The Myra rock tombs near Demre, Turkey are a fantastic stop as you drive along the Turkish coast. You’ll see the remnants of the ancient Lycian city and its significance in the Lycian Federation. Get all of the information on what to see when you visit the ancient rock tombs of Myra in the Antalya province.
Table of Contents
Know Before You Go
8am - 8pm
BEST TIME TO GO
2km from Demre, Turkey
TIME NEEDED TO VISIT
30 minutes - 1 hour
How to Get to Myra from Antalya
As you are driving along the Turkish coast on road D400 between Antalya to Kas, turn off the main highway and go through the village of Demre. The tomb site is located is 5 minutes from the main road and 2km from the city center.
History of Myra
Myra was a well-known political and cultural center often compared to the ancient city of Ephesus. It was the capital of the Lycian Federation and one of the largest cities on the Mediterranean coast in the 1st century BC.
The city of Myra was considered one of the centers of Christianity and the home of the bishop St. Nicholas. In addition to the ancient rock tombs of Myra, St. Nicholas Church is a popular site to visit in Demre, Turkey.
Much of the ancient city is still underground and yet to be excavated. The most famous of the tombs are called the “Painted Tombs” which were colorfully painted in red, yellow, and blue. The colors have faded from the tombs, so you will not see them when you visit the site.
What to See at Myra Rock Tombs
Entrance to Myra Archaeological Site
The Myra rock tombs are 2km outside of the village of Demre, Turkey. If you’re on the Turkish coast on the road between Antalya and Kas, you’re on track to visit the ancient Lycian tombs. If you have a short amount of time to stop or need to take a break from driving, this is the perfect stop. The site is not very large, and you only need 20-30 minutes to see the most popular parts of the site.
As you are driving over to the site, you see tombs across the top of the mountains. You’ll know you’re getting closer to the site. As you pull up, you’ll see several open lots across from the entrance. Parking is free so you can pull in wherever is most convenient for you.
You pass through the “tourist alley” on the way to the main entrance to buy your ticket. There are tea gardens, markets, and shops to buy Turkish souvenirs along the pathway.
Also, use your Museum Pass to get in or if you don’t have the pass, buy your ticket at the entrance. You can check the Museums of Turkey app for the most up-to-date information on the cost and open hours of the site.
Myra Rock Tombs & Theater
Once you are inside, you’ll see the ancient Myra rock tombs carved into the mountain on the left and the amphitheater on your right. Walk down toward the rock tombs to get a better view of the Lycian tombs. They are roped off, so you won’t be able to go in or touch the tombs, but you can see the details of the carvings and take some amazing photos of what looks like a honeycomb on the side of the mountain.
After viewing the tombs, climb up the stairs to the top of the amphitheater which held approximately 10,000 people. You can walk around the theater to see some views of the area and even see a few more rock tombs carved into the mountain directly behind the theater.
Sites Near Myra Rock Tombs
After visiting the Myra rock tombs, head back to Demre to visit St. Nicholas Church Museum. Park in the city center and walk over to the museum to walk through the site.
In the Demre city center, there are several local restaurants and kebap shops if you want to stop for lunch before or after your stop at the Myra rock tombs.
Next, if you have more time to explore, we highly recommend going to Ucagiz and taking a boat trip to visit the sunken city of Kekova and explore Simena. Alternatively, you can take boat tours from Kas to Kekova as well.
Likewise, if you drive on down the coast, you can see the famous rock tombs in Fethiye as well.