This is a place where high mountains meet a blue turquoise sea, with a curving coastline and small islands beside it. The coastline is called Lycian Coast and it reveals a lot of splendid gems- magnificent coastal landscapes, hidden beaches, and ancient history. And there is a picturesque town, located amidst this beauty. This is Kaş, on the southwest coast of Turkey. And here you are going to read about things to do in Kaş (Kas, pronounce as “Kash”) and more useful information.
Basic facts about Kaş
Let’s open the physical map of Turkey and focus on its southwestern part. Here, between Antalya and Fethiye, the coastline forms a peninsula, known as Teke Peninsula. It is an area with high mountains that descend directly into the Mediterranean Sea.
Now, zoom in to the southernmost part of Teke Peninsula. Here, just west of its southernmost tip, along a small bay, you can find the town of Kaş. It is a small town, established on the mountain slopes from the north along the Bay of Kaş.
The Lycian Coast
Kaş is an interesting place, but it is part of a larger geographical destination- the Lycian Coast. This is the coast of the Teke Peninsula, including the nearby islands. It starts in Fethiye and ends in Antalya. And on its course, it is full of natural wonders- steep mountains, hidden pristine beaches, and rocky islands. However, here you can find something more- the longest beach in Turkey, called Patara.
The mountains over the coast are a part of the Taurus Mountain range- Western Taurus. And the highest peak in the area is Mt Bey Dağları (3070 m). The whole terrain is covered by Mediterranean vegetation. This is also where the famous Lycian Way is located, following the coastline and passing through Kaş- a trail with ancient history. And we have to take a look at this history.
History of Kaş
People have inhabited this place for thousands of years. The first organized states here date from the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BC), when this area was settled by the Lycians- an Anatolian nation related to the Hittites. This is the time when the city of Habesus was founded.
So, the area of Kaş and Teke Peninsula was a part of the Hittite Empire, then it suffered in the turmoil of the Dark Ages (12-9th century BC). In the following centuries, Lycia remained relatively independent, just partially ruled by the kingdoms of Phrygia and Lydia. During that period, a town called Phellus was documented by the ancient Greeks, probably the Greek version of Habesus.
In the 6th century, BC Lycia was conquered by Persia. And after the conquest of the Hellenistic world led by Alexander the Great, under the Macedonian and Seleucid empires, Lycia became Hellenized. But only during the Roman period, it got its Golden Age.
While the locations of Habesus or Phellus remain unclear, and obviously what is described as Phellus has declined during the Hellenistic times, a new city emerged at the coast of what is today Kaş. This city was called Antiphellus and flourished during Roman times, serving as an important port in the area.
Antiphellus remained prosperous during the early Byzantine Empire and served as a bishopric. However, its decline started after the invasion of the Arabs. During the following centuries, the wars and earthquakes gradually depopulated the city and only ruins remain.
The area was ruled by the Seljuks, and later by the Ottoman Empire. The descendants of the citizens of Antiphellus remained living around the ancient ruins, but already in a fishing village, rather than a city.
This fishing village was called Kaş by the Turks. After the Greco-Turkish war in 1923, following the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, the Greeks left Kaş, and Turks from Greece settled in their houses, inheriting the old Greek architecture of the village.
And in recent times, it was discovered by tourism. As a result, the beautiful Greek houses were preserved and renewed, and the town became a picturesque “old town” style place, full of art, history, and colorful local culture.
Our journey to Kaş
All of the above attracted us and we decided to include Kaş in our Western Turkey journey. We traveled by car from Fethiye, and on our way, we visited the splendid gems of Ölüdeniz and Patara. Then, we arrived in Kaş and explored the most essential of the town, including some places out of Kaş like the fantastic Kaputaş Beach.
We stayed a short time here. But Kaş has a lot more to offer. So, let’s see how to explore it best- what are the best things to do and places to see in Kaş and around it.
Things to do in Kaş
Let’s divide Kaş and the area into several zones that you can enjoy and explore. The first is the town of Kaş itself. And then are the surroundings: the coastline west of Kaş, the coastline east of Kaş, the mountains that rise north of Kaş, and the sea south of Kaş.
Things to do in the town of Kaş
Kaş is a small town. You can arrive at its bus station or just to the town center by car, and it can be your starting point for exploring. And you can do it on foot quickly, much better than short but slow driving in the narrow streets. Walking is not only the best way to roam around Kaş, but it has its specific charm.
