Bodrum is the site of the ancient city of Halikarnassus, the location of the famous Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (built after 353 BCE) - one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The ancient monument was destroyed by earthquakes in the Middle Ages - some of the remnants can be seen in London's British Museum.
Bodrum is a fascinating place as it has a pleasing contrast between the Ancient city - where there are discernable fragments everywhere in the town -and a playground for rich Turks and an array of foreign visitors. It is one of the centres of the Turkish Tourist industry and is the market town for the Bodrum Peninsula which consists of a number of towns and villages nestling on the edge of the Coast. Until the 1960s the town was a fishing village which changed when a number of Turkish intellectuals gathered and wrote about Bodrum. Most notable of the these was Cevat Sekir 'The Fisherman of Hallikarnassus', an Oxford Educated Turk who devoted his time to writing and planting numerous plants and trees which continue to dot the landscape of the Town. His book the 'Blue Voyage' describing gullet trips around the Turkish coast, and his descriptions of the astoundingly clear Blue Seas of the Aegean and the delights of a trip around the coasts adjacent to Bodrum inspired a whole generation who have come to emulate his trips. Bodrum has therefore grown as a sailing destination and thanks to its warm but not humid climate has become a top destination for visitors who enjoy the combination of the ancient past together with all the usual tourist paraphernalia. There are large numbers of shops and restaurants - from humble cafes to exquisite Turkish cuisine served by an array of waiting staff.
Modern Bodrum strangely seems to have two contrasting sides to it.
The east half of the town has a long thin but reasonable beach, which has been added in the last few years, with the authorities trying and largely succeeding in creating a good beach. Behind the beach lay all the bars, restaurants, and night clubs that are typical of Mediterranean resort towns. This means open fronted bars that do not come alive until 10PM when everybody goes out. As well as some nice beach fronted bars (e.g. Cafe del Mar being a reasonably chilled out and attractive bar, with attractive staff so that helps) it also has some terrible ones, if you do not like the hard drinking culture of some tourists. It does have some reasonable clubs. Halikarnas being the obvious one as it is huge (4000 people). It also is mostly outdoors and hosts foam parties on regular occasions.
The other half of the town is the west side. This mainly revolves around the Marina and Yacht Club. Here life is a little more sedate with shops catering mainly to those who have stepped off their boats. Expensive supermarkets with proper wine and olive oil as well as the obligatory Helley Hanson to be able to purchase your new jacket. There are a number of nice restaurants if you look hard enough and some good clothes shops. Like all resorts being directly on the sea front increases the prices. During the evenings there is a wonderful atmosphere as the locals and tourists all seem to promenade along the sea front.
There are many cultural events - notably the Ballet Festival in August, a wide range of pop concerts at the Castle or in the Amphitheatre which has been restored in the last few years, having been built some 2,000 years ago.
According to Herodotus, born B.C. 484 in Halikarnassus (ancient name for Bodrum), the city was founded by the Dorians. Megarans enlarged the city B.C. 650 and changed its name to Halikarnassus, and then Persians started to rule the city from B.C. 386
Halikarnassus had its glorious days, when it was the capital of the Karia B.C. 353. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum, was built there by Artemisia for the memory of King Mausolos.
After the Roman and Byzantium rule for ages, Ottomans have conquered the city in 1522, during the time of Suleyman, The Magnificent. The city was named "Bodrum" after the Turkish Republic was declared.
Known as one of the Seven Wonders of The Ancient World, The Mauseloum was built by Artemisia, the sister and the wife of King Mausolos, B.C. 355.
This work of art, stood on a 21 stepped pyramid which was 46 metres high and carried a horse car symbolising victory on it, had 36 marble columns in Ionian style.
The mausoleum was destroyed in an earthquake; and the ruins were used in building of the Halicarnassus Castle. Many statues and reliefs from the mausoleum were carried to The British Museum by archeologist C. Newton, in 1856 and now lies there for public viewing.
