Located just 17 kilometers west of Kalkan on the Mediterranean coast, Patara Beach is reputed to be the birthplace of Santa Claus. St. Nicholas is said to have been born here in the third century, after which he moved to Demre, where he became a bishop and started doing his good deeds. Father Christmas aside, the sandy beach here is a magnificent 12 miles long and 50 meters wide, so it never feels crowded.
Patara Beach is actually the longest beach in Turkey, and it has not been ruined by development the way so many other beaches have. This is largely due to the beaches proximity to the ancient city of Patara, but it also has the protected Loggerhead turtles that have been laying eggs here for the last 40 million years.
The backdrop to the beach is stunning; the limestone peaks of Lycia rise up in the north whilst farmland dominates the plains below. This is a real nature lovers paradise with only dunes, wetlands and a river beyond the beach, in fact barely a trace of humanity. In fact you have to travel around a mile inland to the resort village of Gelemi if you are looking for anythng more indulgent than a snack.
Not far from Patar Beach itself are a number of ancient ruins, including a triumphal arch dating back to the Roman Empire. A team of archaeologists from Antalya University excavate here every summer, and they have reconstructed a number of important ancient buildings. There is a small admission charge to the ruins, and you pretty much have to pass through here to get to the beach.
The beach has little shade, but there is plenty to do to cool off. You can go rafting and canoeing on the Dalaman river, scuba-dive, and horseback ride. There are plenty of ancient sites further afield to explore as well.
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