Bodrum is a port city in the Mugla Province in the southwestern Aegean region of Turkey. It is located on the southern coast of the Bodrum Peninsula, at a point that checks the entry into the Gulf of Gökova. The city, also known as Turkey’s “Saint Tropez”, is still an undiscovered gem for most Scandinavians. It is a fascinating place, with its pleasant contrast between ancient culture and the usual tourist paraphernalia.
Bodrum has quite an impressive culture and history, filled with exciting stories reaching back to the times of the Carians, Persians and Alexander the Great. In ancient times the city was named “Halicarnassus of Caria” and known for housing the Mausolem of Mausolus from 335 B.C., one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
St. Peter’s castle (in common language the Bodrum castle) was built by the Crusaders in the 15th century. It is one of the most visited historical sights in the Mediterranean area and several cultural festivals are hosted here throughout the year.
In the early 1900’s, Bodrum was interestingly enough used as an exile city of banished artists and writers. One of the most notable of these intellectuals was Cevat Sakir – ‘The Fisherman of Hallikarnassus’ – an Oxford educated turkish writer from Istanbul. His famous book “The Blue Voyage” describing gullet trips around the Turkish coast, his descriptions of the astoundingly clear blue seas of the Aegean and the delights of a trip around the coasts adjacent to Bodrum inspired a whole generation who have come to emulate his trips. The development and sophistication of Bodrum from a small, unknown fishing village to one of the most popular sailing destinations of the Mediterranean area, is largely credited to Cevat Sakir and his fellow intellectual friends.
Today Bodrum is a city of about 130,000 permanent residents, but during the summer season the number rises drastically as this is a very popular tourist destination for Europeans, as well as for Turks who have their summer residents here. The weather conditions in this region are highly appreciated, with hot summers but low humidity and always a frisk wind. In fact, the air in the Bodrum area has been proven to have the most perfect level of humidity and this area is known for its positive effects on the overall wellbeing. Many people travelling here experience a very special sense of harmony and balance in their body.
Bodrum is also well known for its excellent restaurants, of which many of them specialize in all kinds of fish and seafood dishes. The raw materials, always fresh of the day, are prepared in the delicious Turkish way, with great love and care. Many of them offer exquisite traditional Turkish dishes but there is also a variety of restaurants serving all kinds of international cuisines. Even the nightlife of Bodrum is something out of the ordinary and is said to be the best in the country. Here you also find the largest and most popular nightclub in Turkey, Halikarnas, with a capacity of no less than 5000 guests. For those who prefer smaller places there are more than 600 other bars and clubs to choose from, of which several places play live music.
In the old quarters of the city, you can shop around for a wide range of handicrafts, jewelry and carpets. Or you can stroll along the exquisite boutiques in the modern shopping area close to marina. Late afternoon is the perfect time to visit the old castle, which is situated on a small peninsula in the harbor overlooking the marina. The castle is also host for a museum of underwater archeology.
If you want to go out on the sea, there is a variety of daytrips to choose from. The Greek island of Kos is only half an hour boat ride away.
The landscape and scenery around Bodrum is stunningly beautiful and peaceful. If you rent a car for a day you can go around the peninsula on your own and enjoy all the little villages that extends along the journey, visit some of the historical sights or secluded bays in the nearby areas.
Some places worth visiting are Gümbet, Ortakent and Türkbükü. Gumbet, just west of Bodrum, offers many activities for those who enjoy water sports. Ortakent has a two kilometer long beach which is considered one of the best on the entire Mugla peninsula. Türkbükü is the number one place for those who seek luxury, as the most exclusive hotels and restaurants are found here.