Once seen simply as the gateway to Turkey’s stunning Mediterranean coast, Antalya today is very much a destination in its own right.  Originally founded in the second century BCE on the Gulf of Antalya, this largest Turkish city on the western Mediterranean is both classically beautiful and stylishly modern.  At its core is the wonderfully preserved old city district of Kaleiçi (literally “within the castle”), offering atmospheric dining and shopping within exquisitely restored Ottoman houses.  The old city wraps around a splendid Roman-era harbor with striking cliff-top views.  Just outside the central city is one of Turkey's largest and finest museums, the Antalya Archeological Museum.

Lara Plajı (Beach) stretches along the Gulf of Antalya, all the way from the cliffs east of the city to the Lower Düden Waterfall.  Originally named “Larassa,” the Hittites deemed this coastline of gentle waves and dark sand the “City of Sand.”  One of the longest sand beaches in all of Turkey, Lara Beach is lined with luxury hotels and commercial services offering beach chairs, umbrellas, showers, and food—inviting you to spend a day in the sun away from Antalya’s urban hubbub.

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