Guide to the Ancient City of Simena (Kaleköy) in Antalya: History and Tips

Last Updated by Ezgi on August 2, 2021

Kaleköy is a wonderful place where you will find amazing landscapes, a peaceful environment, as well as interesting attractions

Simena is the ancient name of Kaleköy, a fantastic ancient city that can only be reached by boat from Kaş, Demre, or Üçağız. 

In this article, you will find all the useful tips and information you need for your visit to Kaleköy, including access, history, hotels, tickets for tours, and more...

Let's get to it!

What Can I Do in Simena, Antalya?

Sunken Basilica at Simena in Kalekoy in Antalya in Turkey

Simena was a small Lycian coastal city that has been inhabited since the 4th century. Today it is called Kaleköy, one of the rare settlements in Turkey that can only be reached by sea. Among the ruins of Simena that have been preserved until today, you will find a 300-seat theater, temples, and Lycian tombs. The Hellenistic theater in Simena is the smallest theater in all the Lycian cities with the capacity to hold only 200 spectators.

In Kaleköy, the houses made of masonry stones within the walls are in harmony with the environment. The Medieval Castle has a spectacular view of Kekova Island. This castle was built to protect the inhabitants from the pirates nested in Kekova island. 

One of the structures under the sunken city is a basilica building. If you participate in a tour, you can see the sunken basilica with a cross shaped relief in the middle of its gate.

Tombs at Simena in Antalya in Turkey

Lycian rock tombs can be seen in abundance both in the water and on the coast with Lycian inscriptions. Sarcophagi weighing tons can be seen all over the ancient site, especially on the left slope of the castle. 

There are ruins from the pier, houses, and stone stairs in the ancient city. It is very interesting to see a huge city that is almost sunken into the water. The settlements near the ancient harbor of the city seem to have sunken under the water due to earthquakes and transformed the area into an island. Many ancient ruins and the harbor pier are clearly visible under one meter of water.

Simena Kalekoy in Antalya in Turkey

Entrance, Tickets, and Tours to Simena (Kaleköy)

  • Entrance: It is possible to visit Simena between 08:00-19:00 during the summer season and from 08:30-17:30 during the winter season. 
  • Tickets: The entrance fee to the ancient city of Simena is 14 TL in 2021. If you have a Museum Pass Card, you can visit the site for free.
  • Tours: Kaleköy (Simena) can only be accessed by sea. You can visit Kaleköy by participating in boat tours departing from Üçağız. These tours includes swimming breaks in the aquarium bay and other bays, then you will see famous rock cut-tombs, the sunken city, and finally Kaleköy.
  • Tip: To book amusement parks, museums, and tour tickets in advance of your trip to the Antalya region, don't hesitate to check out the deals in our official shop.
Simena Kalekoy Ancient City in Antalya in Turkey

How to Get to Simena 

You can only access to Kaleköy (Simena) by sea. You can visit Kaleköy by taking a boat tour departing from Üçağız. There are also motor boat tours from Kaş and Demre.

Aerial view of Sunken Basilica at Simena in Antalya in Turkey

Hotels Near Simena (Kaleköy)

As said previously, there are wonderful hotels to stay in during your trip to Simena. We made you a section of the best possible hotels to stay in while visiting Kaleköy.

  • Simena Pansiyon: The Castle of Simena is not too far from Simena Pansiyon. Simena Pansiyon puts the best of Demre (Kale) at your fingertips, making your stay both relaxing and enjoyable. Address: Kale Ucagiz Koyu Kekova Antalya, Demre
  • La Kumsal Hotel: La Kumsal Hotel offers stunning views of the sea and Meis Island. Most of the rooms have a sea view. The day starts with an open buffet breakfast at La Kumsal Hotel. The à la carte restaurant serves unique tastes of Mediterranean cuisine. Kaş town centre is 5 km from the hotel. Address: Cukurbag Yarim Adasi Beyhan Cenkci Cad. No: 74, Kas
  • Alley Prime Hotel: It is an ideal luxury hotel in Kaş with relaxing rooms. Address: Andifli Mahallesi, Bulent Kalkavan Sokak No: 14/1, Kas 07580 Turkey
  • Kekova Pansiyon: Kekova Pansiyon is situated on the seaside in a very historical village surrounded by ruins. It has 8 very large rooms all facing the sea. You can taste traditional home made meals and enjoy the lounging area down by the sea. Address: Ucagiz Koyu, Kekova

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

When is the best time to visit Simena(Kaleköy)?

The hottest and busiest months of the region are July and August. If you want to spend a holiday away from the crowd, you should choose the months of May, June, September and October around Kaş.

Where is Simena?

Simena is an ancient Lycian city located between Kaş and Demre in Antalya province, today called Kaleköy.

How can I get to Simena?

 You can only access to Kaleköy (Simena) by sea. You can visit Kaleköy by joining a boat tour departing from Üçağız. These tours include swimming breaks in the aquarium bay and other bays, then you will see famous rock cut-tombs, sunken city, and finally Kaleköy.

What can I see in Simena?

 Among the ruins of Simena that have been preserved until today, you will find a 300-seat theater, temples, and Lycian tombs. The Hellenistic theater in Simena is the smallest theater among all the Lycian cities with the capacity to hold only 200 spectators.

In Kaleköy, the houses made of masonry stones within the walls are in harmony with the environment. The Medieval Castle has a spectacular view of Kekova island. This castle was built to protect the inhabitants from the pirates nested in Kekova island. 

Simena Castle in Antalya in Turkey

The History of Simena

Simena means Mother Goddess in the Luwi language. Based on some inscriptions in the region, the history of Simena dates back to 4th century BC.

The city was an important settlement in the Roman period. Simena belonged to the Lycian League along with Aperlai, Apollonia, and Isinda, but never achieved great importance. It is possible to see the ruins of the city both on land and under the water, just like Theimiussa. There is a bath building by the sea shore, near the pier, with an inscription dedicated to Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasian (79-81).

The necropolis with mostly Roman sarcophagi in the Lycian style have also partially sunken. A single sarcophagus protrudes freely from the water, and the remains of sunken paths can be seen around it.

Kaleköy is a stop on the Lycian Way. From Üçağız, the hiking trail leads through rather impassable terrain to Kaleköy. Most visitors come to Kaleköy by boat. Boat tours are offered from Üçağız, Kaş, Demre, and Andriake.

Learn more about monuments in Antalya on our page dedicated to ruins in Antalya.

Contact

  • Address: Üçağız Mah., Kale Köyü Mevkii Antalya
  • Opening Hours: Summer period: 10:00-16:00 Winter Period: 08:30-17:30
  • Access: Only by boat
  • Web: Muze.gov.tr/muze-simena

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