A small seaside resort on the coast of Aegean sea, Bodrum is a compact package of fun, beauty, and culture. If you want to make yourself a list of the best things to do in Bodrum, you’ll find a lot to include. Numerous historical monuments to gaze at in awe, yachts waiting at the harbor ready to take the party to the sea, and a town where modern tourist-friendly lifestyle harmoniously meets the traditional and colorful Turkish culture are a number of the many perks Bodrum can offer. In this article, we will go through the best things you can do and top spots to visit when you travel to Bodrum. Stay tuned with us!
Best things to do and places to visit in Bodrum
Bodrum became a modern resort after it was discovered by tourists and greets many visitors when at its liveliest during high seasons. However, a great thing about Bodrum is that you can enjoy its natural beauty, rich history, and appealing climate all year long; even during winters.
Bodrum also features a traditional Turkish vibe since it has been able to retain its old-school culture and preserve its old neighborhoods. Don’t get this wrong though; modern life has found its way to this beautiful coastal resort and has managed to merge with Turkish culture perfectly well. This has given rise to a unique infrastructure that has lured not only tourists and investors but also celebrities such as Bill Gates himself! You will also be surprised by the diversity of the real estate market and the wide range of properties for sale in Bodrum.
The following is a summary of all the fun and joy that is waiting for you in this gorgeous seaside resort. If you ever found yourself in Bodrum, don’t forget to:
1. Explore Bodrum’s Enchanting Nature on a Boat Trip
Basking in the golden sunshine on a sandy beach while enjoying the crystal clear blue waters of the sea is the main reason for most of the tourists that travel to the coast of the Mediterranean and Bodrum is one of the best spots in the Turkish Riviera that can offer you such experience and even elaborate on it!
A significant portion of Bodrum’s natural allure lies on the Mediterranean blue. The Aegean sea near the coast of Bodrum features several small islets that are accessible only by boat. During high seasons in Bodrum’s marina, you’ll find a wide range of boat tours that can take you to these small islets for swimming or longer yacht tours that explore the Greek islands. You can enjoy the spectacular landscape while chilling on a convenient vessel.
2. Visit the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Nothing can thrill a history lover more than visiting one of the seven wonders of the ancient world! Built in Halicarnassus in 353 BCE for Mausolus, the ruler of the ancient city of Caria, this 45-meter-tall monument was once the embodiment of grandeur. The structure stood on a massive podium and was decorated by beautiful engravings on all four sides.
Unfortunately, the mausoleum was reduced to ruins by a series of earthquakes between 12th and 15th century and its marbles and stones were repurposed for the construction of Bodrum Castle. The finer structures were also removed in 19th century and are now being kept in the British Museum. Today, only a number of columns, reliefs, and a stairway remains at the massive site of this wonder, giving you a glimpse of its past marvels.
3. Visit the Theater of Halicarnassus
Mausoleum was not the only monument left from the era of Mausolus’s reign. The Greek-style theater of Halicarnassus was first built the 4th century BCE and elaborated on by the Romans 200 years later. This theater is located a couple of streets up from the Mausoleum and boasts a spectacular panoramic view of the Aegean sea. Nowadays, concerts and a variety of events are held in this ancient theater during summers, so if you find yourself in Bodrum during the high season, check out and see if there are any programs planned.
4. Visit Bodrum Castle
Born from the ashes of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, Castle of St. Peter, also known as Bodrum Castle, is located on a highland jutting into the blue sea east of Bodrum’s harbor. Using the stones and marbles of the wondrous Mausoleum, Saint John’s Knights Hospitaller built this castle in the early 15th century.
The construction of the Bodrum castle was a feat achieved by the combined endeavor of Germans, Italians, French people, and the Brittons and that’s why the four towers of the castle are named after these four nations. Later, when the castle was conquered by Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, a mosque was built inside the castle. You can also enjoy visiting the castle’s museum, our next suggestion of top places to you.
5. Explore the Wonders of the Museum of Underwater Archeology
Isn’t it fascinating to get to see a 1000-year-old Byzantine ship risen from the depths of the sea? You’ll get even more excited when you enter the Museum of Underwater Archeology because reconstructed shipwrecks are just the tips of the iceberg!
