Demre Harbour, Turkey

About 2.5 hours’ drive west from Antalya, you will find the thriving agricultural town of Demre, located along the Teke peninsula, which was formerly known as ancient Lycia.

Over 2000 years ago, the region was called Myra, an important city in Lycia. The ancient city of Myra had its own bishop, St. Nicholas, who was a renowned and prominent figure, and most notably the real-life patron saint behind the magical Santa Claus children love so much today.

Remnants of Lycian history still exist in modern-day Demre, and the area is dotted with centuries-old ruins. In the town centre, you can visit the Santa Claus Museum, a former church which housed St. Nicholas’ tomb. What’s more, you can submerge yourself in history by visiting the well-preserved ruins of Myra. This historical site is hard to miss, as even from afar you can spot Myra’s rock-cut tombs carved into the cliffs overlooking the town.

Near the harbour, you can find the Museum of Lycian Civilizations. This widely acclaimed museum is considered a piece of Lycian history in itself, having been converted from a former Roman granary (known as Hadrian’s granary) which was discovered during excavations of the area.

Today, Demre’s local economy relies strongly on agriculture, similar to Myra when it still existed! This is immediately noticeable as you travel in and around the town. The area is packed with rows and rows of greenhouses, growing tomatoes, green & red peppers, zucchini, and many more delicious vegetables. During your visit to the town, also look out for the many orchards that grow citrus fruit all year round.

Thanks to Lycia’s rich history and culture, thousands of Turkish and foreign tourists flock to Demre every year to learn more about the past, while at the same time enjoying the beautiful and natural surroundings of the Turkish Riviera. So what better way to discover the region than by taking a memorable boat trip or tour giving you the best of both worlds!

Demre harbour is a perfect starting point for a boat trip. In ancient times, it was known as Andriake Port where merchants dropped their cargo and met to trade. Fast forward to today, during the off-season, it’s interesting to watch the boats being maintained for summer. Once summer arrives, visitors take over this area, as they arrive for an exciting day trip or private tour of the wonderful Kekova region.