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Patara, officially named Gelemis (GEHL-eh-meesh), is known as the birthplace of Santa Claus. Reportedly, St. Nicholas was born in Patara in the third century, and moved to Demre (Myra) where he became a bishop and conducted his many good works.

The village, located a little more than two miles south of the coastal highway, is popular largely because of its long and uncrowded sandy beach. Patara Beach is 12 miles long, 50 yards wide, and never crowded because the small village inland from the beach has a limited number of tourist accommodations. Due to the fact that the ruins of ancient Patara are just inland from the beach, and no big hotels can be built in an archeological zone, the beach will most likely be protected from future heavy development. One drawback of the beach is that there are few trees, and therefore, little shade.

Patera is perfect for travelers on a budget. Simple hotels cost $25 or less for double rooms.

The ruins of ancient Patara are one mile south of the village, and the beach is another half mile through the ruins. The ruins boast a sand-swept theater, an arched triumphal gate, a cemetery with Lycian tombs, a ruined basilica, and a public bath.

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