Patara Ancient City and Patara Beach

Patara is an ancient city located in the southwest end of the Xanthos valley, Ovagelemiş, also as known as Gelemiş village, between Fethiye and Kalkan and it is approximately over 2000 years old. There have been excavations since the year 1988 and many important remaining have been found, some of them are examples of firsts in history.

As well as the cultural and historical value, the ancient city of Patara is famous for having the longest beach in Turkey, which serves as a home to Caretta carettas, which is quite rare. Besides, the city is known for being the only pathway to the sea in the valley, which explains why it was built as a port city. Yet by time, between the city and the sea was filled with sand.

Visiting Patara Ancient City

Patara Ancient City is 16 km away from Kalkan and 42,5 km away from Kaş. There are various ways to get there, and you might need to know the following information before visiting Patara Ancient City.

Patara Ancient City on the map of Turkey

Patara ancient city is in Antalya province, which is in the very south end of Turkey, in the Mediterranean region. It is between Fethiye and Kalkan and is in the Kaş district, which is one of the most popular regions of Antalya.

How do you get to Patara Ancient City?

KalkanKasFethiyeAntalya City Center
Patara11 miles (17km)26 miles (42km)45 miles (72km)141 miles (227km)

There are various ways to get to Patara Ancient City, depending on your starting point. If you are going there from Kaş, there are 42 kilometers of distance between the center and the ancient city, which will take approximately 50 minutes to go by car. If you do not have a vehicle, you can prefer minibusses departing from Kaş. Those minibusses are departing every 30 minutes, from the Kaş bus station. Those minibusses do not arrive in the Patara Ancient City, after getting off from the minibus, there is another service that you need to take. You can take those minibusses from Kalkan bus station as well. Those minibusses are only serving to get to Patara Ancient city.

You can go to the Kaş bus station by public transportation. These are some of the public transportation guides for you to get to Patara Ancient City:

  • From Kalkan: You need to take the bus named “KAŞ, FETHİYE”. This bus is departing every 20 minutes. It takes 40 minutes to get to the Kaş bus station.
  • From Demre: You can take direct buses that go to Patara Ancient City from Demre. The bus is called “ANTALYA, PATARA”. And it will go to the Kaş bus station first, and then, to Patara Ancient City.
  • From Kumluca: You can take the bus named “ANTALYA – KAŞ” to get to the Kaş bus station and then you can take the minibus that goes to the Patara Ancient City from there.
  • You can take the KUMLUCA-FETHIYE bus from the Yeşilköy, Kumluca, and Demre Terminal to get to the Patara Ancient City.
  • You can take the ANTALYA-PATARA bus from Olympos, Çirali, İlçeler Terminal, Kumluca, and Yeşilköy to directly get to the Patara Ancient City.

Visiting hours of the Patara Ancient City

Patara Ancient City is open to visitors every day. Visiting hours in summertime and wintertime varies.

In the summertime, which is determined as the dates between 15 April and 2 October, the ancient city is open to visitors from 08:30 AM and 07:00 PM.

In wintertime, which is determined as the dates between October 3 and April 14, the ancient city is open to visitors from 08:30 AM and 05:00 PM.

You can check the up to date visiting hours from this link.

Panorama of Patara Ancient City
Panorama of Patara Ancient City

Entrance fee for the Patara Ancient City

The entrance fee for the Patara Ancient City is 30 Turkish liras(4 USD, as of January 2021). If you would like, you may prefer to buy a museum card from the entrance of the Patara ancient city.

For Turkish citizens, if you buy a museum card, you will be able to visit specific museums and historical landmarks in Turkey for free for a year, and after a year passes by, various discounts on the museums will continue. The Museum card is 70 Turkish liras.

If you are from a country other than Turkey, you can still get a museum pass but the cost is 550TL(74 USD, as of January 2021). Note that this museum pass is valid for 15 days. There are also different kind of museum passes that has different limitations with reasonable prices. You can check all the museum passes by clicking here(select English from the top-right of the page, if needed)

Getting a museum card is recommended, especially in your Antalya trip because there is a lot more historical landmarks and museum that you might want to see.

Best time to visit the Patara Ancient City

People typically prefer visiting the Patara Ancient City on Wednesdays. Other than that, the Patara Ancient City is commonly preferred to visit in afternoons. Yet going in a late hour is not recommended since Patara Ancient City is a quite large area and exploring everywhere might take a while. Yet people do not want to go there when it is still hot out there and visiting in an early hour might not be a good choice because you do not know how long you will spend there, and at noon Antalya can be quite hot, especially in summer months. It is best to go around 2 or 3 PM.

