Until 1923, KAŞ was a small, Greek-populated shipping port, dwarfed by the cliffs, riddled with rock-cut tombs that tower behind it, and with views out to sea dominated by the nearby Greek island of Kastellórizo (Meis). Today, despite the fact that tourism has made inexorable inroads, with new development sprawling up every slope that’s short of being totally precipitous, and the sleepy winter-time population of around eight thousand multiplying manyfold in summer, Kaş remains at heart a small town. The tombs, cliffs and views out to sea remain as lovely as ever as well, though the Greek Christians who once admired them were replaced after the 1923 population exchanges by Muslim Turks.
The fact that the local beaches are hardly stellar, along with the lack of a really convenient airport, has spared Kaş the full impact of modern tourism. However, it gets lively at night, since shops stay open until 1am in season, and bars much later still. The modern town is built atop ancient Antiphellos, whose remaining ruins speckle the streets and cover the base of the Çukurbağ peninsula. A handy base from which to reach Kekova and nearby Patara, Kaş has also become the “adventure capital” of the southwest Turkish coast, offering all sorts of sea- and mountain-based outdoor activities.
Kaş being a major stop on “Blue Cruise” itineraries, yacht and gulet culture is as important here as at Kalkan. Day-trips are available for the less well-heeled, while there’s a new yacht marina at Bucak Limanı (formerly Vathy), the long fjord west of town, wedged between Highway 400 and the Çukurbağ peninsula, which extends 5km southwest of Kaş.