Guide to the Ancient City of Patara, Turkey

Welcome to ancient Patara, Turkey, a wonderful and historical destination that is sure to captivate your senses. If you are a history buff, nature lover or simply looking for an off the beaten path experience, this is the perfect place for you. This enchanting city showcases a rich history, including ancient ruins that are not only beautifully preserved but also boast some of the most impressive architectural designs in Turkey. Explore the fascinating history of Patara and discover its hidden gems on the Turkish Riviera. So, let’s dive in!

patara beach and dunes

History of Ancient Patara, Turkey

Patara, Turkey is an ancient city with a long and storied history in the Antalya province. It was founded in the 7th century BC by the Lycians and served as their capital until it was taken over by Alexander the Great in 333 BC. The town then changed hands several times throughout its history, being controlled by the Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans. In modern times, Patara has become a popular tourist destination due to its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beach on the Mediterranean coast.

Birthplace of St. Nicholas

The birthplace of St. Nicholas of Myra, is the ancient city of Patara, Turkey around 280 AD. It is believed that St. Nicholas lived here during his early years as a bishop, before he moved to nearby Myra where he gained fame for his generous acts and legendary gift-giving tradition. You can visit the St. Nicholas Church in Demre.

Where is the Ancient City of Patara, Turkey?

Patara’s ancient ruins & beach are in the Antalya province in Turkey. The city was once a significant commercial hub, as it was the meeting point of sea and land trade routes. It was also home to the renowned Oracle of Apollo, the god of prophecy, and it is said that even Alexander the Great visited this city to hear his fortune told. Although much of the city is yet to be revealed to the public, visitors can marvel at the incredible ruins that have been excavated thus far.

sand dunes

What to Do at Patara Beach

There are various tour options open to visitors who would like to discover the city’s rich history. However, to experience Patara’s beauty fully, we recommend hiking the trails that lead from the ancient city all the way to the beach. The hike offers sweeping views of the coastal landscape, historical sites, and the Mediterranean Sea. There are a few small cafes located at Patara Beach where you can enjoy food and drinks beach side.

Patara Beach in Turkey

Patara Beach is also one of the main attractions in this ancient city. It stretches over 17km of unspoiled natural beauty and crystal clear waters, making it the perfect place for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is an important home for loggerhead turtles, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to watch them hatch, and make their way to the sea. While enjoying the sun and sand, take some time to explore the ruins located near the beach.

Sand Dunes in Patara

Patara, Turkey is home to some of the most stunning sand dunes that are about 500m in width. The white sand stretches as far as the eye can see and gives the beach a unique atmosphere. The sand is so soft, it’s like walking on clouds. Visitors can explore kilometers of untouched dunes. If you’re lucky, you might even come across a movie or video set being filmed on-site.

Watch the Carretta Carretta Turtles

One of the most amazing sights to behold at Patara Beach in Turkey is that of the Carretta Carretta turtles. These endangered sea turtles come ashore every year during the spring and summer months, laying their eggs in the sand. It’s an incredible sight to witness as they slowly make their way up the beach to lay their eggs before returning to the ocean. Watching these majestic creatures is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and something you won’t soon forget!

arch of triumph

What to See at the Ancient City of Patara

Arch of Triumph

Another must-visit place in the ancient city of Patara is the Arch of Triumph, one of the most intact Roman arches in Turkey. This historic structure was built to commemorate the victory of Marcus Aurelius over the Parthians in AD 165. The detail and craftsmanship that went into this arch is impressive, and no visit to Patara, Turkey is complete without seeing it.

Ancient Theater

The most impressive structure is the ancient theatre, which dates to Roman times and could accommodate over 10,000 people. Imagine sitting on these ancient steps and experiencing performance, as people did over 2000 years ago.


Another exciting attraction in Patara is the unique architecture of the Lighthouse, built-in 406 BC by a famous architect named Sostratus. This Lighthouse was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and although most of it has been lost, you can see the remaining ruins.


How to Get to Patara Beach from Kas

Patara, Turkey is located approximately 105 km south of the small Mediterranean town of Kas. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive from Kas to Patara Beach, depending on traffic. Along the drive, visitors can take in stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as an abundance of wildlife and local flora. The drive along the coast is worth it for a day of sun and sand in this historic city.

How to Get to Patara, Turkey from Fethiye

Patara, Turkey is located approximately 120 km east of the coastal town of Fethiye. The drive, which takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes, follows the scenic Mediterranean coastline, with stunning views of the sea and surrounding landscape.

ancient theater at patara

Hotels Near Ancient Patara, Turkey

Patara Viewpoint Boutique Hotel

Patara Viewpoint Boutique Hotel offers guests stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding landscape. The hotel features spacious rooms, each with large windows that provide panoramic vistas of the Patara Beach area.

Patara Caretta Hotel

This boutique-style accommodation offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and provides guests with spacious, luxurious rooms complete with floor-to-ceiling windows. All rooms are equipped with cozy furnishings, air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi access.

Other Activities Near Patara, Turkey

Saklikent Gorge

Patara Beach is located approximately 25 km west of Saklikent Gorge, one of Turkey’s longest and deepest gorges. The journey takes around 45 minutes by car, winding its way through the spectacular mountains and lush green forests of the region. Along the way, visitors can admire some of the most beautiful scenery in Turkey.

Ancient City of Xanthos

Patara, Turkey is located about 17 km west of Xanthos, the ancient city of Lycia. Although the two sites are close together, the journey from Patara to Xanthos takes around 40 minutes by car, as it winds its way through the stunning mountains and forests of the region. Along the way, visitors can admire some of the most beautiful scenes in Turkey. Xanthos is an archaeological site that was once the capital of Lycia, and it contains some of the best-preserved monuments from ancient times. A visit to this historic city will give visitors a glimpse into its rich history.


Patara Beach is located approximately 30 km south of the ancient city of Letoon. The journey takes around 45 minutes by car, winding its way through beautiful mountains and lush forests. Along the way, visitors can take in stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as an abundance of wildlife and local flora.

Is There an Entrance Fee for Patara?

Yes, there is an entrance fee for the ancient city of Patara and the Beach. You can use the Turkey Museum Pass to access the site. Check the Museums of Turkey app for updated entrance fee prices. Other activities such as renting a bike or taking a guided tour will have additional fees.

sand beaches in turkey

Conclusion on the Ancient City of Patara, Turkey

Exploring the ancient city of Patara,Turkey offers a delightful blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty. From the stunning theatre to the majestic Lighthouse, this city stands as a testament to the creativity and craftsmanship of its ancient inhabitants. It is a perfect destination for families, particularly those who have a passion for history or nature. While at Patara, don’t forget to visit the beach and take a dip in the crystal clear water or hike the trails and take in the beauty of the landscape. With endless sights to explore and a seemingly infinite array of activities to enjoy, Patara is a must-visit destination for any traveler looking to experience the true essence of Turkey.

If you’re looking for other beautiful beaches to explore in Antalya, don’t miss Konyaalti Beach and the laid back beach in Cirali.  

guide to the ancient city of patara turkey