October 20 – December 1, 2020
After one month in Istanbul and two weeks of sightseeing around the country, we were eager to find a hideaway on the Mediterranean where we could semi-isolate and chill for a month or so. While searching for the perfect place, I read many blogs and watched countless YouTube videos, one in particular, from Delightful Travellers, caught my eye, Turkey’s best kept secret.
Since we were hearing talks of a second wave of the Coronavirus hitting Europe, we knew we wanted a comfortable apartment where we could spend a lot of time in a small town with easy access to good food, things to do, not to crowded and where we would feel safe. The small coastal town of KAS ticked all the boxes and then some … and what about this incredible apartment?
Best Apart Hotel Kas
Finding this apartment definitely made our stay extra special. Waking up every morning to this view with bougainvilleas peeking through every window, having dinner with the most incredible sunsets as a backdrop are what dreams are made of. Traveling off season and during a pandemic certainly has it’s perks, like being able to afford such a gorgeous place.
What made our stay unforgettable at Best Apart Hotel Kas, is Nur, the onsite manager who became a great friend, she shared some of her families recipes with us, took us to hidden gems in the area, she was a joy to be around, it was so reassuring to have someone to count on.
KAS (pronounced Cash) is a coastal resort town of about 60,000 people located on the Turkish Riviera aka Turquoise Coast, in the province of Antalya in southwest Turkey. KAS was a sleepy little fishing village on the Mediterranean, a hippie hangout in the 60’s and 70’s until it was discovered by European tourists and became a resort town in the 90’s.
Apparently it gets pretty busy in the summer up until October 31st which is considered the end of the season just after the celebrations of Republic Day on October 29. Since we were there from mid October to the end of November it was perfect and the weather could not have been any better.
11 reasons why we love Kas so much:
- Killer views and sunsets.
- Small isolated beaches with turquoise water.
- Perfect weather: no need for AC or heat, you can keep your windows open all the time and there’s no bugs!
- White-washed houses with bougainvilleas, narrow cobblestone streets lined with restaurants and coffee shops.
- Weekly farmers market and a few small supermarkets and bakeries.
- You can walk everywhere, if not taxis are super cheap.
- Lots of quality and affordable apartments for rent.
- Harbor where you can catch a boat for tours to the nearby islands or dive sites.
- Lots of attractions nearby: historical ruins, national parks, hiking trails including the mythic Lycian Way, paragliding, ATVs and cute neighboring towns to explore.
- Welcoming, helpful and friendly people with a good mix of locals, Turkish and foreign visitors.
- Plenty of cats and dogs to pet.
The most incredible sunsets
The reason why we love slow travel and staying in one place for a while, is that it allows us to experience a little bit of the local life and establish a routine like going to the farmers market every Friday. We started with a breakfast of gozleme or bazlama stuffed flat bread, accompanied by a pomegranate juice and tea then we filled up on the freshest produce, cheese, eggs, nuts and honey for the week.
One of our favorite day trip, was a full day at sea on a GULET, a traditional design of a one to three masted wooden sailing vessel found all around the eastern Mediterranean. We made plans with a fellow Canadian traveler we met in Istanbul, Rebecca who joined us with a new friend, Corinne from New Zealand. The 4 of us had a blast swimming in the crystal clear turquoise waters, visiting the idillic village of Kaleköy where they make the absolute best ice cream in the wold. We lounged in the sun while sipping turkish coffee on comfy mats. We enjoyed a lunch of grilled fish, rice and salad accompanied by Turkish MEZE (appetizers). We visited different historical Lycian sites including the Kekova sunken city and ruins of Simena. We sailed by the Greek island of Kastellorizo which is only a few miles from Kas. A perfect day on the Mediterranean! The tour on the Bermuda Gulet lasted from 10am to 6pm for the ridiculously low price of 150 Turkish Lira (less then $20) per person including lunch! These GULETS are also available for week long trips, which we would love to try one day …
Day trip to Saklikent National Park
Since we kept our rental car for the duration of our stay, it was nice to explore the area, this National Park is about an hour and a half drive from Kas. It was a warm sunny day so it was perfect for hiking through the canyon, the first part had freezing water with strong current about knee high but it got easier, an afternoon well spent.
Doğal Anne Eli Kas
Dogal Anne Eli translate to Mother Nature’s Hand. A beautiful restaurant in the country side owned by a friend of Nur and where all the ingredients are locally grown and everything is homemade. Perfect setting for the quintessential Turkish Breakfast. Güzin also operates a very successful online business where she sells her jams and local products. My favorite is the Tahini and molasses that you mix together to make a spread called Tahin Pekmez.
We had to return to Kaleköy, the idyllic village we visited on our Gulet tour; this time we went with Nur and another couple. It was the end of the season so we were practically the only ones there but Nur was able to get one of the ladies to prepare a traditional meal of local fried fish, eggplants in yogurt, salad, chicken kebabs, french fries, kofte and rice. A beautiful table waited for us on the dock after the short hike up the mountain to see the Castle ruins where we had a magnificent view of the sunken city of Kekova.
Simena (present day Kaleköy) was a small Lycian city, it has been inhabited since the 4th century BC.
Neighboring town of Kalkan
Kalkan is another small coastal resort town only 40km from Kas, the historic center is very pretty with white wash buildings and bougainvilleas and tons of restaurants, a British expats’s heaven.
Socializing during a pandemic is a bit weird, there is a lot less people to begin with and you do want to keep your distances so things can get a bit awkward at times. But during our time in Kas we met wonderful people. Our Irish friends John & Angie that we visited in Bodrum came to Kas for a fun weekend. We had a great day on the Gulet with self proclaimed travel addicts Rebecca from Canada and kiwi Corinne. We met other nomads Travel with Kevin and Ruth, professional traveler Ralph the Continental Drifter and his girlfriend Lika from Tbilisi, Georgia and of course Nur our wonderful host at Best Apart Hotel.
Strays in Kas are definitely part of life in the little town, you find bowls of food and water everywhere but unfortunately many are in need of vet care. We always had a companion when we did our morning walks, all they want is a bit of love. The Anatolian shepherd (last picture) is native of Turkey, it was bred as livestock guardian and they are seen all over the area where they roam free. One of them adopted us and Joe was feeding him regularly, we called him EARS because both his ears had been trimmed to almost nothing, he was such a sweet heart but he was in bad shape.
Then this happened …
Joe decided to take advantage of the state of the art dental services and got 26 new crowns!