A Quick Guide to Bodrum and Turkey by Darren Edwards
Turkey is a unique place and a meeting point of cultures located where many of the world’s great civilizations were formed.
Having long acted as a bridge between Eastern and Western cultures, today’s Turkey plays its part in the world being as a member of the Council of Europe, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE and the G-20. Turkey is also a member of the EU Customs Union dating back to 1995, and began negotiations for full membership of the European Union in 2005. The country also belongs to other international organizations, such as the Turkic Council, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and is part of the Chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Energy Club for 2017. Today, Turkey is regarded as a regional power with its growing economy and diplomatic initiatives. Despite global and regional geopolitical crises, its economy continues to grow at a rate of 4% and is the 4th fastest growing country among G20 members.
Bodrum is a major port city in the south-western corner of Turkey on the Aegean coast. There are a diverse range of towns and villages on the peninsula surrounding Bodrum itself, each with a character of its own. In addition to the modern towns and villages, there are the ruins of twelve ancient settlements, encompassing approximately five thousand years of Lelegian, Carian, Ionian, Persian and Greek history.
In ancient times, the modern town of Bodrum was known as Halicarnassus, the capital city of the province of Caria. It is now a major centre for tourism in Turkey, and is known for its stunning scenery, all-year-round sunshine – the average winter temperature being around 15°C and for the summer, approximately 34°C. The town offers a wide range of visitor and residential attractions, and cultural influences, with expats settling and mingling from all around the world. Cafes, restaurants, and bars have flourished alongside the town’s Milta marina, which is also the starting point of day-trips for lunch to the nearby Dodecanese Greek islands. Sailing around the Bodrum Peninsula on a gulet is also an experience not to be missed.
Transportation and Arriving to the Bodrum Peninsula
The nearest airport is Bodrum-Milas International Airport (BJV) about half an hour away by car from the city center. There are buses directly connecting the town to the airport, or private transfers can be arranged in advance.
Izmir, Turkey’s second largest city, situated on the eastern Aegean coast, is just 2.5 hours away by car. Izmir is served by Izmir Adnan Menderes International Airport, which is an excellent option for long-haul flights. Bodrum has a good public transportation network within the town and around the peninsula, and there links to other areas in Turkey from the town’s main bus station. The area is well connected by boat for access to nearby Greek Islands, and many services run daily from the port. There are also companies providing vehicle rental, concierge services, and private charter yacht, jet, and helicopter services, all of which we can assist you with.
Museums and Galleries
Due to its strategic position at the point where the Aegean and Mediterranean seas converge, many civilisations have sought to control the area around Bodrum, from the Persians and the ancient Greeks, to the Crusaders and Ottoman Turks. These are some of the stories that can be discovered in Bodrum’s museums. Bodrum Castle and the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), and the Bodrum Maritime Museum are some of the places every visitor should see. There are also a number of art galleries displaying the works of contemporary Turkish artists, such as the Mine Art Gallery, Art 212, Trafo Art Gallery, and the Nurol Art Gallery.
The Milta Bodrum Marina is one of the most prestigious marinas on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts with a capacity of 425 berths, fully-fledged technical services, 24/7 security, and health care. The Palmarina Marina is located in Yalıkavak ~ 20km from the town of Bodrum. It has a berthing capacity of 620, and dry berthing is possible for up to 140 boats. Palmarina can also provide berthing facilities for mega yachts.
D-Marin’s Turgutreis flagship marina in Turgutreis is also only 20km from Bodrum. D-Marin Turgutreis has a berthing capacity of 550, and provides med moorings and finger pontoons for 8-15m yachts, plus med moorings and alongside for 16-75m yachts.
Restaurants, Bars, and Entertainment
The Bodrum peninsula is well known for its wide range of shops, activities, cinemas, world famous restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, such as Zuma, Nusr-et, Halikarnas Night Club, Kuro Chan, and activities at the Mandarin Oriental. Joining in the singing, dancing, eating and drinking at one of the local meyhanes (tavernas) is an unforgettable experience. The harbour areas are a major focus for tourism, and marine activities, such as scuba diving, are popular pastimes for those staying or living in the area. A range of cultural festivals are held in the town of Bodrum each year, particularly upon the grounds of the landmark Bodrum Castle. Favorite haunts include:
Shopping in Bodrum is a wonderful and fulfilling experience with a a wide range of choices. There are local markets all over the Bodrum peninsula, selling local products: fresh fruits and vegetables, textiles, and so much more. These markets move from town to town daily. There are also four shopping malls in serving the peninsula where famous global brands can be found. The major retail shops and shopping centers are:
Bodrum’s local cuisine, like the rest of the Aegean region, focusing largely on fresh fish and meat, vegetables and olive oil. The pazar is where you can find all the ingredients needed to cook local dishes. The pazaar in Bodrum is your one-stop shop to buy fresh fruits, herbs, vegetables, all kinds of local cheeses, olives, and olive oil, and much more. Mingling in the pazaar is one of the most memorable interactions with local people and villagers, learning about farm-to-table and how to prepare traditional dishes.
There are number of public and private schools serving the Bodrum peninsula. The private schools offer the International Baccalaureate program in English. Besides the primary, secondary and high schools there are also fine arts faculty and art institutes in Bodrum.
Bodrum offers various alternatives for medical treatments. There are private and public hospitals, such as the Acibadem and Bodrum Ozel hospitals, various healthcare centers, and a centrally-managed ambulance network. There are also numerous pharmacies to deal with your health and medication needs.
Bodrum is one of the most popular travel destinations in Turkey, with a diverse selection of hotels welcoming guests from all around the world. In recent years, several 5-7-star luxury hotels, and resorts such as Mandarin Oriental, Amanruya, Swiss Hotel, Kempinski, and Hilton , have opened branches on the Bodrum peninsula, with Banyan Tree opening soon Within these there are private health clubs in which you can find spa, massage, and gym services.
Outdoor Sport Activities
Bodrum offers multiple opportunities for fun or spending relaxing time with your family and friends. There are lots of sporting activities to choose from, such as scuba diving, yachting, wind surfing, trekking, sailing, cycling, and golf among others. Bodrum also hosts several international yachting competitions, including the annual international Bodrum Wooden Cup Regatta held during the 3rd week of every October.
Other activites include:
Bodrum Golf Club Ortakent
Blue Coves and Boat Tours
Daily boat tours to the Aegean’s blue coves are one of the most popular attractions for foreign and local tourists.
Cennet Cove Aspat Cove
Bodrum hosts several international cultural festivals throughout the year, particularly for lovers of dance and music. One of these is the Gümüşlük International Classical Music Festival, held in the historical town of Gümüşlük on the western tip of the peninsula. It began in 2004 as a series of concerts and has grown to be a meeting place for internationally-renowned musicians and up-and-coming performers. Another spectacular venue for the arts is the Gümüşlük Byzantium Ekklesia Church.
by Darren Edwards