During winters and springs, November through April, the weather in Bodrum is generally very good with a few heavy shower periods, usually taking place in November, and then some time after new year and the last one in March or April. February is especially pleasant with not too cold nights and the almond blossoming and the abundance of wild ruccola all over the place.
Summers, arriving after April, are as hot as it can get (expect temperatures higher than 40°C) and sunny with no rain.
- 1 Milas–Bodrum Airport (BJV IATA) (35 km away from Bodrum). Many flight companies operate charter flights to Bodrum in Summer season.
From the Airport: There are Havas Shuttle services in accordance with each planes' arriving to the domestic lines of Bodrum Milas Airport. Ticket fee from airport to Bodrum Center is 17 TL, journey takes 40–45 minutes.
Food and drink costs at the airport are astronomical. For example, a can of soda costs about €5 whereas it would be a fraction of that in the city. Take this into account before arriving at the airport.
There are many intercity bus companies which operate bus services to Bodrum from major cities of Turkey such as Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Antalya, Adana, Bursa, and Konya. After arriving at any of these cities, Bodrum is reached by bus.
By bus: from Istanbul to Bodrum 13 hours; İzmir to Bodrum 4 hours; Ankara to Bodrum 10 hours, Antalya to Bodrum 7 hours.
Sometimes, if you are arriving from a very distant destination (such as Cappadocia), the bus will not arrive directly to Bodrum (inquire about this when you purchase your ticket as they don't always bother to let you know and some buses are direct while other are not) but rather arrive at a nearby town (usually Mugla) where you will change to a smaller bus which will take you directly to the central bus station in Bodrum. The original bus ticket you purchased to Bodrum will usually include this leg of the trip in the price so make sure you do not pay again when the ticket seller comes by to collect the ticket fee on the smaller bus.
The best way to get around is by dolmuş, (a shared taxi following a fixed route) one of the cheapest ways of transport in Turkey. Additionally there is a bus service that runs in Bodrum, where you can ride for 3 lira.
- 1 Bodrum Castle/Castle of St Peter (Bodrum Kalesi), ☏ . Daily 08:00 - 18:30. Built from 1402 by the Knights Hospitaller, the castle is easily the most prominent landmark in the city. The castle now operates as a museum, with the focus on the Museum of Underwater Archaeology (see below). It is one of the world's best preserved monuments dating back to medieval times. The supervision of the construction of the castle was assigned to the German architect Heinrich Schlegelholt, so that the latest developments in castle design were included. The castle is quite pretty and the views are spectacular. 20 TL.
- 2 Bodrum Amphitheatre, ☏ . Tu-Su 08:30 - 16:30. Is another ancient structure accredited to the reign of King Mausolus, although it wasn’t completed until the Roman era. The theatre is another witness to the great past of Bodrum, and it is one of the best preserved structures of ancient Halikarnassus. You can find this site on the road to Gumbet 8 TL.
- 3 Windmills in Bodrum. One of the many sights in the Bodrum peninsula are the white windmills, which were made of stone and lined with wooden planks. These windmills were used from the mid-18th century until the 1970s as a means to grind flour. Seven windmills can be found on a hill between Bodrum and Gumbet, at the road to Turgutreis and a lot of windmills can be found around the former fishing port Yalikavak. free admission.
- 4 Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, ☏ . Tu-Su 08:30 - 16:30. A short walk uphill from the marina, the foundations of the Mausoleum (see above) can be seen. 8 TL.
- 5 Myndos Gate. The Myndos Gate is the only surviving monumental gate of the 7 km long ancient city wall of Halikarnassos. The city walls are the most important remains of the city of Halicarnassus. The gate can clearly be seen with its two towers. The entrance is free of charge.
- 6 Ottoman Shipyard & Tower. History of the shipyard dates back to 1775. Here the entire Ottoman fleet was destroyed by the Russian fleet during the Cesme naval battle in 1770. After the battle, the shipyard was established to rebuilt the Ottoman fleet in 1775. There is also a tower at the Ottoman Shipyard and Ottoman cemetery. The tower is used for variety of art exhibitions nowadays. Free admission.
