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Image: @Discovering_Antalya

Caz and Louis moved from their home city of Melbourne to the other side of the world, Antalya, Turkey about six months ago to spend time with family and enjoy a change of scene, travel Europe, and pay more attention to the things that make them happy, like reading, writing, playing music, and practising yoga and boxing (check out Caz’s boxing blog here, She Can Punch). We asked them a handful of questions about their new home in Antalya and they’ve come back to us with a thorough first-hand account of the top experiences for honeymooners and regular travellers alike. 

Your Favourite Place That Only Locals Know About

Next to the hilly suburb of Doyran – 25 minutes outside of the city centre – is a beautiful man-made lake surrounded by picturesque mountains and forest. Most days, a few locals head to the lake to picnic, fish, camp or just to enjoy the view. About five minutes away are several great Kahvalti joints (see below) that use produce entirely from their own gardens.

Doyran Lake – Image: Caz Pringle

Behind the sand dunes at Lara Beach – 20 minutes east of the city – there is an amazing horse riding school / animal sanctuary called Antalya Equestrian Club. An incredible abundance of chickens, ducks, peacocks, geese and many other birds we can’t name, as well as rabbits, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, ponies and of course, horses, seem to greet you around every corner. It may sound like a children’s farm, but there’s little better than drinking your morning coffee while covered head to toe in fluffy bunnies. Further, you can enjoy some horse riding lessons or a trail ride along the beach followed by a meal and a tea / coffee / beer / wine at their excellent restaurant.

Antalya Equestrian Club stables – Image: Caz Pringle

Your Favourite Popular Place that is a Crowd Pleaser for a Reason
Konyaaltı Beach – a long, clean, beautiful stretch of the Turkish Riviera – is just to the west of the city centre. There is a tram and countless busses that will get you there, or you can walk along the water on the marvellous walking track that goes from one end of town to the other. You won’t have any trouble claiming your own little slice of paradise as there is space a-plenty. Water sports and little luxuries – like renting sun beds and umbrellas, and having food and drinks brought to you – are available, but are really just a bonus. The beach stretches on for miles, the water is a crystal, clear blue, and the glorious – often snow-capped – Bey Mountains dominate the view to the west.

Konyaalti Beach – Image: Caz Pringle

Your Favourite Restaurant

Turkish food is delicious and varied. Most meals consist of fresh fruit and vegetables, delicious breads and pastries (gözleme, bazlama and pide on the savoury side; künefe, lokma and of course, baklava, on the sweet), dips, loads of nuts, different types of cheeses, soups, rice pilaf, spicy meats and grilled fish, often occupying every inch of table space. Kahvaltı, traditional Turkish breakfast (the literal translation of which is “before coffee”) and Meyhane, commonly known as “fish and rakı”, are particularly memorable experiences.

Image: Serpme Kahvaltı

Our favourite Kahvaltı joint – Sevgi Çiftligi (aka ‘Love Farm’)– is only about 500m North of town, but is in literal farmland. Chickens scratch beneath the tables as the friendly staff ply you with Turkish tea, coffee and plate upon plate of cheese, fresh fruit and veggies, home baked bread and pastries, nuts, olives, honey from their own apiary, dips, eggs and sucuk (Turkish sausage). A Meyhane is a different and glorious event altogether. Not only is the food delicious – meze (bread, dips, nuts and assorted vegetable dishes), soup and battered, fried tiny fish to start; a range of salads, grilled fish and spiced meats second up – the atmosphere is something to behold. Rakı is a strong, ouzo-like spirit, which – according to the rules – MUST be drunk in good humour, amongst friends and with a focus on honesty, conversation and joviality. Add to this the fact that all Meyhanes have a live, usually fantastic, band and the results are amazing. At any moment during the night, the whole restaurant will spontaneously erupt in a joy-filled dance. Our favourite is Meyhane Kapisiz just outside of Kaleiçi.

Your Favourite Bar

The old town, Kaleiçi, straddles a 2000-year-old Roman harbour and is the place to be for bars and restaurants in Antalya. The sound of live music and the smell of spicy meats drift along the labyrinthine tumble of cobblestone streets and ancient roman walls. Be careful, you may get lost! For a quiet wine and cheese board by the harbour head to Chateau de Marine or Seraser (particularly on one of their salsa nights). For a delicious cocktail, check out Pio Gastro. If you’re down for something different, Veruna Gezgin – a two level bar/restaurant with great beer, wine and whiskey, and floor to ceiling bookshelves on every wall – is our pick.

