Kyaneai: Lycian Way detour near Kaş

Kyaneai. We confess, the first time we drove past the sign to Kyaneai along the Kaş – Antalya road, we had to reconstruct those letters in our head to try and make sense of the word. Fortunately, the Gods were with us and gave us another glimpse at the word by presenting us with a second road sign a few kilometers further down the road. Yep, we’d seen that correctly, the sign said Kyaneai. Once you know it, it isn’t even a tricky word, but at first sight, it looked like someone had left a Scrabble challenge in the form of a road sign. Anyway, we were intrigued and quickly checked what was behind this fascinating road sign. As it turns out, it is a Lycian site.

Moreover, it is the Lycian site that has the most sarcophagi of all Lycian sites. Close to 400, to be precise. Time for a tour around Kyaneai, near Kaş and Kekova.

There's Beauty In Everything

There’s Beauty In Everything

A bit of history

According to the researchers of the University of Tübingen, who have been actively researching Kyaneai, people abandoned the city in the 14th century A.D., after having been almost continuously inhabited since the 5th century B.C. Several Classical remains found at the site support the theory that the city was a significant part – maybe even the most significant – of a group of Dynasts’ residences in the Yavu mountain region. The many Lycian sarcophagi and the rock tombs are part of those remains.

The Views At Kyaneai Are Dramatic

The Views At Kyaneai Are Dramatic

Rock Cut Tombs At Kyaneai

Rock Cut Tombs At Kyaneai

In the 4th century, during the Early Hellenistic period, Kyaneai became the center of the polis territory. The relatively well-preserved theatre and city wall date back to that period.

Green Setting Of The Theatre

Green Setting Of The Theatre

Kyaneai In A Nutshell

Kyaneai In A Nutshell

Other remains at Kyaneai consist of a bath complex, a market hall that was reclaimed as a church, and some other poorly preserved constructions. These remains from the Roman Imperial Period are mostly overgrown with dense and spiny vegetation, and sometimes totally inaccessible.

We Just Love Places Like This!

We Just Love Places Like This!

One Of The Few Still Standing Constructions At Kyaneai

One Of The Few Still Standing Constructions At Kyaneai

What to expect from Kyaneai?

Kyaneai is a great site to visit if you feel you’ve seen all the major attractions in the area around Kaş, or if you have a particular interest in Lycian history or sarcophagi. While the site is relatively stretched out, it consists mostly of hundreds of sarcophagi dotted around in the natural surroundings of the theatre. The sarcophagi date back from the 4th century B.C. to the Roman Imperial Period. Still, Kyaneai is well worth a visit, especially if you like offbeat places. You will almost certainly have the place to yourselves, not counting the shepherd and his goats. With a setting perched above the plain of Yavu, and views that stretch to Kekova, this place is very serene.

Like A Street Sided By Sarcophagi

Like A Street Sided By Sarcophagi

There's Always Something Special Going On When Water Is Around

There’s Always Something Special Going On When Water Is Around

How to get to Kyaneai & other practicalities

This is not what you would call an established site. This means that there are no facilities whatsoever. The only signs you will see are the ones along the main Kaş – Antalya road. After that, you’re on your own. You can drive up to Kyaneai, but make sure your tires are up to it. The terrain is very rough. The easiest way to find the right way to the site is to take the road from the first road sign towards Kyaneai, coming from Kaş. Keep following that road, even after it turns into a dirt track, and keep right at both road splits. Alternatively, you can park at Yavu village and hike up to Kyaneai in less than an hour.

The Only Other Company You'll Probably Have Are Goats

The Only Other Company You’ll Probably Have Are Goats

In any case, make sure to bring plenty of water and some light snacks along. Good walking shoes and high-level sun protection are a must, and wearing trousers is recommended, considering the fair amount of thorny bushes you’ll need to conquer to get closer to some of the ruins. The fascinating rock tombs are not all accessible from up close without the risk of breaking some body parts; still, they can be enjoyed from a distance too, especially if you’ve brought binoculars.

Ionic Temple Rock Cut Tomb At Kyaneai

Ionic Temple Rock Cut Tomb At Kyaneai

If you’re into places like this, make sure to check out Sidyma and Kalabantia too.

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Source: uni-tuebingen.de

We’re all different people, so checking reviews on TripAdvisor is always a good idea! Just know we’ve visited each place personally and all photos are our own. So, basically, what you see is what you get. If you have any questions about a place, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Out top tips for a great Kyaneai visit:

  • bring plenty of water & some snacks
  • wear good walking shoes & trousers to protect your legs from the fair amount of thorny bushes
  • use a high-level sun protection
  • bring your binoculars

Turkey is a perfectly safe country to travel, except for these risks. Still, you should never travel without proper insurance. We love World Nomads’ travel insurance. We love their philosophy and their take on responsible travel, but also the fact that they cover popular activities in Turkey such as paragliding or balloon rides.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

You must have guessed it already, we’re independent travelers. Joining groups for excursions or activities isn’t really our cup of tea. But we fully understand that not everyone is keen on exploring Turkey on their own. That’s when Get Your Guide comes in handy. They offer plenty of activities and sightseeing tours that you can pre-book online, including visiting nearby Kekova.

If you’re more into a personalized experience while enjoying the services of a guide, Tours by Locals may be what you’re looking for! We just love them! You get the knowledge and assistance of a local, and the experience of independent traveling. Best of both worlds, really.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

We still love to use Booking.com when searching for the perfect hotel or vacation rental in Turkey. Unfortunately, the website isn’t accessible from within Turkey without the use of a VPN. If you don’t have a VPN, and you’re already in Turkey, Hotels.com is a good alternative.

We personally fell in love with Teras Paradise Guest House in Simena. You’re almost with your feet in the water, right next to the sunken sarcophagus. Pure bliss!

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

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Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

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