How long to spend in the Patara Ancient City?

People typically spend approximately 1 hour in the Patara Ancient City, but if you want to see everything that Patara Ancient City and Patara beach, offers to you, this time could be longer. As mentioned before, Patara Ancient City is quite a large area.

What is special about Patara Ancient City?

As I mentioned before, Patara Ancient City has quite important remaining that some of them were considered as firsts in history. The remaining can be listed as follows:

  • Parliament building
  • Theater 
  • Triumphal arches
  • Boulevard
  • Hammam
  • Granary
  • Lighthouses

The parliament building belonged to Lycian Union and it has the feature of being the oldest parliament building survived. It was established as a result of the formalization of the Lycian Union in the 2nd century BC. It is the building that the famous thinker Montesquieu praised in his book ” The Spirit of the Laws” as “The Most Excellent of the Ancient World” in the context of democracy. It has been restored by the Turkish Parliament.

Parliament Building in Patara
Parliament Building

Besides, lighthouses are quite special in the Patara Ancient City. They are known to be built by the Roman emperor Neron, and they are around 2000 years old. It has been said that those lighthouses were collapsed as a result of a tsunami that occurred in the Patara. All of the remaining were found from those lighthouses, and it is restored. The lighthouses are 26 meters long.

Patara is an important city for Christianity. In the B.C. 4th century, Saint Nicholas was born in Patara city. The name Saint Nicholas might sound strange to you, but he is no one but the Santa Claus himself. Additionally, Saint Paul was got on the ship from the Patara, to go to Rome. Saint Paul is also as known as Paul the Apostle was an individual who has made it his duty to spread what Jesus said.

On important occasions, the only signature authority was belonging to Patara’s bishop. This is another example of how Patara was special back then, and it is still protecting its value.

History of the Patara Ancient City

Patara Ancient City was one of the most important cities of the Lycian civilization. Patara Ancient City was referred to as “Patar” in the B.C 13th century Hittite inscriptions. Evidence from the obtained excavations illustrates that there are remaining from the Middle Bronze Age and Iron Age. Those remaining proves how old the Patara Ancient City is mainly from the Tepecik acropolis.

The city gate in Patara
The city gate

As the Patara city becomes under the rule of Ptolemaios, it becomes one of the most important cities of the Lycian civilization. This importance transfers to being the capital city of the Lycian civilization, as it becomes under the rule of the Seleukos Kingdom in the B.C 2nd century.

There are buildings built in the Patara Ancient City that are from the Hellenistic period. Parliament building and theater are examples. When it came under Roman rule, the ancient city of Patara continued as a naval base, and in the year B.C 43, Lycia becomes a state of the Roman empire. Later, Lycia and Pamphylia merged as one big state in which Patara remains as the capital city.

During Ottoman times, the first Ottoman wireless telegraph station was established in the city of Patara in 1905.

Patara Beach

Patara beach is 1 km away from the Patara Ancient City. It has a length of 12 kilometers, and a width of 1500 meters. With its proportions, it is not only Turkey’s largest beach, but it is among the longest beaches in the world. Patara beach is famous for being the rare beaches that host Caretta carettas nest period. This is why the beach is only open between the hours 08:00 AM and 08:00 PM. Since the sea in the Patara beach is an open sea, its sea is quite wavy.

Patara Beach

Patara beach is also known for its naturally formed dunes. In the sunset, those dunes are something else. You must go there and take amazing pictures; you most probably cannot see a better view. Also, those dunes are known for the place where desert scenes were filmed in old Turkish movies.

Entrance, umbrella, and sunbed fees for Patara Beach

For the umbrella and sunbed, you need to pay 20 Turkish liras (10 Turkish liras for the umbrella, and 10 Turkish liras for the sunbed). The entrance fee for the Patara beach is 7,5 Turkish liras.

Patara Beach with a lot of people
View of Patara Beach

Caretta Carettas

Caretta carettas are a type of sea turtle and they are thought to have been on earth for about 106 million years. They never get out of the sea to the land except for their spawn period. Today, Caretta carettas are in danger of extinction. Light pollution and human settling in nature is the reason for the danger of extinction. This danger of extinction is tried to be prevented by taking Caretta carettas under protection.

It can lay 100 eggs at one time but up to laying 162 eggs has been identified before. After the 2-month incubation period, the baby sea turtles hatch at night and go to the sea.

The Caretta carettas are spread over the Mediterranean coasts. The most important spawning region is the Yumurtalık district of Adana and the coast of Belek, Anamur, Köyceğiz, and Dalyan. Patara beach is among the important places for Caretta carettas to lay their eggs.

