Bodrum attractions: Highlights of the popular Turkish resort

The variety of Bodrum attractions is what makes it such a hit with holidaymakers year after year. From the colourful and ancient culture, to the fabulous food, laidback lifestyle and beautiful beaches, this popular resort on the so-called Turkish Riviera really is one to consider for your next holiday. Whether you're after day trips, shopping, sun bathing or late nights, Bodrum has it all.

The port is one of Bodrum's great attractions - photo courtesy of Turkish Culture and Tourism Office
The port is one of Bodrum's great attractions - photo courtesy of Turkish Culture and Tourism Office

Bodrum attractions: discover top sights

On top of the selection of Bodum attractions just waiting to be explored, you have the added benefit of its excellent accessibility from the UK, endless cheap deals from leading holiday providers with something to suit all budgets, and the reliably hot and sunny weather which graces the coastline all summer. If you fancy sampling this part of Turkey for yourself, don't miss the following main Bodrum attractions:

Bodrum beach clubs

Typical decked beach club, Bodrum © _DODO - Flickr Creative Commons
Typical decked beach club, Bodrum © _DODO - Flickr Creative Commons

Bodrum's beach clubs are always a hit with holidaymakers. Many have sprung up along the coast where you can swim, eat, drink and party around the clock. Don't miss:

  • Bobeach Bodrum - located in the centre of town on the Milta Bodrum Marina
  • Billionaire Club Bodrum - the name says it all
  • Ottoflamm - club, private beach, hotel and restaurant all rolled into one
  • Fink Beach - a blue flag beach in the Ortakent area of Bodrum which offers many water sport activities
  • Kumbahce Beach - is a very popular public beach where you can hire loungers and umbrellas

The list goes on.

Love & art

The modern town of Bodrum is located on the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (or Tomb of Mausolus). Mausolus of Caria ruled as a Persian governor until his death in 353 BC. His wife and sister, Artemisia II of Caria was so grief stricken, that she employed the ancient Greek architects Satyros and Pythis to construct the biggest tomb and temple like mausoleum the world had ever seen.

The mausoleum stood for over a thousand years until it was finally destroyed by earthquakes. Today, only the foundation and a few reliefs are left but the site is still worth a visit, if only to dream about what love is capable of.

Ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus © Carole Raddato - Flickr Creative Commons
Ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus © Carole Raddato - Flickr Creative Commons

Until well into the twentieth century the port town of Bodrum was a quiet fishing village. Around 1950, when Turkish writer Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli was exiled here, he loved the romantic and inspiring atmosphere of Bodrum, and attracted many other artists and intellectuals.

Despite having become a famous holiday resort, Bodrum still has a distinct artistic flair, reflected in painters exhibiting their pictures along the promenade or in small art galleries, while the port is a popular stop for cruise ships bringing passengers of all nationalities to the town.

Historic sites

Apart from what's left of the mausoleum, there is the massive fifteenth century castle which dominates the harbour. Built by the Crusaders, the castle's walls incorporate debris, stones and reliefs from the mausoleum, as the ruins were used as building material. If you look closely, you'll also find the odd carved stone in private houses.

Graffiti left by Crusaders in Bodrum Castle © Kristal Dale - Flickr Creative Commons
Graffiti left by Crusaders in Bodrum Castle © Kristal Dale - Flickr Creative Commons

Exploring around the castle offers splendid views over the Aegean Sea, but what's much more fascinating is the Museum of Underwater Archaeology located on the ground floor of the castle. It's one of a kind, and the amazing exhibits include ancient treasures which were recovered from the bottom of the sea. For me, the most awesome are the unbroken glass vessels with colors so fresh they could have been made yesterday.

Presently, renewed excavations on the island of Myndos, also known as the Rabbit Island, are taking place just a few miles from Bodrum. Until recently there wasn't much of its Dorian past to see but now you can actually walk there through shallow water and watch the archaeologists at work.

Excursions

When you tire of the good life on the beach, there are many interesting day trips you can take over land and by sea. Coach tours will whisk you to the world famous historical site of Ephesus, stopping at the Apollo temple and oracle in Didim along the way, while daily ferries run to the Greek island of Kos if you fancy a boat trip.

Bodrum markets

Visiting local markets is one of the greatest pleasures of any trip and, of course, Bodrum is no exception. Famous throughout the region is the Tuesday textile market. Colorful cotton fabrics made locally compete with kilims, carpets, linen, towels and embroideries. Meanwhile, tourists tend to love the countless designer fakes. If you fancy the real deal, head to the port area where you'll find a select few big name luxury brands.

Fruit on display in Bodrum market © Alex Berger - Flickr Creative Commons
Fruit on display in Bodrum market © Alex Berger - Flickr Creative Commons

On Thursdays and Fridays, you shouldn't miss the food market with fresh fruit and vegetables as well as cheeses, sweets and spices on offer. Tip: if asking for directions use the word bazaar not market, as that refers to supermarkets.

Nightlife

There's no doubt about it, Bodrum is a party town. For more than 20 years, the most famous party spot has been Halikarnas, which overlooks the sea and the castle. It holds thousands of people and is the biggest open air club in Europe. There are different events on every night including well known DJs and theme parties - it's a must see for its size alone.

Halikarnas, largest open air club in Europe - photo courtesy of HALIKARNAS
Halikarnas, largest open air club in Europe - photo courtesy of HALIKARNAS

Another extraordinary place to party is Club Catamaran, which is actually a huge glass bottom boat. It lights up the ocean below, whilst above water music and laser shows entertain.

Places to stay

Whether you stay in Bodrum itself or further along the coast, accommodation in Bodrum caters to all tastes and budgets, with everything from self catering apartments and B&Bs to luxury resorts. Expedia has many offers on holidays to and hotels in Bodrum, as does Jet2holidays, which specialises in breaks to Bodrum from the north of England and Scotland.

Bodrum Castle from inside the port - photo courtesy of Turkish Culture and Tourism Office
Bodrum Castle from inside the port - photo courtesy of Turkish Culture and Tourism Office

As you can see, Bodrum has something for every taste, from plain chilling out to culture trips. The best months to visit are from May to October. Turkey's Aegean coast has a long 'good' season and with the exception of July and August when it can get very hot, the climate during these months is warm with next to no rain. If you're interested, you can read more about Bodrum's climate, and don't forget to check out the latest cheap holiday deals.

Inka Piegsa

Inka Piegsa
Posted on Wednesday 22nd July 2015 in: Culture Summer

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