Kekova Island and Sunken City, Antalya province, Turkey
Regardless of the boat trip you choose, you will visit the wonderful Kekova Island and its historic Sunken City. The island lies southwest of Demre in Antalya province, along the Turkish Riviera.
This small but well-known Turkish island also goes by the name, ‘Caravola’ (Greek: Dolchiste) and is one of the most popular sailing destinations along the Turkish Mediterranean coastline. Kekova Island no longer has any inhabitants and it is only possible to explore this protected island by water. Tersane Bay, on the northwest part of the island, is a very popular spot to drop the anchor, as is Karaloz Bay on the southeast part of the island.
But it’s not just its crystal-clear turquoise waters that Kekova is famous for; the island’s popularity is also thanks to its proximity to the Lycian Way hike, a 560 km route that encompasses many famous ruins from the Lycian era. Therefore you will discover that the region is full of history dating back to the Byzantine and Roman Empire periods. Famous places of interest on the nearby mainland include the ancient cities of Simena (now called Kaleköy), Teimiussa (now called Üçağız), and Aperlai.
Despite the allure of some of Turkey’s most beautiful bays and coves, the ancient Sunken City opposite Kaleköy attracts the most visitors to the Kekova region, with thousands arriving every year to marvel at the mysterious underwater site. Once a thriving community before an earthquake sadly decided its fate 2,000 years ago, now a stone staircase descending into the water is one of the only tangible indications that this ancient city ever existed.
With the right weather conditions, the remains of this once prosperous city are visible just below the crystal-clear surface and are best enjoyed on a glass-bottomed boat or by sea kayak for that matter. Although only a few remnants still speak about its former existence, together with the magnificent turquoise-colored sea, romantic small bays, and quaint villages nearby, the Sunken City makes Kekova Island worthy of a spot on your bucket list.