Top things to do in Bodrum

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Grace Hillier

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Bodrum is known by Turks as a holiday town for celebrities. And it’s not just Turkish celebrities, but from all over the world. You might spot Bill Gate’s yacht in the bay, or, in some of the more luxurious hotels celebrities such as Kate Moss, Yves Saint Laurent, Mick Jagger and many more.

After visiting this huge peninsula, you can see why it draws wealthy tourists. We drove to Bodrum from Istanbul and the first thing we noticed was the scenery - there are picturesque views of the bay and mountains almost everywhere on the peninsula.

What makes Bodrum special is not just the walking tracks with spectacular views and the bars and restaurants on the water, but also its ancient castles, quaint villages and luxurious hotels.

Here are some of the best things to do in Bodrum during your stay.

1. Take in the view from the Gumbet windmills

View of Gumbet Bay

The view from these old Greek windmills is breathtaking. You can see Gumbet Bay on one side and Bodrum Bay on the other. It’s a great vantage point for Bodrum castle and the surrounding villages.

If you’re wondering, these windmills used to be used for generating wind power to grind grain.

2. Climb Bodrum castle

A view of Bodrum castle
Source: Unsplash

Çarşı, Kale Cd., 48400 Bodrum/Muğla

Bodrum castle is probably the most famous attraction in Bodrum. This castle is easy to spot as you arrive in Bodrum as it is surrounded by the ocean on three sides. It’s now the location of the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology.

3. Sunbathe on Bitez Beach

A beach in Bodrum
Beach in Bodrum, Source: Unsplash

Bitez Beach, 48470 Bodrum/Muğla

The reason Turkish tourists go to Bodrum is for the beach, which is why the Bodrum population in summer surges from two hundred thousand to 2 million. 

Bitez Beach is one of the many popular beaches on the peninsular.

It has clear blue water and palm trees along the beach. There are free sunbeds and umbrellas. The water starts out shallow before it gets deeper so it’s a great place for families with children too. Along the beach are markets and plenty of restaurants and cafes.

There are many great beaches in Bodrum, just check as some are private and will charge a small entry fee.

4. Wander down to Bodrum's bar and restaurant street

Walking the Bodrum town in winter

Bar Street, or as it is officially known, Cumhuriyet Street, starts from Bodrum Castle and stretches a mile along the coast. It is dotted with local bars and restaurants and ice creameries. Even in winter everything is open and bustling. Wonder around the windy streets and you'll come across some lovely stone buildings and shops.

5. Visit the quaint town of Gümüşlük

Gumusluk looking out over the water

Gümüşlük, Turgut Reis Cd. no:17/5, 48970 Bodrum/Muğla

Gümüşlük is a quiet old fishing town away from the bustling center of Bodrum. You’ll see mostly locals or Turkish tourists here. This laid-back town has many small restaurants and patisseries, one of which is Fenerci’nin Gızı, which has delicious deserts (you must try their banana bread).

6. Book a night in a high-end hotel

Woman looking out of her hotel room at Bodrum's views

Gümbet, Asarlik Mevkii, Adnan Menderes Cd. No: 89, 48400 Bodrum/Muğla

Bodrum has some opulent hotels. If you fancy private beaches, elegant cabanas, infinity pools and luxury that attracts members of the Saudi royal family, then try a night at one of Bodrum’s extravagant hotels.

For example, at the Caresse, a luxury resort and spa, you can check in by helicopter or yacht and book your own private butler, speed boat or personal trainer. If you have children, you can also book a multi-language babysitter.

Caresse Hotel pool view in Bodrum
Caresse Luxury Resort & Spa
Bodrum City
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7. Go for a yacht ride

Out on the waters of Bodrum on a yacht

Eskiçeşme, Neyzen Tevfik Cd., 48400 Bodrum/Muğla

If you’re wanting to go for a yacht ride in Turkey, then Bodrum is the place to do it. Milta Bodrum Marina has a great view of the local yachts. You can hire a yacht or book a trip along the coast to swim, sunbathe and enjoy the pristine waters.

8. Go to a waterpark

Ortakentyahşi, Bekiroğlu Cd. 6 A, 48420 Bodrum/Muğla

There are several water parks in Bodrum, but one of the largest and most popular waterparks in the area is Bodrum Aqua Park. It covers a huge area and has slides for all ages and a wave pool.

9. Catch a sunset at Turgutreis Marina

Sunset over the water at Turgutries,Bodrum

Turgutreis, Gazi Mustafa Kemal Blv. No:24, 48960 Bodrum/Muğla

If you’re after a local experience, the town of Turgutries is busy year-round as it is mostly locals who live there. In fact, foreigners are not allowed to buy a house in over 80% of this town, unlike the surrounding towns where it’s roughly half foreigner owners, half Turkish summer houses.

We noticed the marina in Turgutreis is packed with locals enjoying tea and cheese and salami toasted sandwiches from the Beldeiye café (meaning council owns it so they can offer food at lower prices).

Moored to the marina is an impressive display of boats, and you can see Greek islands just across the bay.

10. Party on Gumbet's bar street

Great looking food in Bodrum

This is the most popular place for nightlife in Bodrum. However, don’t come here in winter as almost every shop and restaurant is closed for the season. The rest of the year this bustling street is festooned with neon and glitter and it has become a favorite with young people and British tourists.

If you want a quiet dinner or drink then this rambunctious place is not for you.

11. Explore Bodrum Ancient Theater

Source: JR Harris, Unsplash

Yeniköy, D330 No:175 D:169, 48440 Bodrum/Muğla

The ancient theater is free to enter. There are views of Bodrum castle and the bay from the top. People recommend coming here for a concert is summer as the ambience is beautiful.

Within walking distance is the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the ruins of a huge tomb, and Myndos Gate, one of the gates of the ancient city of Halicarnassus, so you can see them all at the same time.

When is the best time to visit Bodrum?

Bodrum is a huge peninsula with many towns, which are all beautiful but very quiet in winter. In the tourist areas most of the shops and restaurants are closed, so it’s best to visit between spring and fall, and avoid the winter months of December, January and February.

Hotels start opening their pools in April, so we recommend going from April onwards.

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What is the best way to get around in Bodrum?

Again, Bodrum is a big place with long distances between each small bay and town. When we visited, we hired a car which made it easy to travel between the towns. 

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