Top 6 things to do in & around Bodrum, Turkey

The variety of attractions in Bodrum is what makes it such a hit with holidaymakers. From its ancient culture and fabulous food to the laidback lifestyle, beautiful beaches and incredible weather, this popular resort on the Turkish Riviera really does have 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

Here, we look at some of the main things you can plan to do on a holiday to the region from visiting local markets and UNESCO World Heritage sites to enjoying boat trips and even popping over to Greece.

Planning your summer escape to Bodrum? All inclusive guru First Choice has a wealth of deals on holidays to the region departing from airports across the UK.

1. Beach clubs

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.

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

Our pick of beach clubs to consider visiting when on holiday in Bodrum include:

  • 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 offering loads of water sports
  • Kumbahce Beach - a very popular public beach where you can hire loungers and umbrellas

2. 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 Pythias to construct the biggest tomb and temple-like mausoleum the world had ever seen.

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

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

Bodrum remained a quiet fishing village well into the 20th century. It wasn't until around 1950 when Turkish writer Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli was exiled here, that many other artists and intellectuals, attracted by the town's romantic and inspiring atmosphere, turned their attention to Bodrum.

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.

3. Historic sites

As well as the ruins of the mausoleum, there's the massive 15th-century castle which looms over the harbour. Built by the Crusaders, the castle's walls incorporate stones and reliefs from the mausoleum, proving that 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 the castle also offers splendid views over the Aegean Sea, but what's much more fascinating is the Museum of Underwater Archaeology located on the ground floor.

It's one of a kind, and the amazing exhibits include ancient treasures which were recovered from the bottom of the sea. The most impressive exhibits include unbroken glass vessels with colours so fresh they could have been made yesterday.

4. Bodrum's bazaars

Visiting local markets, or bazaars, is one of the greatest pleasures on any trip and, of course, Bodrum is no exception with two popular markets taking place throughout the week.

For luxurious finds such as designer handbags and branded goods, make for the port area where you'll find a selection of familiar high-end names.

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

Firstly, there's the Clothes Bazaar, also known as the Textile Market, which runs every Tuesday. Here, you'll find locally-made fabrics, kilims, carpets, linens, towels, and, of course, a few knock-off t-shirts and handbags as well.

Don't miss the foodie offerings found from late Thursdays to late Fridays at the Food Bazaar. Expect fresh fruit and vegetables as well as seafood, cheeses, sweets, and spices. Meanwhile, luxury lovers after familiar high-end brands should head to the port area, where a small selection of designer shops await.

5. Day trips & excursions

If 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 Delphi and its famed Temple of Apollo in Didim along the way.

As well as laidback day cruises to various bays and activities like kayaking, you could also hop on one of the daily ferries to the Greek island of Kos, a mere 24 km across the Aegean.

6. 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.

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

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-experience for its size alone.

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

When to visit Bodrum

Turkey's Aegean coast has a long 'good' season and, with the exception of July and August when it can really be too hot for some people, the climate is warm and sunny with next to no rain.

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

Find out more about the weather in Bodrum and see when we think is the very best time to go to enjoy all of these fine attractions.

Beguiled by the sound of Bodrum? Don't miss the latest deals on all inclusive breaks to the Turkish coast with First Choice, where there's something for every group size and every budget.

Inka Piegsa

Inka Piegsa
Article updated on Wednesday 19th December 2018 in: Beach Culture Middle East Summer

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