Bodrum Travel Guide
Bodrum Resort © Yilmaz Oevuenc
The popular holiday resort of Bodrum, called
Halicarnassus in ancient times, is the South Aegean's most
attractive resort, described by Homer as the 'Land of Eternal
Blue'. The hillside is covered in painted villas adorned with
bougainvillea, narrow streets wind their way down to the sea, and
the peaceful setting of its twin harbours offer shelter for
Bodrum is a mustering point for local boats offering
tailor-made daytrips to nearby islands or the pristine beaches and
seaside restaurants along the magnificent coastline. From its
position between the two harbours, the 15th century crusader Castle
of St Peter dominates every part of the town, now home to the
fascinating Museum of Underwater Archaeology. The other Bodrum
holiday attraction is the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the crumbling
remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
As Turkey's leading seaside holiday destination,
Bodrum is packed with foreign visitors in summer. Yet it remains
unspoilt and retains its charming Turkish character, perfecting the
balance between authenticity and tourist comforts. Here, exotic
bazaars, the wailing cry of the muezzin, and ancient history
seamlessly blend with popular water sports, sunbathing, and a
nightlife that is notorious throughout Turkey.
Shopping Like everywhere in Turkey, shopping on a Bodrum holiday is quite
an adventure. Dozens of shops line the busy narrow streets from the
bus station down to the marina. Touts and vendors offer a variety
of local goods, from carpets, leatherware, and kilims to
fake designer clothing, and gold and silver jewellery.
Look out for Turkish meerscewhaum pipes and onyx. There
is an extensive colourful craft market in operation on Tuesdays,
and a fruit and vegetable market on Fridays. Bargaining is expected
and it is customary to haggle down to about half the asking price.
In Bodrum, some shops stay open late at night, some even all
Warm, sultry evenings in Bodrum are best spent dining
on fresh seafood or local specialities in one of the numerous
restaurants. There are plenty of familiar cuisines, like Italian,
Thai, Chinese, Mexican, and European.
Renowned as the top place in town for typical Turkish
is Denizhan, a little out of town between Konacik and Ortakent, and
easily reached in a dolmus or taxi. For excellent Aegean
dishes, especially lamb, Epsilon in the old town is hard to beat.
The best pizza in Bodrum is served up with a view on the rooftop
terrace of Sunger Pizza, while a good blend of Mediterranean and
Californian cuisine can be enjoyed at La Jolla Bistro at Xuma
Also very popular is the Secret Garden, near the
Marina, where cooks prepare gourmet Mediterranean fare with flair.
The Backpacker Bar & Grill caters to the expat crowd with
traditional English food.
Nightlife The nightlife on a Bodrum holiday is frenetic and varied,
offering not only western-style decadent clubs but also the chance
to sample local parties. Visit one of the meyhanes where
the crowd joins in with the local artists, singing, dancing,
eating, and drinking. There are several of these local nightclubs
on the road to Konacik and Ortakent.
Most of the bars in Bodrum's mile long Bar Street offer belly
dancing shows, live music, and outdoor seating (often on the beach)
with a view of the illuminated castle. For clubbers, the main place
to be is Halikarnas, one of the biggest and swankiest open-air
clubs in the world, where the entrance charge may be high. There
are plenty of other clubs, even one on a catamaran that sets sail
late at night and takes the party out to sea until the dawn.
The blue Aegean waters that wash the beaches of the
peninsula on which Bodrum is perched lend themselves admirably to a
vast range of watersports, from scuba diving to windsurfing and jet
skiing. Local operators can be found all over the area renting out
equipment, arranging excursions, or offering lessons. Aquatic
thrills are also on offer at the town's two waterparks.
Those who grow tired of the sand and sea can go
hiking, with local walking clubs offering programmes but generally
not in the height of the summer season when it is too hot. There
are numerous ways to get out of town and explore the enchanting
villages, bays, and historic sites. The Castle of St Peter, Bodrum
Amphitheatre, and windmills are all popular attractions.
Either hire a car, motorbike, or bicycle; take a boat
or hydrofoil trip; book an organised excursion; a jeep safari; or
simply hop on a dolmus (minibus). An absolute must is a
trip to a hammam (Turkish bath), complete with massage.
The Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology has won many awards for
its fascinating displays, including the famous Uluburun
Negatives Bodrum beaches are shingled and can become very crowded during
the height of the summer holiday season. The city's narrow streets
become clogged with tourists, day and night, during peak periods.
Women have complained of sexual harrasment.
Calcium-rich mineral springs have surged over the
edges of this mountain plateau edges for thousands of years,
resulting in an intriguing natural masterpiece. Meaning 'Cotton
Castle', the rock formations of Pamukkale are a series of natural
shelves, ridges, and terraces turned white from... see full details