Demre: Hidden Treasure of Antalya

Demre is a touristic and historical district located on the west of Antalya and South of the Teke Peninsula. Demre is a generous district that gives lots of opportunities to do so. There are lots of historical and natural beauties that make everyone feel like in another world. 

If you want to feel the history of the town and enjoy the seaside at the same time; Demre always welcomes you. You can also crown your days with delicious food in the great restaurants while you are watching the charming view.

Where is Demre Located on the Map of Turkey?

Demre is located on the west of Antalya and South of Teke Peninsula in the Mediterranean Region.

About the Town

Demre is one of the most important tourism centers of Antalya but it is almost a hidden treasure. Demre is a very small town that is the 14th biggest town of Antalya out of 19 towns with a 26.362 population. It is located in between Finike and Kaş also takes place on the border of the Mediterranean Sea. 

The climate of Demre is a usual Mediterranean climate; summertime passes as hot and dry and wintertime is warm and rainy. The possibility of snowing is almost zero. The climate allows people for swimming up to 8 months.

Demre is a tourism district due to its location and historical background. However, the locals earn their livings by agriculture in about 90%. The district has alluvial soil which is very efficient for growing quality products.

History of Demre

Back in the time of the Hellenistic Period, Demre was known as Myra which comes from the plant named Commiphora myrrha. In mythology, it is believed that Adonis was born from the shell of C.myrrha.

Myra (Demre) is always known as one of the most important cities in Lycia. Also, it is one of the six big cities. Even though the oldest coins are found from the 3rd century B.C.  it is predicted that the city was built in the 5th century B. C. It was built on the peaks where rock tombs were, then went down of the region by growing.

Myra kept its popularity in the Middle Ages since St. Nicolas was a bishop there. In the time of the Ottoman Empire, it was accepted as a village named “Eynihal” in 1904. Then in the Republic Period, it at first was accepted as a town municipality and then a district in the name of “Kale”. In 2005 Kale is changed with “Demre” by law.

Getting to Demre

There are several different ways to get to Demre depending on your location. You can reach Demre by plane, by bus or your vehicle. 

By Plane

If you choose to get Demre by plane, you should be expecting the road trip for at least 2-3 hours. The closest airport to Demre is Antalya Airport which is 156 km away. You may choose Dalaman Airport as well according to your location; it is 191 km away from the Demre. Antalya Airport seems to be the best choice due to its location and transportation opportunities.

Antalya Airport has its advantages. There are lots of direct flights there from the cities of Turkey and even from the cities around the world. The airport is 10 km away from the city center of Antalya and then Antalya Bus Terminal. You should get there first by tramway, bus, taxi, shuttles or by renting a car. As you reach the terminal you can see the minibusses head to Demre.

If you land at Dalaman Airport, you have limited options to get to Demre. You can get on a minibus to go to Dalaman Terminal; it takes only 10 minutes. You can take a bus there directly to Demre. Another option, you can just rent a car or take a taxi from the airport.

Even though taxis or rented cars are serving you comfort, please keep in mind that public transportation is much more affordable. 

By Bus

Most of the big cities of Turkey have not direct buses to Demre, but the near districts have. It is nothing to worry about since almost every city of Turkey has a direct bus to Antalya. You can travel to Antalya Terminal and then transfer into another bus directly to Demre from there. Approximately, 3 hours of a road trip is waiting for you from there. The buses depart from Antalya to Demre about 16 times a day. 

CityKm/MileTravel duration by bus
Antalya142/883 hours 15 minutes
Fethiye149/923 hours 10 minutes
Marmaris271.2/1684 hours 50 minutes
Bodrum379/2355 hours 15 minutes
Istanbul866/53811 hours 56 minutes(to Antalya)
Ankara662/4118 hours 10 minutes (to Antalya)
İzmir482/2997 hours 20 minutes(to Antalya)
Denizli (Pamukkale)290/1803 hours 50 minutes(to Antalya)
Nevşehir (Cappadocia)601/3739 hours 45 minutes(to Antalya)
Konya446/2776 hours 30 minutes (to Antalya) 
Kaş45/2748 minutes
Olympos135/832 hours 30 minutes
Kemer98/601 hour 45 minutes

By Car

As you reached the city center of Antalya somehow, the rest of is easy. From the city center of Antalya to Demre it lasted for 2 hours and 20 minutes by car.

Urban Transportations

The urban transportation in Demre is provided by buses and minibusses. There are two main bus lines and the 1st has 12, the 2nd has 7 separate lines for traveling in Demre. You can check the timelines of buses from the official website of Demre or the stations. Also, minibusses are a great alternative for traveling in Demre and between the other districts. 

Top Things to Do in Demre

The natural and historical beauties in Demre are fascinating that you cannot keep your eyes off. There are several places you have to see when you get Demre. If you aren’t familiar with Demre that much the following list would help you as a guide. 

St Nicholas Church

St Nicholas is known as Santa Claus all around the world and his tomb is located here. St Nicholas was loved back in time for helping sailors and children because of that he has reached the rank of “Saint”. The church also gives hints about the architecture of the Byzantine Period.

Myra Ancient City

Myra Ancient City was built on the meadow with the same name as the city. The canals which were located in the west of Myros River/Demre Stream made transportation easy and provided a connection between the city and the sea.

The rock tombs of the Lycia Period, theatre of Roman Period, and St Nicholas Church which is mentioned before are all located in the Myra Ancient City.

