Kas to Patara Beach, Turkey
7th October, 2014
‘Life without a beach is no life at all!’ goes a saying. While I do not subscribe to a view that extreme, I do feel that any proper long vacation should have at least some time spent in sea-and-sand territory. Exactly for this reason, I had planned for Kas in my Turkey itinerary. But the beaches in that town turned out to be too small and pebbly and not fit to swim in. Contemplating our future course of action during lunch in Kas, a side-trip to Patara which was around fifty kilometers away did not seem a bad idea at all. I was longing for a good sandy beach with warm waters in which to take a dip, and I knew that Patara had one of Turkey’s longest stretches of sand. And it was supposedly the place where Santa Claus was born!
So as soon as we finished lunch, me and my partner put on our helmets and sunglasses and took off on our two-wheeler to make the hour-long ride to Patara. We were going back in the direction of Fethiye, which was the same route which we had traversed in a bus (in the opposite direction) the day before. But the crucial difference was while the bus ride was almost after dusk, this time the sun was out in full force. At this time of the day, we could admire the Turquoise coast in its full glory. With the wind on my face, I was navigating the twists and turns of the cliff road while stealing glances at the stunning coastline to my left. The sea was showing itself in varying shades of turquoise, in direct contrast to the brownish-yellow colors of the rocks forming the coastline. It was not all rocks though – occasionally we would see small natural coves of sand in between the rocks, some of which were already occupied by tourists.
Halfway through the drive, we rode past the pretty town of Kalkan – slightly more upscale but similar to Kas in a lot of aspects. After Kalkan, the road gradually moved away from the coast and another twenty kilometers of driving finally brought us to the small signboard (which we almost missed) indicating a left detour to be taken for Patara. The detour took us on a much narrower path snaking its way towards the sea again. Patara is not just a beach though, it was also an ancient Lycian city and has its own set of ruins. The ancient ruins are just inland from the coast, but to reach the beach, you pass through the ruins which have an admission charge. We decided we’ll do the ruins later if we have time after visiting the beach.
We entered the beach to find it just the way I like my beaches – absolutely clean, unspoilt and deserted. Contrary to my expectations of it being a crowded European beach or over-developed Asian beach, this place was a pleasant surprise indeed. Apart from a handful of sunbathers and swimmers, we basically had the whole stretch to ourselves! I think the reason Patara escaped the haphazard development, unlike other beaches, are the nearby ruins. Also I learnt that the beach is home to Loggerhead turtles, a protected species which has been laying its eggs here for the past 40 million years! As a result, this area is protected and any construction and development is strictly regulated. In fact, no tour companies operate in Patara and the only beach café present is run by the local authorities, from where you can rent beach loungers and umbrellas.
After customary dip in the sea, we lounged on the beach and time passed swiftly. Soon, it was near sunset, so we decided to skip the ruins. We headed back to Kas on the same route enjoying the orange glows of the setting sun. That was a total of hundred kilometers clocked for the day on the Turquoise coast and looking back, I would undoubtedly rate this drive to be among my favorites.