Dubbed "Turkey's St. Tropez" by the New York Times back in 2006, Bodrum is one of the loveliest regions on Turkey's Aegean coast. With three upmarket marinas, a wealth of superb restaurants, a buzzing nightlife, super luxury villas, fabulous shops and numerous hidden bays and beaches, it’s hardly surprising the it's a firm favourite with so many visitors over the years. Although it's become a decidedly sophisticated destination in recent years, visited by some of Hollywood's biggest stars, the diverse peninsula is loved by most for its sleepy villages, hidden coves, pine-and-citrus-clad hills and pretty beaches.
Originally known as Halicarnassus, the capital of the kingdom of Caria, Bodrum boasts a wealth of history with recent years changing the landscape significantly. Thankfully modernisation has been kind and Bodrum still remains the picture postcard setting we see in the travel brochures. The photos of pretty pink bougainvillea cascading down the white washed houses and into the sea really are apt, the Castle of St Peter separating Bodrum's two bays is a stunning spectacle. Bodrum may be a place where traditional sits next to modern, but the atmosphere and beauty lures you in and leaves even the hard hearted wanting more.
Bodrum has a diverse foreign and Turkish community. Many well to do Turks from Istanbul and Ankara have chosen to buy holiday homes around Bodrum peninsula. Since the opening of Bodrum Milas International Airport, the British, Scandinavians, Germans, French, Dutch and lately the Russians have all followed suit. Bodrum has an ever changing tapestry with strict laws regulating the building and development in the area ensuring it remains idyllic.
Bodrum is located in the Mugla province of Southwest Turkey, on the coast of the stunning Aegean Sea that is also often referred to as the Turquoise Coast. Bodrums main industry is tourism but, with large expanses of fertile agricultural land outside the bustling resorts, the surrounding villages have also become famed for their mandarins, grapes, olives, oranges and cotton. Bodrum has a great climate, beautiful coastline and many areas designated as sites of beauty or significant historical interest.
POPULATION and MAIN TOWNS ON BODRUM PENINSULA
Bodrum Peninsula's population varies dramatically between summer and winter. The seasonal nature of tourism means that the area is quiet during the winter months of November to April, playing home to a mere 100,000 residents in total. In contrast, the busy summer months attract ever increasing numbers of tourists meaning the population can creep up as high as 1 million.
Bodrum Town is the largest of all small towns on the Peninsula and it is where the heart of the Peninsula beats. It is year round and has a distinctly vibrant feel to it come summer or winter. There are in excess of 20 small towns and villages scattered along the peninsula, mostly on the coast and with superb sea and island views. After Bodrum Town come Turgutreis, Yalikavak and Gumusluk as the peninsula's largest towns. Yalikavak is a modern marina town with plenty of investment potential thanks to recently opened Palmarina Bodrum and careful zoning regulations in the area. Yalikavak sunsets are particularly impressive. Yalikavak offers a wide range of houses and apartments including some of Bodrum's most exclusive mansions nestled in the hills and with amazing bay views.
Turkbuku is referred to as the St. Tropez of Bodrum with elegant beach clubs, a natural marina shaped bay and several islands dotted in the picture. Turkbuku offers some stylish waterfront homes with mooring and beach platforms. There are also some quiet and hidden villages on the peninsula such as Derekoy and Geris up on the hills behind Gumusluk and Yalikavak. In short, this compact peninsula is like a chest of treasure with so much variation and diversity all within a manageable geography.
Gumusluk, on the south-west coast of the peninsula, is home to the oldest settlement in the Aegean, Myndos. Excavations are constantly ongoing around the protected Rabbit island cove area, where the antique sunken city is located. Gumusluk has a distinctly bohemian feel to it as well as a fairly developed real estate market. It is well known for its waterfront fish restaurants and its low-key coffee house culture.
Bodrums climate is classed as Mediterranean. The summers are long, hot and humid with highs of 38*C in August, and an average low of 33*C. There’s little rain from June to September, just the occasional showers in May and October. The winters are mild and generally sunny with an average daytime temperature of 15*C and night time low of 6*C. January and February are the wettest months.Most believe the best time to visit Bodrum is May or September. Visiting early and late season ensures the sun is shining but not overly hot, the season is in full swing but not crowded, and the prices of holidays and fights are cheaper.
You will often talk to permanent residents of Bodrum, Turks and ex-pats alike, who will tell you that they love winter in Bodrum. At first this sounds a bit far-fetched to believe, however, once you spend a winter here you shall certainly understand why. In winter Bodrum becomes a more intimate place to enjoy seaside Sunday brunches such as the one pictured to the left at Leman Kultur in Bodrum Town or better still the open buffet on Bitez beach.
QUALITY OF LIFE
Bodrum is popular for good reason: it offers a fabulous quality of life. The prices of properties, holidays and costs of living are certainly rising, but they are still very reasonable in comparison to the UK and many other countries. The climate is excellent with hot summers and mild winters, and the variety of shops, bars and restaurants on offer is endless.
Life in Bodrum will never leave you wanting more, experience the best of what Turkey has to offer by beginning your new life in arguably the best town there is in Turkey for exclusive lifestyle and idyllic surroundings.
THINGS TO DO IN BODRUM
1. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus: one of the world’s ancient wonders - known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, a visit to this site while in Bodrum is an absolute must for any traveller, tourist, or person living in Bodrum.
2. Bodrum Castle: home to the Rhodes Knights - one of the most highly sought out landmarks in Bodrum is the superb Bodrum Castle built in the 15th century and playing a part in some of the most important historical moments in the region.
3. Bodrum Amphitheatre, the original spot for Gladiator fighting and plays - what could be better than visiting the 13,000 seater theatre still used to this day for summer concerts and festivals?
4. Camel Beach - Kargi Bay - enjoy some of the finest beaches in the region, or take a peaceful ride upon a Camel - Camel beach by name, most certainly Camel Beach by nature.
5. Rabbit Island; home to wild rabbits and a favourite spot for a King - separating the two beaches of Gumusluk, the island is actually easily walked to through the water since the water generally only reaches around knee deep depth.
6. Kara Ada the perfect spot for yachting - translated as the Black Island, Kara Arda is a popular hotspot amongst tourists.
7. Learn about Bodrum at Myndos Gate - scenes to some historic battles involving Alexander The Great, the ancient monument of Myndos Gate will please any history buff looking to learn the history of Bodrum.
8. Uncover one of the regions best kept secrets at Pedasa - the ancient city is a marvel to stumble upon when in Bodrum. Enjoy a day exploring the ancient city.
9. Take a water taxi to Bardakci Cove - a beautiful cove with superb views over the Castle and surrounding areas. Well worth a visit for anyone in the area.
10. Unwind and relax at Bitez Beach - a perfect beach for the whole family to enjoy, Bitez Beach is simply gorgeous and up there with some of the best beaches in the region.
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