Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Patara and Kalkan

Patara is a town on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey which has made itself completely into a backpacker haven. I mean that in the nicest possible way. It's a very pleasant place, although slightly inconveniently located -- it's not quite walking distance either from the main road or the deservedly popular Patara beach.

We stayed at Rose Pension, which I am mentioning by name because, after a good review in the 11th edition of Lonely Planet, it inexplicably disappeared from the 12th edition, causing much grumbling among our hosts. It's a shame -- Rose Pension had some of the best food of any pension we stayed at in Turkey.

Patara Beach fills to the brim with Turks and Europeans in the summer months. The good news is that it's big enough to contain all of them, and it's mostly clean and pleasant. There's a cafe serving passable food. Big beaches aren't everyone's thing (I tend to sit under an umbrella and read) but if they're what you like, Patara is an excellent choice.

The ruins start a short walk inland. Patara used to be a prosperous fishing community, probably best known as the birthplace of St. Nicholas. Yes, that's St. Nicholas as in Santa Claus -- imagine the potential tackiness if the local tourism promoters ever decide to build campaigns around the Santa connection.

The ruins are not as spectacular as some ruins in Turkey, but they're worth a look if you're already in Patara, and you can enjoy the novelty of exploring a ruined city with goats and cattle wandering around. (I suspect even Patara at its height had goats and cattle . The notion that a city center shouldn't have livestock wandering about is probably a very recent one in historical terms, which still hasn't spread to all parts of the globe.)

We took a day trip to the nearby town of Kalkan.

The difference between Patara and Kalkan:

Patara: Backpackers
Kalkan: Wealthy tourists

And that about sums it up. We weren't really the correct demographic to properly enjoy Kalkan, but we got a good meal of meze there, and we were amused by the number of well-fed cats and dogs lazing about town.

The beach, though, is somewhat lackluster compared with Patara's, and transportation is somewhat awkward - shuttles run to the town center infrequently, and to get back to the bus terminal, you either have to trudge uphill quite a ways, or you pay a cabdriver to take you.

Overall we quite enjoyed our time along the Turkish Riviera - relaxing and with enough to maintain our interest. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary in Patara, with white wine (from an unlabeled bottle!) and nargile. Very pleasant.

1 comment:

Villa in Kalkan said...

Patara Beach offers some great relaxing opportunities and the views are gorgeous.