Destinations

Deserted Ruins & Faded Frescoes: Exploring The Kaya Valley Ghost Town on a Turkey Yacht Charter

Walking through the deserted Kaya Valley is an ethereal experience. After all, this now-empty village was once a bustling community, home to both Anatolian Muslims and Greek Orthodox Christians, who had lived happily side by side since the 14th century. Unfortunately, the end of the Greco-Turkish War in 1923 saw Kaya’s 6,500 Christian inhabitants forced to return to Greece, in a government effort to keep Turkey as a purely Muslim country. After this upheaval, most of the returning Turks did not want to stay in Kayaköy. For those that did, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in 1957 ensured the area was unlivable, destroying most of the town’s buildings. Some would say that it was never meant to last. However, the remains of the Kaya Valley have now been granted museum status, meaning that today, it is one of the most intriguing attractions for Turkey yacht charters. On a yachting escape around the beautiful Fethiye, it is an unmissable stop – here’s why.

A Turkey yacht charter through the mystical Kaya Valley

Highlights of Your Visit

Kayaköy may be a ghost town, but a visit here is filled with more life than you can imagine. Although the Kaya Valley has not been met with the commercialisation of some of the country’s other tourist hotspots, this is part of its charm, with just enough modern touches to make it desirable for yacht charters around Turkey. Climb to the summit of this hillside village to drink in panoramic views, appreciating the azure waters of the Oludeniz lagoon and the humbling sight of hundreds of dilapidated stone buildings, where Muslim and Christians formed a strong community not so long ago. Explore Kato Panagia, the town’s Lower Church, to get a feeling of the village’s faded glory. Sit up by the old chapel as the sun rises, watching the mist dance between the buildings. Or, visit Kayaköy in the evening to see it completely lit up, further adding to the ghostly effect.

Wildlife to Look Out For

For those planning a luxury yacht charter in the summer, your tolerance for heat will be rewarded with sightings of the brightly coloured butterflies and lizards that live between the rocks, bringing that extra bit of vitality into the village. Meanwhile, go in winter to see greenery envelope the decaying buildings. Unique bird life is visible at all times of the year, with creatures such as eagles, Syrian woodpeckers, wagtails, chaffinches and storks all spotted flying through the bright blue skies. Step into the woods that surround the Kaya Valley and you may be lucky enough to spot a wild boar or porcupine in their natural habitat.

Where to eat and drink

Kaya village has the perfect combination of fine dining restaurants and local Turkish eateries, serving traditional, delicious dishes that will warm your heart and soul. Those on a Turkey yacht charter would be particularly recommended to head to Rokka Restaurant, where a stunning backdrop of the ‘ghost town’ is beaten only by the quality of the food. Meanwhile, Restaurant Bay Efetto is the perfect place to experience the quintessential Turkish breakfast, although if the sweet treats of home call, crepes and other more familiar dishes are available. Craving an aperitif? Head to Muzzy’s Place Restaurant and Bar, where a swimming pool provides the perfect place to cool off as you sip a mojito, or to The Lebessos Wine, where wine tasting sessions are offered in the atmospheric cellar to start the evening.

Kaya Valley’s UNESCO status

A luxury yacht charter in Turkey promises the opportunity to explore the country’s eclectic history, and the Kaya Valley is home to more than its fair share. Today’s Kayaköy is a UNESCO World Peace and Friendship Village, signifying the strong relationship between Greece and Turkey. It is also a protected archaeological site, meaning the area cannot be bought by developers – it will remain its haunting, beautiful self for years to come.

Getting there

A Turkey yacht charter along the Lycian coast is the perfect way to see Kaya village alongside highlights such as Fethiye, Göcek and Oludeniz. To reach Kayaköy, dock at Cold Water Bay and enjoy a scenic stroll to the valley, past the beautiful beaches and charming restaurants. You won’t regret stepping a little off the beaten track to discover this historical wonderland.

Colette Flowerdew-Kincaid

YACHTZOO - TURKEY AND GREECE

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