Inside this recently renovated museum in Bodrum Castle, a plethora of artifacts are exhibited that have been either recovered from the sea or excavated from Bodrum Peninsula. From Mycenaean copper ingots and vases, Ancient Egyptian seals, and royal Carian jewelry to Roman amphorae, Medieval Islamic glassware, Bodrum’s Museum of Underwater Archeology is definitely one of the top spots you’ve got to visit when you travel to Turkey.
6. Chill out on Bodrum’s Central Beaches
Thanks to the unique geographical location of Bodrum, the Mediterranean Blue has never been closer to you. The town of Bodrum features two stripes of beaches in its center and allows you to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the peace of the sea without having to travel far away from the city.
Central Bodrum City Beach and Kumbahçe Beach are both minutes away from downtown and open to the public. Both of these pebbly beaches boast beautiful views of the city that are cherished among the locals and foreigners alike, so don’t expect to find them empty, especially during high seasons.
7. Sunbathe on Bitez Beach
Bitez Beach, proudly wearing the Blue Flag title like a medal, lies a few kilometers west of Bodrum; greeting all visitors with its fine golden sands and warm transparent waters. If you’re traveling with family and looking for a safe place to enjoy the beauties of the Aegean sea with your children, Bitez Beach is one of the best spots for you. Furthermore, you will find plenty of cafes and restaurants on the bay from which you can grab a drink, buy a meal, or rent a sun lounger.
8. Have fun on Ortakent-Yahşi Beach
You can head even further west and find another one of Bodrum’s gorgeous beaches. The two villages of Ortakent and Yahşi meet 10 kilometers west of Bodrum and the outcome of this meeting is a singular crescent-shaped pebble beach with two distinct identities!
On the Yahşi side you will find plenty of restaurants and shops in addition to docks from which you can embark on boat trips. Ortakent side, on the other hand, is more peaceful and features several hotels and holiday rentals.
9. Engage in a Variety of Water Sports on Aegean Sea
Bodrum’s gorgeous beaches are not all about relaxation and boat trips. If you feel a lack of adrenaline, there are lots of thrilling water sports you can take part in while in Bodrum or its nearby resorts. At Bitez, Ortakent, and Gümbet beaches you can ride a kayak or go parasailing.
Paddleboarding has also been recently added to the pool and is now offered at Turgutreis and Camel Beach. Moreover, if you are looking for more specialist activities, you can contact a number of operators in Bodrum to arrange for a kitesurfing session.
10. Hike Up to Pedasa
How about a bit of hiking that rewards you with beautiful scenery and some history lessons? The remains of the ancient Carian settlement of Pedasa rests on top of several hills near Konacik, southeast of Bodrum. The ruins date back to somewhere between 11th and 6th century BCE and feature a newly discovered temple of Athena.
The track to Pedasa offers a refreshing hiking pathway. Marquis shrubs decorate the track while pines, cedars, and larches cast their shadows upon it, keeping it safe from the sun. This means you can hike up to Pedasa even in the midst of the summer. When you finish your hike, you will be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view of the city.
11. Visit Bodrum’s Windmills
Although fully modernized, Bodrum has managed to retain some aspects of its traditional lifestyle. On top of a hill overlooking the Bodrum peninsula and Gümbet resort, you will find eight cute whitewashed windmills that stand in a row and feature an eye-soothing contrast with the land’s green and sky’s blue. You can walk a two-kilometer path to hilltop
The windmills are currently being repaired and you will find them at different stages of their renovation. Moreover, a good catch while visiting the windmills is that you’ll be provided with a spectacular view that covers both the city and the Aegean sea.
12. Take a Stroll in Bodrum’s Old Town
Another aspect of Bodrum’s traditional culture is its gorgeous and colorful old town that is anonymously embedded in the modern resort. The secret doors to this area of the city are the narrow lanes that wander away from the waterfront and dissolve into a network of narrow alleyways that curl between colorful cottages decorated with vine trees.
The old school architectural design of Bodrum’s old town alongside the trees that extend their branches out of every house and the potted plants that sit in the alleyways and add to the green make this area of the city a great place for photographers. You can also find a number of cafes and restaurants scattered around the neighborhood, mostly in main alleys.
