Allegedly founded by Patarus, a son of Apollo, Patara, Turkey, has an exquisite 12-mi/20-km beach. (Like Dalyan, the area is under environmental protection and cannot be entered at night to safeguard the sea turtles that nest there.)

There are no buildings anywhere near the beach—the cluster of hotels and pensions is in the village of Gelemis, 2 mi/3 km inland (most of them were built illegally, even there). However, most hotels run a regular minibus to the beach so you won't have to make the walk in the hot sun.

The ruins of Patara, the main port of ancient Lycia, are also worth a half-day visit and offer spectacular opportunities for photography. Because the site has never been properly excavated, it's not easy to know what you're seeing—but it's romantic for the same reason. The area is approximately 200 mi/322 km southeast of Izmir.

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