What’s the point of visiting a sunken city, you may ask? Granted, the principle of a sunken city is that is lies under water, and as a result, it is mostly invisible. But in the case of Kekova and Simena, some parts are barely submerged, and the crystal clear water on top gives them a mysterious touch. In any case, as we have said before; anything that involves a boat trip catches our attention. And the boat trip around Kekova and Simena is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful ones we’ve ever made. Nature is stunning, history distinctly visible; therefore the whole visit is just one continuous wow-moment.
Hop on board with a local fisherman
You have several options when arranging your boat trip to Kekova. Given the popularity of the place, you’ll find organized boat tours taking you to both Kekova and Simena. Usually, that involves a fixed amount of time spent at both spots. You could follow our tracks and ask a local fisherman to take you. It is an excellent way of contributing to the local community while adding a unique experience to your trip. The fisherman kept mending his nets, stopping only to point out something worthwhile seeing or knowing along the way. He was happy to wait at the small jetty in Simena until we were satisfied we had seen everything the Kale had to offer. A perfectly relaxing way to organize your visit if you ask us! 🙂
Sailing past Kekova
Kekova is a small and very delightful Turkish island near Demre. The uninhabited island lies opposite the villages of Kaleköy and Üçağız. The partly sunken ruins on the northern side are the result of an earthquake in the 2nd century. The whole shoreline of the island shows the remains of Dolikisthe, with a dockyard, plenty of steps and stairs, gates, and even the remains of a Byzantine Church; a fascinating sight!
One of the most famous Simena sights must be the submerged Sarcophagus right in front of the peninsula. But the place has a great vibe in general. The locals are friendly, the scenery is amazing, and the castle from the Knights of Rhodes is well-preserved and offers stunning views of the bay. A lot of guides mention that Simena is only accessible by boat. While it is the most convenient way to access this gorgeous spot, you can hike to it too. Make your way around Kaleüçağiz bay and walk towards Simena Kale, which is visible from Kaleüçağiz. Once at the Kale, make your way down to Simena’s waterside pensions and restaurants. You might not want to take on this challenge carrying heavy suitcases, but with a simple backpack, this is a very doable hike.
Practical information to visit Simena & Kekova, Turkey
Even a visit to paradise requires some preparation. 🙂 Simena and Kekova are located between the cities of Kaş and Demre. Both are easily accessible by boat. Simena is on the mainland, but you’ll have to hike your way in. The easiest thing to do is take public transport or drive your car to Kaleüçağiz and take a boat from there.
If you plan on staying the night, your options are divided between the mostly family-run pensions in Kaleüçağiz or Simena (Kaleköy in today’s Turkey). Don’t forget to ask if you’re staying in Simena if the pick-up by boat from Kaleüçağiz is included in your stay. Both places have their pros and cons, Kaleüçağiz is easily accessible, Simena has the advantage of the slightly more picturesque surroundings. When picking Teras Paradise Pension for your stay, you will be spoiled with the most amazing view at breakfast. Admit it, starting the day here, almost next to this immersed Lycian Sarcophagus looks out of this world.
Visiting out of season means you’ll have to accept that most pensions and restaurants are in sleep mode. This means they are open upon reservation. You dine in a space that has been opened just for you, with the terrace furniture stacked in a corner, but with local delicacies being freshly prepared on a wood fire. And the bonus is you’ll have the whole site to yourselves. If you prefer a more lively atmosphere, plan your trip during the tourist season, which runs from May to October. Curious about what other travelers think of this place? Read all about it on TripAdvisor. Please note that they charge a small entrance fee to the Kale at Simena.
And also take a look at our Turkey Travel resources page, containing essential information about traveling to Turkey, including links to the E-visa website and much more.