Patara is Turkey’s longest beach. Your stroll can last a whopping 18km along this sandy beach with lovely dunes as a backdrop. Patara beach is a delight for people who like walking or horseriding on the shore and for sunbathers and swimmers on the lookout for a natural beach, without the crowds, even in high season. This would be enough reason to visit Patara, you would think, but that’s doing injustice to the ancient city you have to pass through to reach the beach, that also gave it its name.
The most literal form of beach culture!
That is the phrase you could use to describe Patara. In all honesty, it is hard to tell which is the most impressive, the unspoiled beach, or the ruins adjacent to it. There is a good reason this beach is so pristine: it is a protected area. Twice! The whole beach is protected because of the resident (and protected) Loggerhead Turtles, and also because it is a category one archeological site. Furthermore, the village behind Patara beach, Gelemiş, has not caught the eye of any tour operators yet. The whole atmosphere is low key, with local and family run businesses offering charming places to stay and locally produced food. The only human-made thing you will find on the beach itself is a small wooden cafe, run by the Belediye (local government). Apart from that, you’re all set for 18km of untouched beach.
The beauty of archeology: ancient Patara
Those wanting to absorb some culture while getting a tan should have a walk around the ruins of Patara. You can’t miss them, as you have to drive past them to access the beach. The setting is phenomenal, dunes on one side, the mountains at the back and lagoon full of wildlife somewhere in between. You’ll understand straight away that Patara used to be an influential city during Roman times. And the partly restored remains have a fascinating story to tell. Patara is home to a theatre, temples, a council chamber and a colonnaded street among other things.
In short, Patara is one of the few places in Turkey to combine the most idyllic beach life, with an impressive ancient site. It is a glorious place, in every sense of the word.
Would you like to read what visitors have to say before you go? Read these reviews of Patara to get an even better picture. If you are looking for a reliable guide for the area, we can recommend this paperback that also covers this part of Turkey.
Are you keen on spending more time in this area? The Dardanos Hotel or Guesthouse Camelion are charming places to stay. You may even consider visiting nearby Pınara if you feel like changing the beach for an enchanted forest. Or why not walk part of the Lycian Way? For a more mundane environment, take a look at Kalkan!
The nearest airports are Dalaman and Antalya, both of which have easy connections with Istanbul airports if required. You’ll find cheap flight options here.
The beach is closed after sunset until 8:30 am. You will be charged a small entrance fee for the beach and the ancient site. For frequent visitors, a beach and site pass is available.