Located on a lovely peninsula that juts out into the sea to only about fifteen miles from the island of Kos in Greece, Bodrum Turkey is one of the beach resorts set on the beautiful Turquoise Coast. The peninsula is about halfway between Kusadasi (about 40 miles to the north) and Marmaris (about 35 miles to the south). Once just a sleepy fishing village, people began to engage in Bodrum travel after 1925 when the famous Oxford educated Turkish writer Azra Ehrat penned widely circulated essays on the beauties of the area. A vacation to Bodrum became chic among the country’s intelligentsia, and the city is still a center of the Turkish art community. There are many small galleries in town, and you are apt to see artists painting on the cliffs and beaches.
Once known as Halicarnassus, the recorded history of Bodrum Turkey dates to the time of ancient Greece. Here is the location of the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Today, one of the attractions in Bodrum is this archeological site and its ruins. Everyone who takes a vacation to Bodrum will see another of the city’s landmarks, the imposing Crusader Castle. It was built using stones from the Mausoleum by Crusader knights who arrived in 1402. These were the Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes, who came here after their previous fortress in Izmir was destroyed. Suleyman the Magnificent conquered the knights’ headquarters on the island of Rhodes and they fled to Malta, leaving the castle and the town under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. On the grounds is one of the best maritime museums in the country, the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archeology with collections of treasure and artifacts from numerous shipwrecks. There is an impressive sound and light show at the castle on summer evenings.
The Bodrum travel industry has a large number of operators offering cruises along the coastline and to the Greek islands, most often using traditional Turkish gulets (sailing yachts). These luxury yachts can hold as few as 2 passengers or up to as many as 30. Most have a passenger capacity of 6 to 12, and you can book scenic day trips for snorkeling or cruises up to two weeks long. No vacation to Bodrum is complete without a cruise of a least a couple hours. While here, look for the famous Cevat Mavi Yolculuk (also known as the Cevat Blue Cruise). Cevat Sakir was the name of the writer who brought Bodrum to popularity writing about his idyllic “blue cruises” with local fishermen. Bodrum Turkey has long been respected for shipbuilding, and craftsmen still ply the trade making gulets (with broad and rounded stern) and tirhandil (with pointed bow and stern).
Bodrum travel is most popular primarily for these cruises, the beautiful beaches, and the warmth of the area’s crystal clean waters. Combine this with the charming Greek-style white washed houses that spill down the hills and the flaming colors of bougainvillea, and you have a truly idyllic vacation retreat. You will find numerous vacation rentals and Bodrum hotels up and down the coastline on either side of the city.
Bodrum Turkey is also known for its lively nightlife, with a plethora of lounges, bars, and night clubs offering live music and entertainment and even all night parties. Aptly named Bar Street, which extends down to the harbor, is full of them. Look for the famous Kalikarnas Night Club and Disco, the Hadigari Coffee House, and the Café del Mare.