Museums and galleries
- 7 Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology (Inside Bodrum Castle), ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00 - 16:30. Established in 1961, this great museum has won numerous awards, and displays amazing finds from underwater excavations along the Turkish coast. Includes the famous Uluburun Shipwreck, one of the earliest and richest wrecks yet discovered. Not to be missed. 20 TL.
- 8 Zeki Müren Art Museum, Zeki Müren Caddesi, No:19, ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00 - 16:30. Museum is devoted to famous Turkish singer and composer Zeki Müren. It's been established in Bodrum as Müren used to live here. 3 TL.
During the peak season, the beach that stretches between the castle and Halikarnas is very good for swimming; The water is roped off to prevent boats coming in, and the beach and water is cleaned daily by the restaurants and by the city authorities. Sunbeds and beanbags on the beach are free of charge, although the restaurants that own them will bring you menus or offer you drinks every half hour.
Another option is to go to the nearby beaches of Gumbet or Bitez: take a taxi (15-25 TL) or go to the bus station and hop on a Dolmus (2-3 TL). These beaches are much more suited for sunbathing and have actual sand (Bodrum's beach is mostly pebbles, whereas the water at Gumbet & Bitez is very shallow), sunbeds are free of charge and loud music is also there to entertain you. There are several pools with bars that do not charge an entrance fee even if you are not ordering anything. A variety of water sports is offered.
You can also hire a private boat for your own trip around the bay. Make sure all passengers have and wear lifejackets and that there is an emergency oar and kit on board. Taking a mobile phone in a plastic bag is advisable. Try snorkeling (go for good quality glass based goggles and kit available in most shops at around 20 TL).
- Aquatica - If you are looking for crazy day parties and a unique summer experience then try out this Floating Beach Club. It is located on the sea, in an untouched secluded bay, between Bodrum and Gumbet (access by shuttle boats). This concept offers day parties with international DJs, food, drinks and various watersports. It is open every day (11:00-20:00) from mid June to mid September.
- Hamam — Bodrum has a fine hamam, also known as a Turkish bath, located a few blocks inland from the harbour. Facilities are separated by gender with both sexes enjoying the same hours of operation. It is situated right across the bus terminal.
- Further afield there are the mud baths to visit. You go down the river on a rickety of chug-chug jump in bit baths of mud and roll around (The fun bit) and then clean off and go home. It’s also easy to go across to Kos or Rhodes for a day or two. When arriving there get a scooter (very dangerous but the best and easiest way to get around). There is of course loads of old architecture to visit around if you like that kind of thing.
- Windsurfing — There are some good possibilities for windsurfing at nearby Vass. It has a bit of a hippy air to it with lots of hire stands for boards and sails. Some may find there are just tooooo many people around in high season for it to be much fun, especially when there are competitions running.
- Diving - There are many diving clubs doing daily scuba diving tours all around the region, fees usually include lunch and snacks prepared on boat.
- Boat Tours - Public boat tours are arranged from almost all the beaches. Alternatively, you can make early reservation with the tour operator of your choice, many tour operators are located in the Bodrum Marina. Boat tours are a good way to explore various beaches surrounding Bodrum, as well as some must see island strands you can't reach by road.
- Yacht charter in the Aegean Sea. Windward Islands, one of the world's largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to luxury yacht in the Aegean Sea. Operating from different offices worldwide (USA, Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Hong Kong and Dubai).
- Rent a car and explore the beauty of Bodrum
- Take a dolmus from the central bus station (otogar) to the Tropical Camel Beach. It takes approx. 30 min from the bus station to the Camel Beach. You can ride a camel at the camel beach for 10 TL. The sea and the beach is one of the greatest in the Bodrum Peninsula.
- Tour in the marina and Bodrum Castle, photos with maps.
- Flaka Cruising, Bodrum. Bodrum is known for its traditional wooden sailing boats, called gulets. Mainly, there is sailed in the gulf of Gokova and Hirasonu, the Blue Cruise or Blue Voyage is done by motor/engine however there are a few charter companies who sail by windpower, one of them is Flaka Cruising and does offer this service by sailing by wind. Gulets can be chartered for your family gathering or by cabin. In the last case you share the gulet with other guests from around the world.