Walk around the old town- streets, cafes, restaurants, nightlife
The old part of Kaş is in the center, right beside the eastern marina. It is small, just a few streets that cross each other. But what kind of streets?
They are streets full of art, history, and culture. The houses are with Greek traditional architecture, full of flowers. And everything is decorated with style. You can walk around the streets and choose a café, a restaurant, or a souvenir shop.
When evening comes, this area gets full of life, lights, and music. You can choose some of the local restaurants and enjoy Turkish cuisine with traditional folk songs and dances. So, Kaş is full of charm during the day and during the evening time- taste it and dive into it!
Research the Lycian tombs
While you walk on the old streets of Kaş, you can’t miss a weird ancient construction. This is one of the Lycian tombs that existed here for about 2500 years. It is called Lions Tomb and probably belongs to a Lycian king or a noble.
There is another tomb in the center of Kaş, right in the middle of a street square. It is smaller and it is one of the local landmarks.
However, if you want to see more of the mysterious Lycian tombs, you have to ascend to the Likya Cd (Lycia Road) above the old part of the town. And here, between the houses that are beside the road, you can find a short trail (about 150 m) with a sign, that ascends steeply to a cluster of tombs, hewn in the rocks. You can identify the point on Google Maps with the name Likya Kaya Mezarları.
Explore the ancient city of Antiphellos
If you want to combine the local atmosphere with history, you can’t skip the ancient ruins of Antiphellos. Not much has left of it, but its ancient theater is well-preserved. It is built during the Hellenistic times and was extended by the Romans. Later, it was abandoned, but now is restored and the whole area around it is turned into a beautiful seaside park. No entrance fee and it is free to visit.
Try the beaches of Kaş- İnceboğaz, Belediyesi, and Hidayet
If you take a look at the map, you will see that Antiphellos is located at the base of a small and long peninsula. This is Çukurbağ Peninsula. There is nothing so special about it, but it is just a beautiful place, great for relaxing. It is a resort area, with villas and hotels. And here you can try something nice- there are several small beaches.
İnceboğaz Beach is located in the narrowest part of the peninsula (in fact, it is a small isthmus). Here the peninsula is so narrow that the beach is situated on both coasts. Belediyesi Beach is the largest beach in Kaş, located on the southern coast of the peninsula. And Hidayet Beach is the farthest one, again on the south coast. It is stony, and here is the most transparent water around Kaş- great for diving.
But there are more beaches and other stunning points at the seacoast. So, let’s follow the coastline west of Kaş.
Things to do along the Lycian Coast west of Kaş
The coastline in this direction is rugged. The steep mountain slopes descend directly to the sea, living too little space for beaches. So, there are just 2-3 beaches here. However, one of them is different, and considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Middle East! But before getting to this fantastic beach, let’s follow the coast. Road D400, connecting Kaş with Fethiye curves along the coastline, so this section is easily accessible.
Try Akcagerme Beach
This is the first beach that you can try in this direction. It is a small sandy beach, located only 4 km west of Kaş, at the coast of the narrow bay between the Çukurbağ Peninsula and the mainland. The water is calm, with no big waves here, so it is more transparent. There is a resort area around the beach- some hotels, restaurants, and more places to stay and eat.
Enjoy the famous Kaputaş Beach
Kaputaş Beach is what I mention above- the pearl of the beaches in Turkey! It is only 21 km west of Kaş. Why is it so special? Mainly due to its image. Here a narrow gorge steeply descends from the mountain and reaches the sea, forming a small bay. And the coast of the bay is covered by sand- a 100 m long beach, surrounded on both sides by the cliffs of the gorge.
The entrance to the beach is free. But if you come by car during the high season, it will be difficult to find a place to park. There is no big parking lot here- the place is too narrow. So, you might need to park your car almost a kilometer away from the beach and walk to the entrance.
Once you reach it, you just go down the stairs to the sand below. There is a nice café bar with some beach facilities- WC and showers. The water is turquoise, and it gets deep quickly- only 3-4 m inside the water and you can’t touch the bottom with your feet. Anyway, relaxing and swimming in such a fantastic landscape is unforgettable- although our itinerary in Western Turkey was filled with places to visit, we dedicated a whole day only to Kaputaş Beach.
Things to do along the Lycian Coast east of Kaş
Now, let’s go in the other direction along the coast. Here the coastline goes southeast. It is still steep and rugged and is more complex than in the west. Besides, road D400 leaves the coastline, so you can reach it only by small side roads.
