While the snow is drifting and blowing outside in Keyport, New Jersey, I received a call from a good friend of mine from Canada who would like to spend some time in Bodrum. I want to give my friend a good list of things to do and the top places to visit in Bodrum. I realize that if I do this as a blog post, it will help the others visiting such a beautiful peninsula with many little towns dotting the coastline including the main town of Bodrum itself.
Actually, she is going to stay at our house in Gokcebel, near Yalikavak. I am thrilled that she will be the first person staying at our house. It would be wonderful for her to fly all the way from Nova Scotia to Bodrum and enjoy the beauty of rainy winter turning into a spring full of wild flowers, enchanted with the noise of the honey bees, almond blossoms, and little lambs trying to get under their mama’s to drink their milk.
Summer is not far and we all are dreaming of places to visit. I still want to visit every place on this planet Earth. But, Bodrum has a special place in my heart. One day, I will be living there more than a few weeks at a time.
Although Bodrum is usually not covered in short Turkey tours, it is one of the most spectacular places to visit in Turkey. It is not just the natural beauty; it is the food, music and the culture that make Bodrum an unforgettable place.
I hope you find this blog post useful as much as my friend would.
Top places to visit in Bodrum:
- Town of Bodrum: The Castle of St. Peter (built in 15th century by the knights of St. John), the Museum of Underwater Archeology (located in the castle – houses ancient artifacts including amphoras and rare glass objects dating back to 1400 BCE), the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (one of the ancient seven wonders of the world), the Bar district, Bodrum Marina, ancient Windmills, the amphitheater, and Turkish hamams. Visit all these ancient wonders or just walk around the downtown area and enjoy the souvenir shops.
- Yalikavak: On one side, a brand new luxurious modern new marina with pricey restaurants, while the other side is dotted with small restaurants and boutique hotels still keeping the charm of a small seashore town. The Yalikavak market on Thursdays is the best in the peninsula. You can find almost anything from fresh produce to cheeses to home-pressed olive oils to any household items from cutlery to exquisite curtains. Do not miss visiting the restaurants in the evening, especially after 8. Every one of them will have music. Just choose the one you like and enjoy a dinner right next to the water. Sunset in Yalikavak will never fail you.
- Gumusluk: Another little town with a few restaurants and pensions dotting the coastline. There are new excavations of a Carian city there now after the discovery of the Myndos Gate. We are inquiring about volunteering at the excavation site.
- Turgut Reis:Large town with a long beach front with wonderful view of the islands.
- Gundogan: Nestled between mountains, it still preserves its old charm. Great beach and wonderful restaurants dot the coastline with houses reaching all the way to the top of the hills.
- Golturkbuku: Used to be two towns called Golkoy and Turkbuku, now it is combined as one town: Golturkbuku. Turkbuku section is where the high socialites and celebrities spend their summer. It is as quiet as a mouse in winter. Find a way to drive to a hidden gem, called Cennet Koy (Paradise Cove), frequented by the boats.
- Torba: Two small coves with beautiful homes buried under incredible greenery. Fishing boats and private motor yachts and sail boats quietly sit next to each other. Go visit and have a quiet day walking through the narrow streets. The residents care so much about their lush flora that you may face an old olive tree right in the middle of the road, saved by the locals during the road contruction.
- Cokertme: One of the farthest towns from Bodrum with a few restaurants and a beautiful beach. You may spot very luxury yachts in its secluded cove.
- Bogazici and pink flamingos: Bogazici is a beautiful fishing village with great restaurants. If you are visiting between October and April, you will see the pink flamingos.
- Bitez: Magnificient beach and cafes and restaurants. Another favorite spot for the high socialite and the tourists.
- Yahsi and Ortakent: We fell in love with Yahsi with its crisp clean blue waters and the beach. We did not have a chance to visit its adjacent Ortakent beach. What we heard is that it is as beautiful as Yahsi. You can spend the entire day on the beach right in front of the boutique hotels and you can use their beach umbrellas and chairs given that you eat your lunch there.
