A relaxing coastal paradise by day, this picturesque Aegean town becomes a hub for nightlife activity after the sun goes down. While resorts to suit all tastes and styles are here for you to enjoy such as nearby Gumbet and Bitez, Bodrum offers a lot more than just sun-kissed holidays.
The picturesque Turkish settlement boasts a vibrant cultural scene and an enviable historic legacy – in fact, even if your main reason for visiting here is to relax in the sun, you’ll find that access to the many gems the town itself has to offer is easy and affordable.
First though, you have to get there. Hop on a plane at Shannon Airport and you’ll be at Bodrum airport in no time. From there, the Havas minibus (10 Turkish Lira (TL)/€4) takes you into the centre in about 45 minutes.
The most notable landmark in Bodrum is St. Peter’s Castle, which overlooks the harbour. Built by the Crusaders in the 15th century, the castle has served as a military garrison and a fortress prison. Today, it houses one of the most important museums of nautical archaeology in the world. 21TL or €9 covers entry to both.
Tomb of Mausolus
Bodrum is also home to the Tomb of Mausolus, one of the Ancient wonders of the world, but visitors to the site are often disappointed to find that only the foundation of the Mausoleum remains.
For great grub on the go, head into the centre of Bodrum where you’ll find street vendors selling a gamut of authentic Turkish comfort food. Döner Ekmek, (döner meat served in half a loaf of bread) is the obvious choice, but Kumpir (jacket potatoes), Gözleme (Turkish pancake), Pide (Turkish pizza) and Börek (savoury pastries) are all worth a try too.
Image used under Creative Commons from muammerokumus
If you prefer the restaurant experience, you could go for a fancy seaside dinner at the eastside Marina. Get a taste of all that Turkey has to offer by ordering a Meze platter – a diverse selection of small dishes including Köfte (meatballs), Acılı Ezme (hot pepper paste with walnuts), Patlıcan Salatası (chilled aubergine salad), Kalamar (calamari or squid) and for the really adventurous, Beyin Salatası (brain salad).
Shopaholics will find an endless array of tourist-friendly gift shops dotting the coastline but the more discerning shopper might want to check out the workshop of world-famous sandal-maker, Ali Güvern. In the business since 1966, Güvern’s bespoke handmade sandals are worn by the likes of Mick Jagger and Donna Karan.
If you want to try something different then perhaps the Jeep Safari is for you (95TL/€41.00). On the safari, an English speaking driver will take you across the highest peaks of the peninsula providing magnificent panoramic views of the Aegean landscape. The excursion includes a stop off in the peaceful town of Mazı for lunch and a dip in its glimmering bay.
Bodrum probably has more bars per area than any other place in Turkey. Halikarnas is the biggest, and most popular club in town, if not the whole Aegean. But locals tend to avoid it because it’s quite expensive compared to surrounding bars and clubs. It’s still worth a visit if only to sample its dynamic laser and floorshow and the loudest music system in Turkey.