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.
Based on a recommendation in my guidebook, I stopped for dinner at Lazy Frog. Right off the bat I was warmly welcomed and treated like a princess... Lazy Frog easily offered the most gracious service of any restaurant along the Turkish Coast. I told the server I was a vegetarian and he proposed that they make a vegetable casserole to suit my needs- perfect! Soon after I received a piping-hot casserole in a terracotta dish, with tomatoes, peas, mushrooms and other vegetables in a rich tomato sauce topped with sharp cheese. On the side were a few french fries (it sounds silly, but vegetarians often receive "healthy" meals lacking delicious fries, so it was nice to get a handful!) and a traditional rice-pasta blend. The food was simple but delicious. Lazy Frog is definitely a top dining choice in Patara.
I happened to be in Patara the night of the World Cup Final. Suffering serious sunburn fatigue, I took a comfy seat at Gypsy Bar and curled up with a cocktail (or six) to watch the game. I was very impressed by the friendliness, kindness and service demonstrated by the staff- they were all great. Seating and tables were comfortable, and the bar was very clean. I've heard that they often have live music throughout the week- drinking at chatting at Gypsy Bar is a great way to pass a lazy evening in Patara.
There are 2 places that make Gozleme (traditional turkish pancakes/crepes). One is run by young woman and the other by older woman. We tried and liked both of them.
My favorite is Gozleme with sugar and lemon.
My husband's favorite is Gozleme with Nutella and banana.
From the center of the village in Patara (aka "Gelemis"), minibusses regularly drive past the ancient ruins all the way to the beach. Often, pension owners are happy to drop customers off at the beach as well. I wouldn't recommend the walk- there is minimal shade.
It's easy to get a bus (most of the way) to Patara. Unfortunately, nearly every dolmus running between Fethiye and Kas (or even Antalya) will leave you at the side of the highway, about two kilometres from the tiny village known as Patara. Taxis are always there to meet the bus, or other minibusses will leave when they think they've got enough passengers to make a profit. Of course, you could also walk (I might have considered it had I known it was only two kilometers, but upon arrival I had no clue how far away the village was). Regardless, you'll probably find yourself paying almost as much to get from Fethiye to the Patara turn-off as from the highway into the village! Alas.