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Things to do in Bodrum

Must-see Bodrum sights

In the eyes of its devotees, Bodrum - ancient Halicarnassus - with its whitewashed houses and subtropical gardens, is an attractive Turkish resort, a quality outfit in comparison to its upstart Aegean rivals. It’s much favoured by well-off urban Turks and party animals.

  1. Head to the Castle of St Peter
  2. Discover the Mausoleum
  3. Enjoy Bodrum’s tasty food scene
  4. Have a dance in Bodrum
  5. Enjoy a day out with the kids
  6. Make the most of the Bodrum Peninsula

Sun, sea, sand - Bodrum has plenty of appeal. From vibrant nightlife to days out with the kids exploring the historical towers on offer, there’s something for everyone here.

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Head to the Castle of St Peter

The town’s centrepiece is the Castle of St Peter, built by the Knights of St John over a Selçuk fortress between 1437 and 1522. Inside, the various towers house a Museum of Underwater Archeology, which comprises several different display halls. These include the Glass Wreck Hall, complete with a 33m-long Byzantine ship dating to 1025, the Uluburun Wreck Hall containing nautical remains from three ancient wrecks, and the Carian Princess Hall.

Best for: A perfect introduction to Bodrum

While you’re there: Note that Bodrum is one of the acknowledged termini for the classic Mavi Yolculuk (Blue Voyage).

2. Discover the Mausoleum

Immediately north of the Castle of St Peter lies the bazaar, from where you can stroll up to Türkkuyusu Caddesi to see what’s left of the Mausoleum, the burial place of Mausolus, ruler of Halicarnassus from 376-353 BC and the origin of the word mausoleum. This is one of the most fascinating things to do in Bodrum. Searching for Bodrum holidays? We recommend staying at Salmakis Resort and Spa for a wonderful stay.

Best for: History

While you’re there: There are some great cafés nearby for a drink after all your exploring.

3. Enjoy Bodrum’s tasty food scene

Bodrum is packed with places hugging the shoreline, and offers numerous opportunities to dine in the dark on the sand. Many places are complacent and pricey, but there are a few gems to be found if you dig a little. Piknik is one of the best-value places in town, so many of your fellow diners here will be locals. Try the spicy Adana kebab for a real treat. They also do a full range of pide, Turkish pizza, a flatbread with various toppings. Burgers and pasta dishes are also available in plenty of food joints.

Best for: Food

While you’re there: Head to the waterfront for some tasty fish dishes.

4. Have a dance in Bodrum

Known for its huge party scene, Bodrum has plenty to offer in terms of nightlife. Head to Hadigari, a Bodrum stalwart that still pulls in 2000-odd punters on summer nights. Find it at the marina and dance till daybreak under the stars. Alternatively, find Halikarnas at the far end of the bar strip. This renowned nightclub has an entry price to match its reputation. However, the place is enormous, the atmosphere electric, and varied themed shows will keep you on your feet until dawn. Enjoying the nightlife is one of the best things to do in Bodrum for sure.

Best for: Evening entertainment

While you’re there: The national aperitif is anise-flavoured rakı - a strong spirit consisting of 45 percent alcohol.

5. Enjoy a day out with the kids

Children may enjoy a visit to the English Tower, packed with armour and with trophies of war adorning the medieval-themed cafeteria. Another potential kids’ hit is the knights’ dungeons below the Gatineau Tower, where taped groans and mannequins attempt to evoke the horrors which transpired here. The inscription above the door declares Inde Deus Abest (“Here God does not exist”) - even more chilling when you realise that it was put there by monks.

Best for: Family fun

While you’re there: Kids will love being greeted by the museum staff who are in full medieval wear.

6. Make the most of the Bodrum Peninsula

What to do in Bodrum? Make the most of its glorious beaches is the easy answer! Gümbet, 3km (2 miles) west, is effectively a suburb of Bodrum, with a long, if gritty, beach and a youthful, hard-drinking, largely British clientele. Bitez, the next bay west some 10km (6 miles) from town, attracts an older crowd. It offers a windsurfing school and mooring for yachts. Ortakent, straddling the main highway west of Bodrum, has an old tower house dating from 1601 and access, through mandarin orchards, to the longest beach in the area, Yahşi sahil. There are plenty of water sports opportunities in Bodrum too. Think scuba diving and snorkeling aplenty. Try something new while you’re in Bodrum!

Best for: Beaches

While you’re there: Karaincir is an excellent beach, while Aakyarlar just beyond has a real village feel.

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