Even if you have never heard of the place, Bodrum town is the most famous place in Aegean, Turkey. The region outranks the neighbouring area of Izmir which includes Turkey’s third largest city. Belonging to the peninsula with the same name, Bodrum city centre commands respect and admiration from all over Turkey. During Turkish holidays, people flock there from everywhere, and celebrities who live in Istanbul head to Bodrum for luxurious vacations. The town hosts international celebrities and other big names, including Saudi royalty and billionaires like Bill Gates or Jeff Bozos. However, Bodrum town also accommodates the average person with a tight budget who want to enjoy Aegean Turkey’s most famous destination. So, why is Bodrum centre famous, and what can you expect when planning a trip or looking to buy property in Turkey? Let’s find out!
Guide to Bodrum Town Centre in Turkey
1: Why is Bodrum Famous?
To find out, we need to go back roughly 100 years to a man called Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli. He is known as the fisherman of Halicarnassus. As you drive into Bodrum town, you will see a signpost with his words. They say…
“When you reach the top of the hill, you will see Bodrum. Don’t assume you’ll leave as you came. The others before you were the same, too. As they departed, they all left their souls behind.”
Authorities exiled Cevat to Bodrum at the turn of the 20th century for his published works insulting the state. He couldn’t believe his luck when he arrived and spent much time exploring. Blue voyage routes, and the Turkish riviera, all began thanks to his exile! Cevat made Bodrum the pinnacle hub it is today. Cevat put Bodrum on the map. The whole of Bodrum owes Cevat gratitude for the forward-thinking that made Bodrum a top Turkish riviera destination. (More about the fisherman of Halicarnassus.)
2: Where is Bodrum Town and How to Get Here
Bodrum town sits on Turkey’s Aegean western coast. Although the city is the heart, the name also belongs to the more prominent peninsula that belongs to the official Mugla region. The Mugla region has the largest concentration of beaches and is one of Turkey’s top tourist destinations. Undoubtedly, Bodrum plays a large part in this success. However, many people often ask how far Bodrum is from Istanbul.
Bodrum town is a staggering 700 kilometres away from Istanbul. This is an eight-hour drive. But you can catch an internal flight from Asian Sabiha Gokcen airport or the new European Istanbul airport to arrive at Bodrum airport within 60 minutes. From there, the drive is 40 minutes to Bodrum centre. Alternatively, if you are in other parts of Turkey, Bodrum bus station with frequent and cheap routes connects to other major destinations. If you are driving, follow the D330 highway, which passes through the heart of the beautiful Bodrum peninsula.
3: About the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Everyone hears the name Halicarnassus at some point during your visit. This name refers to Bodrum’s name in ancient history. The peninsula belonged to the Caria kingdom that King Mausolus ruled. He married his sister, which was customary in those days, and they ruled for many years. When he died, she was heartbroken, and to honour his memory decided to build the most enormous tomb ever seen. She succeeded, and the structure admired attention from all over the globe. The landmark, called the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Unfortunately, many earthquakes damaged the structure, and invaders took stones to build Bodrum castle. Visitors can see the foundations these days, but don’t expect anything like the pictures in history books. The ruins sit in the Tepecik neighbourhood of Bodrum town on Turgut Reis road. History lovers should also visit the Bodrum amphitheatre on the main D330 highway or read more about the Mausoleum here.
4: Bodrum Castle and Underwater Archaeology Museum
The best site, the majestic coastline castle, stands tall and proud. Some might think the Bodrum museum and castle pales in size compared to European courts; however, the castle’s history is a perfect introduction. Initially built by the knights of Saint John, the structure was a prison and public baths. In the 16th century, the Ottomans invaded, and a new era of rule came to Bodrum. Four centuries later, many were concerned that this iconic structure would fall because of disrepair at one stage. However, the Turkish government made repairs and opened the landmark to the public. Within the grounds, the underwater archaeology museum displays many artefacts from shipwrecks uncovered by Turkish divers, and you can admire the stunning Uluburun wreck. Bodrum castle sits in the harbour district. (About Bodrum town Castle.)
5: Nightlife, Bars and Entertainment in Bodrum
This is where Bodrum excels with style and passion. Expect a great choice of nightlife entertainment, from quiet, sit-down evenings for romantic couples to family-friendly entertainment to pulsating nightclubs that stay open till 5 a.m. Bar street, near Bodrum castle, is where the liveliest bars are, and they play a mixture of western and Turkish dance music. You will also find the odd Turkish meyhane, which plays live Turkish music in sit-down venues. First-timers to Bodrum and Turkey should buy tickets for a Turkish night. We love the BBQ nights often held by hotels and bars. Our favourite summer activity is sunset cruises, although our friends enjoy party boats like Club Cataraman. (Find out about the nightlife in Bodrum town.)
