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The Top Things to Do and See in Bodrum, Turkey

St Peter's Castle is one Bodrum's most impressive attractions
St Peter's Castle is one Bodrum's most impressive attractions | © Roy Conchie / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Ayse Huseyin
3 August 2021
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Built around twin bays on the southwest coast of Turkey, Bodrum has made a name for itself with an alluring combination of nightlife, beaches and history. By day, visit the 15th-century St Peter’s Castle, with its shipwreck museum inside, or head to Bardakci Cove. By night, hit the beach bars for DJ beats and stylish summer parties. Here’s our guide to the top attractions and can’t-miss sights in Bodrum.

St Peter's Castle

Historical Landmark
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Standing guard over Bodrum bay, this imposing castle is the image you’ll see on every gift-shop postcard. It was built by the Knights of St John in the early 15th century, and has served as a military base, prison and even public baths over the years – although the latest incarnation was built, in an authentic style, from ruins in 1962. You’ll find the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology inside.

Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology

Archaeological site, Museum
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Amphoras from Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology
© EVREN KALINBACAK / Alamy Stock Photo
Underwater archaeology focuses on shipwrecks, and this museum is one of the biggest around. Wrecks on display include the world’s oldest, found in Uluburun in southwest Turkey. Believed to be from the 14th century BCE, it was so fragile that it took a decade to resurrect. A model of a shipwreck excavation sits inside an aquarium, to mimic how the unfortunate vessels here once looked on the ocean floor.

Take a trip with Ozzlife Boat Tours

Architectural Landmark
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Ozgur – Captain Ozz – runs a laid-back, 40-person boat service that will whisk you out from Bitez jetty onto the glittering Aegean Sea. The all-inclusive package includes transfers from Bitez or Gumbet, lunch and drinks, including wine and beer. On board, there’s a sunbed for everyone and time for swimming. You’ll also land on Camel Beach, west of Bodrum, where you can ride a camel along the golden sand.

Palmarina

Architectural Landmark
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Bodrum’s marina has developed into a glitzy destination, with superyachts moored beside its stylish hotels and restaurants. Take a leisurely stroll beneath palm trees and along the pier, and browse the shops selling summer clothing and souvenirs. Come back after dark for an altogether different vibe, when the nightlife ranges from jazz bars to beach clubs. Xuma is one of the most popular – especially during its Chill Out Festival, on the first weekend in August.

Stroll the streets of Gumusluk

Architectural Landmark
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Informal beachside seating with decorative tree in the scenic tourist village of Gumusluk near Bodrum, Turkey
© Lazyllama / Alamy Stock Photo
The best seafood in Bodrum can be found in Gumusluk, a village that’s guaranteed to be recommended by locals when you ask them where to go. As well as a strong fishing heritage, Gumusluk is known for its creativity. The artists and musicians who settle here bring the streets to life with their craft – especially during the Gumusluk Classical Music Festival, held each August. The beaches are clean and excellent for families, and many restaurants overlook the sea.

Relax at Bardakci Cove

Natural Feature
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Bodrum, Turkey, 24 May 2010: Cove of Bardakci
© Kayihan Bolukbasi / Alamy Stock Photo
One of the most beautiful spots in all of Bodrum, Bardakci is a Blue Flag-rated sandy cove about 2km east of the city. Small but perfectly formed, the 300m beach is lined by hotels and restaurants set on the hillside, so facilities are always close by. If you want to feel like a local, hop on the water taxi that leaves every 10 minutes from the bay, and delivers you to Bodrum marina – with an incredible castle view on the way.

See the sights with Aegean Gingers Segway Tours

Architectural Landmark
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A novel and fun way to explore Bodrum city is by Segway, the motorised, two-wheel vehicle that you ride standing up. After your Segway training and safety talks, a guide will lead you on a route ranging between 30 and 120 minutes, using their native knowledge to make your tour fun, informative and memorable. Riding up and down hills, along bumpy backstreets, and through narrow lanes between bougainvillea-draped houses, Segways can easily tackle it all.

Get close to ancient history at Bodrum Amphitheatre

Theater, Historical Landmark
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Halicarnassos amphitheatre and Bodrum Castle at dusk Turkey. Image shot 07/2008. Exact date unknown.
© Images & Stories / Alamy Stock Photo

The Bodrum Amphitheatre is an extraordinary spectacle. See ancient history brought to life as you traverse this monument, built in the 4th century – one of the best-preserved sites of ancient Halicarnassus. Climb, sit and bask on the sun-bleached stones while you imagine the amphitheatre’s heyday, when crowds of 10,000 gathered here. The top of the amphitheatre delivers spectacular views of Bodrum, with sights spanning past and present in a way that encapsulates Turkey.

Learn about Turkey's favourite singer at Zeki Muren Arts Museum

Museum
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The Zeki Muren Arts Museum was built in tribute to Zeki Muren, a beloved Turkish singer, composer and actor. The museum is located in the celebrity’s final residence, before his death in 1996. In Turkey, he’s celebrated for his contributions to music much like Elvis is in America. The museum contains his personal effects, souvenirs of his illustrious career, merchandise and information that explains how Muren became so influential in Turkish contemporary music.

Spend a day at Yahsi Beach

Natural Feature
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Bodrum has many beaches, but Yahsi beach is one of the best, with all the facilities to make a day of it. Shops, restaurants and sun umbrellas will keep the whole family happy. Grab a drink from one of the cafes, pad across the pristine golden sands to sprawl across a sun lounger, then cool off in the clear and shallow sea. There are also watersports if you’re craving some action, from windsurfing to jet ski hire.
These recommendations were updated on August 3, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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