- Mazi: Another long drive through the mountains and a hill town called Mumcular, you reach this beautiful quaint town well-protected from the home developers. A favorite spot for the Blue Voyage gulets.
- Guvercinlik: A stretch of a small town between Bodrum airport and Bodrum. To see the beauty, you need to drive thru the narrow roads to its little center with restaurants stretching into the sea and its cute beaches.
- Akyarlar: Driving from Turgut Reis to Bodrum, you will come to this little village famous for its pristine waters. Cafes and restaurants dot the coastline.
Places to visit outside Bodrum (most ferries and boats operate only between June and October):
- Daily Boat Trips: From many towns in Bodrum, you can catch a daily boat trip to some famous swimming spots (e.g. Aquarium with its crystal clear cyan waters) and little islands.
- Blue Voyage: To see the real natural beauty of the Gokova Bay between Bodrum Peninsula and Datca Peninsula, you need to take a Blue Voyage. It is incredible.
- Datca: During summer months, you can take a ferry to Datca and visit this beautiful town.
- Ferries to Greek Islands from Bodrum and Turgut Reis:You can take a ferry from Bodrum to Simi, Kos, and Rhodes, and from Turgut Reis to Patmos, Kos, Kalymnos.
- Ephesus and Pamukkale trips: There are local travel agencies in Bodrum and Yalikavak that you can book daily trips to Ephesus and Pamukkale.
- Buses and dolmuses to many other cities and towns: Since Bodrum is a big tourist destination, there are buses to many cities in Turkey. You can get your tickets at the bus station in Bodrum.
Music: Many restaurants and bars provide top quality music from Jazz to Turkish Classical Music to Disco dance music. Our favorite is Cafe Minor in Yalikavak where the owners Anil and Kivanc are musicians themselves. They quit their jobs, one as a doctor and one as a film distributor in Europe, and pursued their love for music and food.
Food: Fish, fish, fish! If you are in Bodrum, you should have seafood. It is always fresh. Bodrum is also famous for its wild greens and mushrooms in winter, citrus fruit (especially Bodrum’s own clementines), and abundance of vegetables and fruits all year around. There are great stores like Cingiloglu to get cheese, milk, eggs, olives, jams, and honey, mostly their own produce. Eat all the unique mezes at the restaurants, make sure you have room for the fish.
How to get around in Bodrum, Airport Transfer, and Car Rental: If you like driving, best is to rent a car. Or, if you want to have a cultural experience and take the local transportation like the locals, then use Bodrum’s web-like transportation system: Dolmus (minibuses). There are bus/dolmus stations in every town. You can stop a dolmus anywhere on its route to get on and off.
First time, we rented a car while we were in Bodrum this January. It was unusually cold and rainy and I was quite sick. After Al’s venture out getting me chicken soup, we decided renting a car is the only way I can get out of the house without waiting for a dolmus to come during those cold days.
Our friends in Yalikavak recommended Sunset Bodrum Rent a Car. The owner Ilyas Kurt is a wonderful person. Our car was very comfortable. The price was very good. His English was very good so that Al did not have to dig into Google translation this time. Ilyas also provides airport transfers for a very reasonable fee.
Here is his contact information:
Sunset Bodrum Rent a Car
0 535 336 3971
0 532 547 2832
If you do not want to have a private airport transfer, you can take the airport bus to Bodrum downtown. It drops you off at the Bodrum Dolmus and Bus Terminal. And you can take a dolmus to the other towns in Bodrum Peninsula for a couple of dollars.
Let me know if you want to learn more about Bodrum. You can also visit: http://www.bodrumpeninsulatravelguide.co.uk/ or http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Middle_East/Turkey/Mugla_Ili/Bodrum-1850697/TravelGuide-Bodrum.html
Bon Voyage Lynn! I hope you enjoy Bodrum as much as we do.
Bon Voyage to my friends in Keyport who are planning to visit Bodrum this September.
If you have already visited Bodrum, tell me what your favorite place is in Bodrum!
(Note: Most pictures in this blog post are taken during January 2015 and they reflect the winter view of the Bodrum Peninsula).