Kas Turkey, Kas Turkey Tourism, Kas Vacations

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Kaş is a small fishing, diving, yachting and tourist town, and a district of Antalya Province of Turkey, 168km west of the city of Antalya. As a tourist town it is relatively unspoiled.

Kaş, once an unspoiled fishing village, is now a relatively unspoiled tourist town on the southern bulge of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast two hours’ drive southeast of Fethiye and three hours’ drive southwest of Antalya (map).

Despite dozens of new hotels and pensions, Kaş (KAHSH) still has charm, part of which comes from its setting at the foot of a wall of mountains facing the sparkling Mediterranean.

Another part of its charm comes from Kaş’s unhurried ambience. Because it is hours away from the Mediterranean’s two major airports (Antalya and Dalaman), it gets fewer visitors than towns that are more quickly accessible.

Ruins of the ancient town of Antiphellos mix with modern buildings in Kaş. Across the water to the south lies the Greek island of Megisti (Kastellorizo; Meis Adası in Turkish). You can go there easily for a day trip. More…

Kaş’s beaches are small, pebbly and apt to be crowded, so visitors in search of a broad, long sand beach drive west to Patara.

Otherwise, visitors to Kaş spend time in waterfront coffee-houses and restaurants, take boat trips to nearby Üçağız and Kaleköy or the Blue Cave, visit the neighboring village of Kalkan, or walk up the mountain to the cliff tombs.

Kaş is also a good base for exploring the plentiful ancient Lycian cities and archeological sites such as Demre (Kale), Patara, Xanthos (Kınık), Letoön, Saklıkent and Tlos.

Come by car, or by bus, perhaps changing at Fethiye or Antalya. Maps of Kaş, Kalkan & Mediterranean Turkey.

Although the Teke peninsula has been occupied since the stone age it seems Kaş was founded by the Lycians, and its name in Lycian language was Habesos or Habesa. It was a member of the Lycian League, and its importance during this time is confirmed by the presence of one of the richest Lycian necropolis.

The ancient Greeks later gave it the name of Antiphéllos or Antíphilos, since it was the harbor in front of the city of Phellos. During the Roman period, Antiphéllos was famous for exporting sponges and timber.

Kaş

Kaş

Pliny the Elder refers to the town in the fifth book of his Naturalis Historia. After 395 the town became part of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine) and during the early Middle Ages was a bishop’s see – and as Antiphellus is still a titular see.

Historic map of Kaş by Piri Reis
A street in Kaş with traditional houses and a Lycian tomb in the background.

The town suffered because of Arab incursions, then was annexed (under the name of Andifli) to the Anatolian Sultanate of Rüm, led by the Seljuks. After the demise of the Seljuks, it came under the Ottomans.

In 1923, because of the Exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey after the Greco-Turkish War, the majority of the population, which was of Greek origin, left the town for Greece. Abandoned Greek houses can still be seen at Kaş.

Kaş

Kaş

In the early 1990s tourism started booming in Kaş, with visitors mainly from the UK and Germany. This growth of tourism brought an explosion in apartment building, which is seriously threatening the landscape and the environment. Particularly affected is the beautiful Çukurbağ Peninsula, west of the town, which now has luxury hotels built on it.

Kaş

Kaş

The tourist industry is centred on the pleasant town of Kaş, but many other coastal towns and villages in the district have plenty of accommodation for visitors including Kalkan and Gelemiş. The district can be reached from both Antalya and Dalaman airports.

Kaş itself is a quiet pleasant town with its blue sea and narrow streets scented with jasmine flowers. There are plenty of little guest houses, quiet cafes serving home cooking, or small bars to relax after a day’s scuba diving. Kaş has an annual arts festival, jazz concerts in the Hellenistic theatre and the Kiln Under the Sea arts collective have held underwater ceramics exhibitions here.

Kaş is one of the leading spots for diving in Turkey. There is a diving school, many places with equipment for hire and at the port local divers offer courses. If you decide to try diving in Kaş you can expect to see a beautiful array of fish and other sea creatures like octopus and possibly dolphins, and also the wrecks of some ancient ships.

On Fridays, Greek visitors from nearby islands such as Kastelorizo visit the markets of Kaş.

The town of Kaş has a Hellenistic theatre and many other places of historical interest; and it has spots of natural beauty, including excellent beaches, and a number of interesting caves, some of them underwater.

For scuba divers there are several spots underwater, one of them being an underwater sculpture of a shark sculpted by Kemal Tufan.

The mountains behind the coast offer countless places for trekking, climbing and canyoning.

The ruins of the antique cities of Komba (in the village of Gömbe), Nisa, Kandyba, Phellos, Istlada, Apollonia, Isinda and Kyaenai.

A popular excursion from Kaş is Kekova island in the neighbouring district of Demre. Here in the magnificent bays you will see a surprising variety of wrecks of ancient ships and ancient cities sunk under the sea by earthquakes over the centuries.

The sea is so perfectly clear that the details of city buildings such as staircases or columns can be seen from the boat. The area is ideal for sea kayaking. In December 2006 Kaş was added to the specially protected Kekova marine area in order to preserve its rich biodiversity.

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