Getting to know all about Bodrum is a fascinating journey into one of Turkey’s most celebrated holiday destinations. The large town and exciting collection of coastal holiday resorts in the Milas province of Aegean Turkey have found their rightful place among foreign and domestic tourists and property investors alike.
Sitting in western Turkey, the Bodrum Peninsula with its Aegean climate, gorgeous sandy beaches, mega-yacht marinas, a vibrant tourism and sailing scene and bustling nightlife, has a history rooted in Turkish Riviera Blue Voyage Cruises on a traditional gulet boat.
However, there is much more to boast about than that. Whether you like to spend your time surfing and sunning yourself, spiking your adrenalin with ‘heart in your mouth’ activities or you prefer to soak up the local culture and Turkish life, Bodrum is the perfect place to visit and live.
All About Bodrum
Known as the ‘St Tropez’ of Turkey, Bodrum has garnered much favour with investors, Turkish elite and global celebrities, because of upmarket holiday resorts like Turkbuku. It also attracts all kinds of tourists from couples on a romantic week away, to families on all-inclusive beach resort deals, while local Turks take a seat to spend an afternoon people watching and celeb spotting with a tulip-shaped glass of Turkish tea.
Because of its fantastic Aegean location, Bodrum is also the best place from which to explore the Turkish coastline and Dodecanese Islands. With many marinas, daily boat trip excursions are favourite activities while ferries take you to several Greek Islands for some alternative sightseeing.
Underwater Archaeology and a Stunning Castle
Despite its modern, upmarket reputation, history and culture are everywhere you look from a huge castle dominating the coastline to underwater archaeology sites. The Knights of Rhodes built the 15th century Bodrum Castle. Overlooking the harbour and international marina, they used stones from the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, built between 353 and 350 BC in Halicarnassus city, which is the Bodrum we see today.
Beautiful Beaches and Aegean Sea Views
Bodrum has kept its original charm, offering the perfect medley of traditional culture with Turkish luxury at its finest, all sprawled out along beautiful beaches and the mesmerising Aegean Sea. Naturally, being a holiday destination, the beachfront is where it’s all at.
Cosy unspoilt coves and bays to long stretches of sand with adrenaline pumping water sports break up a day sunbathing and swimming. Ada Bogazi, between Gumbet and Bitez, is Akvaryum Cove, stretching for three kilometres. Between Bodrum and Gorecki island, an area known as ‘Aquarium’ because of crystal clear waters is ideal for snorkelling.
Bagla Beach is perfect for budget camping tourists, and Golkoy’s cool breeze helps escape the heat. This beautiful cove faces north, bringing more cooling breezes, but is always lush with olive and tangerine trees.
Kargi Bay also known as ‘Camel Beach’ is a sandy family favourite and fantastic for swimming. Home to Turkey’s mellowest camels, which take tourists up and down the beach, water sports and a traditional Turkish hammam at the local Javelin Beach Club and Spa are other favourite things to do while there.
3 Popular Coastal Resorts of Bodrum
1: Gumusluk, a rustic village oozing with old world charm has two major features that draw in tourists from afar. Rabbit Island, the main landmark keeps untold secrets through its old harbour ruins, while the seaside fish restaurants make a roaring trade on summer evenings as locals flock from all around the peninsula for fresh fish and seafood dishes. (The Gumusluk Guide.)
2: Gumbet, has garnered fame with the British tourism market and is an excellent place for water sports. Test your nerves by signing up for exciting activities like parasailing, jet skiing and doughnut boats. (Gumbet Guide.)
3: Turkbuku, a high-end destination visited by rich celebrities and business people isn’t for those on a budget. Think millionaire mansions, fine dining restaurants, and jetties with waiter service on tap. (Guide to Turkbuku.)
Fashionable Yalikavak: Bodrum’s Rising Star
This high-end holiday destination and its prominence on the Aegean sailing scene attracts people from all over the globe. It’s all thanks to the Palmarina owned by Mubariz Masimov, an Azerbaijani businessman who ploughed over 45 million US dollars of investment to create a place of high-end shopping, gastronomy, nightlife, accommodation and yachting.
The port opened in 2012 during a glittering grand opening party that would rival a Hollywood night out with guests like Eva Herzigova and Flavio Briatore. Designed by famous Turkish architect Emre Arolat, the entertainment centre offers chic restaurants and cafes, five-star accommodation and designer shops.
Roman Abramovich and Andrey Melichenko often hang out on mega yachts, while supermodels like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell visit beach clubs, and health spas. International royalty, like Middle Eastern kings and sheikhs, also prefer Yalikavak for holidays. Local officials say spending by Middle Eastern royalty has amounted to over €500 million.
Luxury shopping includes labels such as Cipriani, Nobu, Versace and Armani, but restaurateurs are also cashing in on this new found popularity. Top hitters include Mezzaluna, the Billionaire’s Club restaurant, pool and nightclub experience charges a flat rate of TL75 for a sun lounger and Club Monaco caters to mega yachts. Club Xuma, the hippest beach club in Kudur Bay, combines live music with a lush garden sun lounging experience, a wide range of water sports and fantastic massage.
However, beautiful Yalikavak has kept its relaxing and charming atmosphere alongside the glitz and glam of Palmarina. Situated 18 kilometres from Bodrum town centre, the holiday resort is neat with restored antiquated buildings, like a refurnished olive oil processing plant that is now an attractive souvenir shop.
Charm and tradition have withstood the test of time, alongside traditional bars and eateries like Mythos, a favourite fish tavern and Kavakli Kofte with a homely ambience. Gulten Abla (means Sister Gulten) serves up a typical Turkish fare in a cosy setting under a huge sycamore tree, and the other side of the marina boasts of even more traditional fish restaurants.
The oldest Cimentepe and Sait’s are now landmark restaurants, while the path from the new marina to the boatyard passes by homemade craft stands and beach-side establishments, including café Minor, owned by a musician couple who provide live jazz music for ambience. With its famous holiday resort lifestyle, quaint windmills, and its important marina, Yalikavak blends old and contemporary without compromising its charm. (Read more in our Yalikavak Guide.)
Buying Property in Bodrum
The Yalikavak real estate is alive and kicking because it’s a prominent destination, not only for Turks but also many foreign nationalities. It’s the ‘go to’ place to invest in high-end property. The number of homes in Yalikavak selling for €1 million or more has increased with architects like Richard Meier designing stunning properties overlooking the coastline.
It’s also a fashionable area for the Turkish elite who now refer to it as the ‘furthest suburb of Istanbul’. Luxury Gulf, European, Scandinavian, and Russian buyers are putting their money on Yalikavak as a credible choice for any upmarket home buyer.
Indeed, when you get to know everything about Bodrum, looking at Yalikavak’s fame will easily explain why the peninsula is a top visited place in Turkey.
Find Out More: Learn all about this famous region of Turkey in our Bodrum guide that talks about each town, village and coastal resort in-depth. Including things to do, shopping, nightlife and highlights, it’s perfect for anyone looking to holiday, move or live in one of Turkey’s top tourism hubs.