Try Big Pebbles Beach
This is the first point of interest in this direction, only 2 km from Kaş. It is a small pristine beach, covered by pebbles, like many other beaches on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey. The whole landscape is beautiful, surrounded by mountains, so this is something that you should try.
Explore the ancient Sebeda Lycian city
Here you will not see an ancient city, but only a few Lycian tombs, as well as some unrecognizable ruins. They are hidden in the forest beside the coast, not far from a small resort.
You can go there only by car to a small parking lot, then walk about 2 km on a trail. It is only 5 km from Kaş.
Reach the ruins of Apollonia
This is another ancient site. There were many cities called Apollonia in the ancient world and this is one of them, by far not the largest. But it is still interesting. Since it is not a developed tourist site, it gives you a feeling of mystery and adventure. It is located 23 km west of Kaş.
Explore the island of Kekova, Simena Castle, and the sunken cities
This is a large and worth-visiting destination. It is located about 35 km east of Kaş and is a whole tourist area containing several main highlights- an amazing combination of ancient history and stunning nature.
The first one is Simena Castle. It is a fortress built on the ruins of a previous settlement from the period of Lycia. And the fortress today dates from Byzantine times- it is a medieval construction. It was raised to protect the area from the pirates that often settled on Kekova Island. Entrance fee: 30 TL.
The Sunken cities
When you walk on the hill to the castle, you can see a lot of ancient Lycian tombs (sarcofagos), scattered here and there. They bring you back in time, to more than 2000 years ago when several cities existed here. They were Simena, Aperlae, Teimioussa, and Dolichiste. Simena is in today’s village Kaleköy, Teimioussa is in the neighboring village Üçağız, Aperlae is a bit further west, and Dolichiste is on the northern coast of Kekova Island.
In the 2nd century AD, all of them were struck by a powerful earthquake. As a result, they partly sank into the sea. Although Dolichiste was renewed during the Byzantine times, it was completely abandoned due to the Arab invasions. And today, all of the cities are interesting attractions, especially Dolichiste.
The sea area between Kekova Island and the mainland of Turkey is a place for boat trips, diving, playing on the small beaches, with exploring the sunken cities. All of this, along with the Simena Castle today is a protected area and famous tourist destination.
Things to do in the mountains behind Kaş
If you wonder what is in the mountains that rise over Kaş, and what views can you see from there, you can find out, and you will not regret it. Although the highest mountains in the area are not directly near Kaş but further northeast, the closer and lower ones are also worth hiking and exploring.
Hike the Lycian Way
The Lycian Way is an ancient trade road, connecting Fethiye with Antalya. Its route follows the Lycian Coast, and curves beside it, following the mountain slopes and the ancient cities in Teke Peninsula. Kaş is one of its points, and today it passes straight through the center of the town. Now, this road is a famous hiking trail, more than 700 km long.
East of Kaş, the Lycian Way just follows the coastline and passes through most of the points of interest described above. But in the west, it actually ascends to the nearby mountains, from where you can enjoy stunning views of the seacoast of Kaş.
If you proceed further on the Lycian Way, you can also reach another site of ancient ruins. This is Phellos, or what probably is Phellos, since there are no clear indications that it was the ancient predecessor of Antiphellos and Kaş.
Fly from Mount Asas- paragliding
Mount Asas is located just 7 km northwest of Kaş, by a straight line, and 23 km by road. It is 1346 m high and is somehow hidden behind lower mountains. But it is a great place for paragliding.
So, if you want to see the whole beauty of Kaş and its surroundings from above, this activity is great for that purpose. There are several companies that offer paragliding. You don’t need to have previous paragliding experience, because you will fly with an instructor. The price varies between 100 and 150 USD, and you will descend to the western marina of Kaş- from 1346 to 0 m altitude.
Things to do in the Mediterranean Sea
Try a boat trip to Kekova Island and around
The Mediterranean Sea and the seacoast around Kaş are amazing. You can easily see this beauty from the coast, but why don’t you try to enjoy it from the water? There are a lot of 1-day boat tours that start from Kaş. Most of them go to Kekova Island, Simena Castle, and the Sunken Cities. Prices are between 40 and 80 USD per person, or between 400 and 800 USD per boat (from 6 to 12 persons). Here are the best trips you can join:
- Kaş: Full-Day Private Kaş Islands Boat Trip with Lunch. This is an 8-hour boat trip around the sea near Kaş. It roams southeast of the town, to a group of islands called “Twelve Isles” and Guvercinli Island. You have the opportunity for kayaking, snorkeling, and more. The price is for a whole group of 12 people.
