Kekova/Üçaĝız/Simena

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Waterfront houses at Simena

Somewhat confusingly, the twin seaside villages of Üçaĝız and Simena are often collectively referred to as ‘Kekova’. Kekova is, in fact, the long island that guards the entrances to the other two bays, and the sunken city below it – the victim of a series of earthquakes.

The drive to Üçaĝız from Kaş takes about half an hour and passes through pretty farmland, as yet mostly unblighted by ugly polytunnels. The view of the islands as you approach the sea is absolutely stunning.

The end of the road takes you to Üçaĝız, a pretty seaside village, where you can charter a boat for a whole day or arrange for one of the boatmen to take you out for an hour or two, to float over the sunken ruins and visit the neighbouring village of Simena. Formerly known as Kalekŏy, the original city is also under the sea and you can still see tombs sticking out of the water just off the coast.

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Lycian ‘saddleback’ tombs at Ucagiz

It is possible to walk on the Lycian Way from Üçaĝız to Simena – it will take you around an hour, and the route takes you past the Knights of St John castle, the ramparts of which actually surround the Lycian and Roman remains. The views from the castle are quite breath-taking.

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View from the castle at Simena

The route also takes you past the summer house and adjoining helipad of the Koç family – one of Turkey’s most wealthy dynasties.

Elena Pleskevich
The castle at Simena (Photo: Elena Pleskevich)

There are a number of pretty seaside cafes in both Üçaĝız and Simena, where you can have a delicious fish lunch or a cold beer, as well as several pleasant pansiyons where you can spend a few nights.

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Waterfront pansiyon at Simena