The approach by cruise ship to Bodrum is spectacular, with the bay dominated by the Crusader Castle of St Peter, then a forest of masts along the shore, many belonging to the traditional wooden Turkish sailing boats (gulets) which grace the busy harbour.
The Cruise Ship Terminal is a stone’s throw from the centre of town. The centre has been heavily developed for European tourists since it was ‘discovered’ in the 1970s, but despite this, and heavy summer crowds, it retains (at least for first-time visitors) an exotic Turkish atmosphere with plenty of visual interest and a busy nightlife
Bodrum is not only the major resort but also the most attractive town on Turkey’s beautiful Aegean Coast.
The Castle of St Peter is the dominant landmark in this low-rise whitewashed Mediterranean scene. Bodrum is the site of the Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Only a few fragments remain though curiosity alone may dictate a visit. Aside from these sights Bodrum is light on monuments but compensates with a wealth of bars and shops, many of which reflect the town’s status as an important centre for Turkish and foreign artists.
• Castle of St Peter: this classic Crusader castle on the waterfront offers great sea views, an interesting Byzantine shipwreck hall and spooky dungeons.
• Bodrum Amphitheatre: another structure from the reign of King Mausolus (4C BC), this once held up to 13,000 people and now offers the classic picture postcard views over the castle and harbour.
• A ‘Blue Cruise’: sailing along the Turkish coastline on a beautifully crafted Turkish gulet, is an essential part of a Turkish trip, even if it is only for a few hours.
Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in the UK
4th Floor, 29-30 St James’s Street, London SW1A 1HB, UK
Tel: (+44) 207 839 7778.
Bodrum’s main thoroughfare is chock-a-block with tradesmen selling everything from beautiful Turkish carpets and local handmade crafts to ‘genuine fake’ cheap Rolexes and pirated designer clothing. Between the two extremes are many small, stylish and cosmopolitan boutiques, which mix local designs and fabrics to Western tastes.
On Tuesday there is a clothes market and on Friday there is a colourful fruit and vegetable market (both behind the bus station).
Often underestimated, Turkish food can be excellent. Try the meze (a selection of appetisers salads and dips). The most typical meat dish is the kebab, chunks of meat grilled on a spit. Simply grilled fish and shellfish are excellent.
When to go:
Between May and October there is almost non-stop sunshine with very low humidity and virtually no rainfall. Beware visiting in July and August when temperatures rise above 35ºC (86ºF), though this is tempered by sea breezes. Between November and March it is cool with rain.
17km (10.5 miles).