Turkey exceeded my expectations. Here are my recommendations! Xx
Soho House | We stayed in Istanbul at the front and back end of our trip. Both times we stayed in the Beyoğlu district. Soho House Istanbul is one of the houses you can stay at without a membership, so you if want a Soho House experience and aren't a member - this is it!
Pera Palace | An institution in Istanbul, Pera Palace was the first modern hotel in Istanbul to have electricity during the late Ottoman period. Famous guests over the years include Agatha Christie, Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, Jacqueline Kennedy and many more! We loved the romantic balconies and ornate details.
Ciragan Palace Kempinski | We didn't stay here because it's a little far removed over on the Bosphorus, but it is gorgeous and I'm so glad we stopped by for a drink. It's an ornate former Ottoman palace overlooking the water with a couple gorgeous options for dinner or drinks. Definitely worth popping by for a glass of wine at least!
Pandeli Restaurant | Located above the Spice Market, Pandeli is a super authentic Turkish restaurant. Great spot for lunch while exploring the Old City.
Galata Kahvesi | All the streets off Istiklal Avenue (the main shopping drag) have the most adorable cafes. we stopped at this one and loved it!
Banyan | Over on the Bosphorus, it's a super fun sushi restaurant on the water with amazing views and a very cool vibe!
Mesai Karaköy | A great meal with views of the Old City. The landmarks are so beautiful lit up at night.
Mikla | It's a pre-fixed menu and we weren't feeling the options, but Mikla is right across from Soho House and Pera Palace and has the most gorgeous views of the city from their terrace. We enjoyed a sunset and cocktail up there.
Three Partners Cafe & Restaurant | We were on the hunt for a Cappadocia specialty, "pottery kebab" and it brought us deep into the Old City in Istanbul. This was our last meal in Turkey and it was such an amazing authentic meal!
Istiklal Avenue | Istiklal Avenue and the surrounding streets are bustling. Walk down the Avenue and explore all the side streets to discover cute cafes.
The Historical Sites |
The Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, along with the Tombs are all next to each other, protected by UNESCO. We found an English speaking guide outside to take us in and explain the architecture, history, and religious significance. I would highly recommend doing that!
Turkish Delights | You won't miss them and you must try them!
The Galata Tower | Worth the elevator ride to the top for the 360 degree views of the city and the walk back down takes you on a nice history tour.
Turkish Ice Cream | The ice cream isn't anything to write home about, but the fun spectacle of them serving (or not serving) it up is worth the money.
Abdi İpekçi Avenue | The premier shopping streets of İstanbul with all the designer stores! With the good exchange rate it's a good place to treat yourself!
Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar | Both were fun to see, but a little touristy in my opinion. I would save your artisan shopping for Cappadocia or deeper into the Old City.
Turkish Coffee | We drank it every day. It's delicious and if you find an authentic cafe they make it in sand which is really interesting to watch.
What I wore in Istanbul
Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay Bodrum | We loved this hotel. It had a great beach and pool. It was a little removed from the towns, but the serenity of the sprawling property and super kind staff was a happy trade off for me! Taxis were very inexpensive, so longer drives to explore different villages in Bodrum for dinner wasn't difficult.
Limon Gumusluk | The most magical dinner. This restaurants feels like an eclectic living room built into a hillside. Book for sunset and enjoy the amazing service, delicious food and fairytale setting. From the moment you arrive till you leave you'll feel warm and welcomed at this special place.
Zuma | Bodrum's Yalıkavak Marina is super trendy, filled with yachts and designer stores. Definitely worth a visit and at the very end is Zuma. Think sushi, cocktails, a house DJ and a beautiful sunset.
Bodrum Harbor | Bodrum Harbor is full of cute restaurants all along the water. Some look a bit touristy, so do a loop before committing. We went to one for dinner and another for dessert just to have an excuse to walk down the street and put our feet in the sand at a second location.
Pide aka "Turkish Pizza" | Not a restaurant, but a worthwhile note! We loved this pizza with it's folded crust. We ate it in multiple locations!
Gulet Sailboat | We spent most our days on the beach, but a highlight of the trip was seeing the coast from the water. We rented a private sailboat for an 8 hour day on the Agean Sea. The captain and first mate took us to three different inlets to swim and prepared us a delicious lunch of fresh fish. We booked through our hotel, but I'm sure there are a lot of options for a private boat experience in Bodrum.
A Note on Ölüdeniz
The only reason to go to Oludeniz is for parasailing! Lots of companies offer tandem rides if you're brave enough to jump off a cliff. The lagoon is beautiful and there are fun beach restaurants everywhere. We loved the terrace at Buzz Bar and went for both lunch and dinner!
What I Wore on the Turkish Riviera
||Our most popular piece from the Beau & Ro x Ashley D. Studio collection is for sure the La Mer Skirt.
||You know I love my Mirth. Such great travel pieces. Shop Mirth here!
||Our Beau & Ro x Ashley D. Studio Le Grande Fleur Dress is so glam and comfy at the same time.
||Perfect for the beach, I loved wearing our Ashley D. Studio Le Patchwork Maxi Tunic.
||I bought this fab Agua By Agua Bendita set from an Over The Moon pop-up here in Charleston.
||Daydress from London is another favorite travel brand. Shop all our fab Daydress here!
||Our easy breezy Julie style has cute pintucking and a loose fit, great for heat. This pattern just arrived! Shop The Julie Dress in Small Pink Flower.
||This pretty sarong from our Ashley D. Collab got a lot of use. I always travel with at least a couple sarongs because they're so versatile. Shop it here!
Kelebek Special Cave Hotel | We loved our hotel! It was like staying in a fairy tale. It sat in the hillside overlooking the town of Goreme and had amazing views of the cave dwellings, hot air balloons and mountains beyond.
Seten Restaurant | Part of our Kelebeck's sister hotel, this restaurant was located in walking distance to our hotel. It was so delicious, views were incredible and the service was amazing.
Organic Wine House | Also called Family Wine House, had the cutest table and couches caved into a cave where we enjoyed a bottle of wine.
Hot Air Balloon Viewing | Plan on at least two very early mornings in Cappadocia. Our first morning we waited in the dark on our hotel's terrace for the sun to rise along with 160 hot air balloons. Weather permitting, this incredible sites happens every morning and you don't want to miss the experience of watching them twinkle on the hillside in the darkness before lighting up the sky.
Hot Air Balloon Ride | The second morning we took a Hot Air Balloon ride. We booked through our hotel, but there are countless companies you can book through. I've gone up in hot air balloons rides before, but this landscape was really diverse and interesting and to be surrounded by 160 other balloons was very different. I don't think there is anything else quite like it! I liked that we watched our first morning and experienced it the second day, it built up the anticipation!
Shopping | Cappadocia had the best shopping in my opinion. We bought bags, shoes and carpets here! We bought our carpets at Sultan's. Be sure to ask to go upstairs to the real show!
Sunset ATV Ride | I highly recommend this experience for seeing all the valleys, hills and fairy chimneys up close! The views keep getting better as you drive through the landscape and it ends with a gorgeous sunset.
Open Air Museum | It was a pretty walk from the town's center. We again found an English speaking guide to take us through the cave dwellings and churches. It's a fun way to learn the history first hand.
What I Wore in Cappadocia
|| It's a little chillier in Cappadocia so I wore jeans in the early mornings and at night. This top is new from Daydress.
||I bought this dress last month at a pop-up hosted by my friends at Parterre. I loved how it matched the landscape.
||Pack sweaters and jeans! It's not too cold though, so I paired them our new Flora Slides.