Bodrum is one of the most popular tourist resorts on the Aegean coast of Turkey. With the benefits of a legendary sea, amicable inhabitants and an abundance of first-class restaurants, Bodrum has everything one could wish for in a holiday destination.
Bodrum town centre is just a 25 minute drive from Bodrum International Airport. During the summer, flights to Bodrum are quite frequent, and prices competitive. From Bodrum airport you can take a taxi into town, or a catch one of the buses leaving regularly from just outside the airport terminal. If possible, book your transfer prior to your arrival, as it will be substantially cheaper than if paid for on the spot.
Originally known as Halicarnassus, Bodrum amazingly dates back to 1300 BC, with numerous civilizations having settled or paid a visit here over the centuries. The city’s most notable period was in the 3rd century BC, when Bodrum was capital of Caria and famous for its sailing and boatbuilding trades. The Roman and Byzantine empires both ruled Bodrum for a number of years before eventually moving on, leaving the city wide open for the Knights of St. Peter who occupied the region in around 1402 AD, erecting a castle which still proudly stands in the city, arguably Bodrum’s most famous landmark.
-St. Peter’s castle, possibly the most prominent of Bodrum’s many attractions, began construction by the Knights of St. John in 1402. In 1409, building of the castle became of utmost importance to the Church, and so the Papal office sent an army of able-bodied Christians to work on the site with the promise of a guaranteed place in Heaven.
In the 1960’s, the castle became the official storage site of underwater findings, and now houses The Underwater Museum.
-The Mausoleum of Halikarnassus is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Originally standing at an estimated 60 meters of height, the tomb is King Mausolus was built for him by his sister-wife, Artemisia. It was customary, at the time, for men to marry their sisters in order to protect the family’s assets. Dying in 353 BC, he left Artemisia devastated and so, to pay her respects, she decided that no expense would be spared in the construction of his tomb. Greece’s most celebrated artists were commissioned to adorn it. Life-sized statues of ferocious lions and legendary warriors adorned the surrounding area, fashioning a fitting setting for the tomb. Unfortunately, only the foundations remain as a devastating earthquake in 1308 AD caused most of the magnificent creation to fall, crumbling, to the ground.
-The Ancient Amphitheatre situated just above the main highway, has also been impressively restored and is used to as a showcase for a number of events, including the music and arts festival in September. It originally seated 13,000 people, although its current capacity isn’t more than 7,000. The amphitheatre offers a fabulous view of the city, which is alone worth the trip.
-The Myndos Gate is located just off ‘Old Gumbet Road’. Formerly, it was the main entrance to Halicarnassus when the impressive city walls were still standing.
-The Ottoman Tower was constructed around 1794 AD, designed to protect the Ottoman naval shipyard from pirates who had the inconvenient habit of raiding the shipyard for money, gold and anything else they could get their hands on. Fortunate enough to discover the remnants of Roman-era baths during recent refurbishing of the tower; archaeologists unearthed and restored the find which has become yet another of the many attractions drawing visitors to Bodrum.
Activities and Sports
Bodrum is famous for its excellent sailing facilities. The Bodrum Cup is a celebrated annual yacht regatta for wooden boats, locally known as gullets. The competition is unique in that not only is it the only Regatta in the world solely for wooden boats but also because the vessels can compete with passengers aboard, meaning that entirely inexperienced sailors can compete in the world renowned competition. The race takes place along the ‘Blue Voyage’ route with its abundance of picturesque coves and islands embellishing the way.
is plentiful in Bodrum where the shops and boutiques stay open until the wee hours of the morning, great for making some after-dinner purchases. The city is also notorious for its black market offering rip-offs of name-brand products which are so well-crafted that you can’t tell them from the genuine article. One of the most sought-out attractions of Bodrum is the ‘Oasis Shopping, Culture and Entertainment Centre’, comprised of shops, bars, restaurants, cafés and a modern cinema. It is a vast complex, in excess of 10,000 square meters, where you can easily pass a whole day simply exploring and indulging yourself with delectable delights the centre has to offer.
In Bodrum, the state-run hospital and two private hospitals all have 24-hour ambulance and emergency outcall service. Pharmacies, known locally as ‘eczane’, are open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday to Saturday. The pharmacies do close on Sundays though one remains open on a rotational basis. If looking for an open pharmacy on a Sunday, you will find the address of the one that’s open posted on every closed pharmacy’s door, or you can merely dial #118, directory assistance.
Food and Drink
Bodrum offers a sizable array of eateries, gathered around the bay on enchanting narrow streets. In them, you are apt to find traditional Turkish cuisine, classical European fare, Italian, Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes as well as familiar favorites like fish ‘n’ chips or steak pie and peas.
Try Meyhaneler Caddesi Street for its affordable prices or Ataturk Caddesi street the enormous selection of different options to choose from. As far as drinking goes, head straight for Cumhuriyet Caddesi Street, “Do not pass GO”. This is most definitely the place to be. You’ll find local taverns selling raki and water at discount prices right next door to high-class bars selling Russian vodka and red bull.
After drinking your share of beer, raki, or whatever your poison may be, try hitting Halikarnas, an open-air nightclub, and dance the night away, under the stars, with 5000 other people!