Varuna Gezgin – Image: Caz Pringle

Your Favourite Store

The streets of Kaleiçi are full of little market stalls, many of which are tucked away down beautiful alleyways. Nestled amongst the trinket shops you can find stores selling beautiful textiles, jewellery and ceramics, as well as spices and even vintage band t-shirts. For more information, see this guide to what you can see in Kaleiçi.

Kaleiçi Streets – Image: @AntalyaFotoGraf

The entrance to Kaleiçi, 2000 year old Hadrian’s Gate – Image: Caz Pringle

You will hear the ‘Call to Prayer’ throughout the day from the many Mosques in Antalya. Image credit: Utku Soylu

Your Favourite Hotel

The AKRA Hotel is located between Dedeman and Lara, about 10 minutes away from the Old Town and in the middle of everywhere. It is a beautiful, stylish hotel situated right on the Mediterranean – between the walking track (see above) and the water – with its own swimming area and unfettered 180 degree views of the mountains and the sea. There are also two excellent restaurants: Asmani – a high-end affair with a focus on farm to plate dining; and Pablito Bistro – with a well-priced, classy menu featuring Turkish, Greek, Italian, Mexican and Spanish dishes.

AKRA Hotel – Image: Barum Arum

Your Favourite Way to Spend Time Outdoors

Antalya is incredibly blessed in regards to nature. It is smack bang on the Mediterranean and surrounded entirely by the Taurus Mountain range, with many peaks reaching well over 3,000 metres. It is also home to some of the world’s most impressive and well-preserved ancient Greek / Roman / Lycian ruins. Within two hours drive in any direction are countless ancient sites, beaches, mountains, lakes and forests, all of which are an unforgettable, outdoor experience (see below for a lengthier discussion).

Image: Discovering Antalya 

One of our favourite ways to spend time outdoors without leaving the city is to hire a boat and cruise around the gulf of Antalya. The water is crystal clear, the views are magnificent, and you get to see hundreds of waterfalls plunge from the high cliffs straight into the Mediterranean Sea. The boats leave from Kaleiçi harbour and range in size from four or five person speed boats to giant, three level pirate ship replicas for anywhere between 40 and 60 people. All boats come with a captain and you can choose to bring your own food and drinks, or to have them catered.

Image: Discovering Antalya 

The most interesting person you’ve met in Antalya

Interesting is relative, but no matter what you’re into you’re bound to meet some colourful characters in and around Antalya. One of our favourites is Hakan, the owner and best customer of Gizli Bahçe – a cozy and quaint garden bar within ancient Roman walls in the heart of Kaleiçi (Gizli Bahçe means “secret garden” in Turkish). Hakan speaks perfect English, is friendly, funny and intelligent, and has operated Gizli Bahçe for 25 years. His stories about the development of Antalya and the history of Kaleiçi are particularly compelling. A big Phil Collins fan.

Ideal date night in Antalya?

We suggest heading to Role Street – a relaxed hostel / outdoor living room bar with exceptional live jazz, blues and soul music – in the late afternoon for a cocktail, before heading to a nearby Meyhane for delicious food, rakı and a spontaneous boogie. Afterwards, if you’re still up for it, head into Kaleiçi where you’ll find a bar, dance hall or café to cater to almost any taste.

Anything else that a honeymooner needs to know about Antalya?

As mentioned above, the area surrounding Antalya is home to an incredible variety of natural and man-made (and ancient) phenomena. Below is but a few of these.

The Taurus and Bey mountain ranges that surround Antalya provide ample opportunities for people looking for a bit of adventure. Whether you’re into hiking, climbing, rafting, biking or skiing, within a two-hour drive the mountains doth provide. Saklikent is our pick for skiing. We recommend Tahtalı (near Olimpos) for everything else.

One and a half hours west of Antalya are two of our favourite places in the world: Olimpos – a vibrant, hippy town with awesome bars and live music – and Çıralı – it’s more relaxed, family friendly cousin.

Both towns have extensive Roman and Lycian ruins, awesome beaches, a range of activities and  accommodation options (we recommend a bungalow right on the beach – see Secret Garden in Çıralı as an example), and access to Chimaera – a natural, “eternal flame” on top of a mountain that has been burning since, well, forever. On the way to Olimpos and Çıralı check out Phaselis, a Lycian city built in 700 BC between three breathtaking beaches.

