Patara holds a special place in many Turkish people's hearts, as it is the longest, most beautiful white sand beach in the country. To maintain it's beauty visitors are required to purchase a beach pass- five lira will buy you a one-day pass, and for a weeklong pass it's only five lira. Yes, you heard me. Make sure you get the right pass on your first day! Once you're on the beach chairs and umbrellas can be rented for about seven lira, and you'll have access to surprisingly decent facilities including flush toilets and strong showers. There is also a restaurant on the beach: I had a simple salad with cheese and potato gozleme (pastry)- both were yummy. As for the beach itself, the sand is definitely nice. Unfortunately, the long, straight strip of sand invites strong tides and lots of plant life in the water. Unless you have some kind of white sand fetish, you'd be better off spending a day at Kaputas (grainier sand but much nicer water) or aboard a sailing day trip leaving from Fethiye, Kalkan or Kas. Be careful of the strong sun and cheap beach umbrellas- sunscreen is your friend!
Midway between the village of Patara and the famous beach are the ruins of Patara, an important commerical port in Ancient Greece. In the third century, Saint Nicholas was born here (he later moved to the nearby town to Myra). The entrance fee is approximately five lira, and once you're on the site you'll be able to explore temple, altars, sculptures, columns and the main amphitheater. A highlight visible even to those just passing is the triple arch that marks the entrance to the site. Like most sites along the Turkish Coast there is minimal shade and few (if any?) facilities, so make sure to wear a hat and bring lots of water. See my tip about transportation around Patara for the bus schedule between the village and the beach (the bus will stop at the entrance to the ruins upon request).
Ruins in Patara are great to visit after a day on the beach.
They present themselves magnificent just before the sunset.
Every year more and more ruins is being excavated and put together. So far there is no rebuilding being done, so everything is original.
There is no crowds, no silly tour groups, sometimes you can have an entire site to yourself.
Patara has one of the best beaches in Turkey.
Golden sand, great water, umbrellas and chairs for rent as well as reasonable prices place to grab a bite.
You have to pay to get to the beach, because it is in national park where the ruins of the ancient city of Patara are, but if you are staying in Patara for longer and you are going to the beach many times, you can keep your ticket and you want be asked to pay again.
If you really agains paying a small fee, you can hike to the beach from the village :-)