Kayaköy – About The Village

Living in Fethiye means we are very lucky to have the beautiful village of Kayaköy right on our doorstep – and we try to get up there as often as we can either by dolmuş or by trekking to Kayaköy from Fethiye. The time of year usually dictates which method we choose…

Kayaköy Ruins

Looking out over the Kayaköy ruins

In a past life, Kayaköy has been known as Karmylassos and Levissi and that’s because up until 1923, the area was mainly populated by Greek people. The forced population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923 meant that Kayaköy became deserted and the ruins remain as a reminder of this sad episode in history.

Many an hour can be spent exploring the ruins – former homes of a sizeable Greek population – of Kayaköy. Huge fireplaces, wells, animal pens and wall decorations can still be seen. However, most people head for the two main churches where frescoes and mosaics are still visible. The bottom church even has some human bones inside as the Greeks took the skulls of their ancestors with them as they left.

Kayaköy Ruins Walk

Wandering the ruins of Kayaköy

We took a friend up there last year and she said it felt really sad; like we shouldn’t be there. That’s the effect that exploring the ruins at Kayaköy can have on you.

Kayaköy is often referred to as the Ghost Village but we don’t like this name. Granted, the deserted ruins stand on a hill, overlooking the whole valley but this valley is very much alive and well and whichever route you choose if you trek from Fethiye to Kayaköy, you will be able to get a good sense of what Kayaköy and the surrounding villages are all about as you wander by.

Kayakoy Life

Daily village life in Kayaköy

Head for Kayaköy on a Sunday and the population swells on a dramatic scale as people pack into the many ‘kendin pişir, kendin ye’ restaurants. Kayaköy is a popular choice for Turkish village breakfast and we’ve even seen more tables being put out on the grass behind Bülent’in Yeri so that he can accommodate the hoards looking for a good gözleme – and it is a good gözleme.

There are day trips organised by tour companies that take in Kayaköy but if you want the full experience that Kayaköy provides; melancholy, peace, relaxation, village life, unique eating experiences, then we strongly suggest you make your own way there and take it all in. And if you’re anything like us, you’ll get hooked on the place.

Kayaköy – Useful Information

  • The dolmuş from Fethiye to Kayaköy costs 5 TL.
  • The route is run by the Ölüdeniz co-op so all dolmuşes are air-conditioned and will have ‘Ölüdeniz’ written across the bonnet in big blue letters.
  • Look for the dolmuş with the card in the front window that says Kaya Village on it.
  • In season, the dolmuş is every half our, on the hour and the half hour. In winter, it’s every hour on the hour.
  • The journey takes about 45 minutes and goes via Ovacık and Hisarönü.
  • Entrance to the ruins is 5 TL or free if you are resident and have a müze kart.

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  1. This is great information! Thanks for posting it! We’ve been meaning to get down to Kayakoy this summer, and now, with all the info we need in hand on how to get there and how much it will cost, there is no excuse to put it off any longer! 🙂

  2. We’re sure you’ll love it Barbara. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. Anonymous says

    Good article but I take a bit of umbrage about the use of the word settlers in relation to the Greeks.They must have been there for thousands of years.

  4. Hi and thanks Anonymous,

    Sorry, no offence was meant by the use of the word ‘settlers’. It is a term used in most of the literature on the subject and we certainly didn’t seek to place any bad connotations on the word.

    Our article seeks only to promote Kayaköy as the beautiful yet haunting place that it now is.

  5. Anonymous says

    if you want to visit a restaurant do you have to pay entrance to the ruins? Been several times but dont want to wander around the ruins everytime thank you

  6. @ Anonymous: Kayakköy is a live, working village as well as the outdoor museum (the ruins of the Greek houses) so you can go to any restaurant you like without having to walk around the ruins. Hope this helps.

  7. OutsideTheGuidebook says

    I went to Fethiye after reading your blog, and can’t stop thankning you enough! I made a video to compliment your article 🙂

  8. @ OutsideTheGuidebook: Kayaköy is such an important place and everyone who comes to Fethiye should visit here. Glad you enjoyed your experience. 🙂

  9. Wow Julia and Barry, Kayaköy really looks like an eerie village to be. But for someone like me who loves to explore old ruins and learn about the history of the place, it must really quite interesting to wander around. Totally understood that you feel hooked to the place… 🙂

  10. Today we visited this wonderful place and it dose have an eriy feel to it. We spent around 5 hours going around the site and still didn’t see everything. A bit disappointed that both of the large churches were closed for renevation but that’s life. At the top of the hill we also discovered arrows pointing over the hillside to a footpath but as we had no idear where this trail ended we decided not to follow it. All in all well worth the time spent.
    One last point the Dolmus now costs TL 5 but still cheep.

    • Hi Carl

      Thanks a lot for your comment. Yeah, you’ve given us a heads up there as we’re slowly working our way though the blog, updating old posts with new prices, times and photos, etc. Not sure where exactly you were in Kayaköy but the arrows at the top of the hill were either pointing to the footpath that takes you from Kayaköy over to Ölüdeniz (http://www.turkeysforlife.com/2010/09/kayakoy-oludeniz-walk-hiking.html) or the other arrows point to a footpath that takes you down to Cold Water Springs (Soğuk Su). We’ve done both walks but spring and autumn are the best times to tackle these; especially Soğuk Su, and you the have to walk back up the hill to Kayaköy to get home. 🙂

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