Places to visit in Bodrum, Turkey: Exploring the pearl of the Turkish Aegean

Places to visit in Bodrum, Turkey: Exploring the pearl of the Turkish Aegean

From traditional villages to sheltered bays sparkling with phosphorescence at night. Sailing from Bodrum, the Turkish pearl of the Aegean.

Bodrum is the best cure for work-stress. The prescription is: have a lazy day!

Places to visit in Bodrum

Wake up to the sound of Aegean waves, have Beyaz Peynir cheese for breakfast and lay in the sun reading a good book. Late in the afternoon as the sun starts to cool, wander around St. Peter’s Castle, grab your bargain at the Local Market or visit the ruins of Halicarnassus Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

St Peter Castle Bodrum

Castle of St Peter, Bodrum

If tired after the long walk, enjoy the pleasure of a Turkish Bath (Hamam). Work your way from warm to hot rooms, have a body scrub, a relaxing massage and don’t forget to sip a Turkish coffee or tea at the end. You’re now ready for a delicious dinner.

Much of the action happens around the harbour front, but dare you to shake off your sea legs and head inland the Denizhan is one of the area’s finest dining spots. As Turkish restaurants go this is quite experimental – beef baked in pistachio and cheese or meatballs – a ready alternative to the kebabs found elsewhere. Should Bodrum harbour be quite enough for you then make sure that you get to Musto early on in the evening to sit among the hoi polloi on this much-feted terrace. Viewing the golden sunset with a raki is almost a rite of passage in this town. As the Turkish say before they start the meal: Afiyet Olsun!

After dinner or before you hit the Catamaran Disco, a nightclub on a glass-bottomed boat, or the amazing Halikarnas Night Club, take your pick of a huge range of bars selling all sorts of cocktails and beers. Halfway on Bar Street ask for a drink at Deja Vu and get ready to be amazed, as the bartenders could turn into a dance crew any moment.

“Adventure” is your middle name, you can’t stand lying all day in the sun and want to enjoy the fresh air and amazing landscapes. Bodrum is the ideal spot for hiking, the area is full of wonderful trails for every difficulty level from easy to challenging walks, where you can take great pictures of the surroundings while exploring. If you’re keen on water sports grab a mask and flippers and head to Bitez beach, a brilliant spot for snorkelling, scuba diving or windsurfing. In the crystal clear water, you’ll be able to see amazing rainbow wrasse, barracudas, moray eels, octopus and if you’re very lucky you could run into the rare Mediterranean monk seal. You won’t regret it!

Sailing from Bodrum

The Bodrum Peninsula is surrounded by the islands of Kalymnos, Pserimos, and Kos and juts out into the Aegean Sea. Bodrum is at the entrance to the Gulf of Gökova, on the south coast of the peninsula. As such, renting a boat in Bodrum is ideal to start your sailing tour in the Aegean. 

The area around Bodrum is rich with small bays and the waters are crystal clear with plenty of anchorage spots. As you follow the coastline of the Bodrum Peninsula, you will find a series of quieter beaches and local villages worth visiting.

Sailing conditions are generally good and stable here. However, in the summer season, just like for its Greek neighbour, sailors should remain aware of the Meltemi winds, which can reach F6 or 7 as they whip around the headland, creating gusts on the lee side. 

On the coast of the peninsula, the village of Gümüşlük offers a peaceful alternative to the hustle of Bodrum.

village of Gümüşlük by night

The village of Gümüşlük by night

Built on the ruins of an ancient city, it’s protected from development and gives a window into how life in Turkey used to be and has a well-sheltered anchorage for boats. Meanwhile, Aspat Cove is particularly popular with yachters as it is sheltered from the northwest winds that make sailing in this area a challenge. In fact, the cove is famous for having provided a refuge for pirates in days gone by.