About Simena Castle
Simena Castle sits upon the top of Kekova fishing village in Antalya province and dates back to the 4th Century BC. However, much of what has survived today date back as far as the Roman and Byzantine periods. Built by the Knights of Rhodes partially upon Lycian foundations, it is a medieval castle that you can climb up to once stepping ashore on the island of Kekova. Once reaching the top you can take in the breathtaking views of the harbour and get to explore the ancient walls and small amphitheatre inside. This theatre is the smallest in Lycia and probably one the best-preserved amphitheatres as well.
Simena has a rich and colourful history, with a variety of empires ruling this area to even pirates being attracted to this town full of treasures. The castle was built atop the last empires foundations and the area militarised to deal with this threat of pirates. Today, the castle is one of the most renowned sites in the Kekova region attracting tourists from far and wide.
Along the shores of Simena, there are many restaurants and cafes that you can sit and enjoy a cold drink or locally made ice-cream. Alternatively, you may like to walk around to see all the other relics, such as the sarcophagus which is submerged in water near the shore as well as many Lycian rock tombs.
How to get to Simena Castle
Simena Castle is situated on the island of Kalekoy in the Kekova region meaning there is no access by land. However, there are a couple of ways to visit Simena Castle. The first is to join a cabin cruise from Fethiye, Olympos or Kemer. All of these blue cruise tours visit this stunning area somewhere in the itinerary giving plenty of time to explore the castle and the island surrounds. This is a day stop before mooring at a nearby bay.
For those travelling by land, the best route is to travel via the Kas-Finike Highway and turn off this road towards Ucagiz. The road down to Ucagiz is 19 kilometres passing the village of Kılıclı along the way. Once in Ucagiz, there are either daily boat trips to Simena or you can hire a boat transfer.
Where to stay near Simena Castle
As Simena is located on the island of Kalekoy there are very few accommodation offerings. Most are family-run and relatively well priced for the area.
Sitting on the water’s edge is Sahil Pension with just four village decorated rooms. All rooms face the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and even have a view of the Sunken City. Not too far up the cobbled stone paths is Mehtap Pension situated on the steep hillside below Simena Castle. Double rooms are available here and they do an exceptional Alaturka style breakfast.
What to eat at Simena Castle
If you are the type of traveller that likes to know where their next meal is coming from then make Simena a high priority on your menu. The home-made ice cream here is really a highlight all on its own. The cafes sitting near the waterfront including Ankh Café/Pension are famous for their ice cream. This area is also a large fishing district, so any seafood you try will be caught fresh from the sea that day.
Where to visit after Simena Castle
Following on from your time at Simena Castle there are plenty of smaller villages and Turquoise Coast highlights close by. Be sure to visit the other areas of Kekova or make your way towards towns like Olympos, Phaselis and Finike.