Patara lies 17 kilometers or 11 miles west of Kalkan via the road on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. It is known as the birthplace of Santa Claus, and is well known because of its extremely long and uncrowded white sand beach. St. Nicholas, was born in Patara during the 3rd century, and moved to Demre where he became a bishop. In that city used to be a bronze statue of him, but has now been replaced with a large plastic Santa Claus figure.
The village of Patara is 3.5 kilometers or 2.2 miles south of the D400 coastal highway and is ideal for budget-minded travelers with numerous little pensions and small hotels charging very reasonable rates for rooms. Patara Beach itself is 20 kilometers or 12 miles in length and 50 meters wide. This beach is never crowded because the small village of Patara near the beach has only a few hundred tourist beds. The ruins of ancient Patara are just inland from the beach, and no big hotels can be developed in an archeological zone, so the beach should be protected from extensive development.
The Patara ruins consist of a triple-arched triumphal gate, a sand-swept theater, a necropolis or cemetery with Lycian tombs, a ruined basilica and public baths as well as others. Arrive by car, bus or taxi into Patara. The buses will drop you on the Fethiye-Kaş highway at Ovaköy from where it's a 3.5 kilometer or 2 mile taxi ride to the village. Or you can hitchhike into what's officially named Gelemiş, even though everyone calls this village Patara. The ruins of the ancient city of Patara are 1.5 kilometers or 1 mile to the south of the village, and the beach still another kilometer or 6/10 of a mile past the ruins.
Mini-buses and coaches run regularly between Fethiye and Antalya. The ones coming from Antalya may have to change at Finike. Make sure that your bus will stop in Patara as there are some express services which do not. From the bus stop there are dolmuses (English: minibuses) into town that make the trip on a regular schedule for about 3TL. In the village all the shops, restaurants and cafes are all within easy walking distance. The beach is a 15 minute walk beyond the Roman theatre and other ruins. There is also a shuttle which runs regularly for about 2TL that will ferry people between the beach and the village.
Visitors must pay for swimming at the beach. Pricing is oddly divided into two tickets. A single person costs 5TL. Groups or individuals planning on swimming at the beach more than once can buy a 5 day ticket for 7.5TL (which covers everyone). Some travellers may give you their valid ticket upon their departure if they do not plan to return. Topless sunbathing is accepted along the entire stretch of beach but those wanting to sunbathe nude can do so at a short distance from the cafe where the families tend to congregate. There is a local travel agency that hires ATV's and canoes as well as organise horse riding for those that want to explore the area more quietly.
Local restaurants serve a variety of Turkish food and seafood and a few that make gozleme in the front of their place to promotee a more traditional feeling. There a a few local bars with water pipes and Efes beer in the center of the village. There is also a reasonably priced bar on the beach known as The Bar. Head towards the beach and the last building before the beach is 'The Bar'. Even during peak season visitors will have no problem finding a good pension in the village.