Strolling around the deserted streets and uninhabited buildings of Kayakoy is a moving experience. Leave yourself time to wander around the hundreds of houses, in various states of disrepair; peek into the once-ornate Basilica of Panayia Pyrgiotissa, which dates back to the 19th century; and climb the steep cobbled lanes up to the hilltop viewpoint to see the coast. Visiting with a guide helps shed some light on the town’s unique history and many tours stop at Kayakoy on the way to nearby Oludeniz and the Blue Lagoon.
Things to know before you go
- Movie buffs might recognize Kayakoy—the town was used as a filming location for Russell Crowe’s 2014 movie Water Diviner.
- The village is now preserved as a museum and there is an admission fee to enter.
- A number of hotels and restaurants can be found by the entrance to Kayakoy.
- The uneven terrain and ruins make good footwear essential and unfortunately limits access for wheelchairs and strollers.
How to get there
Kayakoy is located around 8 miles (13 kilometers) south of Fethiye or about a 20-minute drive. Regular dolmus (minibusses) run to Kayakoy from Fethiye from May to October, or else you can catch a taxi. Active types can also hike from Fethiye to Kayakoy along part of the Lycian Way, roughly a three-hour one-way hike.
When to get there
It’s possible to visit Kayakoy all year-round, but the busiest time is during July and August when day-trippers often visit on route to Oludeniz. Visit at sunset for the most atmospheric views and photo opportunities, or stick around after dark when many of the buildings are lit up, adding to the ghostly feel.
The History of Kayakoy
Inhabited since Ottoman times, Kayakoy was once the Greek town of Levissi, where up to 10,000 Greek and Turkish citizens lived. Like many towns of the era, the population included a mix of Turkish Muslims and Greek Orthodox Christians, who lived peacefully side by side for centuries. In 1923, the town became a victim of the forced deportations or population exchange that took place during the Greco-Turkish War. Left empty, the village was further propelled into ruin by an earthquake in 1957, which destroyed many of the buildings and further discouraged locals from resettling in the town.
- Gemiler Island (Gemiler Adasi)
- Ölüdeniz Beach and Blue Lagoon
- Fethiye Roman Theater (Telmessos Theatre)
- Fethiye Lycian Stone Sarcophagi
- Gulf of Fethiye (Fethiye Körfezi)
- Fethiye Museum (Fethiye Muzesi)
- Fethiye Old Town (Paspatur)
- Calis Beach (Calis Plaji)
- Butterfly Valley (Kelebekler Vadisi)
- Saklikent National Park (Saklikent Milli Parki)
- Patara Beach (Patara Plaji)
- Fethiye Lycian Rock Tombs (Tomb of Amyntas)
- Dalyan Mud Bath