On the 1st day God created the heavens. The 2nd he created the sky and on the 3rd, Kaş, a dream south coastal village.
Perhaps there may be some truth to this restructured model of God’s work, as Kaş is the perfect depiction of the ‘Garden of Eden’.
And just as Adam and Eve walked among trees filled with fruit, holiday makers in Kaş stroll cobblestone lanes beneath pomegranates and the likes. The heavy fruit straining to break away from branches with its plump and ripe weight.
Beneath one of these trees, I meet a young Turkish family, Esra, Tufan plus bub in a pram. They’re on holiday from Istanbul and are regulars to Kaş.
They start telling me their stories and I am not surprised they chose this place for their honeymoon five years earlier.
I then realise this town is no one hit wonder. It is a place where the Turkish community continue to return to.
A year ago little bub was conceived in a Pansiyon in town. We now walk past it and they have a photo taken outside with bub in their arms. Memories, none bitter, only sweet.
And so here they are, again, and this time celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary.
Why return, time and time again?
The answer is simple, it’s heaven. Plus you can walk around the same town each night and still find new lane ways and different shops.
Even if it’s the same lanes, same stores it’s still like discovering the town all over again.
As if we are fish swimming around a bowl with a seven second memory, we seem to admire Kaş’ beauty like we are seeing it for the first time.
The greek island Kasterlorizo is opposite and takes up a lot of this repeated admiration.
Only a thin piece of water separates the two countries, Greece and Turkey. It is almost as if Kaş wraps around the island like an eyebrow.
The so-called Kaş eyebrow is set on a cliff facade so there isn’t so much as a beach where one can walk into the water. Instead you will find beach clubs positioned over the rocks with giant jetties hanging over the turquoise waters.
How does it get its colour?
The clean and freezing water comes down from the mountains and enters the sea beneath the rocks under the beach clubs, so expect to have your breath taken away not just by its clearness, but also by its temperature.
The most refreshing moment; watch people’s reactions when they jump into the water. It’s like when an Eskimo slides into a hot bath, or a Tahitian dancer falling into an icy pool. The contradiction in temperature from air to sea is shockingly liberating.
But, if you prefer to walk from sun-lounge to sea, there is a beach a short walk away from town – Büyük Çakıl (Pebble beach).
If Kaş is the ‘Garden of Eden’, then we can imagine the cove of Büyük Çakıl as simply being untouched by the hand of god.
From the water level, no houses can be seen. Just rolling green mountains, cliffs and Greece conveniently still in view.
Back in town, tourists swim around the fish bowl, ooooohhing and aaaaahhhing over things they have already seen. A public announcement is made through speakers that reach all corners of the town. “Our son Ahmet and our daughter Işıl are getting married… Due to weather… Change of venue…”
Only in Kaş – remnants left from a real traditional Turkish village.
Although it’s a secret tourist haven the old school feeling still exists here.
Memories, only sweet.
Written by Sheldon Heyes
Been to Kaş recently? Will you return again next summer? Why? – comment below.
How to get there?
Catch a flight to either Antalya or Dalaman. Get your hotel to organise a driver for the 3-4 hour drive to Kaş.
How to choose a restaurant?
In Australia… we seem to go by this method, choose the Indian restaurant with Indians dining… The Chinese restaurant with Asians… Same goes with Kaş. If you hear Turkish voices at each table, take a seat.
Two restaurants must gain attention here, Zaika and Bi Lokma.
Zaika – order the şaşlık kebab, kulu bastı or the house special. They are all variations of kebab meat and are so tender that you may find yourself moaning with each forkful. After, ask for the pumpkin desert, a Turkish specialty (Kabak tatlısı). Add a side of ice-cream to it.
Bi Lokma – also known as Mama’s Kitchen – An easy way to sample the produce – order the meze platter for two. Also try mama’s borek.
Where to stay?
Don’t stay in the town centre. Just out of town, only 500 meters out, is a strip of boutique hotels and pansiyons along the water front (Küçük Çakıl Mah).
Choose your accommodation according to your travel standards and budget. But, you must stay on this strip and preferably front rooms with the sea view.
Hotels on this strip – Hotel Maki 1 and 2, Linda beach, Hotel Linda, Narr Hotel, Sea View Hotel, Çakıl Pansiyon, Hotel Rhapsody, Gardenia Boutique Hotel, Nur Beach Hotel, Hotel Medusa, Hotel Hera
What to do?
Derya Beach Club. Get in early to get a lounge bed. There is no rental fee. You spend the day, order food and drinks from the waiter and pay your bill as you leave. Must try – Derya Beach’s special cocktail. Inspired by Lynchburg Lemonade, Jack Daniels, lime and pomegranate. It’s even loved by those who don’t like JD. Also known for its pizza menu. Get stuck into it!
Kasterlorizo/Meis greek island day trip. A quick ferry over and you will be eating greek salad for lunch in a minuscule Greek port town.
Once there, arrange a small boat to take you to Blue Cave, a definite must.
Arrange your ferry a day before through any travel shop in Kaş town. ¥ou must have your passport.
What to buy?
The Turkish rugs, jewellery, ceramics, Turkish towels are not tourist Grand Bazaar style. They are artistic, classy and well priced.
In my articles… I believe you should still have some freedom and control on your holiday, so I generally don’t tell u to ‘walk 50 metres, turn left, eat here… go there’ etc.
Keeping this in mind, if I do mention something specific or a restaurant by name, then know that it is definitely worth seeking.
I also mention things/areas the guide books don’t commonly delve into.
I will make u aware of the things that will enhance your experience in Istanbul or broader Turkey. I generally won’t tell you how to do it. Be free and wander. Taste and explore.
You may also enjoy reading “Bozcaada bliss“. Escape in the summer season to Turkey’s secret island getaway.