- From Kaş: Full-Day Private Kaş Islands Sailing Trip. This is a 7-hour boat trip, quite similar to the one described above, following almost the same route, just shortened a bit. Here they focus more precisely on the local food during your lunch and other snack moments. The price is for a whole group of 6 people.
- Kaş: Kekova and Simena Sunken City Sea Kayaking. This is a 6-hour boat trip to Kekova Island. It is a classical tour to Kekova with its sunken ruins. First, you will be transferred to Üçağız Village by bus, and the boat trip starts from there. You can also enjoy kayaking and swimming. The price is per person.
- Kekova & Sunken City Boat Tour from Kaş. Similar to the trip described above, but with another boat. Again, the price is per person.
- Kaş Island Romantic Sunset Private Cruise. This is a special one. It is 3 hours long and starts in the late afternoon. The goal is to catch the beautiful sunset and the evening lights of Kaş looked from the sea. You can also swim in the water in the dark. The price is for a whole group of 6 people.
Enjoy scuba diving in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea
When you see the incredibly beautiful blue color of the Mediterranean Sea and its clear waters, most likely you would think: “What is hidden underwater, how the underwater world here looks like?” And indeed, what can you expect there?
Kaş is located in the subtropical zone. At the same time, the terrain on the land is diverse and rugged (and it’s supposed to be the same underwater). Finally, this is an area with thousands of years of history.
As a result- this is what you can find down there: rugged bottom, with underwater canyons, steep slopes, rock formations, and some caves. Although it is not in the tropics, and there are no coral reefs, the marine wildlife is rich, presenting a great variety of fish, sea turtles, octopuses, shrimps, dolphins, and more. And human history has also left its traces on the bottom of the sea- shipwrecks (of ships that sailed here hundreds, even thousands of years ago), antique amphoras, and more.
Most of the boat trips offer snorkeling. But not all of them offer scuba diving. Yet there are some diving centers in Kaş that arrange scuba diving tours. They are one-day tours, usually with an instructor. Finally, the area around Kaş is one of the destinations for the longer, liveaboard tours that usually start from Fethiye or Marmaris.
Go on a journey to Kastellorizo, Greece
This is also one of the main things to do in Kaş, a very popular activity. Kastellorizo (called also Meis) is the easternmost inhabited island of Greece. And not far from it is also the easternmost point of Greece (a small islet east of Kastellorizo). At the same time, it is only 20 min (6 km) away from Kaş by ferry.
There is a regular ferry that travels from Kaş to Kastellorizo, departing at 9:45, and returning at 16:00 (in the high season- every day, in the low season- three days a week). The price is 28 EUR in one direction, but you can buy a round-trip ticket for 33 EUR if you want to return on the same day. If you return another day, the price is 38 EUR. This is the cheapest way to go there.
Of course, this is a border crossing, so you have to prepare the necessary documents with you (a passport and a visa, depending on what country you come from).
There are also some boat trips to Kastellorizo. They are more expensive, but they include more activities like lunch, local tour guides to the points of interest on the island, and more. You can try this one below:
Join a boat tour from Kas to Kastellorizo!
Everything should be great, but there are some important details you have to consider before you arrange your trip to Kaş. Apart from the general things that you have to arrange and consider for traveling in Turkey (like passport, money, SIM card, food, insurance, etc.), the important local things for Kaş are transportation, accommodation, and seasons to visit.
How to get to Kaş
Kaş is a well-developed tourist destination. So, there are plenty of easy ways to reach the town.
However, there is no airport. The nearest airports are Dalaman and Antalya, and Kaş is in the middle between them (about 190 km from each). A better way to get to Kaş is to include it in an itinerary between Antalya and Fethiye, or just a longer route along the southwestern coast of Turkey.
There are a lot of buses from the big cities in Turkey- Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya, and Ankara that pass through Kaş. And there are also many local buses, traveling on the road D400, including dolmuş (local minibusses). All of them stop at the central bus station (otogar) of the town.
Check for transport to Kas on 12Go!
But a much better way is to travel by car. Thus, you are free to build your own itinerary with your own schedule. Kaş is a narrow town and is difficult to find a place to park your car, but the otogar includes a parking lot that you can use.
Find the best rental cars in Turkey!
