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Bodrum, Turkey Guide

Last Updated on April 21, 2024

Bodrum’s beauty, mild climate, and access to the sea have drawn thousands of Turkish and foreign visitors throughout the years. Once known as Halicarnassus, the popular resort and yachting port of Bodrum boasts the ruins of the original Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the lofty Castle of St. Peter, a Crusader fortress that now serves as the world’s foremost Museum of Underwater Archeology. Two small picture-perfect bays frame the castle, making it particularly attractive to yachters. When it comes to Bodrum, it actually means more than Bodrum center. There are many small and large towns on the Bodrum peninsula, and you should definitely visit a few of them when you come to Bodrum.

Top Sights in Bodrum

Bodrum’s biggest attractions include the Museum of Underwater Archeology, Bodrum Castle, and numerous beaches, including Bodrum Plajı (Beach), Gumbet Beach, Bitez Beach, and many more.

Bodrum is also known for its enthusiastic nightlife. If you enjoy staying up late to great music from bars and clubs, you’ll love Bodrum. However, early birds and those who tend to wind down early may have difficulties sleeping in the city center. The beaches right in town are small and the water is not particularly appealing, but there are other beaches nearby. In fact, many people choose to make their base in other towns around the Bodrum peninsula and come to Bodrum itself for visits.

Bodrum Castle

Bodrum Castle is the most important historical monument of Bodrum and one of the most must-see places. This castle, dating back to the 15th century, is located in the center of Bodrum and is located between two harbors, on a rock surrounded by the sea on three sides. It offers an incredible view at the top.

Bodrum Sualtı Müzesi

Bodrum Underwater Museum (Bodrum Sualtı Müzesi) is considered one of the most important Underwater Museums not only in Turkey but also in the world, the reason for this is the value of the archaeological remains exhibited in it. The remains of the world's oldest sunken ship are exhibited in this museum located inside Bodrum Castle.

Bodrum Mausoleum

Bodrum Mausoleum, which has a history even older than Bodrum Castle, is considered one of the seven wonders of the world. You should definitely add this open-air museum to your Bodrum trip.

Bodrum Ancient Theatre

Bodrum Ancient Theatre, another very important archaeological monument of Bodrum, which serves as an open-air museum, was built in the Hellenic Period and has survived from Halicarnassus to the present day.

Bodrum Marina Yacht Club

Bodrum Marina Yacht Club is a place full of life in summer and winter, with 3 restaurants and 4 bars. You can have a pleasant time during the day, accompanied by the view of Bodrum Castle and Bodrum Harbor, and you can attend the live music event held every evening during summer evenings.

Lodging

The first thing you need to know about booking accommodation in Bodrum is that there are many different alternatives here. While there are very large, all-inclusive five-star hotels, there are also boutique hostels with a small number of rooms that only serve breakfast. Another widely preferred option for Bodrum is to rent a villa.

Of course, another important criterion is to find out which region you want to stay in. Do you want to be in the center of Bodrum or in a boutique hotel under the orange trees in Ortakent? Do you want to stay in one of the famous five-star hotels in Torba or rent a villa in Gündoğan and feel at home? After determining which type of accommodation appeals to you, you can find a place in a nice hotel by making a reservation in advance.

Transportation

If you’re staying in a town far from Bodrum’s city center, there are multiple minibusses (dolmuş) that drive through other towns like Gümüşlük every 30 minutes.  Traffic can get heavy as the population continues to grow rapidly so remember to factor in extra time. 

There are plenty of flights and buses to Bodrum in the warmer months, but no train service. Milas-Bodrum Airport is 33 km (21 miles) north of the town with direct daily flights from Istanbul. You can reach the city center from Bodrum Airport by buses called HAVAŞ.

Traveling by car in Bodrum is always a better choice. Although there is a parking problem and parking lots are expensive, it may be more enjoyable to take a car to explore Bodrum better. It takes about 8 hours (696 km) to get from Istanbul to Bodrum by car. From Ankara to Bodrum, it takes about 9 hours by car (713 km). From Izmir, you can reach Bodrum by road in 3-4 hours (242 km). 

You can also come to Bodrum by intercity buses.

Cuisine

Bodrum has some of the best dining on Turkey’s coast. The customer service here is above average featuring international cuisines from around the world. Many of the restaurants in Bodrum are situated next to the sea, offering stunning views of the beach and Bodrum Castle.  


Tours & Excursions

Bodrum offers numerous excursions and day trips for travelers including scuba diving, boat tours around Bodrum’s peninsula, and a day trip to the Greek island of Kos. To reach Kos, there are ferries that leave daily from Bodrum’s marina and take roughly 20 minutes to arrive. Greek island ferries take you to and from Kos and Rhodes. There are so many places to visit in the Aegean region of Turkey. If you want to see different cities and towns during your Bodrum holiday, you can find detailed information here.


Daily Boat Tours

You can swim in towns such as Türkbükü, Akyarlar, Ortakent, and Bitez on the Bodrum peninsula, or you can also explore the surrounding bays by joining daily boat tours. You can contact the boat tour agencies in Bodrum Center, compare prices, and choose the tour program that appeals to you the most. Taking a yacht (gulet) tour is also highly recommended.

Best Beaches

If you want to swim in the best seas of Bodrum, you can choose Akyarlar, Türkbükü or Ortakent. There are many beaches here, both private and public.

Water Sports

For water sports, you can choose Bitez and Yalıkavak, which are very windy. In this way, you can enjoy windsurfing. You can also join the diving teams from the Center and explore underwater.

Outdoor Sports

You can take nature walks on the hills of Türkbükü and Gündoğan and explore Bodrum with its historical aspects. You can rent a bike on the renewed coastline of Turgutreis and pedal against the view. You can take long walks in Yalıkavak. There is always an activity to keep you active in the basement.

Daily Excursions

There are plenty of options for daily excursions. You can take ferries from Bodrum Center to Datça, or go on a day trip to explore the sweet narrow streets of Old Datça. You can drive from Bodrum to Marmaris, visit the marina, or swim in İçmeler. Whether you want to enjoy visiting an ancient city, the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, or you just want to relax with a cup of Turkish coffee, you'll find whatever appeals to you in Bodrum.

What to Eat & Drink

Since Bodrum is a luxury holiday resort, you can find the opportunity to eat at very high-quality restaurants here. You can also taste local delicacies in the markets that have been established for many years in the very sweet villages of Bodrum. Since it is famous for its nightlife, you can reach the peak of entertainment and drink delicious cocktails.

Shopping

You should definitely return from Bodrum with local products with you. You can buy products such as fresh honey and jam from local producers, and if you want to buy clothes, you can find alternatives suitable for every budget. You can shop from luxury brands by going to Yalıkavak Marina or looking for clothes in the cute boutiques in Bodrum Center.


Visit Bodrum

Visiting Bodrum is one of the highlights of many travelers' trip to Turkey. Enjoy the sparkling water of the Aegean sea, tour remnants of the ancient world in Bodrum City Center, and enjoy a traditional Turkish breakfast. While you're at it, book a yacht tour and take time to relax in a Turkish bath. These are some of the experiences you can enjoy in Bodrum Turkey.

Enjoy the most of your stay in Bodrum by getting help with hotel reservations, car rentals, yacht charters, airport transfers, and ferry tickets from our recommended travel agencies.

—by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Melike Kocaer

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