Like Didim and Kusadasi, Bodrum is a popular port for starting a Turkish Blue Cruise along the beautiful Aegean coast of south west Turkey, but this attractive town offers more than just a point on the map.
Grown from its origins as a fairly sleepy fishing village, Bodrum is now one of the top tourist destinations in this part of the country, and rightly so.
Its combination of scenery, beaches, culture, history, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife all go to attract many thousands of tourists every year, and despite it being a top tourist destination Bodrum hasn’t suffered over-development.
The bustling harbour is home to many of the traditional gulet style boats that Turkey is famous for, and they vary in size and use.
Some of the smaller ones head in and out a couple of times per day during the peak season, taking tourists on boat cruises around and beyond Bodrum harbour.
Then there are the larger ones, kitted out and ready to head off for a Blue Cruise with multiple cabins, a full complement of staff, and plenty of space for relaxing.
Bodrum harbour also sees its fair share of luxury yachts too, and you can charter a yacht from here if you prefer this to the more traditional gulet style boats.
But, whether you’re starting your cruise from here, or you’re planning to visit as a stop on a Blue Cruise, there are plenty of attractions in this Turkish town to keep you busy for several days at least.
Attractions and History
Though today Bodrum is best known as a tourist town that grew from a small fishing village, Bodrum’s history is actually far more ancient.
It has been inhabited since before the 7th century BC and was home to the Carians, the Dorian Greeks, the Persians, the Crusader Knights, and the Ottomans.
It is the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Mausoleum of Mausolus – a vast mausoleum that was erected for Mausolus between 353 and 350 BC and stood for 1700 years before being destroyed by earthquake. Today only ruins remain but it’s impressive all the same.
Nice and luxury hotels
Stay on dry land in one of Bodrum’s luxury hotels, like the 5 star Salmakis Resort and Spa and Marina Vista Hotel, which, as the name suggests, overlooks the marina, and Manastir a little uphill with its fabulous views.
A more modern, and more complete structure, is Bodrum Castle, officially named the Castle of St Peter.
It was built by the Knights Hospitalier starting in 1402 and it’s by far the best known landmark of the town, situated as it is at one end of the harbour.
You can tour the castle and visit the Museum of Underwater Archaeology that is housed inside.
Getting to Bodrum Castle takes you on a pleasant stroll alongside the moored yachts and gulets, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can sit and enjoy a drink while watching the world go by.
An assortment of tourist oriented stalls and shops also line this promenade, but for a better selection of shops head a little inland down the narrow streets where there are more stores as well as a larger selection of restaurants.
Be sure to sample some of the seafood – the fish is caught fresh each day and bought by the restaurants.
If you have more time to spare you may like to explore some of the smaller towns and villages of the Bodrum Peninsula, such as Yalikavak, Gumusluk, and Turgutreis.