Patara - dream beach on the Turkish South Coast
The beach of Patara is not only exceptional due to its fine sand and beautiful clear water, but also for its enormous sand dunes. The ruins of the Lycian city of Patara, one of the most important ports of the Mediterranean in ancient times, are buried in the sand.
The roughly 12 kilometre long beach with its sand dunes is now a nature reserve, which is why you will not find huge hotel chains here, as you do in many other parts of the Turkish coast. During the summer months, the beach is closed from the evenings until early morning, for animal conservation reasons: Giant sea turtles lay their eggs here and the young animals need to find their way back to the sea undisturbed. The water quality is excellent, and for many years has held the Blue Flag, the international award of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) for absolutely clean water.
In ancient times Patara was an important city situated next to the sea with a large harbour, which was of great significance for the shipping trade in the Mediterranean region. The Apostle Paul is said to have travelled through the city on his journey. The city was also the birthplace of St. Nicholas (around 280 A. D.), who died as the Bishop of Myra in 342 A.D. The stone remains of the Lycian city are now mostly covered by the large dunes. The three-arched Roman city gate dating back to 100 A.D. and the almost sand covered theatre, offering a spectacular view of the sand dunes can still be seen today in the vast area. The city finally lost its significance in the Middle Ages, as the harbour petered out completely as a result of alluvial deposits.
Today, the village of Gelemis lies close to the ancient Patara; a quaint village with old eucalyptus trees, a few restaurants, bars and shops. Boat tours are offered on the Esen Cay, the ancient river of Xanthos. The small hotels and guest houses in Patara are an attractive alternative to the noisy mass tourism in the neighbouring holiday resorts. However, due to its location in the reedy swamps, the area is prone to mosquitoes in certain seasons - but the locals know how to protect one from the pests and all beds are usually equipped with mosquito nets.
The closest airport to Patara is Dalaman. From there, the transfer takes about 1.5 hours. SunExpress has several weekly flights to the airport from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.