- 1 [dead link] Aquapark Dedeman Bodrum, ☏ . daily 10:30 - 17:00 (from May 22-Oct 5). A park with 23 waterslides, a 350-m wave river, a wave pool, a range of other pools, a great selection of restaurants and a disco. Adult €21; Child (7-12) €11; 0-6 and 60+ are free of charge.
- Bodrum Golf & Tennis Club, Ortakent, Bodrum, ☏ . 30-min lesson 60 TL.
- Dolphin Park Bodrum, Guvercinlik, Bodrum, Muğla (20 km off Bodrum by the road to Mugla). Dolphin show: W F Sa 16:00. They offer dolphins & sea animals show. It's also possible to arrange swimming with dolphins.
- Uyku Vadisi (Sleeping Valley) Hike (30 km of Bodrum in the direction towards Milas there is a village Gokceler, Uyku Vadisi is 1 km further). Start at the Old Mill Restaurant. On the way through the Uyku Vadisi you'll get a chance to see Gokceler Cave and also cross a few creeks. Overall it's relatively easy hike which takes about 1½ hrs both ways.
Always haggle for a better (if not half price) deal and go for clothing. Some great quality designer labeled outfits, shoes and trousers (fake or not) are definitely worth the lira being asked.
- Backpacker Bar & Grill, Ataturk Cad. 37A. 10:00-24:00. This is the only foreign-owned bar in town and serves traditional British food and Turkish favorites. It is located one street back from the main tourist strip and so has more of a relaxed feel. midrange.
- Berk Balik, Cumhuriyet Cad. 167 (directly at the beach promenade near Club Halikarnas), ☏ . Restaurant specialized in fresh fish. The owner and the staff are very friendly and helpful if you are not familiar with the broad variety of fish that is offered. Food is excellent and prices are moderate.
- Kocadon, Saray Sokak 1 (near to Bodrum Marina), ☏ . Bodrum's most elegant restaurant. Situated in an authentic courtyard surrounded by palm trees and banana plants, this 19th-century stone house restaurant offers Turkish and international cuisine, seafood and open buffet Turkish mezes. Perfect place for a romantic dinner with classical jazz music and soft candle light.
- Sunger Pizza (on the main street Neyzen Tevfik (No:241) in front of Bodrum Marina). Bodrum's famous restaurant specialized in pizza. You can eat delicious pizza with a reasonable price. Main courses are also great. Very crowded! Don't forget to register your name in waiting list.
- Terzi Mustafa. Bodrum's best fish restaurant, a bit expensive if Rakı is taken as drink.
- Urfa Diyarı, Barlar Sokagi (directly at the beach promenade more to the east end), ☏ . Offers freshly baked lahmacun and pide at very good prices (lahmacun is 4 TL, Pide around 7 TL). The staff is a bit slow and sometimes unhandy but always friendly and very hospitable. The lahmacun and pide, however, is always delicious and well worth the money.
- Vira's Restaurant, ☏ . Situated on Yahsi seafront, very good restaurant with traditional Turkish cuisine, steaks and grills, seafood dishes and pasta/pizza. Try Cokertme Kebabi, a local dish prepared with grilled fillet steak on fried potatoes with a special yogourt and tomato sauce.
The home of the doner kebap offers more tasty treats, try local delicatessens for flavoursome vegetable, pulses and meat dishes.
- Try Club X on corner of bar street (bouncers at door) which have more sophisticated clients and music is excellent mix of R&B, Dance, Funk and Turkish Pop.
- Kuba is a resto-lounge restaurant with an upscale menu.
- Fink is an open air club, with high prices. Societic
- Körfez Bar and Adamik are the oldest and most crowded Rock Bars in town. Great playlist, great drink prices.
- Kule Rock City is a new and another Rock Bar in Bodrum. Beer is €5. Cocktails €10. Smoking is free in some areas. Very crowded. Cannot be entered without a lady partner.
