Kaş: Heaven On The Earthly South Coast
The drive from Antalya is long, especially if you have chosen to come on the local bus service that stops to pick up every person waving as it passes them.
Just when you are about to abandon all hope of reaching your destination, the bus climbs a last incline, turns a corner or two and laid out before you is a view that makes you forget every last torturous bend of the past three hours. Your body will immediately sag with calm yet remain upright to take in the islands, the sea and the twinkling lights of the village as the sun sets in the distance. Alternatively, approach from Fethiye and weave around the turquoise waters crashing into the mountains that drop into the sea. Stop for a quick dip at Kaputaş beach and feel the cold water bring you back to life. Take the 200 or so steps back up to the road to savor the cool of your swim before continuing the last few kilometers to the “eyebrow” of Turkeys south coast.
Where to stay Kaş ?
Many people arrive in Kaş for a day and stay for a week. It is the perfect place to go and recharge your batteries, do some serious walking and hiking, try diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking and then when you thought you had done it all, float down from the mountain on the parasail built for two! Only 27 kilometers from the heavily holidayed and somewhat British Kalkan, Kaş has somehow retained most of its local spirit and personality. And whilst building has changed the landscape both in town and along the peninsula significantly in the past five years, the center of town remains pretty much untouched.
Teagardens line the main square in front of the very picturesque harbor and before you know it you will be sitting drinking tea, reading the paper and seeming like a local. In all likelihood you will be so relaxed that you will walk right by the fourth century Lycian tomb known as the Kings Mausoleum that sits at the top of Uzun Çarşı, the quaintly cobble-stoned street that is lined with shops selling all sorts of quality products from luxurious bath towels and soaps to individually designed ceramics and jewelry.
Where to visit in Kaş ?
Kaş has been known as both Habesos and Antiphellos in ancient times. As a trading port, Alexander the Great and then the Seleucids and Ptolemies ruled Kaş. The amphitheater that sits a short walk to the west of the town is the only open-air theater in Anatolia that faces the sea. From its rafters you can see the Greek island of Meis (Kastellorizo), just a short 40-minute boat ride away. A little further away and approached mainly by boat is the small village of Kekova that sits on the ancient site of Simena. Sailing through the sheltered sea, the remains of the Lycian citys buildings can be seen sinking into the waters then rising again across the way. The area is littered with sarcophagi and rock tombs and up a steep climb sits the remains of the castle and theater.
Kaş does not have a large natural beach as it is built on rocks, but swimming platforms have been built into the rock several meters above sea level. Küçük Çakıl (Small Pebble) beach sits between these man-made bathing stations while Büyük Çakıl (Big Pebble) beach, in a larger sheltered bay is a short drive eastwards along the shore and over a hill. Both beaches offer lounges and umbrellas in exchange for purchasing a drink or two, maybe lunch or a snack. After warming under the suns rays, it is custom to plunge into the sea, often freezing on a hot summers day. Mountain springs flow directly into the sea at several points along this swimming stretch and the cold water sits on top shimmering like a thousand splinters of ice. Liman Ağazı can be reached by a very short boat ride across the bay and here, the water is warmer and the shore a little sandy.
Whilst the heat of summer attracts sun fiends and water lovers, the cooler weather attracts ramblers. Kaş features as part of the Lycian trail, a 500-kilometer-walking track along the Mediterranean coast from Fethiye to Antalya that was opened in 1999. Smaller treks in and around Kaş are offered by travel agents within the town along with a range of water-based activities.