Kaş is king – A treasure on the Turquoise Coast

July 13, 2009

Kaş is on the southern coast of Turkey and perfect for a short holiday to get some R&R.  It’s a 2.5 hour transfer from Dalaman airport and a 3:30am touchdown from Gatwick means a pretty bleary-eyed arrival at around 6:00am. Immediately refreshing, however, is the view from the third floor breakfast terrace at the Hideaway Hotel overlooking the turquoise blue Mediterranean Sea and a collection of Greek islands.

Kaş was a prominent town in Lycia, a federation of ancient cities, which later became a province of the Roman Empire. It is now a pretty tourist town which sits on a rocky waterfront, draped in bougainvillea and fragrant with lemon and jasmine scent.  It remains relatively unspoilt thanks to the long transfer time from the airport and the towering cliffs behind, making the area almost impossible to develop.

With a population of just 4,000 everyone is a local, welcoming and slightly inquisitive. Several tour operators send soft adventure groups to Kaş – there’s a lot to do (apart from sunbathing!), including sea kayaking, diving, white water rafting, mountain biking and snowshoeing.  A leisurely day can be spent on a glass bottomed boat peering at the underwater remains of the city of Kekova, submerged in an earthquake in 240AD, and there is plenty of opportunity for great snorkelling and swimming in the stunningly clear waters.  A trip out to Saklikent, with Dolce Vita Travel, is a great day of walking through the gorge’s thigh deep waters, lunch in an overwater restaurant and stops on the way back to Kaş at the ruins of Xanthos and the sandy Kaputas Beach.

There are terraced restaurants nestled into the cliffs and bars and cafes surround the large market square. In the evenings, kids ride their bikes across the square and gatherings of people chat on the perimeter, the cobble stones of this central space have recently been paved over with large, shiny slabs, it looks neat but the locals say, with a hint of disapproval, that it “looks like Istanbul”.

Would I go to Kaş again? I’d love to, while probably not suitable for families with young children (there’s no sandy beach within walking distance), couples, groups of friends and singles looking for an uncomplicated holiday should consider this little gem. Mika Bishop.