruins. From the Kaş-Antalya highway two separate roads each some 12 miles long wind down to Uçağız, the marginally more senior village; an increasingly rough track continues to the foot of the hill behind the little settlement of Kale (Simena), though the more direct route is a ten-minute ride in a fisherman’s kayık across the islet-strewn bay from Uçağız.

© David Mansfield/www.petersommer.com
© www.petersommer.com

Kekova is popular with visiting gulets; the shoreside fishing restaurants dispatch regular boats to tout for business among the thicket of masts. Strict controls and the rocky contours have resulted in a pronounced shortage of onshore accommodation. Charming but basic pansiyon accommodation, with shaded outside space and showers, is available at the Simena Pansiyon in Kale where a night would probably suffice; greater comfort is had at Hoyran Wedre a four-hour hike or a half-hour drive inland.

Kekova is not big on sandy strands; most of the swimming takes place from rock platforms where the odd sun lounger may be secured. Tables stand beneath awnings on makeshift quays which recall the shores of the more somnolent Dodecanese islands. In the high summer, hot even by local standards, this is a place for dozing through the day. In the cool, though, there are the ruins to be explored: the crenellated castle of Simena immediately above Kale; the fascinating Lycian necropolis – the sarcophagae lids like upturned hulls – on the eastern fringes of Üçağız; or the submerged ruins of Aperlae a couple of hours walk along the shoreline to the west. It pays to keep a weather eye out for scorpions among Kekova’s rocks, though encounters with tortoises are more likely.

Kekova is a popular destination for sea kayaking trips. These take in the ancient ruins – scattered amphorae and ashlar tiers – which are known as the Sunken City and lie visibly submerged along the north shores of Kekova Island. Local fishermen also offer sightseeing and swimming boat trips.

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