Museum of Lycian Civilizations 

The museum offers traces of the Lycians’ daily lives, histories, economies, and more. The building of the museum was originally built 129-130 B.C. as Granarium and then repaired and reach to the present day. 

There are eight separate salons for each Lycian town which are Myra, Patara, Ksantos, Tılos, Arykanda, Pınara, Antiphellos, and Olympos. In the salons, residues, and findings of their histories, social lives, religions, geography, and also statues, epigraphy, and coins of Lycians are exhibited. 

Soura Ancient City

Soura Ancient City is only 6 km away from Demre located in the village of Soura. This ancient city is also coming from Lycians and also has an importance in Byzantine Period. The city has traces of both periods. Temples including Apollon Temple, church, and rock tombs are located there.  

Simena Castle

Simena Castle was built in the Simena Ancient City and that sumptuous castle was used in the Middle Ages. In the castle, there is a theatre with 3000 people capacity and the seats are sculpted on natural rocks. The theatre is the smallest one of all Lycia civilizations. Also, there are several residues of tombs in there.  

Andriake Bird Paradise

Andriake Bird Paradise is just 5 km away from Demre and certainly, a place that is worth seeing. The paradise is hosting 149 different species of birds. Hundreds of bird watchers visit there every year. Of course, you can also visit there if you want to see endemic and unique species of birds.

Kekova Island

Kekova Island has its spectacular view and historic texture that you could not see anywhere else. It is connected to Demre town and you can visit there with boat tours. It has never been a residential area but the favorite of tourists because of that there are several cafes and hostels in there.

The green of nature and the blue of the sea create a spectacular harmony on the island. In the deep of the sea, there is Dolkisthe Ancient City. The water is so clear that you can see the residues from the Dolkisthe Ancient City while you are passing by a boat. 

Beaches

Despite the short coastal borders of Demre, there are beaches that you will love and worth to go. A branch of the Taurus Mountains is passing by Demre and it creates a limited coastal section and swimming areas.

However, besides the fascinating historical landmarks, the beaches of Demre also provide the visitors a complete pleasure. The clarity of the sea will make you want to swim immediately. 

Çayağzı Beach

Çayağzı Beach is found in the Andriake Ancient City which is the port location of Myra Ancient City. The beach is all covered with fine sands and is about 1 km long. The water is warm and shallow that provides an advantage for families with children or swimming learners. The entrance is free but you should bring your food and drinks since there is not any facility for that.

Caretta carettas leave their eggs in the streams located on the right and left sides of the beach. There is an observation area for them, you may see the little turtles if you visit in June or July. There is a camping area near the beach. The boat tours are organized for sightseeing of historical and natural beauties that depart from the Port of Çayağazı.

Sülüklü Beach

Sülüklü Beach is located in Büyükkum Quartier, after the 5 km of beach coast and connected with Lycia road. It is found behind the river occurred as a result of volcanic earthquakes. The sea and the beach are covered with stones and the sea is shallow. Caretta carettas choose Sülüklü Beach for leaving their eggs as well.

There are two restaurants that you can enjoy fresh seafood. Also, restrooms and showers are provided for a small number of fees. The entrance is free but the umbrellas and sunbeds must be rented. 

Taşdibi Beach

Taşdibi Beach is in the Büyükkum Quartier of Demre and the sea is very calm. Even on windy days, the sea is calm and smooth which makes it preferable. The beach is covered with fine sand and stones. On the left of the beach, there is a rocky area, if you are good at diving you can try to dive from there.

The entrance is free but sunbeds and umbrellas must be rented. Facilities of restaurants, cafes, restrooms, and showers are provided.

Beymelek Beach

Beymelek Beach is located in Beymelek Quartier connected to Demre and also found on the south of Beymelek Lagoon Lake. The beach cost is about 18 km and the beach is covered with sand and shaft with a deep sea. The beach provides a suitable environment for blue crabs.

The beach is not very popular and because of that it is untouched, away from the crowd and very calm. Picnic areas are found around the beach costs and also cafes and restaurants that you can eat fresh blue crabs.

Şeytan Beach

It is one of the calmest beach of Büyükkum Quartier of Demre. The sea is shallow and covered with pebbles. The beach offers a calm and peaceful atmosphere since it is not too crowded for all four seasons. 

The facilities of restrooms, showers, and restaurants are provided. Home-made burgers and French fries of the restaurant are recommended by the visitors. The entrance costs about 20-30 TL.

Frequently asked questions about Demre

If you are planning to visit Demre, the frequently asked questions in the following will clear the question marks in your mind.

When is the best time to visit Demre?

It depends on what you are expecting. If you don’t want a crowd you may visit in April or May, you can swim in these months as well. If you want to see Demre alive and warm you should visit in July and August. In September, it is calmer and the sea is cooler.

Can I stay in a 5-star hotel in Demre?

Demre is an undiscovered district, so 5-star hotels have not come across yet. 

Where can I stay in Demre?

You can rent a house, stay in boutique hotels, hostels, and apart houses.

Is Demre safe for children?

Yes, it is. Most of the beaches have shallow seas that are safe for children.

Should I rent a car in Demre?

It is all your decision, but public transportation is more than enough in Demre.

İsmail Çamönü

Hi! I am Ismail. I am a digital nomad from Turkey. I lived in many cities around Turkey during my life and I am passionate about traveling. At Nomad's Guide to Turkey, I share travel tips for nomads, expats, and tourists who would like to visit Turkey.

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