Keep in mind though that the old town district is more like a tourist site and Bodrum’s real estate market is quite up-to-date. If you want to invest in real estate in this gorgeous resort, you will find a vast array of modern opulent villas and high-end apartments for sale in Bodrum now.
13. Visit Bodrum Harbor
Don’t be tricked by its modernized and state-of-the-art facilities; ships have been docking at the harbor of Bodrum for almost 3000 years! You can walk along its promenade during the day and enjoy the sight of the docked traditional Turkish gulets or stroll it in the evening to sooth your eyes with the beautiful sunset.
On the west side of the harbor, you can find the famous Milta Bodrum Marina; one of the most distinguished marinas that has ever jutted the Aegean sea. This Blue Flag facility features 450 berths and the necessary infrastructure to host super yachts. If you ever felt like watching vessels sailing on the Aegean sea in the sunset, just grab a drink or get some food from one of the many restaurants and cafes that are located near the harbor and indulge yourself.
14. Chill on Bardakci Cove
Bodrum greets its visitors with 67 distinct beaches but not all are open to the public. If you don’t mind paying a small fee, Bardakci Cove or Bardakçı Koyu, as the locals put it, is one of the best spots for relaxation and enjoying the blue waters of the Aegean sea.
This Blue Flag 300-meter stripe of fine sand is managed by three hotels in the area and you have to rent a sun lounger from one of the hotels if you want to enter. There are also water taxis that depart from Bodrum Harbor every 10 minutes and take you straight to the cove. Riding a water taxi is a fun experience and you’ll get to enjoy a stunning sea view of the Bodrum Castle while on the way.
15. Stroll Bodrum’s Bazaar
You don’t need to buy anything to enjoy the colorful bazaar of Bodrum. The curling lanes of the Bazaar are shaded by vegetation and form a network behind the Castle of Saint Peter. Bodrum being the good old Bodrum, you might be expecting to find a series of stalls, but you will be surprised to see that Bodrum’s bazaar is actually quite modernized and features proper shops.
From pottery and woodwork to a wide variety of clothing and jewelry, you can find all sorts of trinkets and souvenirs in Bodrum’s bazaar. You can also buy yourself a Turkish handmade leather sandal to take a piece of the Turkish culture with you back home.
16. Head to Stratonikeia
Maybe the only annoying thing about historical sites and beautiful places is that they are always being visited and most of the time, there are enough people to deprive you of the chance to take a clean photo of the place. Good news is, the same can’t be said about Stratonikeia.
While being only a day trip away from Bodrum, this ancient site does not receive many visitors. Once a trading hub, Stratonikeia dates back to the Classical age. However, it morphed into the village of Eskihisar and was constantly inhabited until the early years of the Modern Turkish Republic. After that, people of Eskihisar eventually abandoned the site and the village was moved several kilometers away.
The hallmark of Stratonikeia is a massive double-arched gate which is still well-preserved. However, this site also features a hellenistic theater and several well-preserved Ottoman monuments and mansions dating back to the 19th century.
17. Go on a full-day Boat Trip to Orak Island
Are you ready to set sail to one of the most beautiful diving spots in all of the Turkish Riviera? Orak Island, resting on the Aegean east of Bodrum, features a vertical reef wall near its coast that delves nearly 80 meters deep into the blue sea. This has given rise to some extraordinary aquatic scenery that has turned Orak Island into one of best diving spots you can find in all Turkey.
Tour boats depart from Bodrum Harbor late in the morning and drop anchors several times so that the passengers can enjoy swimming in the crystal clear sea waters. The boats usually start sailing back in late afternoon and lunch and an afternoon snack is usually provided on board.
18. Visit Bodrum Maritime Museum
Shipbuilding has long been Bodrum’s traditional craft and the Maritime Museum demonstrates fully the history of this industry. It is located in the old bazaar building near Bodrum Castle and features beautiful model ships as well as a large shell collection comprising 6000 shells from around the world, collected by the exiled writer Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı, also known as the Fisherman of Halicarnassus.
