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Patara is also famous throughout Turkey and beyond for its 18-kilometre-long and 500-metre-wide natural sandy beach. Located to the south of the ancient ruins (see above), it’s backed by large sand dunes. It’s possible to find a quiet spot here even in the height of summer, although parts of the beach can be off-limits as it is an important nesting ground for sea turtles, and it closes at dusk with camping prohibited. There are sunbeds, changing rooms, and several places to eat—and the beach itself is so vast that you can always find a decent spot. Additionally, visitors can explore high-alpine paths that offer breathtaking views of the coastline and the Taurus Mountains, which can reach elevations of up to 3,000 metres. The paths wind through landscapes adorned with pine trees, olive groves, and Mediterranean vegetation, providing excellent hiking opportunities.

The name Kas means “eyebrow” or something curved—the perfect name for this small city, which has the vibe of a quaint coastal town and sweeps curvaceously around an old harbour beneath a striking backdrop of 500-metre cliffs with views over to the Greek island of Kastellorizo. In fact, Kas is built on the ruins of an ancient Greek city—Antiphellos—and was also known as Andifli. Today it’s a charming, cosmopolitan place whose central winding streets are lined with flower-covered houses and a bustling array of cafes, restaurants, shops, and bars surrounding Cumhuriyet Square that cater for local and international crowds. It’s also a well-known hub for outdoor activities—paragliding, trekking, windsurfing, rafting, kayaking, and diving too, thanks to the presence of underwater caves and even ancient cities.

Kalkan is located just 25 kilometres to the east of Kas, making it easy to spend time in both. Also, a former Greek fishing village (called Kalamaki) it has a slightly more sophisticated vibe, with whitewashed houses, a pleasant yacht harbour and a comely spread of restaurants and shops (although the nightlife isn’t as vibrant as Kas). It’s also possible to enjoy scuba diving and sunbathing here, but locals and tourists alike tend to drive 20-minutes or so from both Kas and Kalkan to Kaputas Beach, which is set in a narrow, steep-sided inlet and accessed by around 200 stairs. It has food outlets and sunbeds so you can make a day of it.

Another option is Limanagzı, a tiny bay across from the main harbour in Kas that’s only accessible via a 15-minute boat ride; it has a small beach with rentable chairs, some small independent restaurants and it’s possible to rent a canoe if you want to paddle around the bay.

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