Kaş (rhymes with “osh”) is a beautiful town on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coastline.
We spent a few days there and had a wonderful time. On the first day, we took a very early morning flight from Istanbul to Dalaman and then drove the two hours to Kaş (which I’m going to write without the squiggly thing under the s from here on out). The scenery reminded us a lot of southern California—farms and vineyards in the valleys that were surrounded by arid mountains. After arriving at our hotel in Kas, we walked across the street to the beach. The water was beautiful and the perfect temperature for the hot day. We all swam around for a bit before heading back under the umbrellas to read and nap.
We had great lunch at a restaurant just off the main square, and then I decided to go for a hike. There were great views of the mountains above Kas from the water when I was swimming and from where I was sitting in restaurant, and I was itching to get up there. I looked at a map of Kas, found what looked like a trail, and headed off for a hike while Trevor and Seth went back to the beach.
The hike itself was unpleasant. It was really hot outside and I hadn’t brought nearly enough water to drink. The view from the top, though, made it all worth it. I had a panoramic view of the whole coastline, including a bunch of islands off the coast, including several that are actually Greek territory. I survived the hike back down (it turned out to be a roughly 3-hour round trip hike from the hotel) and cooled off with a quick dip in the sea, where Trevor and Seth were relaxing.
Day two was boat day. We spent the day boating between 5 beautiful little coves and islands. We’d motor over to one cove, jump in and swim and snorkel for a bit, get back on the boat, relax and dry off, read a little, and then head off to the next cove or island. The water was the perfect temperature. It was cool enough to feel refreshing but warm enough to not be uncomfortable at all. There were a dozen of us on the boat—two people from Kazakhstan, two from Turkey, three from Italy, two from the UK, and the three of us. A great lunch and table full of fruit for dessert were thrown in there between swim sessions. The thing that surprised me most was how few fish there were in the water. There were some tiny fish swimming around and the very occasional six-incher, but it was essentially a desert down there. Very different from my Cozumel snorkeling experiences.
Day three, our final day in Kas, was the day of Greek and Roman ruins. We visited three separate sites: Patara, Xanthos, and Letoon. All three were interesting and unique for their own reasons. Patara is mentioned in the New Testament as a place that Paul and Luke visited (Acts 21:2: “And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara.”). It’s also where St. Nicholas—the inspiration for Santa Claus—was born. Right next to the ruins is Patara Beach, the longest beach in Turkey. Because of the turtles that lay their eggs there, the beach remains totally undeveloped. Xanthos has the coolest name of any place ever, but it also had some beautiful mosaics and a Roman road in stunningly good shape. Letoon was the important religious site of the region, and there we saw the ruins of a few Greek temples plus a bunch of turtles basking in the site’s spring-fed pools.
I had no idea what to expect before getting to Kas, but it was fantastic. The town itself was wonderfully un-tacky in its touristiness (as opposed to the beach towns I’d been to in Mexico). It still felt like a quaint, pleasant little Turkish town. The water was gorgeous, the weather perfect, and the food delicious. Each of the three of us would love to go back, and that’s really the highest praise a traveler can give.