With Greece and Turkey being the first EU nations to open up to vaccinated travelers coming from the US, the prospect of a glamorous summer on the Med, for which we are all very eager, is finally within reach. While many are familiar with the whitewashed walls of Santorini and the dusk-to-dawn parties in Mykonos, Turkey has remained relatively under-the-radar to travelers who frequent the more popular coastal destinations in Greece, Italy and France. But with lockdowns still in effect and travel bans lifting slowly, travelers are looking to Turkey to provide the European summer escape we have long awaited.
For fashion lovers, two new Istanbul-based brands have teased the glamour of the Turkish Riviera, known as the Turquoise Coast, through their whimsy, colorful collections beloved by the Instagram generation. The brands in question are Anim, a lifestyle brand specializing in home textiles and gauzy resort wear, and Siedrés, a contemporary fashion brand oozing fantasy and edge. Through their respective brands, both designers have successfully revealed the cultural richness of their storied and vibrant roots, while infusing their own modern sensibilities, making a compelling case for Turkish tourism. With Turkey finally at center stage this summer, we asked the brands’ founders Mina Dilber Temo of Anim and Ceylin Türkkan Bilge of Siedrés to share some of their favorite insider spots in the Turquoise Coast.
Mina Dilber Temo, Anim
“While it’s hard to pick a favorite spot among the extraordinarily beautiful Turquoise Coast of Turkey; Göcek, with its pristine waters and stunning landscape, would definitely be within my favorites. From Cleopatra Bay and Gobun Bay to Tersane Island and Bedri Rahmi Bay, the whole area is just breathtaking. My favorite bay without a doubt is Bedri Rahmi, named after the visit of the famous painter Bedri Rahmi himself in 1974, who drew a picture on a rock piece on the island which looks like a fish but indeed conceals 6 different animal figures within. A truly unique gem to see. Whether chartering a wooden gulet or a sailing yacht around the bays of Göcek, it definitely is the dream summer getaway for anyone. An insider tip, definitely go to Ozcan Restaurant for an early dinner. And make sure to order grilled shrimps, some feta cheese and aubergine dish along with a big bowl of tomato salad. But the best tip I could give is to make sure to catch a local bakery boat in the morning, while cruising along Binlik Bay. Without a doubt, the pastries baked by local women and fruits and veggies from the coast make the best breakfast, all delivered fresh to your boat. Ask for the freshly baked ‘Bazlama’ Breads! In the afternoon, when the weather gets a little bit chilly, to watch the sunset or to see the amazing view of the whole coast from up above, you could go for a hike to the hills of Cleopatra Bay. Another unmissable favorite from the Turquoise Coast is Bodrum. With its fragmented small islands, hidden coves, glittering water, shabby chic restaurants and beaches, Bodrum is where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean, as well as where relaxed coastal life meets radiant summer chic. Surrounded with olive groves and cypress trees, with its breathtaking pavilions and private gardens, Amanruya is located within one of the most amazing properties in the world. The beach and the restaurant are also amazing there. Definitely recommended. Bella Sombra Hotel is another favorite one to stay at, super cozy, for a short weekend getaway. If you’re looking to rent out a house, Frank and Berna’s house up above the hills of Yalikavak is also a truly hidden gem, where we did Anim’s SS 21 Shooting. Some local insider tips: Make sure to eat meze and just-caught and grilled fish at Mimoza Restaurant, while watching the sunset. Bağarası and Dereköy Lokantası are some new local favorites. You should also head to Limon Cafe at Gümüşlük at some point, at least for sunset and drinks. With it’s dreamy garden surrounded by vintage furniture above the hills, you’ll just feel the magic. Garo’s as well, a long time favorite, with their wide selection of mezzes and blue-and-white checked tablecloths, which gives out the ultimate Aegean Holiday feel! Orfoz Restaurant, located within the Bodrum Castle, is also highly recommended, especially if you’re a shellfish lover. Turkbuku Promenade, to stroll around at night within boutiques arraying from jewelry, resort wear and home. Dogal Dondurma is also on that promenade, one of the best ice cream shops on earth! Make sure to ask for the ‘Bodrum Mandarin’ ice cream. Gümüşlük is also one of my favorite areas, with it’s charming open air market with little ceramics shops and local crafts. Midnight Boutique is by far my favorite place to shop at. Bodrum based weave artist Ufuk Girgic makes some of the most beautiful textile art, giving out the ultimate essence of the meditterenean. It is possible to visit her studio by appointment in Bodrum, and her textiles as well as her tile work are very impressive. She’s a true local gem. As for a really good beach day, try to go to Macakizi. Always the best. The boutique inside the hotel is also amazing. They have a very good curation of local brands! Macakizi is also perfect for lunch or dinner. Make sure you try their Turkish Pizza, Lahmacun. Oh, and if you want to have a real Turkish breakfast experience and more over a ‘Bodrum kind of’ breakfast experience with all the amazing fruit jams, Asmali Cardak would be your dream place. A very local spot but lovely food and atmosphere.”
Ceylin Türkkan Bilge, Siedrés
“Since childhoood, I spend my summers in Bodrum, my all time favorite coastal destination in Turkey. Bodrum is luxe yet casual. The Bodrum Loft is newly opened, very hip place to stay with two fancy restaurants. Maçakızı Hotel is perfect for happy hours and Sunday brunches. Limon Gumusluk is the best casual place to watch the beautiful sunset and have yummy cocktails. As you go further south, there is magical nature surrounded by turquoise seas and my favorite activity is to sail in the traditional wooden gulets in Göcek. Göcek has great local and cool restaurants that you can only go to by boat – the coolest one being Adai Göcek. Bozburun and Selimiye are small and local towns with a perfect sea. The Bozburun Yatch Club is the best place to stay and dine but if you are searching for a gastronique kitchen you can have a dinner in Manzara Restaurant as the sun sets. Fethiye (Dead Sea) is very popular with its turquoise coves and calm sea water. Hillside Beach Club is one of the oldest and coolest hotels to stay with full of activities. And there are also small boutique cove hotels like Perdue Hotel that you can spend your time meditating and doing yoga. Every town has its’ own shopping areas with local shops and, and my favorite spots are those local shops to find unique pieces.”