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Bodrum: city guide. Visit the bazaars and beaches or sail on a gulet around this beautiful Aegean peninsula
December 4, 2015 | By: High50
Bodrum gumber beach flickr Nick Cloke 620 (2)

Sail along the coast on a traditonal wooden gulet

Why go

Jutting into the deep blue of the Aegean, the Bodrum peninsula is one of Turkey’s headline attractions. Bodrum Town is at its heart, a lively hub of activity with a historic castle separating two sweeping bays. The vibe here is sophisticated but bohemian, with smart marinas, bustling bazaars and pretty whitewashed buildings scattered along the hillside. Elsewhere the beach resorts come thick and fast, separated by green mountains and fragrant citrus groves. Gumbet and Altinkum are two main players, with Bitez, Akyarlar, Turgutreis and numerous other low key resorts offering beachfront, mountain-backed relaxation.

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What to do
Bodrum Kalesi flickr Jacqueline Poggi 620

Bodrum Castle built by the Knights of St John as the Castle of St. Peter or Petronium

The Castle of St Peter is Bodrum’s number one attraction, sitting proudly on the waterfront. It’s said to have been built from stones that were once part of the nearby Mausoleum of Halicarnasus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

By day, the bazaars and beaches will keep you busy. From Bodrum marina you can take a traditional wooden gulet to sail between the peninsula resorts in style.

After dark, both Bodrum and neighbouring Gumbet have plenty of bars and clubs to draw in the evening revellers. Or enjoy a more relaxed drink at a beach club – you’ll find them lined up along the peninsula offering stunning views with your sundowners.

Where to stay
Bodrum Hotel Mamara 620

Stay in luxury at the Hotel Marmara

For a tranquil stay that’s just a stone’s throw from the action, the Marmara Bodrum is a haven of luxury in Bodrum Town. It boasts a rooftop pool and terrace with stunning views over the city, castle and out to sea, plus free shuttles to the beach.

For suites and villas book into the Jumeirah Bodrum Palace where there are seven main pools and 58 private plunge pools!

The Wow Bodrum Resort in Gumbet is right on the beach, with great facilities including a sea and mountain-view pool complex, spa and sauna.

Bodrum Casa Dell Arte Pool 620

Boutique hotel Casa Dell’Arte

For those who like to stay somewhere a little different, the Casa Dell’Arte in the quiet fishing village of Torba is unique. The boutique hotel was built around the family’s art collection, with the vision of becoming a place to appreciate and enjoy art. The result is a peaceful, exceptional hotel with breathtaking décor. And if that wasn’t enough, it has sea views, pools and its own private gulets, too!

Where to eat
Bodrum Limon Cafe 620

The Limon Café

There are some excellent restaurants overlooking Bodrum marina. Why not try Culinary Bodrum for an authentic meal with a relaxed, modern vibe? Cookery courses and food tours also run out of this restaurant, so you can learn how to recreate the menu yourself.

If you’re planning a special meal while you’re away, Kocadon in Bodrum Town ramps up the romance with its pretty candlelit courtyard setting. Seafood and barbequed meats make up the menu.

For dinner with a view, the Limon Café in pretty Gumusluk can’t be beaten. Pull up a mis-matched chair in the beautiful garden café and enjoy views over the hillside and out to sea. Order the Turkish meze and prepare for a feast!

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Getting around

Bodrum Town is well connected with a bus station and marina. The easiest and cheapest way to get around the peninsula is by the Dolmus bus, which you can hop on and off. Beware, they do get cramped and may not run regularly to the less popular resorts.

When to go

Spring and autumn are the most pleasant times of year to visit Turkey weather wise, unless your motto is ‘the hotter the better’. Temperatures rarely drop below 15 degrees, even winter holidays are an appealing prospect for hiking or sightseeing in comfort.

Don’t miss

Bodrum Town has a duo of smart marinas, but nearby Yalikavak port pushes sophistication to the next level and it’s considered the St Tropez of the area.

Bodrum Amphitheatre is within walking distance of the town centre.

Turkey has some of the most beautiful and unspoilt coast in the Aegean so take a private or semi-private gulet tour if you’re visiting during the warm months.

If you’ve got an appetite for ancient archaeology, the Temple of Apollo at Didyma is an hour and half away from Bodrum by bus. A little further on you have the Ephesus ruins at Selcuk, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Combine the two for a historic day trip.

Three things we like
Bodrum flickr Henrik Berger Jørgensen 620

Explore the peninsula on a gulet

  1. While Bodrum and Gumbet make for fantastic lively holidays, the less developed towns of the peninsula, like Torba and Turkbuku, offer blissfully unspoilt tranquillity.
  2. At just 21 miles from the airport, you can be in your hotel pool in Bodrum less than an hour after arrival.
  3. There’s something magical about the rustic Bodrum windmills – and a visit offers great views from their hillside position overlooking the Aegean.
Something we don’t

The restaurant ‘hosts’ and shop owners will try hard to get you into their establishments. A firm ‘no’ and carry on walking should do the trick.

High50 insider tips
Bodrum Akyarlar beach 620

Akyarlar beach

  • You’ll find fantastic markets in Bodrum every day of the week. To really mingle with the locals, head to the Akbuk open-air market on Fridays. Pay a visit to the white sand beach too – if you’re lucky you might be the only one!
  • Halikarnas in Bodrum is a brilliant open air club, but if all night raving doesn’t appeal, the club’s chic Secret Garden restaurant, designed by Jade Jagger, is a more relaxing alternative.
  • Escape the hustle bustle with a day in Akyarlar, with its pretty bay and moon-shaped beach. Wander the hillside village to get a real feel for traditional Turkey.
  • If you fancy treating yourself to a Turkish hammam, the one next to the bus station in Bodrum (Bodrum Hammam) has a good reputation and only offers same sex massages to save your blushes.
  • Pick up a pair of handmade leather ‘Bodrum sandals’ in the bazaar and follow in the footsteps of many a style icon, including Mick Jagger.

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Need to know

The currency in Turkey is the New Turkish Lira.

Flight time from the UK is around 4 hours, and the time zone is GMT + 2.

The water is safe to drink in Turkey, but can cause upset stomach if you’re not used to it. It’s best to stick to bottles.

You’ll need a visa to enter Turkey. This can be purchased on arrival, or save time and money and apply before you go via the e-Visa site (cost $20). You’re also required to have six months validity left on your passport, as well as sixty days validity beyond the expiry date of your visa.

If visiting a mosque you’ll be expected to dress respectfully. For women this entails a headscarf and covering of the shoulders and legs. Men should wear long trousers and sleeves.

You’ll need a two-pin European plug adaptor.

Book a holiday through High50 and get six bottles of wine FREE. Simply email offers@high50.com with your name and your booking reference number to claim your wine. 

For terms and conditions for High50’s wine offer, click here. While stocks last.