Written by Missy Johnston
Board the yacht in Gocek, settle in, and sip a refreshing beverage on the aft deck while you depart for Gemiler Island. Enjoy a relaxing dinner on board in this lovely anchorage.
After breakfast, spend the morning swimming and snorkeling over sunken ruins of an ancient harbor with quay and building foundations just under the clear waters along the island. Then, take a tender ashore to explore the island. Walk around the remains of a sizeable Byzantine settlement with a covered walkway and several churches. Take advantage of the fabulous view from the summit and sit down with beverage glass in hand while watching the sun set over the sea. Those with the need for further exercise or interest in exploring can take the hiking trail back into the mountains for a visit to Kayakoy village, an abandoned Greek village from the mid 20th century, now a true ghost town.
Leave early for Kas, one of the most famous tourist resorts along the southern coast of Turkey. Kas is also historically important as it was originally the ancient town of Antiphellus, harbor of the town of Phellus. On the top of the hill, offering a view over the creeks and inlets, stands the ruins of a Greek theatre, built during the first century BCE; its proportions, excellent condition and panoramic position have made it one of the most outstanding monuments along this stretch of coast. From Kas, a driver with a guide can take you to nearby Xanthos, Patara and Letoon, returning you at the end of the day to Kekova.
Xanthos was the capital of the Lycian league which rose to the height of its splendor in the 10th century BC. Patara, known as the birth place of Apollo, was an important grain trade port in antiquity and is now mostly covered in sand dunes – still, it is an interesting place to visit and the extensive beach is lovely. Letoon was a place of worship for the people of Xanthos and is cited in many guide books as one of the most delightful sites in Lycia. The foundations of three temples remain and most are underwater. Your yacht can cruise to Kekova while you tour and join the yacht in Kekova at the end of your tour. Or, if ancient sites are not your thing, it is a beautiful sail from Kas to Kekova.
Kekova Island Shoreline Ruins
Stay in Kekova for a two-day visit to include Kekova Island, Ucagiz and Kale Koy (ancient Simena). Kekova Island has a very nice spot known as Tersane, where the apse of a church stands on the beach. The sunken city is the other major attraction on Kekova Island. After an ancient earthquake much of the land in the area sunk into the sea creating the island of Kekova, and Kekova Bay. Ruins are now everywhere underwater in Kekova Bay; the remains of a once extensive inhabited area, and the ruins can be viewed from above by tender or by snorkeling over where allowed.
Ucagiz is a small town which has yet to be disturbed by tourism. There are a number of Lycian sarcophagi perched on a hillside nearby. At Kalekoy, there is a single sarcophagus peeking out of the water and some interesting steps carved into off-lying rocks, said to be the ruins of an old Roman mill. Perhaps the highlight of a visit to Kekova is the climb to the castle and medieval fortress on Kale Koy. Within the castle is a tiny ancient theatre built for 300 people, with several Lycian Temple Front Tombs behind. The view is breathtaking. Also available is a tour of Myra, where the church of St. Nicholas is located, an important early Christian site, and the Demre-Ucagiz area, with an extraordinary display of Lycian Cliffside tombs situated next to the remains of a Roman Theater. All around in the area can be seen various ruins of ancient buildings from various civilizations still sitting in the countryside after centuries have passed.
An early morning departure for Kalkan. Enjoy lunch in the anchorage and spend the afternoon exploring Kalkan, an important port during the 1800’s. Settled by Greek and Turkish people under the Ottoman Empire, Kalkan was a large trading port. Here goods were brought by camel from inland locations and put on trading ships bound for other international ports. Kalkan grew as a prosperous city and its many streets and buildings are reflective of the Greek Ottoman architecture of the 19th century. Wander this unspoiled trading city and explore the many nooks and crannies, filled with little shops and hidden terraces. Overnight in Kalkan.
Return to Gocek Bay which is enormous and has many different anchorages to explore, and the town of Fethiye to visit. Chose an anchorage for overnight and set out in the ship’s tender to visit Wall Bay, Tomb Bay, Tersane Bay, or enjoy the beach within the Seven Islands area. A bay not to be missed is Hamam Bay where Roman Ruins of a Bath are located, said to have been built for Cleopatra. Fethiye has a small bazaar for any last minute shopping, with the ruins of a small amphitheatre and several Lycian Cliffside Tombs.
Disembark in Gocek.