Those wishing to combine the pleasures of sailing in crystal blue seas with a little history and culture need look no further than the stretch of Turkey’s Coast between Kemer and Fethiye. Just south-west of Kemer there are the ruins of an ancient Lycian City, Olympos, in what has now become a National Park.
Olympos is close to the modern town of Cirali and is thought to date back to the 4thCentury BC. It has had a rich history; Lycian, Roman, sundry pirates, as well as Italian traders (Venetian and Genoese) before the whole region, became part of the Ottoman Empire.
While the ruins are fairly overgrown they are worth seeing especially the sarcophagus which is the main evidence of the date of the city. Just above Cirali, there is the Chimera, flames coming out of the rocks with no apparent fuel source. The flames are thought to have burnt constantly for thousands of years and are especially spectacular at night.
Olympos Blue Voyages then continue on with the option of stopping at several interesting places as well as simply somewhere quiet to swim or sunbathe.
- The modern town of Demre is the original site of the ancient city of Myra, the home of St. Nicholas, the origin of today’s Father Christmas. Myra retains some importance for pilgrims to this day.
- Kas which has become a very popular diving centre with several interesting sites close by. It is a bustling little tourist town which is well worth exploring.
- The Greek Island of Meis, just a short distance offshore from Kas where you might like to drop anchor and enjoy lunch on the harbour. You captain merely needs to raise the Greek flag as you enter and you will be more than welcome.
- Kalkan, a small town with a harbour that sits below the mountains. The view from the top are spectacular but take a taxi; the walk will be steep.
- Patara beach which is a stunning stretch of beach just west of Kalkan.
- Fethiye and the surrounding area
If you take a Blue Voyage Turkey then you can explore the immediate vicinity of Fethiye. That includes:
- Butterfly Valley which is best accessed from the sea. In the weeks of summer, there are many species of butterfly and moth in a beautiful green canyon setting.
- The Blue Lagoon is one of the most photographed places on the Turquoise Coast.
- Tersane Island has been deserted since the Greeks left when the Turkish Republic was announced in 1923; a last chance to swim before arriving in Fethiye.
Fethiye itself is a growing town, full of bars, restaurants, shopping as well as history. It is well worth a little of your time before you head for the airport and home.