Kaş is a small fishing, diving, yachting and tourist town, and a district of Antalya Province of Turkey, 168 km west of the city of Antalya. As a tourist town it is relatively unspoilt.
Although the Teke peninsula has been occupied since the stone age it seems Kaş was founded by the Lycians, and its name in Lycian language was Habesos or Habesa. It was a member of the Lycian League, and its importance during this time is confirmed by the presence of one of the richest Lycian necropolis.
The ancient Greeks later gave it the name of Antiphéllos or Antíphilos, since it was the harbor in front of the city of Phellos. During the Roman period, Antiphéllos was famous for exporting sponges and timber. Pliny the Elder refers to the town in the fifth book of his Naturalis Historia. After 395 the town became part of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine) and during the early Middle Ages was a bishop’s see—and as Antiphellus is still a titular see.
The town suffered because of Arab incursions, then was annexed (under the name of Andifli) to the Anatolian Sultanate of Rüm, led by the Seljuks. After the demise of the Seljuks, it came under the Ottomans.
In 1923, because of the Exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey after the Greco-Turkish War, the majority of the population, which was of Greek origin, left the town for Greece. Abandoned Greek houses can still be seen at Kaş.
In the early 1990s tourism started booming in Kaş, with visitors mainly from the UK and Germany. This growth of tourism brought an explosion in apartment building (often without license), which is seriously threatening the landscape and the environment. Particularly affected is the beautiful Çukurbağ Peninsula, west of the town, which now has luxury hotels built on it.
The tourist industry is centred on the pleasant town of Kaş, but many other coastal towns and villages in the district have plenty of accommodation for visitors including Kalkan and Gelemiş. The district can be reached from both Antalya and Dalaman airports.
Kaş itself is a quiet pleasant town with its blue sea and narrow streets scented with jasmine flowers. There are plenty of little guest houses, quiet cafes serving home cooking, or small bars to relax after a day’s scuba diving. Kaş has an annual arts festival, jazz concerts in the Hellenistic theatre and the Kiln Under the Sea arts collective have held underwater ceramics exhibitions here.
Kaş is one of the leading spots for scuba diving in Turkey. There are more than 15 diving centers, mostly located at the local port. They offer guided diving trips if you are a certified diver. If you have no prior experience in diving, y a diving school, many places with equipment for hire and at the port local divers offer courses. If you can have a ‘try dive’ accompanied with a dive master, or a full diving certificate course with an internationally approved diving instructor. If you decide to try diving in Kaş you can expect to see a beautiful array of fish and other sea creatures like octopus and sea turtles. Besides the biological diversity, Kaş offers a vast variety of underwater cultural heritage. Among various wreck sites, six artificial wrecks are worth visiting. These wrecks are submerged to create artificial reefs and touristic diving spots. These wrecks are mostly placed within recreational limits. There are two historically important wreck sites, an airplane from WWII and a cargo ship from 1950’s sink near the small islands in the extremities of Kaş. One last important diving spot is so called “Kaş Archaeopark Site” that is an experimental archaeology project conducted by Underwater Research Society (Sualtı Araştırmaları Derneği-SAD) in 2006. In this scientific project, an interpretative reconstruction of the Uluburun wreck and its cargo is placed underwater.
Outdoor sport activities attract the more adventurous visitors of Kas, especially small grup holidays from Europe and independent travellers. To name a few popular adventures:
Sea Kayaking at Kekova
Mountainbiking the backcountry
Trekking the Lycian Way
Canyoning in the Kibris Canyon
On Fridays, Greek visitors from nearby islands such as Kastelorizo visit the markets of Kaş.