The buzzing resort of Bodrum is best known for its booming discos, up-tempo bars and banging beach life, but the wider Bodrum Peninsula’s a big enough place to find little enclaves of upscale romance on holidays to Turkey. After all, it was here that the tempestuous power couple of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra canoodled between Egyptian voyages and you can still channel their amorous spirit today, with our selection of romantic escapades on the Peninsula.
Many of Bodrum’s beaches are chock-a-block, so if you’re looking for a more secluded spot for an intimate swim or snorkel, check out Aquarium Bay and Cove, wedged between Gumbet and Bitez. The pristine blue waters here are best reached by boat, as there is no road access but there are also pleasant hiking tracks from both Gumbet and Bitez.
One thing you should definitely try in Bodrum is a romantic evening boat trip, ideally on a gulet, a type of traditional, wooden sail boat, which were once used by fishermen or sponge divers, but now are widely commandeered for all types of cruises. The popularity of ‘blue cruises’ (and Bodrum’s growth as tourist destination) owes much to the writer Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli. He was also known as ‘the Fisherman of Halikarnas’ and was exiled from Istanbul to live in Bodrum during the 1920s for his controversial writings. He soon fell in love with the place, then a sleepy fishing village, and his works swiftly put Bodrum on the tourist map.
Indulge in a Turkish bath
No romantic trip to Bodrum would be complete without a visit to a Turkish bath or hammam. For the most authentic experience, be prepared to venture a little further afield from Bodrum itself. The independently-run Rayalo Hammam in Ortakent is a fine place to immerse yourself in this ancient tradition. They’ll serve you an ice-cold glass of homemade lemonade in a beautifully tiled room, before pampering you with a series of indulgent treatments.
How deep is your love?
TheMuseum of Underwater Archaeology iseasily Bodrum’s premier cultural attraction. Housed in the restored Bodrum Castle, it’s renowned for being one of Turkey’s best museums and possibly even the world’s leading one in its field. This highly interactive museum brings to life all manner of the treasures from the deep across 14 exhibition areas, including shipwreck relics, crucial finds from the Bronze Age, hippopotamus ivory and the aquatic tomb of Queen Ada, the Hellenistic monarch buried with her lavish jewellery and crown.
The charming resort Gumusluk has been drawing the Turkish glitterati for decades. In recent years it’s seen an uplift in honeymooners from further afield, attracted by its sheltered bay, charming flower-decked houses and its elegant marina, with a long promenade of fish restaurants and low key bars. Its setting on the ancient site of Myndos gives the resort a protected status which has prevented overdevelopment. Take a walk out across the causeway at low tide to romp about on Rabbit Island, so-called because it’s home to thousands of wild bunnies – the perfect setting for a cute date!
Are you more interested in unspoilt bays and secluded baths than Turkey’s thriving hotspots? Take a further look at Turkey’s quieter side with Holiday Hype and see what you could discover about this many-layered land…