Kemer is a district of Antalya, a city located 40 kilometers away from the city center. Until 1980, Kemer was a village of Antalya. However, the investments made in the region turned it into a major tourism center in a short time. In 1991, Kemer was declared a district due to its significant development. Today's region of Kemer used to be a lake and swamp area. In the area known as Eski Köy (Old Village), floods used to occur frequently. The locals began to build walls around the village towards the mountains to escape from floods and protect themselves. The village was named Kemer due to these walls.
Before 1980, transportation to Kemer was very difficult, and the only way to reach it was by sea. To make use of its natural beauty and attract tourists to the region, tourism-focused investments were initiated. The Southern Antalya Tourism Project included Kemer. Transportation is also a result of these investments. Kemer is a place where the sea, mountains, and lush forests are intertwined.
Historical Sites in Kemer
Aside from its natural beauty, Kemer is also a must-visit place because of its rich history. Phaselis Ancient City, Cirali Eternal Flame, Idyros Ancient City, and Seljuk Hunting Lodge are some of the historical sites found in Kemer. Cirali Eternal Flame is a mythical place. According to Greek mythology, Bellerophon rode Pegasus, a winged horse, and killed the beast Kimera in this area. However, the beast continued to breathe fire. The scientific explanation is that the region has natural gas sources.
Idyros Ancient City is a rare Byzantine site. The ruins found in this historical area, including the motifs inside the church, the different structure of the floor, and the chapel, create a unique experience. The area still shows traces of the past, and archaeology excavations continue to estimate that the ancient city was built in the 4th century.
The other ancient city, Phaselis Ancient City, is located 12 kilometers from Kemer center. It is a legacy from the Lycian period. Aside from being an ancient city, its fantastic natural beauty is also noteworthy. Due to the nature it once had, it was used as a port city with forests and a port. It is estimated that it was founded by Rhodesians. The hamam, 1500-person theater, and Ancient Water Aqueduct found inside the ancient city are worth seeing. After the ancient city was founded, it came under the rule of powers such as Persians, Romans, and Anatolian Seljuks. Later on, the region was left abandoned.
Kemer's Natural Beauties
Aside from its historical attractions, Kemer's main draw is its natural beauty. Pine forests provide shade by the crystal-clear sea under the warm sun. The surrounding mountains create a picturesque scene, making Kemer a desirable location. Kemer is also located near Faselis and Olimpos, adding to its appeal.
Kemer is not only beautiful above ground, but it also boasts stunning underground scenery, particularly its magnificent caves. One example is Peynirdeliği Cave in Gedelme Plateau. The cave contains a small lake at its end, with stalactites and stalagmites decorating its interior. The surrounding view is also a major factor in its beauty.
Beldibi Cave in Obaköy is one of the most visited locations by both locals and tourists. Archaeological findings from the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods were discovered in the cave, along with human and deer wall paintings. Due to its archaeological value, it has been designated as a conservation area. The cave was discovered in 1956, but the archaeological excavations only began three years later. The discoveries showed that the cave could have been a shelter for hunters during different historical periods. The tools found, such as pottery, flint, arrowheads, and sickles, indicate that the inhabitants were hunters and gatherers. The knives and sickles suggest that they were also farmers. Another notable cave is Sırtlanini Cave.
Üçoluk Plateau is located at an altitude of 1500 meters and is reached via a beautiful road surrounded by Kemer's magnificent pine trees. The plateau is rich in vegetation and is an important area for Kemer's tourism. It is also a camping and trekking area. Paris Shipwreck, which sank in Kemer Yacht Harbor, is a popular tourist attraction. Although it is believed that the ship sank during World War II, the reason for its sinking remains unknown. The ship was not used for war purposes and was likely a cargo ship. Its design and the items found inside suggest it was used for transportation. Paris Shipwreck is a popular spot for diving enthusiasts.
Sports and Adventure in Kemer
Kemer, being a seaside town surrounded by mountains, plateaus, and various natural formations, attracts adventure seekers as well as those who seek a beach vacation. Diving is possible in Paris Wreck and many unique coves around. As Kemer is a Mediterranean town, it has a rich flora. For example, in 3 Islands, one of the most preferred diving spots, it is possible to see various and different fish and sea creatures. If the dive takes place at the right time, tuna schools, stingrays, dusky groupers, Mediterranean seals can be seen.
Biking and hiking trails are organized in Kemer, located at the foothills of Beydağları. The routes are carried out from the seaside to the mountains or from plateaus to the mountains depending on the selected area. Kemer also offers paid or free alternative camping options for camp lovers.
What to Eat and Drink in Kemer?
As a Mediterranean city, Kemer cuisine is dominated by vegetables and olive oil dishes. It is one of the best kitchens for dishes like beans, artichoke, sea purslane, leek, celery, and other vegetable and olive oil dishes. As for the local delicacies, sour soup, dübari soup, oğmaç soup, mahluta, and kulaklı soup are must-try dishes.
It would be wrong to say that there is no meat in Kemer cuisine. Meat is also present in Kemer cuisine, together with vegetables. Yörük kebabı, gülgas are dishes where vegetables and meat come together. Also, try fıstık köfte, babagannuş, toros salad where bulgur is the main ingredient. As a port city, don't forget to taste the best fish in Kemer on top of all these dishes. And for dessert, kavun içi dondurma (melon ice cream) is a must-try, which is the most famous taste of the city.
How to Get to Kemer?
Kemer is a tourist city, so all kinds of transportation investments are available in the area. Transportation can be provided by air, sea, and land. After arriving by air to Antalya, it takes about an hour's drive to reach Kemer. For transportation after the airport, there are options such as minibusses, taxis, and car rental. For those who prefer to make the entire journey by private vehicle, it takes 10 hours from Istanbul to Kemer and 8 hours from Ankara. Of course, these durations are valid for private vehicles. The duration will be longer with intercity buses. Another transportation alternative for Kemer is the sea route. It takes 45 minutes by sea buses departing from Antalya to Kemer.