19. Browse the Midtown Shopping Center
An embodiment of Bodrum’s modern life, Midtown Shopping Center is located in Ortakent, 10 kilometers west of Bodrum downtown. The mall boasts a massive food court comprising both famous Turkish chains and internationally recognized fast food restaurants such as McDonalds and Burger King. You can also find many popular international brands in Midtown Shopping Center’s opulent shops.
20. Visit Myndos Gate
The ancient city of Halicarnassus was kept safe behind its defenses; a 7-kilometer wall that slowed down Alexander the Great when he was capturing the city. Today, the only remains of the ancient city’s glorious defenses is its monumental entrance, the Myndos Gate. You can hike your way to this historical monument from Bodrum town and continue your journey to visit the theater and remains of the Mausoleum too.
21. Enjoy the Beauties of Gümüşlük
Seafood is an inseparable part of the healthy Mediterranean diet. If you care to try the best seafood in all of Turkey, pay a visit to the fishing village of Gumusluk, located approximately 20 kilometers west of Bodrum downtown. Gumusluk is a colorful village and its streets are especially lively during the summer, when the Gumusluk Classical Music Festival is being held.
22. Try Authentic Turkish Food
What good is a trip to Turkey without getting to taste the delicious Turkish cuisine? Fortunately, Bodrum is one of the best places for familiarizing yourself with scrumptious Turkish foods since this city still features a rich traditional Turkish culture. One of the most famous traditional restaurants in Bodrum is Eski Köy which serves some of the best kebabs, sweets, soups, and other varieties of Turkish food. Another great spot for sampling Turkey’s traditional foods is Ana Oğul restaurant in Turgutreis.
23. Embrace Bodrum’s Nightlife
Bodrum’s nights can be anything but quiet. In fact, you know the nights are lit and vivid in Bodrum when you realize that there is a street in the town which is nicknamed the Bar Street! Originally named Cumhuriyet street, Bodrum’s Bar Street is full of distinctively-themed bars and nightclubs ready to make you an unforgettable night.
The parties extend beyond the Bodrum proper though, with Gumbet Bar Street functioning as another great hub for fun and joy. In addition, the famous Club Catamaran, Bodrum’s most popular party boat, will take you to Aegean sea for a truly unique party experience.
24. Go on a Jeep Safari Day Tour
Tired of all the fine sand? Get ready to meet the rough side of Bodrum! This resort town features several rugged hills and plains too and this means you can take a break from the seashore by embarking on a thrilling jeep safari on the hills above the coast of Bodrum. The tour also includes a swimming break in the river and a lunch stop at a local restaurant.
25. Take Bath at a Turkish Hammam
Another aspect of Bodrum’s old-school lifestyle is a traditional Turkish bath, which is more like a ritual that washes away all the fatigue from your body! The ritual begins with you soaking in a sauna. Then, a hammam attendant scrubs you clean from head to toe. The scrubbing is then followed by a body massage with oil and a face mask. After 1.5 to 2 hours, you’ll find yourself resting and drinking tea, with your skin as young as the day you were born.
Betiz Hammam, Bardakci Hammam, Queen Hammam, and Sensum Spa are among the most popular traditional hammams in Bodrum region.
26. Enjoy a Tour of Karnas Vineyards
One of the best places to taste good wine is directly at a vineyard! If you ever found yourself in Bodrum, make sure to include a tour of Karnas Vineyards in your schedule. The vineyards are a 25-minute ride away from Bodrum downtown and some of them are among the oldest vineyards of Turkey. You can enjoy the spectacular scenery while sipping top-notch Turkish wine in Karnas Vineyards.
Now that you know what the best things to do in Bodrum are, you can plan yourself a refreshing holiday in this gorgeous resort. In Bodrum, you can further acquaint yourself with Turkey’s rich culture and history, while enjoying the myriad recreational activities available for you to take part in. Top-notch Blue Flag beaches and Marina, enchanting nature, vivid nightlife, amazing historical monuments, and beautiful museums are a number of the many things Bodrum provides its visitors with. You can also find a wide range of properties for sale in Bodrum. If you have fallen in love with this beautiful city and intend to prolong your stay, you can purchase an apartment or buy a villa in Bodrum so that you can settle down in this gorgeous resort.