6: Eating Out in Bodrum Town
Now, this is serious business. Holidaymakers can choose from many great flavours and cuisines, from street food to fine dining, to international dishes like Indian, Chinese, steak, and pasta. We love the marina yacht club for fine evening food. The restaurant is pricy but worth the cash for great tastes crafted by Turkey’s best chefs. Dinc restaurants and Sultan Bahce also win rave reviews on Trip Advisor. Most places serve breakfast, including traditional English fry-ups; however, we love Turkish breakfasts, so head to Café Cenen in the city marina district. Then, of course, visit the kebab shops for lunchtime snacks. One thing we love about Bodrum city is Aegean dining. After all, Bodrum is a coastal destination, so where else should you eat delicious fish and seafood? For food, Bodrum city excels in everything, so take your taste buds on an adventure.
7: Sailing from Bodrum City Centre
Now we are talking business. For locals, sailing is their life. They live for sailing, and locals plan for the next season once winter comes around. Holidaymakers have many choices. First, catch daily boat trips that leave from the harbour, which sail around the coastline with swim breaks and lunch included. Alternatively, hire a private yacht for the day to go where you want. Lastly, look at blue voyage cruises lasting about 3 to 4 nights. These head further afield and stop in little villages for exploration. Some cruises even head across to Greek islands. Shop around because there are many good companies and set sailing routes to explore. What to know about sailing the Turkish riviera.
8: Travel from Bodrum Town Centre to Kos
Speaking of Greek destinations, during summer, ferries run to Kos. The ferry service departs from the harbour in the morning and returns in the evening. Belonging to the eastern Aegean Dodecanese group of islands, pre-book your tickets because the ferry needs to submit copies of your passport. Once you arrive, you will see the castle walls of Neratzia dating from the 14th century and built by the knights of saint john. From there, hire a bicycle, follow the historical trail, go shopping, or sit in a Greek tavern and taste their national cuisine. The joys of exploring two cultures in one holiday!
9: Experience Bodrum Old Quarter
Ah, now we get to the heart of Bodrum, the old quarter. Portraying different nostalgic vibes, you will end up in this area when visiting Bodrum castle. The blend of ruins, whitewashed houses and cobbled streets gives a sense of old-world Turkey, much before private yachts and fine dining arrived. As mentioned before, this is where bar street is. But visit during the day to browse through shops, hunt for souvenirs, and spend time in waterside cafes. So Bodrum's old district isn’t so much about what to do and places to go—but sensing the heart of where the peninsula started its claim to fame.
10: Shopping and Markets in Bodrum Town
Once again, Bodrum centre excels with a wide choice of shopping places. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays are market days, which are great for holidaymakers in self-catering accommodation, who want fruit, vegetables, and local dairy produce. Oasis, the nearest modern shopping mall, is on the main D330 highway at the back of Bodrum town. This is easily reached by bus. Otherwise, many shops sell everything and anything, including clothes and souvenirs.
11: Bodrum Centre Beaches and Clubs
This might be the only area where we find Bodrum city centre lacking. There is a beach near the castle and a club on the other side. But lovers of sand would do well to get on a bus or head to other peninsula bays. After all, there is a whole coastline to explore. Most public beaches have facilities like sunbeds and umbrellas to rent. Nearby bars and restaurants serve lunchtime snacks and refreshments. Otherwise, clubs like Tay or Xumo charge an entrance fee to get in but offer other services like sports and spa facilities. (About beaches on the Bodrum peninsula.)
12: Other Travel Attractions and Things to Do
- Sign up for scuba lessons in the Aegean Sea and gain your PADI certificate
- Buy tickets for a vast range of water sports like jet skis or the banana boat
- Go wine tasting in Mor Salkim vineyard
- Sign up for guided excursions to Ephesus ruins and the Virgin Mary’s house
- Visit the white calcium pools of Pamukkale
- Enjoy Jeep safaris through remote villages and places of natural beauty
- Kids love the Dedemen waterpark
- Quad biking and horse-riding tours are popular
- Delve into Turkish culture with a traditional bath and shave
- Visit Pedasa ancient city
Also, About Bodrum Town
Is Bodrum a Good Place to Buy Property? With many foreigners investing in Turkish real estate, their attention often turns to Bodrum centre because of tourism, the central Aegean Sea location, and many expats living there. This article talks about the real estate market in Bodrum town, the prices, what to expect if you want to buy one, and how.
From Bodrum town to Yalikavak
About Yalikavak: Although Bodrum town centre captured the world’s attention roughly ten years ago, another place sprung from the doldrums to captivate global admiration. Yalikavak, home to the famous marina that can host mega yachts, does luxury and style with finesse. Many millionaires have walked her pavements from fine dining restaurants to boutique shops. However, look closely, and you can still enjoy the old quarter. This article discusses what to know about Yalikavak on the Bodrum peninsula.
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