- Bodrum Marine Club is a club built into a large boat. The boat is a catamaran style, with a glass deck for the dance floor. At night the boat sets out to a point in the harbour where lights have been set into the ocean floor, pointing up. The local fish have learned that this is a good spot to hang out and get scraps thrown overboard, and you can see them swimming along under the dance floor. Watch out for the ticket hawkers set up on the streets in town though, if you arrive before the peak season hits they will go to great lengths to sell you a ticket. Claims of a "special party" that night will be made, often mentioning a big name European DJ like Tiesto. When you get on the boat you'll find it's just an ordinary night, no special party, and especially no Tiesto. If you go back to the ticket stand the next day to confront the person who made the false claims, they'll suddenly forget how to speak English. Continuing to harass them will result in a grudging admission that there was a "schedule change".
- Atami Hotel, Cennet Koyu n:48, Gölköy, 48400 Bodrum, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 23 km from Bodrum, Atami Hotel is a boutique hotel located in Paradise Bay. Very strict rules (No children, no pets) make for a quiet environment. €100-365.
- Bodrum Backpackers, Ataturk Cad. 31/B, Bodrum (5 minute walk from main bus station), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 10:00. The only dorm-style accommodation in Bodrum, located close to the city center and 100 meters to the beach. As well as shared and private dorms, this hostel also allows shoestring-budget travellers to sleep in their roof-top common area. 20-30 TL.
- Su Hotel. Close to the harbour in the quieter Western Bay, close enough to walk easily to the city center. The hotel is decorated with local crafts, art and antiques and the courtyard hosts a fine collection of Mediterranean plants and flowers including fig trees, oranges, cacti, pomegranates, to name but a few.
- Sina Otel, Atatürk cad. No:131 Torba, ☏ . A/C suites equipped with satellite/cable television, Internet access, shower with bathtub, international direct dial telephones and refrigerators with minibar. Some of its facilities and services are a swimming pool, Wi-Fi access, spa and massage service. From €59.
- Atrium Hotel (Very close to the city center). Almost clean. €100/room with halfboard meals included.
- Kavala Studios. Not very clean but very cheap and easy access to the city center. The rooms are decorated as studio apartments.
- Casa Dell'Arte Luxury Boutique Hotel Bodrum, Kilise Mevkii Mutlu Sok Torba-Bodrum, ☏ . Hotel with a private beach and outdoors jacuzzi. Contemporarily decorated rooms with a TV, wireless internet access. They also have yoga classes.
- Cor1007. Rooms with air-con, satellite TV, en-suite bathrooms, and balcony (some with a seaview, others overlooking the garden).
- Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay, Gerenkuyu Mevkii, Kızılağaç Köyü, Yalıçiftlik (14 km southeast of downtown Bodrum on the Barbaros Bay cliff), ☏ .
- 1 Sedative Bodrum Boutique Hotel & Spa, Emin Anter Bulvarı, Zeytinli Kahve Mevkii No:1, Torba, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. €170.
- Ada Hotel, Bağ arası Mah. Tepecik Caddesi 124/1 Göl-Türkbükü, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 13:00. Unique architecture and decoration: built out of carved stones to try to maintain a dying tradition. Also claims to provide good service.
- 2 Kaya Pansiyon, çarşı m. Hükümet str. No 10 (3 minutes from bus station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. In the heart of Bodrum, but in a peaceful location. Rooms with balcony, TV, air conditioner and bathroom. Venere top clean 2013 and Tripadvisor certificate of excellence 2013 awards. €double room €50.
Bodrum has a large stray dog population and large dogs can often be seen roaming around the streets or lying alongside a busy sidewalk. For the most part they are harmless. However, on occasion they do harass innocent bystanders so it is advised to use caution when approaching them and instruct children to keep their distance.
Telephone code of Bodrum is (+90) 252.
In the high season, there is direct boat service to:
Around the Bodrum Peninsula there are many small towns and villages to visit along the coast: