Visions of the mythical Atlantis filled my head as we heard friends talk about the Kekova Island Sunken City. An entire kingdom submerged and left for posterity with the elements of the salty Mediterranean Sea just sounds magical. Keep reading to hear about our experience with the Sunken City on a day cruise, and then for some recommendations if you want to see this fascinating wonder yourself.
At 5.7 square kilometers, Kekova Island is not huge and does not take long to pass. The boat we were on slowed down enough to slowly cruise by the northern coast of the island where most of the ruins of the ancient city port can be viewed.
Maybe it’s the sheer number of breath-taking ruins we have visited or maybe it’s the fact that you can’t easily see the extent of what this Lycian city once was from a boat. We aren’t sure. But, either, way, we were honestly a little bit disappointed with the Sunken City. It would have been so much more fun to actually dock somewhere and get out to explore the island. We understand this is not a possibility because it is a protected site. But, again, our unobstructed exploring at other ancient sites left us longing for more. As we glided by half-sunken staircases, doors leading to nowhere, and stone stacks still towering up on the hills of the island, we just wanted to jump out and see it more closely.
We were able to take ample pictures, which was nice. And it was interesting to think about what life could have looked like on this deserted island before it met its fated demise during an earthquake around the 2nd century.
Tips For Your Visit
- It is prohibited to swim around this area. In addition, very limited scuba diving is allowed unless you are with archaeologists or government officials. If you want a more up close experience, we recommend trying the kayak tour so you can get a little closer to the ruins. Even still, there are strict rules about how close you can get. But at least you are lower to the water.
- If you don’t speak Turkish, be sure to go on a tour that is for English speakers. This way you can understand and not just get the quick highlights as a leftover after the extensive Turkish explanation.
- Get a good spot on the right side of the boat, as that is where all of the ruins will be.
- Be sure to look on the land and up on the hills so you don’t miss any of the ruins outside of the water. Stairs, royal tombs, boat docks, walls with windows, and other collapsed remnants are interesting to see, as well.
- Bring plenty of sunscreen for either a boat or kayak trip. For more information about a boat trip, read our post.
- Keep your expectations low if you are a ruins enthusiast. Concentrate on the crystal clear, turquoise blue waters and the uniqueness of this adventure instead.
- If you are in Kaş, you can walk around the harbor and find tour companies who offer both day cruises and kayak tours to Kekova Island.
- If you are not staying in Kaş, we recommend going straight to Üçağız to find the same tours and save yourself a minibus ride.
How To Get There
Kekova Island is located southwest of Demre. The only way to get there is, obviously, by boat. Depending on which tour company you choose, you will either depart from Kaş or Demre, or directly from Üçağız harbor.