Road Tripping the Bodrum Peninsula

The Bodrum Peninsula on the Aegean coast of Turkey is a pleasant blend of modern and old, traditional and innovative. From its beginning as a small fishing village, it has grown to become one of the most popular regions for domestic and international tourism. It is also a major hub on the Turkish Riviera and a hotspot for expats looking to relocate in the country

Perhaps one of the reasons for its popularity is its remarkable ability to satisfy all holiday-makers including families, solo travellers and couples. Whether they choose a week of partying in the large nightclubs or relaxing on the beach, every facility, amenity and attraction that you can think of, is at hand. 

This also makes the peninsula an ideal destination for road tripping and here is a starter guide to help you plan. 
View of Bodrum

How to Road-trip the Bodrum Peninsula

Fly Into: Bodrum Airport which uses the international airport code of BJV. Most widely used during summer (May to October), fly into Izmir airport at any other time.

Ideal Time to Go: Visit between May and October, because in winter, many hotels, bars and restaurants in the smaller resorts close down. The weather is also better during this time, and the months of July and August hits high temperatures such as 40 degrees. 

Duration of Visit: Although distances between towns and villages are not far, the Bodrum Peninsula is large. The shortest time of 4 days is ideal take in the main highlights including the centre. Otherwise, extend your trip to 10 days so you can travel at a slow pace. 

Rent a Car: Car rental offices are in the arrivals section of Bodrum airport although it is wise to pre-book during high season (July to September.) This is the best option because you can pick up and drop off the car at the same point. Otherwise, get a coach transfer to any places on the Bodrum peninsula and hire a car within resort. 

Tip: It is worth noting that Turkey has one of the highest petrol prices in the world, so if you are on a budget, opt for a diesel car instead. 
Bodrum sunset

Food and Drink Costs: Bodrum is diverse so this means eating out and drinks can be expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. The main town centre is known for its high cost of alcohol but stay away from the popular nightspots and a beer will cost roughly 9 lira. (Please remember drinking and driving in Turkey is against the law.)

To find cheap food to eat, go to where the locals eat called lokantas. Serving traditional Turkish food, a good example is soup, salad and bread that cost an average of 15 lira per person. Typically in all of the coastal resorts, the nearer a bar or restaurant is to the seafront, the higher the prices are. 

Tip: If it is a special occasion, head to the most prestigious restaurant in Bodrum at the Marina and indulge in 5-star cooking by renowned international chefs. 

Places to Stay: This beauty of road-tripping in Bodrum is that all resorts have a wide selection of hotels. Use an accommodation search engine or if you are travelling out of high season, find somewhere when you arrive in your chosen destination. 

As well as the main centre of Bodrum (that warrants an overnight stay), choose from many coastal resorts including…
- Bitez: Especially popular with British holiday makers, this is a laidback resort with a small bay.
- Gumbet: Known for its active nightlife, water sports and international restaurants.
- Turgutreis: A traditional town with gorgeous sunset views
- Yalikavak: A popular haunt for artists and British expats
- Gumusluk: Hosting members of Turkish elite society, this resort is renowned for seafood restaurants. 
- Torba: Tranquil and upmarket with a small, pebbled beach
- Turkbuku: One of the most prestigious resorts of Bodrum and this is reflected in prices!

Things to Do in Bodrum

As we mentioned before, Bodrum has a wealth of places to go and things to do. Since it is a major hub of the Turkish Riviera, leave the car to embark on an overnight Blue Voyage cruise. Staying on a traditional Turkish gulet boat, you will visit hidden islands and scenic bays including Bardakci Cove and Camel beach. 

Otherwise, every day during summer, boat trips leave daily from all harbours and the price usually includes lunch. Departing at around 10am, they sail back into the harbour around 4pm. This is a recommended family activity. 
Scuba diving in Turkey

If splashing around in water interests you, sign up with the scuba diving centres. Bodrum has some amazing shipwreck scenes and a variety of underwater sea-life. Day, night, beginner and experiences dives are available. 

From water to land, the history of this region is mind-boggling. Starting off at Bodrum castle, built by the Knights crusaders in the 15th century, then go next door to the Underwater Museum of Archaeology that houses the Uluburun shipwreck, the oldest ever found. 

The Mausoleum of Halikarnus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Although it is a far cry from its former glory, a visit is still worthwhile. If history is your passion, other historical sites within the Bodrum Peninsula include Myndos Gate and the Amphitheatre overlooking Bodrum town centre. 

Bodrum is famous for its windmill landmarks so keep an eye out for them if you are driving near Yalikavak. Alternatively if the kids are with you, they will appreciate a day in the AquaPark Dedemen or a visit to the Victoria Horse Ranch on the outskirts of Kadikalesi. 

Lastly, a must-do, no matter where you go is to spend an afternoon in a traditional Turkish hamam. The sauna followed by a scrub-down, and massage is the most relaxing, and cleansing experience the body can ever undergo. It is likely to be one of your favourite memories of time spent on the Bodrum Peninsula.  

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Bodrum view


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