Baby Caretta Caretta
A Baby Caretta Caretta

Further information and tips

As I mentioned before, Patara Ancient City is spread to a quite large area, and you will walk a lot in order to see everywhere. Thus, wearing comfortable shoes (such as sneakers) is strongly recommended. Wearing high heels or slippers probably will not be comfortable. Additionally, since it is an old area with no straight roads, bringing a stroller might not be comfortable, and since you will walk a lot holding your baby in the whole process might be tired. If you have a baby, it is not recommended to go with them.

Going with toddlers is okay as long as you keep your eye on them. Since it is a quite large area, they can be lost easily. Keep in mind to hold your toddler’s hand all the time and it will be okay.

Other places that you can visit in around the Patara region

There are other historical landmarks and attractions for you to visit in the region, the following are some of the closest destinations to Patara Ancient City that you may want to visit after your Patara trip. This region is one of the most beautiful regions of Antalya, and it would be a pity if you leave without exploring at least some of the places that it offers to you.

Anthipellos Ancient City

45 minutes driving away from the Patara Ancient City, another magical ancient city is waiting for you. It is another ancient city from the Lycia region. It is famous for its temple, bazaar, and especially its very well-preserved theater. In the bazaar, there is a well-preserved tomb with a gothic pediment, dating back to the 4th century BC with its hyposorion lion head-shaped protrusions and an inscription in the Lycian language, which has become the symbol of Kaş. You can visit the Anthipellos Ancient City on 7/24, and there is no entrance fee required.

Xanthos Ancient City

This ancient city is only 16 minutes driving away from the Patara Ancient City. This ancient city was built on two hills in the lowland. Xanthos archaeological site has been included in the World Cultural Heritage List by UNESCO. This honor is because of the originality of the Lycian civilization and the importance of the findings obtained during the excavations. When you come to Patara, you should not leave without visiting the Xanthos Ancient city.

Kalkan

Kalkan is another region in Antalya that is 25 kilometers away from the Kaş region. Believed to be founded by merchants from the island of Meis, Kalkan has remained untouched for many years due to the difficulty of transportation, therefore it has come to the fore with its natural beauty. You can go there by bus, or by car. It takes approximately 20 minutes of driving to get to Kalkan from the Kaş region. Kalkan carries traces of Lycia civilization as well. And Kalkan is known for its British residents. Around 80% of the homeowners in Kalkan are British. Additionally, Patara beach is in the Kalkan region.

Kekova

Kekova is an island that is 33 kilometers away from Kaş. You can go there by the boats that depart from the Kaş port. Besides its amazing view and crystal-clear sea, Kekova island is also famous for its underwater remainings, which creates a sunken city under the sea. Kekova has the clearest sea in the Mediterranean region and is a perfect place for diving. If you are interested in diving or you want to learn diving, Kekova is one of the best places to start. You can take lessons or try diving with professionals. Additionally, in Kekova, there are various tours on a boat or under the sea, or a combination of on boat and diving tours that you can explore every single spot of Kekova, in addition to gulets for accommodation.

İslamlar Village

If you want a headrest, İslamlar village is just for you with its wonderful green nature. You can get to the beach on foot, and you can rent a villa. İslamlar village is accepted as the region that has the most oxygen levels in the whole Mediterranean region. It is a perfect place for nature lovers.

 If you are bored from vacations in hotels, there are lots of places in Antalya that you can rent villas for a unique and different trip experience. İslamlar village is one of the best places for renting a villa. Also, it is one of the calmest areas in Antalya.

Kyenai Ancient City

If you think that those were it for the ancient cities in Antalya, you are wrong, there are so many more. Kyenai ancient city is another ancient city in Antalya. It is 30 kilometers away from the Kaş region. Like other ancient cities in Kaş, it is also from the Lycian periods.

Kyenai is a Hellenic word that refers to dark blue in English. According to ancient sources, this name was given because of a legend about Apollon Thyrexeaus’ “prophecy location”. It is known that Apollo Thryxeaus’ place of prophecy was located right next to Kyenai. According to the information given by Pausanias, those who looked at the natural pool of this water could see anything they wanted. This legend has been inspiring some of the popular movies, like Harry Potter. In the movie, there was an object called “Erised mirror”, which is a mirror that has the feature of showing you whatever you want the most.

Sources and Further Reading

  1. https://muze.gov.tr/muze-detay?SectionId=PTR01&DistId=PTR
  2. https://www.arkeogezgin.com/patara-antik-kenti/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patara_(Lycia)
  4. https://antalya.ktb.gov.tr/TR-67549/likya-birligi-meclis-binasi.html

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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