One of the best-known and most popular holiday resorts in Turkey, the Bodrum peninsula is famous for its sunny beaches, charming villages and excellent restaurants and bars.
Jutting out into the Aegean Sea, the peninsula is compact – it takes less than half an hour to drive from end to end - but very varied. From quiet fishing villages with cobbled streets to bustling towns, there are enough interesting nooks and crannies here to keep anyone occupied.
Bodrum has always been popular with artists and writers, as well as Turkey’s well-to-do. In fact, one of Turkey’s most famous authors was once exiled here, and so loved the area he decided to stay once his period of exile was over.
Bodrum is also popular with holidaymakers and expats thanks to its proximity to Bodrum-Milas Airport, which is around 30 kilometres from Bodrum Town. These days, a number of airlines fly to Bodrum Milas Airport all year round.
Temperatures in Bodrum soar in the summer but a steady sea breeze helps cool things down. Bodrum winters are mild and rainy, and start late in the year.
As mentioned above, there are a great many things you can do around Bodrum. We’ve listed a few below. If you’d like to read more about Bodrum, check out our website.
Also known as St Peter’s Castle, this iconic building has been used as a public bath, a military fortress and a prison. Built in the 15th century and dedicated to St Peter, the castle became a refuge for Christians fleeing the crusades. Today the castle houses the rather excellent ...
Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology
If you’d like to find out more about the area’s history, or just fancy a wander around the castle grounds, the museum’s collection of curios is second to none. Featuring items salvaged from local shipwrecks, and detailing the exploits of the area’s medieval knights, it’s a unique learning experience. The museum is open every day except Monday, from 9am to 7pm. Entry is 10 YTL.
Every day is market day in Bodrum Town. Shoppers travel from all over the peninsula to sample the many wares, which include fabrics, kilims, carpets and clothing. And if you’re feeling peckish, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a huge array of fruit and vegetables, breads, cheeses, olive oils and other goodies. Look out for the local delicacies: the weird and wonderful mushrooms from around the area, and even nettles.
Head to the peninsula’s southern coast and explore the large number of sandy beaches. Favourites include Bardakci, Ortakent, Gumbet and Bagla. Most beaches will have water sports activities – like parasailing and canoeing - if you’re feeling active, or sun loungers and cafes if you’d like to chill out. If sand isn’t your thing, you can always head to Turkbuku, where instead of a sandy beach there’s a long promenade, home to a number of beach clubs that face out onto the water. Buy a drink and relax under an umbrella and find out for yourself why Turkbuku is called the St Tropez of Turkey.
Hiking and mountain biking
Bodrum’s hills offer something of a challenge for active, outdoorsy people, but the views over the Aegean and the peninsula are worth the effort. Whether you’re on foot on on two wheels, following the quiet inland trails around the peninsula will lead you to the peninsula’s hidden treasures. Explore the beautiful pine forests, sweet-smelling tangerine and lemon groves, and quiet villages.
Exploring Bodrum’s waters
Given the area’s history of underwater ruins, it won’t surprise you to hear there is just as much to see under the water as there is above. Take an all-day boat trip from Bodrum Town and explore the waters surrounding the peninsula. Most cruises provide lunch, but check before you leave. Don’t forget your snorkel – as well as underwater ruins expect to see colourful sponges and plenty of sea life including octopus and many kinds of fish.
Out on the town
Bodrum’s nightlife is as varied as its many villages. If you’re after a raucous night on the tiles, head to Gumbet. This is where most of Bodrum’s clubs and pubs are located. Bodrum Town is also high-octane when the sun goes down. Outside of these two areas most villages remain reasonably quiet, perfect for a relaxing seafood meal in one of the peninsula’s many superb restaurants, or a quiet drink in a sophisticated bar.
That concludes our very short tour around Bodrum. Stay tuned for another Bodrum post where we explore each of the peninsula's areas in more detail.