Kekova Island and the town of Kale (ancient Simena) to the west of Antalya make an idyllic day trip for the traveller looking for a combination of sunshine, swimming and fascinating historic ruins. Many boats run trips from Kas but the journey is much shorter from Cayagzi, the harbour of Demre. Along the stony coastline, the boats may stop at a cave, or you can see the occasional goat or the smouldering pyramids of wood used by peasants to make charcoal, the product may sit in plastic sacks at the water’s edge, waiting to be taken away.
Along the edge of the island facing the mainland lie the fascinating half-submerged remains of a Lycian sunken city, and some remains also from the Byzantine times. Signs warn against skin-diving, so you can not swim here because many visitors in the past took a piece of ancient relics with them as a souvenir. The boatman will allow the passengers on board off for a swim further to the west, where the remains of a Byzantine chapel stand on the beach and where further sunken remains can be explored at ease by the swimmer with mask and snorkel. In case you arrive Kekova by car, you can hire one of the small boats at Ucagiz village to visit the sunken city and also Simena.
A fascinating Lycian necropolis, with chest-type tombs spread out along the coastline, lies at Teimiussa, near the present-day Ucagiz on the mainland across from Kekova. This can also be reached by a track from the main road between Kas and Demre, where it is signposted. The boat-tripper may be content with a sea-born view and pass to Kale, the ancient Simena, which sits nearby below the crenellated ramparts of an earlier hilltop Roman castle.
Today Kekova is a very popular anchorage for sailors who enjoy the history together with nature. This is a regular stop for gulet and charter boats.