Patara, on the coast 8km south fo Xanthos, can claim Turkey's longest uninterrupted beach as well as some of Lycia's finest ruins; its village, laid-back little Gelemiş, is the perfect spot to mix ruin-rambling with some dedicated sun worship. Once very much on the hippy trail, Gelemiş is almost never filled with travellers these days – a miracle given its obvious charms – and traditional village life still goes on.
Patara's lofty place in history is well documented. It was the birthplace of St Nicholas, the 4th-century Byzantine bishop of Myra who later passed into legend as Santa Claus. Before that, Patara was celebrated for its temple and oracle of Apollo, of which little remains. It was Lycia's major port – which explains the large storage granary still standing. And according to Acts 21:1–2, Sts Paul and Luke changed boats here while on their third mission from Rhodes to Phoenicia.
Patara destination guides
Best of Turkey
A journey capturing the cultural pulse of Turkey
Lycian Way Trekking
Walk Turkey's Lycian Way, widely regarded as one of the world's great trails. Gain an appreciation of the landscape of this great country in a way that is impossible from inside a bus. Whether a casual walker or a serious trekker, this active journey will appeal to those looking for a better way to appreciate magnificent scenery.