A Greco-Roman amphitheater and rock tombs carved into the cliffside make the ruins at Myra a popular stop along Turkey's Mediterranean coast. Dating back as early as the 1st century BC, the ancient Lycian capital of Myra lies just outside the modern town of Demre.
Visitors to Myra can step inside the remarkably preserved amphitheater and admire the 4th-century rock tombs carved into the cliffs, most of which are decorated with intricate reliefs.
Popular day-long tours combine three local attractions—the ruins at Myra, St. Nicholas Church in Demre, and Kokova Island, where the sunken remains of an ancient city can be viewed from a glass-bottomed boat. Most day tours to Myra set out from Antalya, but a day trip also is doable from other resort towns such as Alanya, Side, or Belek.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- There is an entrance fee to visit the ruins.
- Stalls around the ruins sell food, water, and souvenirs.
- The Myra ruins lie along the Lycian Way, one of Turkey's most popular long-distance hiking trails, which runs between Fethiye and Antalya.
- Access to the ruins is restricted for wheelchair or stroller users or those with limited mobility.
The Myra ruins are located just outside of Demre and 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Antalya, about a 2.5-hour drive. Buses drive along the coast to Demre from Antalya and Fethiye, and the closest international airport is in Antalya.
When to Get There
During the busy peak season (July and August), visit in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heaviest crowds and the summer heat. There is little shade around the ruins.
St. Nicholas Church
Ancient Myra was also the home of Saint Nicholas, the bishop who was the inspiration for Santa Claus, and most visitors to the ruins stop by the St. Nicholas Church in nearby Demre to see the sarcophagus of St. Nicholas and admire the church’s Byzantine frescoes.