On the third day we enjoyed the beaches and little islands in the Kekova region. Kekova is Turkish for the “Land of Thyme”. You have the chance to step into deserted islands and beaches where the only life sourrounding you will be the goat herds and their ringing bells.
In the afternoon we travelled to Demre and Çayağzı that is home to the ancient city of Myra “City of Light” and Church of Saint Nicholas, the birthplace of Santa Claus.
In Myra you can still visit the stone graves hidden in the hills to be closer to God, an amphitheatre that with 38 rows of seats can seat approximately 30.000 people, sculptures of Medusa and engravings.
There is no literary mention of Myra before the 1st century BC, when it is said to be one of the six leading cities of the Lycian Union. However, it is believed to date back further as the outer defensive wall have been identified to date back to 5th century BC. Be sure to eat some local produced pancakes –gözleme- and lots of fresh fish, which is abundant in the region.
Simena to Olympos
For all of you outdoor sport lovers this part of the world is a heaven. I have already mentioned the camping and the trekking opportunities. But it gets better... How about kayaking through the ancient ruins of Simena@ Kekova. This was suggested by our sister and was the highlight of our trip.
“The ancient city of Simena of the Lycian world was once of two parts - an island and a coastal part of the mainland. On the mainland the charming fishing village of Kaleköy ("castle village") stands today, its buildings mingling with ancient and medieval structures. The top of the village is dominated by a well-preserved castle built by the Knights of Rhodes partially upon ancient Lycian foundations. Inside the castle is the smallest amphitheatre of Lycia. At the eastern end of the village is a Lycian necropolis with a cluster of some very nice sarcophagi overlooking the sea and surrounded by ancient olive trees.”
Then we headed to the city of Olympos for more adventures. Olympos is an ancient port located in a valley surrounded by a forest. You can stay at different versions of wooden bungalows, there are different establishments lined up on the street leading to the beach. The choice and price range is abundant, but for your review we stayed at Deep Green Bungalows.
Olympos to Adrasan
The former city of Olympos was founded in the Hellenistic period, presumably taking its name from nearby Mount Olympos. Olympos park and the city was very intresting to walk around with mosaics, ancient churches, sculptures, temple gates and waterways to demonstrate Roman way of life.
“The coins of the city of Olympos date back to the 2nd century BC. It was described by Cicero as an ancient city full of riches and works of art. In the 1st century BC, Olympos was invaded and settled by Cilician pirates. This ended in 78 BC, when the Roman commander Publius Servilius Isauricus, accompanied by the young Julius Caesar, took the city after a victory at sea, and added Olympos to the Roman Empire. The pirate Zenicetes set fire to his own house and perished. The emperor Hadrian visited the city after which it took the name of Hadrianopolis for a period, in his honour.”
From there we headed to Adrasan. A cute hidden village located between two mountains, and a beach extending from one end to the other. This was by far our favourite spot in the whole trip. Ford Hotel is recommended for lunch or a stay, but we continued onto Patara. We stayed at the Golden Lighthouse hotel.
Patara to Fethiye
Patara the ancient trading port of Lycia is also home to a 12km long beach which was voted voted one of the top beaches in the world by Times Online.
One can be there for the whole day lazing our under the sun, having watermelon &feta cheese for lunch before realizing its 7pm and time to hand over the beach to its rightful owners: The Caretta Turtles!
With that in mind we headed to Fethiye. Now we knew we were approaching the end of our wonderful journey through the heart of the Mediterranean.We stayed at the Yacht Classic Club.
A particular recommendation to make – another one of our favourites- is to eat fish at the fish marketplace in central Fethiye, whereby you pick+buy your fish from the fishmongers located in the centre of the marketplace and sit at one of the surrounding restaurants for them to prepare it for you. Of course with some raki and mezes on the side....