Patara Beach: Everything That Makes Turkey’s Longest Beach So Special

The longest beach in Turkey, Patara Beach, also known as Cleopatra Beach, with its 12 miles (18-kilometer) long sparkling white sand is an invaluable touristic spot for both Turkish and foreign tourists from all around the world. Antalya is not only the center of Mediterranean tourism but also the tourism center of Turkey. If you are planning to spend your holiday in Antalya, you should see and enjoy Patara Beach. However, in addition to its popularity for the human being, the beach is also vital for Caretta-Caretta turtles. In sum, to explore Turkey, when you travel to Turkey, the beach is a must for all of us…

Patara Beach is also known as Cleopatra Beach
Patara Beach is also known as Cleopatra Beach

Where is Patara Beach in Turkey?

Patara Beach, the longest beach in Turkey and in the Mediterranean area, is located near the Kalkan district of Antalya city. The beach became very popular in the last two decades, and especially among Russian tourists. Its length is 18 kilometers (12-miles) and the sea is shallow, indeed for 150-200 meters from the shore. So, with this feature, the beach, and the shore sea is safe and swimmable for children.

Why does Patara Beach So Special?

As you can see, there are tons of reasons that make Patara beach so special. But maybe the best thing among them is that this clean water and silky sand feel like more than a sunbath. The sand is perfect with its tiny particles.

The beach is home to Caretta Caretta turtles that they nest and leave their eggs
The beach is home to Caretta Caretta turtles that they nest and leave their eggs

Furthermore, this unspoiled paradise made up of limestone peaks and rolling white dunes is also part of a national park. The local birdlife is vibrant, and the beach itself is a protected breeding ground for loggerhead turtles. Due to this, the beach has little to no development, save a small community-run café where you can also rent parasols and the like. After sunset, Patara is off limits for humans, giving the turtles free range of the sand.

The Historical Importance of Patara and the Area

Historically, Patara is the place where Santa Clause, also known as Saint Nichola, was born. What’s more, it is also believed that the Roman god Apollo was born here, too. To set the brief history of the beach and the area, Patara is the capital city of the Lycian Union. It is referred to as “Patar” in the Hittite texts of the 13th century BC. The ancient city of Patara has great historical and archaeological significance.

The first lighthouse in the world is in Patara
The first lighthouse in the world is in Patara

It survived for centuries because it was the only place to open to the sea in the Xanthos Valley. The city, which has been excavated since 1988, has a great significance for Christianity as well. Saint Nicholas, known as “Santa Claus”, was born in Patara as we mentioned above. In addition, it is known that St. Paul took a boat from here to Rome. Patara was also famous as a port for storing and keeping grains. People of that time transported grains from Anatolia to Rome.

When It Turned Out as The Capital of Lycia…

When the Seleukos Kingdom began to control Patara at the beginning of the 2nd century, it turned out to be the capital of Lycia. This position became official in 167 and 168 BC. It happened when Patara gained autonomy against Rome and independence against Rhodes. The city, which didn’t lose its importance after the Roman rule, maintained its importance as a naval base in which the governors had their judicial affairs and as a connection with the eastern provinces.

The ancient city of Patara has been witnessing history with two Millenium ages ruins
The ancient city of Patara has been witnessing history with two Millenium ages ruins

Patara’s Significance with Regard to Religious Facts

Lycia became a province of the Roman Empire in 43 AD. And then, the rulers combined the city with Pamphylia and converted it to a single state in 74 AD. Yet, despite all these facts, Patara continued to be the capital city. Monumental structures of the Hellenistic period paralleled this process. After Rome, it had a reputation of Apollon prophecy center. During the Byzantine era, it became an important Center for Christians. Eudemos was the Patara Bishop. And what’s more, he was the only signatory of Lycia, who had the authority. It was the time in the First Council of Nicaea led by Emperor Constantine in 325 AD.

The magnificent and well-preserved Roman victory entrance
The magnificent and well-preserved Roman victory entrance

Entrance to the Ancient City of Patara

The entrance to the ancient city is through the magnificent and well-preserved Roman victory entrance. The inscriptions show that they built it in the name of the governor of the region around 100 AD. To the west of the entrance lies the Necropolis (ancient cemetery area) where Lycian sarcophagi take place. (Check out for the Lycian way) The theater leaning against the Kurşunlu Hill at the southernmost end of the city. They rebuilt the theatre leaning in 147 AD after the earthquake. Kurşunlu Tepe, in the meantime, is the most beautiful corner to watch the scenery. So, the other ruins of the hill are Vespasian Baths, Corinth Temple, the Main street, and ancient harbor structures. Besides, don’t forget to explore the world’s first lighthouse.

The first lighthouse in the world is in Patara
The first lighthouse in the world is in Patara

What Will Monumental Buildings Welcome You?

One of Patara’s monumental buildings is the granary (Granarium). Emperor Hadrian and his wife Sabina built it in the 2nd century AD. To the north of the theatre is the Parliament building, where Patara hosted meetings as capital. Waterways that bring water from a rocky area about 20 kilometers away from the city are also notable ruins.

Things to do in Patara Beach

Besides its sparkling white sands, the longest beach, and the blue flag sea, there are many things to do in Patara Beach, the longest beach in Turkey, or Cleopatra Beach, name however you wish! In the past years, and probably future years to come, Russian tourists are (and will be!) in a run into Patara. The reason for that is windsurfing and some other activities that draw visitors’ attention.

There are many things to do in Patara beach and around including a jeep safari
There are many things to do in Patara beach and around including a jeep safari
Here are some of them to name…
  • Saklikent Gorge Jeep Safari from Kas And Kalkan,
  • Quad Bike Safari in Kalkan,
  • Private Tour to Patara – Kaputas – Xantos- Saklıkent Canyon from Kas / Kalkan,
  • Horse Riding on Patara Beach,
  • Tour the Magnificent Mediterranean in Turkey For 16 Days,
  • Private Tour: Saklikent Gorge-Tlos-Patara.
Saklıkent Kanyonu (Hidden City Canyon) is a famous touristic spot
Saklıkent Kanyonu (Hidden City Canyon) is a famous touristic spot

How to Get to Patara Beach?

The beach is around 20 minutes away from Kalkan. So, you need local transportation (dolmuş) for the crystal-clear water of the sea and this is just beautiful! It costs 20TL ($3) to take a dolmuş. Or else, you can also take a taxi, which will cost you around 50 TL ($7).

Patara Beach, with its sparkling white sand, is an invaluable touristic spot for both Turkish and foreign tourists from all around the world
Patara Beach, with its sparkling white sand, is an invaluable touristic spot for both Turkish and foreign tourists from all around the world

Car, or bus and taxi, are the ways to get to Patara beach. Any bus will drop you on the Fethiye–Kaş highway at Ovaköy, whence it’s a 3.5-km (2-mile) taxi ride (or hitch) to the village. (Its official name is Gelemiş). Nevertheless, everyone calls it Patara.

Distances & Travel Durations

  • Antalya: 376 km (234 miles via coast), 8.75 hours
  • Dalaman Airport: 120 km (75 miles), 2 hours
  • Demre (Myra): 90 km (56 miles), 2 hours
  • Fethiye: 81 km (50 miles), 1.75 hours
  • Kalkan: 15 km (9 miles), 25 minutes
  • Kaş: 45 km (28 miles), 1 hour
  • Marmaris: 251 km (156 miles), 4.75 hours
Lycian way is one of the best routes in the world for hiking with more than 500 kms long destination
The Lycian way is one of the best routes in the world for hiking with more than 500 km long destination

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Updated: 11.02.2021

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