South Aegean

The ruins of the ancient Carian port city Herakleia are scattered throughout Kapıkırı. In the upper village, the large Temple of Athena, just west of the central agora, occupies a promontory overlooking the lake. Only three of its walls remain, but the perfectly cut blocks (no mortar) are impressive. Other signposted paths lead eastwards to the bouleuterion (council chamber) in a private garden, a uniquely Roman bathhouse and the unrestored theatre, with barely a few seating rows remaining (it once sat up to 4000 spectators).

The Hellenistic city walls (circa 300 BC) extend for 6.5km. For sublime lake views, follow the road down past the rock-hewn Temple of Endymion and the ruined Byzantine castle, which overlooks the rock tombs of the necropolis. From the beach and its ruined Byzantine church, note the island just opposite – its base conceals ancient building foundations. Once joined to the mainland, the island is only accessible by boat nowadays, even at low tide.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby South Aegean attractions

1. Euromos

12.07 MILES

Founded in the 6th century BC, Euromos peaked between 200 BC and AD 200 under Hellenistic and then Roman rule. Its indigenous deity had earlier been…

2. Miletus

13.87 MILES

Ancient Miletus in the valley of the Büyük Menderes River was once a great port city. Its mixed Hellenistic-Roman ruins are impressive, though due to…

3. Miletus Museum

13.9 MILES

This worthwhile museum exhibits finds from Miletus and other archaeological sites – ancient glass, pottery and votive stelae, statuary (including the…

4. Iasos

15.72 MILES

The seaside village of Kıyıkışlacık is surrounded by ancient Iasos, a Carian city that was once an island and prospered from its excellent harbour, rich…

5. Priene

16.65 MILES

Priene enjoys a commanding position just below Mt Mykale, giving it a real natural grandeur. This Greco-Roman site is delightful to explore, with pine…

6. Temple of Apollo

16.89 MILES

Didyma (now Didim) was a important religious centre, the site of the Oracle of Apollo. The astonishing Temple of Apollo here was once the ancient world's…

7. Labranda

17.45 MILES

This remote hillside site occupies the area that supplied drinking water to Mylasa (Milas) and is one of the most interesting sites in Caria. Never a city…

8. Beçin Castle

21.39 MILES

At the beginning of Beçin village, about 6km south of Milas on the road to Ören, a steep signposted road climbs to Beçin Castle. Originally a Byzantine…