Kaş is a town situated on the beautiful Turquoise coast of Turkey. Once you have explored everything this town has to offer there are some amazing day trips from Kaş that are worth investigating. In this post I’ll talk about four of my favourite ones.
To learn more about Kaş and the rest of Turkey read this post on my Top 10 Turkey Destinations.
- 1 A Day in Demre
- 2 A trip to Gombe
- 3 A day Kayaking over a Sunken city
- 4 A trip to the party town of Lycia!
Demre is a small town on the Turquoise coast of Turkey. It’s easily accessible as a day trip from Kaş or a longer trip from Antalya. I first visited Demre a couple of years ago to visit the Friday market. This time we again went on a Friday to take advantage of the market but also to take in some sights. Here is my suggested itinerary for a day in Demre.
Myra has had many incarnations by various civilisations but originally it was part of the Lycian Union. In early Byzantine times it took over from Xanthos to become the capital city of Lycia. The two big things to see here are the incredible rock cut tombs and the large amphitheatre. The theatre has amazing corridors leading to it which is quite rare to see but for me the star attraction at Myra are the rock cut tombs. When they were built they would’ve been painted in bright colours and even though they are now faded you can still appreciate the intricate carving of the rock which, at first glance, you could be fooled into thinking was wood.
Nobody knows for certain when it was built as nothing had been written about it until the 1st Century BC. However, an outdoor defensive wall dates back to 5th century BC so it’s pretty damn old! Aim to get to Myra early in the morning if possible to avoid the crowds. This is only a small site so it doesn’t get too busy, mainly just group tours on day trips from Antalya.
Entrance fee: 30 TL
Open: 9am – 7pm
Did you think Santa was from Lapland? Think again! St Nicholas was born in Patara, a little further along the coast (Patara also has some Greek ruins and a great beach!) and was buried in Demre (then Myra). Over his sarcophagus the first church of St Nicholas was built, although what you see today is mostly what was rebuilt in the 9th century and multiple restorations since. Inside the church you can see beautiful mosaic floor tiles and wall painting remains. If you want to read more about the Santa Claus myth check out this article.
Entrance fee:30 TL
From the church exit to the right and a couple hundred meters down the street you’ll see this cute little cafe. I didn’t catch the name but it’s a great place to grab a drink and some lunch before you head to the markets.
Locals from nearby villages come to Demre every Friday to sell their produce. This market used to feel a little different when it was all outdoors but now it is covered it has more of a Russian bazar type feel to it. You can get everything you need here and the sellers are quite happy to let you sample their produce. We spent a lot of time at the cheese stalls….
With the educational sites ticked off it’s time to hit the beach! The beach is 4.5km from the town centre so if you don’t have a car it’s worth jumping in a taxi. Demre has a decent sized sandy beach on which you can laze away the afternoon. Kick back with a book and swim in the ocean to cool down, then head back to whence you came. A day in Demre, done!
- From Kaş drive east on the main coastal road D400. 48km
- From Antalya drive west on the main coastal road D400. 142km
- Hourly buses (Dolmuses) run to Demre from Kaş bus terminal and cost betweenen 15-20 TL
- Hourly buses run to Demre from Antalya. It takes 3hrs15min and cost between 25-35 TL
Gömbe is a village that sits in the Akdag mountain range, famous for it’s juicy apples and pears. In the village square there are many places to eat and drink all serving typical Turkish cuisine. It also has a mosque that’s worth a visit and during the summer months a great Friday market. The real gems in my opinion though are beyond the village and up in the mountains above. Exploring these is a great option for a longer day trip from Kaş.
For this trip it is easiest to rent a car, which you can do from many suppliers in Kaş. From Kaş to Gömbe it is 66km of amazing windy mountain roads, which for me is part of the highlight of this day. Maps.me will take you the right way if you select to navigate to Gömbe, but I’ll provide directions so that you don’t miss out. Following the route below will take you over an incredible mountain pass with great views of both valleys and through pine and cedars forests. The cedar trees in this forest are truly epic!
Head east on D400, then take turn off onto 07-52. This road will take you most of the way, up and over the mountain. At the junction turn right onto 07-53, then after 6.6km exit left to cross the damn, sign posted for Gömbe.
This is a beautiful little area high in the mountains where you can enjoy a short walk, amazing views and an escape from the hot weather lower down. People come from all over Turkey to visit this spot as they believe the water is sacred. You will see locals washing their faces in the lake and filling containers full of water from the river.
From Gömbe follow the brown signs for Uçarsu Şelalesi. There’s a small place to park your car, you’ll know where as the road gets a little too rocky to drive any further! From there you can do a circular hike. I recommend walking up to Yesil Lake (Green Lake). Once at the lake turn left and follow the footpath up the hill. The path continues up and over, then takes you down to the river. Follow the path downstream to a large juniper tree and then continue on back towards the car park. As you walk along this path, look back towards the tree and you will be able to see the waterfall below. This circular path is marked on maps.me
From the waterfall drive back to the main road and turn left to continue up the mountain. After 3km you will reach a flat clearing which is known in Turkey as a Yayla, a high pasture grazing spot. Here there are a few locals still living a traditional nomadic life. They move their herds up to the yayla during the summer to take advantage of the cooler weather, before retreating back down for winter. There are no trails marked on these mountains yet but the possibilities for hiking are endless, limited only by imagination and fitness levels at this slightly higher altitude. (2000m)
A great option as a day trip from Kaş, is to sign up to a kayaking tour over Kekova. Kekova was a Lycian city that was once attached to the land, but after several earthquakes it sunk 6 meters below the sea. No diving is allowed in this region so one of the best ways to see this sunken city is to kayak over the top of it.
We did a really good trip with Bougainville travel. From their office in the centre of Kaş you will be taken by minibus to the town of Üçağiz. This is where the kayaking starts. You will kayak over the city, visit some sarcophagi, several bays and hike to a ruined castle and necropolis. The tour takes most of the day and includes lunch and transport. We enjoyed this day as it was a great mix of history and action!
Cost: 35 euros
Tip: Although they set prices in Euros you can choose which currency you would then like to pay in
Arykanda was the party town of Lycia! Because of this, despite it’s size it never became one of the “big 6” cities (Xanthos, Patara, Pinara, Tlos, Myra and Olympos) that got the maximum 3 votes. Arykanda is quite a vast and impressive archaeological site built over 5 terraces, so you’ll need a couple of hours here to fully explore it. Things to see include a great amphitheatre, an Odeon, Agora (shops) and the largest bath complex in Lycia. I guess all the partiers needed somewhere to recover after their heavy nights!
This was the first Lycian site I visited in Turkey and so I have a little soft spot for this place. Also, as this is maybe one of the lesser know archaeological sites, you will likely get it to yourself.
From Kaş it is 76 km by car. Route on Maps.me
Entrance: 15 TL
Open: 9am – 3pm
Did you know? The Lycian League was pretty awesome! Each of the member cities were able to nominate a representative to decide on affairs of the state. The 6 biggest cities commanded 3 votes each. Essentially, Lycia was the first civilisation to have a democracy. This has been much admired by governments since. Even writers of the good old constitution of the USA studied the Lycian federal system as a possible model on which to base their own system.
There are some great little fish restaurants near to the site where you can sit back and enjoy lunch after a full morning of exploring. From the site head south on D635 towards Finike and after 8-9km turn right and follow the road back up along the river. You’ll see the restaurants on the right hand side.
More photographs of Kaş, the surrounding area and the rest of Turkey available here.