Kaputaş Beach, just one of many beaches on the Turkish Rivera. Image credit: Utku Soylu

About the same distance East of the city you’ll find Aspendos – a Greek / Roman city with a 15,000 capacity, wholly intact amphitheatre at which they still hold concerts – and Side – a pretty, busy, seaside tourist town built amidst ruins. Perge, yet another sprawling ancient site, is only 20km out of Antalya and on the way. We recommend a day trip to take in all three.

Aspendos Ampitheatre – Image: Caz Pringle

These are only a fraction of the sites and activities available in and around Antalya. Check out this website for more.

Ms Zigzag says: Ditch your heavy guidebooks; this is the definitive, most up to date guide to Antalya, told by two young people who live there and spend their time immersing themselves in all the city by the Mediterranean Sea has to offer.  

About Caz Pringle: Caz has been in the Event Management industry for the last decade, producing events for the likes of Rolex, Revlon, New Balance, Jeep, The Australian Open, Peroni and Alfa Romeo. After running her own events company for three years, she now lives in Antalya, Turkey with her husband where she remotely works as a copywriter and digital content producer and teaches Boxing and Yoga. She also writes the blog www.shecanpunch.com about boxing and women’s empowerment, you can follow it on Insta @SheCanPunch.

Polka Dot Honeymoons Directory Mid Banner

This amazing pool photo has been quite a frequent on my feeds of late, so I knew it was time to jump into the photo!

The location:

Laucala Island is Fijian island, off the northeast coast of Taveuni, set on 1,400 hectares. The resort combines the magic of the rainforest with white sandy beaches and utter luxury.

About that photo:

The photo captures the resort’s lagoon pool, part of it’s greater pool area which is a massive 2,000 square metres. The gorgeous photo captures the 25 metre lap pool which sits in a glass box.

About the accommodation:

There are only 25 villas on Laucala Island comprising of elven plantation villas, four plateau villas, seven seagrass villas, the Peninsula Villa and the Hilltop Estate. Each villa is made of natural materials and designed with free flowing shapes. Each villa has it’s own infinity pool, a buggy (to get around easily!) sun decks and private beaches. Nothing has been spared with the resort also featuring five different restaurants and bars (with a multitude of private dining experiences) Even the pool bar has the details down pat offering up cool scented towels and vitamin shooters.

Also loving:

If you’re not a lounge on your deck kind of couple then you’ll be spoiled for choice with the resort’s activities, From the spa which offers traditional Fijian therapies to farm tours of the island’s own working farm,  the gold course with unparalleled views, the water centre (with its fleet of 14 boats), snorkeling, horseback riding and diving- even right down to yoga!

Visit the Laucala Island to get inside that photo! (and if you go, send us more of your photos!)

 

Image by Steven Pahel via Unsplash

If there’s one city that you really need a local’s guide to, it’s the diverse and sprawling ‘City of Angels’, Los Angeles. I lived there for four years myself and was skeptical at the beginning, but very quickly fell in love with the city and it still kind of breaks my heart that I’m not there. Today I speak with a brilliant entrepreneur, friend and Aussie expat currently living in Los Angeles, Sophie Lovejoy! Sophie is the founder of the gorgeous Sydney/Los Angeles based pyjama brand, Sant and Abel. She shares my deep appreciation for this sun-soaked entertainment capital of the world and she’s the ultimate go-to gal for a local’s perspective on Los Angeles. Take it away Soph! 

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Sophie Lovejoy, founder of Sant and Abel pyjamas, on the right in her new ‘Weekend at the Parker’ collection. 

Your Favourite Place That Only Locals Know About
Mandeville Canyon. It’s the most beautiful hiking trail in the Santa Monica Mountains with spectacular sweeping views across the ocean. It’s also one of the very few off leash hikes for dogs in LA.

Sophie’s dog Daisy at Mandeville Canyon – image by Sophie Lovejoy 

Your Favourite Popular Place that is a Crowd Pleaser for a Reason
The Broad (rhymes with road), a contemporary art museum in Downtown. The $140 million dollar building is architecturally stunning inside and out and houses the private collections of philanthropist Eli Broad, along with temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Attendance is free to the public, giving you access to some of the most incredible works from the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jasper Johns, Damien Hirst, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and many more. Following an afternoon at The Broad, head down the road to Perch for a cocktail (see below). Insider tip: Since admission is free, the lines can be lengthy to get in, therefore I recommend hiring someone from TaskRabbit to stand in line on your behalf! 🙂

Image by Andrew Charney via Unsplash

Your Favourite Restaurant
It’s a tie between Dan Tana’s and Republique. Dan Tana’s, a very classic Italian restaurant, was made famous in the 50’s due to Frank Sinatra who performed next door at the Troubadour and was looking for a bite and drink post-show. Expect old school red check table cloths, Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling, arrogant waiters dressed in tuxedos who are incredibly endearing particularly when you become “a local”, and the all time best chicken parmigiana. You can also expect to see high profile celebs and power players on any given night who go there to hide and experience an old school Italian charm which never changes.

