Bodrum, the pride of Aegean Turkey, is a destination unlike anywhere else. The name refers to the larger peninsula area including the central town and smaller coastal resorts, and reasons for its popularity are plenty.
Of course, Bodrum has many scenic landscapes, quaint coastal resorts, and a multitude of things to do. However, the hedonistic lifestyle is what captures everyone’s attention, making it a popular tourist and expat destination for Turks and many foreign nationalities.
Whatever you think a typical seaside life in the sun should look like, Bodrum will step forward as an ideal contender. It is not a pretence either, because, for decades, artisans flocked there for creative inspiration. For Turkish and international celebrities, it is also to Turkey what the Hamptons is to New Yorkers.
So, if you want to buy property in Bodrum or soak up the sun on a two-week holiday, what do you need to know?
General Travel Information for the Bodrum Peninsula
Getting There: During summer foreign tourists use Milas Bodrum airport (BJV) because of its frequent, international and domestic flight schedule. In winter, they use Izmir Airport, slightly further away. Otherwise, getting there by road is easy. The central bus station (otogar) has frequents and cheap connections with many other places in Turkey. By sea, ferry services run from the Greek islands of Rhodes, Kos and Symi. Bodrum also has many world-class marinas for those arriving by yacht.
Weather: Bodrum has a hot summer Mediterranean climate (CSA Koppen Classification) with no humidity and eight to nine months of sunshine every year. Rainy months typically occur from December to March. The hottest months are July and August when temperatures reach into the 40s, but in certain parts, constant wind and elevated land status alleviates the intense heat. From October to May, evenings times are chilly but still warm enough to enjoy alfresco dining.
Best Time to Visit: The official tourism season runs from May to October. Outside these months, the town centre is still open, but in smaller coastal resorts, tour agencies, hotels, bars and restaurants wind down. If you like exploring touristic attractions, hiking or prefer cooler temperatures, the best months to visit are April to June and October and November. Beach lovers need to visit from May to October because, in winter, councils don’t clean beaches, and services and amenities wind down.
Visas: To enter Turkey as a tourist, buy an e-visa from the official government website, before you leave home. This entitles you to stay in Turkey for 90 days out of a 180-day period. To stay longer than this, apply for a Turkish residency permit.
Money: The Turkish currency is the new lira, although, across the Bodrum peninsula, many establishments will accept Pounds, Euros, Dollars, and credit or debit cards. Cashpoints in all major centres enable you to withdraw money from foreign bank accounts, but tell your bank you are going to Turkey, so they don’t block transactions for security. To get the best exchange rate, use shops within the resort you plan to travel to, because they give better deals than airports or and travel companies.
Getting Around: The cheapest way is to use a small bus called a dolmus. Each resort normally has a dolmus station, where you can learn prices and routes, to other resorts on the peninsula as well. Otherwise, yellow taxis can be called to your hotel, or home, and every resort has a local taxi rank. Car drivers might like to hire a car from the airport or from small tour agencies within each town because excellent road conditions and frequent signposts make driving easy.
Hotels and Self-Catering Accommodation: This is where Bodrum excels because the peninsula has a wide range of accommodation including hostels, bed-and-breakfast, inclusive, room only or self-catering. Bodrum excels in five star plus hotels but also accommodates budget travellers looking for a bargain.
Shopping: Within each district, a range of shops provides everything you need from food to souvenirs but Bodrum’s malls like Oasis and Midtown are perfect for Turkish and international brand name shopping till you drop. If you go to the local weekly, farmers markets or buy expensive items like jewellery or gold, bargaining over the price is a Turkish tradition and can help you save money.
Nightlife and Eating Out: The nightlife, one of Bodrum’s fortes can be as calm or exciting as you want. Seaside, marina and rooftop dining provide the perfect atmosphere and, given its seaside position, fresh fish and seafood feature appear on most menus, alongside international cuisines. Party lovers enjoy Bar Street in the central town, and the catamaran boat. Otherwise, family sit down bars with entertainment are popular in resorts like Gumbet and Turgutreis.
Beaches: Take your pick! In each coastal resort, beaches come alive during summer. We like Yalikavak and Turgutreis, but Bitez, Camel, and Yahsi are also popular. Bodrum also does a roaring trade with beach clubs providing entertainment, food refreshments. Vendors on all main beaches in Bodrum rent water sports, sunbeds and umbrellas for sun worshippers so they can indulge in comfort. Sun lovers also like Bardakci Cove for its scenic beauty.
19 Major Attractions and Things to Do
- Visit the 15th century Castle of Saint Peter, the region’s most famous landmark
- See recovered shipwrecks in the Underwater Archaeology Museum (closed until 2020)
- Visit the Halicarnassus ruins, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world
- Marvel at the coastal view from Bodrum amphitheatre
- De-stress by visiting a traditional Turkish hammam
- Take a 3-night blue voyage gulet cruise of the Turkish Riviera
- Enjoy a one-day lazy cruise around the coastline.
