The sunny, whitewashed town of Bodrum has grown from a small fishing village into a hopping little town in a matter of decades. It is a great complement to your more serious explorations in other parts of Turkey.
It is also one of our favorite starting points for a weeklong private cruise along the Turquoise Coast (or a daytrip along the peninsula) in a private wooden gulet – a traditional Turkish sailing vessel handcrafted as they were centuries ago.
Bodrum is one of those places that seems to have been created for postcards – a beautiful harbor draped around twin bays and guarded by an enormous Crusader-era castle. Against the backdrop of the castle, and the always-blue skies, are bougainvillea-drenched whitewashed walls and streets lined with art galleries and craft shops for the discerning shopper.
Outdoor restaurants serve seafood right off fishing boats docked meters away. The nightlife scene here is famously raucous, but also has lower-key options such as jazz bars and a lounge scene.
And like everywhere else in Turkey, Bodrum has seen its share of history. Among Bodrum’s claims to fame are the ruins of one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Tomb of Mausolus – the origin of the word “mausoleum.” You can imagine its grandeur.
And then there is the massive Crusader Castle, which holds one of the more interesting and family-friendly museums in Turkey, the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology.
In this museum we can arrange for you to meet a world-renowned nautical archaeologist who will regale you with stories of the shipwrecks he participated in salvaging. After 11 years and 23,000 dives, Scientific American named the 3,300-year=old Uluburun shipwreck, whose discoveries are here, as one of the 10 most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.
Apart from the never-sleepy town of Bodrum, the peninsula is characterized by seaside villages on secluded bays, 19th century windmills, and lush groves of citrus, olive, fig and almond trees.
Our favorite spot is Gumusluk, a tiny village at the tip of the peninsula, with two adjacent coves separated by a tiny island. When the tide is low, you can walk to the island from the mainland. Along the way it is possible to see the underwater remains of the ancient harbor wall. It’s a great place for a drink at sunset.
We can arrange for a hike and picnic lunch to some excellent ruins on and near the peninsula.
Partake in a home cooking class and lunch at a private native garden (the peninsula is known for its vegetation) in quiet Bitez. Pick fresh fruits and vegetables, which you will then use to prepare lunch. For ingredients that can’t be found on a tree or a vine in the garden, you will do your sourcing at the local market.