The Bodrum Peninsula on Turkey's Aegean coast pleasantly blends modern and old with traditional and innovative. From roots as a small fishing village, the peninsula is now one of Turkey's most popular regions for domestic and international tourism, sailing the Turkish Riviera and attracting expats and foreign property buyers. One reason for its popularity is its remarkable ability to satisfy all holidaymakers, including families, solo travellers, and couples. Whether they party in large nightclubs or relax on beaches, every facility, amenity, and attraction is at hand. This also makes the peninsula an ideal destination for road-tripping, and here is a starter guide to help plan.
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 smaller resorts close. The weather is also better during this time, and the months of July and August hit high temperatures, such as 40 degrees.
Duration of Visit: Although distances between towns and villages are not far, the Bodrum Peninsula is significant. The shortest time of 4 days is ideal for visiting the main highlights, including the centre. Otherwise, extend your trip to 10 days to travel more slowly.
Rent a Car: Car rental offices are in the arrivals section of Bodrum airport, although it is wise to pre-book during the high season (July to September.) This is the best option to pick up and drop off the car at the same point. Otherwise, get a coach transfer to any place on the Bodrum peninsula and hire a vehicle within the resort. Note that Turkey has high petrol prices, so budget travellers might want to choose diesel cars instead.
Eating Out in Bodrum
Bodrum is diverse, so eating out and drinks can be expensive or cheap. Please remember that drinking and driving in Turkey are against the law. To find cheap food, go to where the locals eat, called lokantas. Serving traditional Turkish food, a good example is a soup, salad, and bread. Typically, in all coastal resorts, the nearer a bar or restaurant is to the seafront, the higher the prices are. Otherwise, head to prestigious restaurants in Marinas to indulge in 5-star cooking by renowned international chefs.
- About the nightlife on the Bodrum Peninsula
- The best restaurants to dine in
7 Places to Stay on the Bodrum Peninsula
The beauty of road-tripping in Bodrum is that all resorts have a wide selection of hotels. Use an accommodation search engine, or if you travel out of high season, find somewhere when you arrive at your chosen destination. As well as the main centre of Bodrum (that warrants an overnight stay), choose from many coastal resorts, including…
Bodrum Town Centre: As the peninsula hub, Bodrum town offers everything a thriving holiday and expat destination should. From local market stalls to posh boutiques, street food to go, to fine dining restaurants.
Yalikavak: Once a small fishing village, then a popular expat haven, these days Yalikavak earns fame for two reasons. First, the large marina is one of a few in Turkey with the ability to accommodate mega yachts. Secondly, large luxury mansions, which sell for millions of pounds.
Turkbuku: To know where celebrities and wealthy businesspeople hang out, head to Turkbuku. The New York Times famously called the resort Turkey's version of Saint Tropez. Be aware, though; you will need a hefty budget to stay in the hotels and dine out.
Turgutreis: Named after an Ottoman admiral, this resort is popular with British holidaymakers and expats. Sitting near Gumusluk and Yalikavak, Turgutreis is worth visiting to explore the old town and watch the fantastic sunsets.
Gokcebel: Blending the old world with modern trends, Gokcebel stays pretty much off the grid regarding tourism. Yet, this resort offers Turks and ex-pats a tranquil, slow-paced atmosphere. Sitting near Yalikavak, the resort is an excellent place to stay overnight.
Ortakent: Despite a low international profile, Ortakent is a popular resort for retiree Turks and people who live in Turkey's big cities but own holiday homes there. The name translates into the central city, which refers to the peninsula's position.
Yaliciftlik: Sitting 20 kilometres from Bodrum town centre, this is another peninsula destination that international travellers rarely visit, yet for Turks, the resort is a prized gem.
5 Things to Do in Bodrum
Boat Trips and Water Sports: Since it is a prominent Turkish Riviera hub, 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, boat trips leave daily from all harbours every day during summer, and the price usually includes lunch. If splashing around in water sounds fun, sign up with the scuba diving centres. Bodrum has some amazing shipwreck scenes and a variety of underwater sea life.
Historical Sites: From water to land, the history of this region is overwhelming. Starting at the 15th century Bodrum castle, built by the Knights crusaders, 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 ancient world's seven wonders. If history is your passion, other historical sites within the Bodrum Peninsula include Myndos Gate and the Amphitheatre overlooking Bodrum town centre.
Best Beaches: Ah, who doesn't love the delights of beaches in summer? If this is the time you will be visiting, pack your swimming costumes because the Bodrum peninsula offers miles and miles of sandy beaches, and hidden coves to explore.
Cultural Things to Do: Despite Bodrum embracing modern trends and promoting the luxurious lifestyles of rich and famous people, the peninsula still portrays cultural aspects in many corners. You need to know where to find this, and this article details how.
Nice to Know: As you can see, the Bodrum peninsula holds many delights, making it one of Turkey's top travel destinations for domestic Turks and international tourists. Yet, the peninsula has all its fame due to one man, known as the fisherman of Halicarnassus. Find out who he was and how he made the Bodrum peninsula of Turkey famous.
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