You can also reach Kaş by ferry from Greece. There are ferries that travel to Kastellorizo from other Greek islands, and when you arrive there, you just can take to one-way ferry to Kaş at 16:00.
Finally, there are multiday tours that include Kaş. And some of them are exotic- by boat, by cycling, or just by trekking on the Lycian Way.
Multiday tours that include Kaş
Walk the Highlights of the Lycian Way. This is mainly a trekking tour. It is 8 days long, starts from Antalya (so, if you are already in Fethiye, you can take a bus to Antalya to start the tour), and follows the famous Lycian Way. And it is not just a trek but includes visiting many ancient cities and enjoying the best beaches on the way, including Kaş.
- Family Turkey Coastal Active Adventure and Cruise. This one is the best way to quickly explore the area around Kaş. It literally makes you not limited by transportation means, combining cruise, hiking, and traveling by bus. It is 15 days long, starts from Kaş, takes you to Kastellorizo (Greece), and proceeds to the west until it ends in Fethiye.
- Cycle Turkey. This is an adventurous biking tour. Most of the time you will cycle, but there is also a cruise section (between Göcek Beach and Fethiye). The tour starts from Dalyan and includes riding along the coast of Lake Köyceğiz. Then, it includes visiting some ancient cities, a local village house, Patara Beach (the longest beach in Turkey), and it ends in Kaş. The price starts from 1230 USD.
- Active Turkey. This tour includes transport by bus and by traditional gullet boat. You can also enjoy some hiking, canoeing in the Xanthos River, and swimming in Patara Beach. It doesn’t follow a route, but you have a “base camp”- the 3-star Club Phellos Hotel in Kaş. From here, they will take you every day to different places- to the ancient city of Xanthos, to Patara, Kekova Bay, and Simena Castle, as well as to some points in the Taurus Mountains.
- Walking the Turquoise Coast. This is an 8-day hiking tour around Kaş. It doesn’t follow a whole route but uses Kaş as a “base camp” for various short hikes in the area, mainly on the Lycian Way. You will visit places like the ruins of Phellos, the area of Kekova and Simena, and more.
Where to stay in and around Kaş
Kaş has also a lot of places to stay. You can find hotels, guesthouses, resorts, hostels, and homestays, from budget to splurge. They are located in the town, and in the resorts around the town. Make your choice in Booking or Agoda, but don’t just look for the conditions inside and the price. Also have in mind the location, according to your itinerary and preferences.
Check for accommodations in Kas on Agoda!
A good way to spend the night in Kaş is to stay in an Airbnb property. It is usually cheaper than hotels with the same conditions and is a good way to get closer to the locals, their daily life, and culture.
Check for accommodations in Kas on Airbnb!
If you are more adventurous, you can also go camping. There are three good campsites around Kaş- Muca, Evren, and Naos (you can find them on Google Maps) that offer their own tents and caravans, or you can bring your own camping gear.
Finally, you can camp in the wild. It is generally safe, but avoid ancient ruins or nearby resorts and restaurants.
Like all of the other destinations in this part of Turkey, Kaş has a Mediterranean, subtropical climate. The high season is from April to November- this is the season when you can not only explore the points of interest but also swim in the sea.
Summer is hot and humid but generally rainless. Spring and fall (March-May, and October-November) are not so hot, but in spring the sea water is still too cool, usually around or below 20°C.
And winter is the low season. It is mild and pleasant most of the time, but you can’t swim, the water is too cold. Also, winter is the rainiest season due to the passing Mediterranean cyclones. Snowfall at the seacoast is extremely rare.
This is Kaş- a fairy tale place full of impressions. We left Kaş and the whole Lycian coast, and proceeded deep into the mainland of Western Turkey, to our next destination- Lake Salda (a new and still hidden gem). But the whole Lycian Coast- including Dalyan, Fethiye, Ölüdeniz, Patara, and Kaş remained as one of those places that we would visit again.
Take a look at this video for more impressions from Kaş:
Check some travel books about Turkey:
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Hi, we are Krasen and Ying Ying. Krasen is from Bulgaria, and Ying Ying is from China. We are passionate about geography and history, and we believe that the best way to experience it is by exploring the Earth in reality, not in a school, and not virtually.
So, we created this blog Journey Beyond the Horizon, where we share geographical knowledge, travel guides and tips how to experience it when you explore our planet, and a lot of inspiration.
And we wish you a happy journey, not just virtually, but most of all- in reality.