Lara (ancient Luwian for simply ‘sand’) is a popular district of Antalya city in southern Turkey. Boarding the Mediterranean ocean Lara is a tourist destination home to many luxury hotels, including some which are replicas of famous sites from around the world.
For those seeking sun, sand and a great holiday they can’t go too wrong with Lara. It is one of the longest sand beaches in the region and home to a yearly sand-castle-building competition.
With both the relaxing feeling of a secluded beach resort and the vibrant downtown of Antalya just around the corner it’s no wonder holidaymakers keep coming back to Lara.
Things to do
If you’re willing to stray away from the luxury of your hotel (and the hotels in Lara are very luxurious by any standards) then you’ll want to make a trip to the ancient site of Termessos, around 30 km north-west of central Antalya.
Not just one of the main attraction for the area, but for all of Turkey, Termessos is popular due to its atmospheric surroundings and the well-preserved ruins which traverse the summit of mountains and are enclosed within Gulluk Dag Milli Parki national park.
The whole place merits at least a full afternoon or morning excursion. Inhabited by the Pisidian tribe in the first millenium BC, the city was a valueable strategic position occupying the road from the Mediterranean to the Aegean.
Be aware that a full exploration of Termessos is somewhat strenuous, with steep climbs to many of the most famous landmarks.
Antalya Museum holds the rest of the areas many treasures. Many would argue the province of Antalya houses the richest cultural treasury of the whole of Turkey.
After the national museums in Istanbul, Antalya Museum has the largest collection of Islamic and pre-Islamic artefacts in Turkey. Established in 1922 the museum now holds 13 exhibition galleries, gardens and open-air galleries.
The vast amount of heritage is displayed clearly, in multiple languages, and mostly in chronological order which makes navigation here much easier than in other museums in Turkey and the Middle East.
For something totally different, that also makes use of Lara’s beautiful stretches of beach, why not time your trip to Antalya with Lara’s very own ‘SANDLAND’ International Antalya Sand Sculpture Festival?
Now in its eighth year with entries from 25 sculptors from 12 different countries you will find whole cities carved in sand, warriors, princesses, roaring lions and much more. Visitors to the festival are accepted in from May 1st and the 25 sand artists will work for three weeks producing exhibitions.
There is a different theme each year and a children’s area which will help to entertain the kids with a remarkable 45 minute sand art workshop and allow the parents a well-earned break.
Our Top Tips
• Enjoy a Turkish bath; they’re also brilliant for exfoliating your skin so you’re more likely to develop a lasting tan.
• Take the chance and visit Pamukkale, ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish, to admire the scenery and bathe in the main, thermal pool.
• Try White Water rafting, you’ll raft past steep cliffs and pine forests that most tourists never get to see.
• Take a safari trip. Leave the hustle and bustle of resort life behind for the day and get off the beaten track to see some of the real Turkey, exploring places you didn’t know existed.
• Take a boat trip to the Düden waterfalls. The Düden River makes a rather dramatic exit just West of Lara Beach, hurling itself from the top of a 40-metre cliff.