Kaş, pronounced (KASH) used to be a fishing village, and is now a relatively popular tourist town on the southern bulge of Turkey's Mediterranean coast two hours' drive southeast of Fethiye and three hours' drive southwest of Antalya. Kaş still has charm, part of which comes from its setting with a wall of mountains facing the sparkling Mediterranean nearby. Another part of its charm comes from Kaş's unhurried ambience. Because it’s hours away from the Mediterranean's two major airports (Antalya and Dalaman), it gets fewer visitors than towns that are more quickly accessible.
The center of Kaş is Republic Square where you’ll find dozens of restaurants, ice cream stands, souvenir shops, and clothing stores. Republic Square is usually quiet during the day, with many restaurants closed in preparation for the evening. But once sunset begins, the square becomes lively with tourists. Evening is the perfect time to visit the popular bar Cafe Barcelona and chat with others and explore the limestoned streets to find souvenirs to bring home.
Kaş's beaches are small, pebbly and are usually crowded, so visitors in search of a broad, long sand beach drive west to Patara. During the summer month of July, you may have the opportunity to see baby turtle hatchlings on Patara beach. One of the most popular beaches
Alternatively, visitors to Kaş enjoy spending time in waterfront cafes and restaurants, take boat trips to nearby Üçağız and Kaleköy or the Blue Cave, or walk up the mountain to the cliff tombs. Ruins of the ancient town of Antiphellos mix with modern buildings in Kaş. The Lycian Rock Tombs are one of the most popular attractions because of their history. Kaş Marina, just west of the town center, has a number of eateries that overlook the yacht harbor.
If coming by air, you will arrive in Dalaman and you will need to either take a bus, rent a car, or hire a private transfer. It’s a two hour drive east to reach Kaş. If you’re coming from Antalya or Fethiye, there are buses from each otogar (bus station) that go directly to Kaş. Kaş is 186km (115m) from Antalya and 168km (105m) from Fethiye.
There are hotels that can match a range of budgets, and many are situated on the hills behind the town center, offering a spectacular view of the bay. There are also several nice hotels located on the peninsula. If you’ve rented a car, finding parking in Kaş during peak season can be a challenge so you may want to consider a hotel that offers free parking or is close enough to the center of town so you don’t need to waste time searching for a place to park.
Kaş has dozens of restaurants that can make a traveler unsure on where to eat. Because of this, Turkey Travel Planner has gathered a list of Kaş’ best restaurants.These include Naturel, Oburus Momus, and Cinarlar Pizza Garden Restaurant. Naturel is fantastic for pasta-lovers and those who enjoy freshly-made french fries. The prices are affordable without being overpriced and the staff is attentive. Oburus Momus is the perfect place for vegetarians. They offer veggie burgers, plant-based bowls, and falafels. Lastly, Cinarlar Pizza Garden is famous for having a wide selection of different pides (pizzas) in a beautiful garden setting.
Kaş is also a good base for exploring the plentiful ancient Lycian cities and archeological sites such as Demre (Kale), Patara, Xanthos (Kınık), Letoon, Saklıkent and Tlos. West of Kaş is Kaputaş Beach, a stunning beach located below a sharp corner of the highway towards Kalkan. It has some facilities, parking is limited to the roadside.
Across the water to the south of Kaş lies the Greek island of Megisti (Kastellorizo; Meis Adası in Turkish). It’s a great day-trip for travelers wanting to briefly visit another country during their time in Turkey. Other great boat trips include Kekova Island and Assi Island. Kekova is a Turkish island known to be a “sunken city” where sunken ruins of the ancient town Dolchiste (also spelled Dolikisthe) lie. It’s illegal to swim, snorkel, or scuba dive in this area because it’s protected. However, you can take a boat trip out to Kekova island to see the ruins for yourself or kayak to get a closer look.
-by Tom Brosnahan, photos by Sonia Anand and Danielle Jose