Dinner at Dan Tana’s – image by Sophie Lovejoy 

Republique is a modern French restaurant set in the most incredibly designed but not remotely ostentatious building. Communal tables and private tables are dotted throughout the building and the atmosphere literally buzzes from the moment the doors open at 8am till close at midnight. Breakfast is mouth watering with an array of the most delicious treats baked daily from renowned pastry chef and co-owner Margarita Manzke. The sandwiches for lunch are some of the best in LA and Margarita’s husband, Walter Manzke’s shared dishes for dinner are the most creative and well put together ingredients, it’s hard not to order the whole menu.

Republique interior and pastry case – image by Sophie Lovejoy 

Your Favourite Bar
Perch in Downtown. You enter through a beautiful, historical building which is intrinsic of the architecture in Downtown but so rare to see anywhere else in LA. Then you hop inside a rickety elevator and wonder if it’s ever going to get you to the rooftop. You get to the mezzanine roof top, walk around a corner and ride another rickety elevator up one more flight, then you step out to a sweeping view across LA. The cocktails, view and atmosphere are fantastic. AND, it’s a mere five minute walk from The Broad.

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Your Favourite Store
I’m a massive foodie and love cooking so I always seem to gravitate towards Williams Sonoma near my place in Beverly Hills. I always adore the selections and displays at the Taschen book store and I love a number of stores on Abbot Kinney Blvd, a thriving shopping strip in Venice which is getting better and better.

Your Favourite Hotel
LA has some great hotels. The new Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills has a great roof top restaurant and bar. The new La Peer Kimpton hotel in West Hollywood has been so beautifully and cleverly designed, I love hanging out at the bar there and Shutters in Santa Monica is always my favourite beach front location.


Your Favourite Way to Spend Time Outdoors
Beach runs from the Venice Wharf to Marina Del Ray first thing in the morning with Daisy. No better way to start the day! Also heading out to Malibu (despite the traffic) for a long lunch at Malibu Farm on the pier.

The Most Interesting Person You’ve Met in Los Angeles
Gray Malin, the photographer. I met Gray through my friend who used to work for him. I had long admired his work so it was a real highlight to meet him. His work is a simple concept but executed so well. Gray has since become a very good friend and I am even more inspired by his ideas and creative talent. Looking at his work ethic gives me a huge boost with my own work at Sant and Abel.

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Ideal date night in Los Angeles
This is a unique one and best to do during Daylight Savings… book a sunset tour at Stahl House, a modern style home in the Hollywood Hills which was built in 1959 on a site very few ever thought would be achievable for construction. The sweeping views of the entire city of Los Angeles are incredible and it is considered one of the most iconic representations of modern architecture not in only Los Angeles, but around America. It was also made famous by a photograph showing two women leisurely sitting in a corner of the house with a panoramic view of the city through floor-to-ceiling glass walls.

Following the sunset tour at Stahl, go to Pace (pronounced Pach-ay) for dinner. It’s a secret gem, cozy and romantic on the nearby Laurel Canyon Blvd with a menu created around the local agriculture. Finish the evening at the iconic Sunset Tower Hotel’s Tower Bar on Sunset Blvd for renowned Sundae – the best!

Anything else that a honeymooner needs to know about LA?

  • Hike to the Griffith Observatory
  • Hire bikes and ride along the boardwalk between Santa Monica and Venice or all the way to Manhattan Beach for a big day out
  • Walk along Rodeo Drive
  • Do a tour of celebrity homes – it’s cheesy but fun!

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Malibu Beach, California via Sant and Abel Instagram

About the author Sophie Lovejoy’s Sant and Abel: Sydney/Los Angeles brand Sant and Abel’s 100% pure cotton range is about providing classic, sophisticated sleepwear with personality so you can feel comfortable sporting pyjamas at any time of day. Made for men, women and kids using the softest and most breathable cotton. They’re the perfect pyjamas for you and your bridesmaids to get ready in on the day of your wedding!