- Delight in water splashing fun for the whole family at Dedeman Aqua Park
- Scuba diving and water sports are plentiful but make sure you are insured
- Shop at the traditional, weekly markets. (Different day for each region)
- Get adventurous on a jeep, horse or quad bike safari
- Visit the Zeki Muren museum
- Catch the ferry across to Kos or Rhodes for Greek inspiration
- Marvel at the historical ruins of Pedasa antique city
- Go wine tasting at the Karnas and Mor Salkim Vineyards
- Visit Rabbit Island and enjoy the fish restaurants of Gumusluk
- Hang out at the world-class Yalikavak Marina
- Road trip the Bodrum peninsula to see the coastal hotspots and main attractions
- See the 155-metre Incirliin Cave and relax in Uyku Vadesi (Sleeping Valley)
Bodrum Area Guide: Coastal Resorts, Towns and Villages
Town Centre: As the hub of the Bodrum peninsula, the town is also a centre of excellence on the Turkish Riviera because for many decades, locals have handcrafted boats and often sailed these waters for deep sea sponge diving expeditions. The old part, home to the harbour, ferry dock, castle, and cobbled streets is fun to explore and hang out, while further along, is the ultramodern marina where millionaire yachts often dock in. Some of the region’s most popular restaurants including La Pasion, Avlu, and Orfoz are in Bodrum town centre. Naturally, as the hub of the region, it is a year-round hive of activity.
Yalikavak: What was a sleepy fishing village has now become the place to hang out on the Bodrum peninsula. Attracting wealthy people from all over the world, the upmarket Palmarina with exclusive restaurants and luxury shopping put Yalikavak on the map. However, despite its newfound celebrity status, Yalikavak still does a marvellous job of catering for middle class and budget holidaymakers and expats.
Turgutreis: Even though it’s overshadowed by nearby Yalikavak, Turgutreis offer holidaymakers and expats a lot including a long sandy beach, and laid-back, carefree lifestyle that revolves around friendly restaurants and bars with front row seats to a gorgeous sunset view.
Gumusluk and Kadikalesi: Sitting side by side, travel magazines rarely mention Kadikalesi, an ideal windsurfing spot but Gumusluk rose to fame thanks to the landmark Rabbit Island and its seaside restaurants specialising in fresh fish and seafood dishes. Many expats also like the quaint, untouched ambience of Gumusluk.
Turkbuku and Torba: The New York times called Turkbuku the Saint Tropez of Turkey, and while it keeps a discreet reputation, it is still the place to go to, if you want a millionaire, ultramodern villa with a private jetty for your luxury yacht. Turkbuku, is where members of Turkey’s elite social circles hang out. The same can be said of nearby Torba that also does luxury but on a more low-key scale.
Bitez and Gumbet: These two resorts sit side by side on the outskirts of the town centre, yet their clientele couldn’t be more different. Gumbet attracts British families and enthusiasts of watersports, while Bitez caters more for middle-aged and retired clientele.
Gulluk, Bogazici, and Guvercinlik: These three resorts sit away from the central peninsula and are 20 to 30 minutes’ drive from the main Milas Bodrum airport. Maintaining a village-like atmosphere, modern hotels and restaurants are appearing in the area, but the resorts still ooze nostalgic vibes of an old-style seaside life.
Gundogan: Over the last five years, Gundogan has gained in popularity with foreigners but Turks have always favoured it, as seen in the amount who bought holiday homes or retired there. Beautiful scenery is what lures people there, and the name meaning sunrise shows what visitors must look forward to; a beautiful and pleasant wake up call.
Gokcebel: As another area gaining in popularity, Gokcebel eventually split into two districts, i.e. the new and old parts. The old part, further up the hillside is full of marvellous, traditional stone cottages and keeps a traditional, rural ambience, while new Gokcebel is home to modern ultramodern villas. Gokcebel sits on the outskirts of Yalikavak, but a short bus ride takes you into the centre of the action.
Ortakent and Konacik: These two districts are located inland but Ortakent has grown so much and joined the Yahsi district to include a seaside lifestyle. It is popular with Turkish holidaymakers and retirees, although these days, foreigners are also looking at it, as an alternative destination to the mainstream. Konacik, although not popular with tourism is seeing a rise in its real estate market thanks to the new and off plan constructions. Most properties in Konacik also have marvellous sea views because of its elevated land status.
Yaliciftlik: Staying true to its roots, Yaliciftlik is undergoing a transformation. Luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts are drawing in tourists, but it still portrays traces of days gone by and if you want peace and quiet, it is the place to be. Sitting east of the town centre, it is the cut-off point where the Bodrum peninsula ends and Gokova Gulf begins.
Living and Buying Property in Bodrum
Many Turks and foreigners buy property in Bodrum, either for holidays or to live there after retirement. Foreigners who plan to live there will find an already established expat community, who are an excellent source of information and also run clubs and hobby groups.
The lifestyle of Bodrum is the main lure. Often labelled as, carefree and too laid-back, if you haven’t already experienced it for yourself, you are missing out. See our Bodrum property portfolio here, or contact us today to speak with local and knowledgeable sale consultants who live in the Bodrum area.
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