Don’t be fooled by the name, there’s far more to Lara Beach than stretches of sand and sparkling sea – although the golden coastline does warrant a few days of attention, at least. Otherwise known as Turkey’s very own family-friendly Las Vegas, this tourist hotspot is packed with attractions, from pools and waterparks to hot springs and waterfalls, guaranteeing that everyone is entertained. Not to mention the fabulous boutiques and bazaars: no need to worry about forgotten sun hats, the unlimited shopping options have got you covered. Better yet, you’ll find a fantastic variety of all-inclusive hotels ranging from ultimate luxury to budget gems, making your family getaway a little easier to plan. When little ones are involved, every little win counts!
Life’s a Beach – and More!
Even the most devout sun worshipper can get bored of the seaside after a while, so when you find yourself digging a hole for the tenth time and playing ‘bury dad’ yet again, fear not. Here are some alternative ways to keep the kids – and the adults – entertained, no matter the age:
- Splash filled fun at one of the many water parks in the area. After six hours of slippery slides and running underwater sports, everyone’s bound to sleep well.
- Fight off boredom with a change of scenery and book a trip at your resort. Take a boat trip to Kekova Island to see the famous underwater ruins of an ancient town submerged after an earthquake. Or, for those that would rather remain on dry land, a stroll through Kaleiçi old town is a walk back in time through beautiful architecture and winding streets.
- If you’re looking for some chill time, a visit to the natural phenomenon of the Pamukkale hot springs and Cleopatra’s Pool is just the ticket. Mum and dad can unwind in the thermal pool, enjoying the scenery while the little ones splash about in the warm waters.
Top Recommendation: the Sandland Festival
Not your average day out with a bucket and spade, this sensational art event is renowned as one of the premier sand sculpture exhibitions in the world. If you’re visiting Antalya, it is not to be missed!
Every year, master sculptors from all over the world come together on the world-famous coastline to turn ten thousand tons of the humble sediment into incredible masterpieces. Working solo or in teams of two or three, these skilled artists take three weeks to create sensational sculptures that stand many metres tall, leaving visitors in awe as they are able to wander through the outdoor gallery. The artists work to a theme that changes year on year. Witnessing these temporary works of art is a truly memorable experience; an event out that is sure to capture the imagination of all, from age two to eighty-two.
Once you’ve admired the professionals’ magical creations, you’ll get a chance to create your own at the activity ground, where everyone, young and old, can participate in an open workshop. It’s the perfect chance to let the children’s minds run wild! If anyone starts to get bored (although it’s unlikely), you’ll find the children’s playground, an ATV safari, or water sports activities are a great way to ensure everyone is having fun.
Where to Stay
The summer holiday hotspot may be well-known for its 5* hotels, but it is possible to find more reasonably priced options that are a great alternative for families. Here are a few of my favourite places that will fit any budget.
Budget: Oleander Garden
Close to all the attractions and only a short drive from the airport, here you’ll get your own apartment complete with an airy kitchen and an all-important fan. You’ll also have access to a pretty little garden and outdoor terrace, giving the kids some space to run wild.
Mid Range: Lara Hadrianus Hotel
Since the shore is only a five-minute walk away, getting everyone – and all the bags – from the lounge to a lounger is only a short journey. For days when you can’t face the gritty sandwiches yet again, the hotel has an outdoor pool complete with slides and a playground.
Rooms come complete with air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. Plus you’ll find your bathroom stocked with soaps and shampoo, meaning one less thing to remember to pack. No need to worry about paying for breakfast at a local restaurant, as the hotel buffet offers a wide variety of choices so that even the fussiest of diners are catered for.
Luxury: Kervansaray Kundu Hotel
Location is everything with this accommodation. Just five minutes from the beach and only a short drive from the city centre, getting out is easy. Set in a gorgeous environment with a large outdoor pool, beautiful garden and a number of onsite restaurants, there’ll be times when you won’t even need to leave the property.
This is a place where everyone is looked after: mum and dad can treat themselves to a massage at the wellness centre, while the kids can make new friends at the animation program and mini-disco. If you’re a group of sports lovers, you have the chance to try your hand at canoeing or parasailing. Or maybe you’d like to get the kids to play some games on the tennis court.
Finding a flight from London to Antalya (AYT) airport is easy, as there are six different airlines that offer a total of 45 flights a week. The flight duration is a brief four hours. For a hassle-free journey, I recommend that you pre-book an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct. One of the friendly drivers will pick you up at arrivals and ensure that you take you straight to your destination, giving you one less thing to worry about.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is a leading provider of pre-bookable airport transfers, offering services throughout Europe and North Africa. With our knowledgeable, professional drivers, we can give you peace of mind when planning your summer getaway.