The Simplicity of Simena and My Desire to Return

My visit to Simena was brief but one that left me with regret. We had arrived into the harbor, having just explored the sunken, underwater ruins of Kekova.

The first stop was a crowded restaurant for cold refreshments and homemade ice cream, and then we were swiftly on our way returning to Ucagiz.

Simena Turkey

Also known as, Kaleköy, Simena is a small traditional village and a favorite destination on the yachting scene of Turkey. Daily boat trips from the resorts of Kas and Kalkan, bring in hordes of holiday makers and gullet boats sailing the Turkish Riviera, often choose it as a mooring spot.


Some say, the sea is the only way to reach this rustic destination while others say you can go via land, but the roads and path are too demanding when compared with an easy cruise sail around the coastline.

Simena - kalekoy

Simena is its ancient Lycian name, a big difference from the present day name of Kalekoy. Even if you have not heard of it, if you have read in depth about Turkish travel, you will probably have seen photos of the Lycian tombs, protruding out of the water surrounding the coastline.

Lycian Tombs of simena

So why do I feel regret about my visit?

I have an overwhelming feeling that I did not truly get to the heart of Simena.

Sea kayaking to Simena

There is more to Simena, aka Kaleköy

Further research on the internet reveals more paths to explore then I originally thought. I have no plans to walk to the castle standing proudly at the top of the hill; however, I want to stay in one of the four tradition pansions.

I want to strike up conversation with the locals. I want to see the old stone houses, which exist only because of traditional Turkish culture. I want to sit on the harbor front and enjoy a fresh fish dinner, while looking out to sea.


It is rather strange that I have this urge to return, as Simena is nothing spectacular. It does not have grand palaces or luxurious facilities. It is a simple place and what you see is what you get  but I know on this occasion I traveled too fast.

Simena houses

Simena was part of my south west coast tour. This whole coastline is a magnificent place that deserves to be admired by all. If you want me to write the truth, I find it more pretty and pleasing to the eye, then the Aegean coast.

It has more hidden surprises and historical attractions. It is easier to get about and there are still more places for me to explore. Even though I spent a month on this coastline, I have to return until I get the feeling that I have seen and done all there is. My first stop when I do return will be Simena.

Simena - kalekoy

For further information on this coastline and other regions in Turkey,  see Directline Holidays’ Turkey page

Readers Question : Do you like visiting small and rustic places like this?

Simena harbour

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Hi. My name is Natalie Sayin and I am the author of The Turkish Travel Blog. I am an Internet addict with a passion for history. Read my story here or leave a comment below to join the discussions.
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  1. says

    My oldest daughter and I spent a week near Antalya about 10 years ago and we hardly had any time at the beach as there was so much to see and explore. Fascinating, this part of Turkey.
    Sophie wrote about..The stairs of Girona

  2. says

    J and I spend a few days to a week based at Üça?iz most years – always in the winter when we have the place pretty much to ourselves. It is a wonderful spot that improves no end once the visitors have gone. Try it out of season, you’ll love it even more.

  3. says

    It looks like a really pretty place. I hate leaving a place and feeling like I missed out on something or didn’t “do it right.” There are a couple places I’d like to return to simply because I feel like I should’ve explored more the first time around.
    Ali wrote about..How to Travel Carry-On Only

  4. says

    such an awesome post about Turkey. I wished I can get my feet on your lovely country and such was my guiding inspiration, including this one.

    I wonder why has there been tombs protruding in the coastline in Simena? Is it part of the culture or some natural phenomenon because we have an island in the Philippines that has sunken cemetery as a result of soil erosion and earthquake.
    Wends of Journeys and Travels wrote about..Hong Kong’s Clock Tower sentry of the past in the present

  5. phil + Di marina gateway says

    looks like a place we would love to visit the Lycian tombs are on our todo list so we may call here aswell after reading your blogg we will book B+B and stay a few days

  6. says

    I also think that small places and rustic villages are worth a lot more than all the crowded touristic attractions. One can learn a lot from them. Feeling that I missed out on some important things happens to me, too. I don’t know why, but I always want to see everything there is. That’s not always possile and when I find out what I missed, I feel regret and wish to return some day. For example, I spent three months in Antalya this spring and just didn’t get the chance to visit Simena.

    • says

      Hi Octavia, I am trying to log onto your site to read your articles about Antalya but it is just saying that it is the wrong server address. Let me know as I would love to read your stories.
      Natalie wrote about..The Striking Beauty of Efeler Valley

  7. says

    Having just got back from Üça?iz, yes, visiting quiet places is a great way to experience Turkey. We stayed in Üça?iz rather than Kalekoy due to road access and the pensions cost a lot less, but the experience and location are largely similar.

    • says

      Hi Ashley, I tried to leave a comment on your blog, after I read your own post about it. Problem is that it takes me through to the wordpress site, to log in and I can not. Thanks for highlighting your post. When I return, I might just stay in Ucagiz now that you mention accommodation is a lot cheaper.
      Natalie wrote about..The Treacherous Drive to Karagöl : The Black Lake of Borçka

  8. says

    Don’t be too hard on yourself – I think it’s always nice to have a reason to go back somewhere that you really enjoyed! :)
    Turtle wrote about..Acropolis wow!

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