There are so many things I’m glad about when it comes to Patara, I don’t even know where to start. I’m glad that, in spite of being one of Turkey’s few sand beaches, it never seems too crowded. I’m glad that its location guarantees a certain degree of protection. And I’m glad that, for the first time since Tunisia, I was able to walk around an immense set of ruins without having to worry about other people.
Patara served as the ancient capital of Lycia, one of the many civilizations that rose and fell around the time of the Romans around the Mediterranean. Dating back as far as the 4th century BC, the site is massive. It took Daina about two and a half hours to explore the whole thing on foot in some pretty sweltering heat. The triumphal arch at the entrance is beautiful, the meeting hall for the Lycian League is fantastically reconstructed, and the old theatre is simply massive. Plus, the agora has been put somewhat back together, but part of it gets flooded by water from the nearby swamp, adding what almost amounts to a reflecting pool to a nice little street.
After traipsing through the ruins for so long, it was back to the nearby beach for some more fun in the sun! Again, people were there, but it was relatively uncrowded, sporting less people than the less comfortable beaches at Antalya and Olympos. So there was some solid R & R in the sun, minimal burnage.
Once we made our way back to the hostel, the owner, Sonar (real name) asked us if we had taken the “back road” to the beach yet. Apparently, if you walk about 30 minutes from the hostel on the main road, you get an amazing view of the beach from the sand dunes at the other end.
Daina wasn’t up for it, but I decided I’d take the hike and, after making the right choice at a fork in the road, I was greeted by a fantastic view! Huge, rolling sand dues, the beach in its entirety and the Patara ruins way off in the distance.
I don’t think I can hype Patara enough for anybody going to Turkey. If you’re visiting this country, get here. Eventually, people will figure out how to dump more people along the beach and it will probably lose some of its charm, so now is the time.