A colourful history
The road to Bodrum winds through pine forests before going over the crest of a hill to reveal the town, which is dominated by the Castle of St Peter. It sits on a promontory that leads to the marina, nicely dividing the area into two equal-sized bays. Serving as a sanctuary for Christians in Asia Minor, this medieval fortress was built by the Knights of St John using stones from the Mausoleum. The construction no longer stands but was formerly one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
At the castle you’ll also discover the Museum of Underwater Archeology where many artefacts from shipwrecks in the Anatolian Seas are imaginatively displayed with accompanying information panels, drawings, and even reconstructions. You can see cargo including coins and gold jewellery, and the incredible burial treasure of a Carian Princess who was buried in the 3rd century BCE. The� exhibit evokes the last days of the ancient greatness of Halikarnassus, the capital city of Caria and the site on which Bodrum stands today.
The Amphitheatre of Halikarnassus is another great monument, originally built by the Greeks and completed on a grander scale by the Romans.
Villages that capture the imagination
In addition to Bodrum’s main city, the peninsula features various tranquil villages, beaches and bays, providing a traditional environment away from the excitement of Bodrum itself. Bitez is just 20 minutes by car from Bodrum and is one of the smaller, largely unspoilt villages that lie in the area. It has cosy tavernas and restaurants, and the centre is just 15 minutes’ walk away from the bay, where you will find sunloungers and umbrellas for sunbathing. As in much of the area, the winds here are favourable for watersports. This is also where the only Turkish Delight in the area is made.
Next to Bitez but a bit further west are Ortakent and Yahsi, where you’ll find one of the loveliest and longest beaches in the peninsula extending from one village to the other. And with cafes and restaurants overlooking the beach, you won’t have to go far for nourishment. These areas can be reached from Bodrum by� Dolmus, a local minibus service, or by car or boat.
Bodrum nightlife is as fantastic as what’s on offer in the day. Most of the venues lie on the two-kilometre-long Cumhuriyet Street, where you’ll discover some fantastic bars serving refreshing Turkish beer and a good selection of cocktails. Visiting this spot is, however, the perfect opportunity to try the most famous local drink, Raki. It’s mixed with water, giving it a milky colour, but don’t be fooled as it’s 45% alcohol.
When it’s time to hit the clubs, the open-air Halikarnas goes crazy with foam parties and dance shows, and you probably won’t leave until the sun rises over the horizon.
Marine Club Catamaran is a must. This boat has a glass bottom that lights up the depths, leaving you mesmerised by the sea-life beneath it. Above water it’s just as exciting, as bright neon lights and hip-hop and Turkish music provide the atmosphere.