Also known as Turkish Saint Tropez, Bodrum is a major tourist destination in Turkey and a stop for many cruises. Located on the shores of Kos Bay, in the southwestern province of Mugla, it attracts visitors every summer, both locals from the middle class of Istanbul and foreign tourists. There are many things to do and see in Bodrum, discover them with us!
Revelers flock here to enjoy the famous nightlife. Bordering the Aegean Sea, the city has nevertheless retained its authentic charm, as evidenced by its narrow streets with white Cycladic-style houses, fragrant flowers, and decorated with colorful details. In addition, this place is marked by the remains of the ancient city of Halicarnassus, and history lovers will be able to discover priceless remains.
In short, it is a place of choice with many assets. Find out what to do and what to see in Bodrum to make the most of your stay.
San Pietro Castle
The Castle of San Pietro is the emblem of Bodrum: from it comes the name of the city, a deformation of the Latin Petreum or Petronium. It was built in the 15th century on the initiative of members of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem from the ruins of the mausoleum of King Karien.
Despite the many attacks to which the castle has been subjected since its construction, especially during the First World War, it is perfectly preserved, and visitors can even see the weapons of the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem on some windows. You can walk freely along the ramparts and at the same time enjoy an exceptional view of the castle, which overlooks the Aegean Sea. There is also a garden with a large collection of Mediterranean plants and their mythological meanings.
Museum of Underwater Archaeology
The museum was established in the castle in 1962 at the request of the Turkish government. It presents the finds found during numerous expeditions in the Aegean Sea. From a Bronze Age shipwreck, a witness to the trade of that time, to Roman merchant ships of the 7th century, the museum is full of treasures. It houses an important collection of amphorae spanning centuries of history, one of the four most important collections of ancient glass, jewelry, and many Greco-Roman, Egyptian and Ottoman goods.
The Museum of Underwater Archaeology is located in a very pleasant place in the castle park. A visit will allow you to admire its halls full of history, as well as magnificent views. The budget for the visit is about ten euros.
Bitez Beach is a wide sandy beach with a charming and authentic setting near the town of Bitez, six kilometers from Bodrum. A refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of tourism. Torba Beach is also located a few kilometers from Bodrum, its wildlife is ideal for nature lovers.
What are the best beaches in and around Bodrum?
Surrounded by hills and pine forests, it has preserved the salt of a small fishing village. Finally, in Bodrum itself, not far from St. Peter’s Castle, Kumbahce offers good amenities and a beautiful view of the harbor.
If you want more peace, but not too far from the city, choose Gumbet Beach, which is touristic, but big enough to be quiet.
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
It is impossible to see Bodrum without visiting the fifth of the seven wonders of the ancient world: the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. This tombstone was built in 350 BC at the request of Artemis II, the widow of the Mausoleum king. At that time, Bodrum was called Halicarnassus and was the capital of the Persian kingdom of Kariye, which became independent under the rule of the Mausoleum. But mostly it’s Greek culture.
If today the mausoleum lies in ruins and most of its stones went to the construction of the castle of San Pietro, we can imagine what it was like, especially thanks to the descriptions of the famous writer Pliny the Elder. Imagine a 43—meter-high structure towering over a hill, crowned with a quadriga – a statue of a chariot drawn by four horses.
Columns surround the building, and friezes depict battles between Greeks, centaurs, and Amazons. Visiting the ruins will allow you to admire the remains of this incredible monument.
Nightlife in Bodrum
To see Bodrum also means to visit one of the most famous nightclubs in Turkey. The city is dotted with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs that will make you spend an unforgettable evening. Turkish specialties are present in many restaurants: fresh fish, eggplant with yogurt, pasta stuffed with spinach, and Turkish onion.
What to do and see in Bodrum to have fun? Head to the East Bay, especially Cumhuriyet Street, to enjoy the best nightlife in the city. The catamaran club is worth getting around: this nightclub is a huge boat that sails early in the evening and does not return to the pier until dawn. Shuttles run between the club and the coast all night.
The Bodrum Market is the largest on the peninsula and is famous for its diversity and authenticity. Chat with the locals and enjoy the explosion of colors and flavors that the Bodrum Bazaar offers. Here you will find fresh products typical of the Aegean region (aromatic herbs, olives, spices), as well as ready-made dishes: for example, gozlemes – delicious traditional pancakes with stuffing. You can also buy souvenirs: cotton tablecloths, jewelry, ceramics, baskets, and blown glass.
The textile market is open on Tuesdays, and the fresh produce market is open on Fridays. But do not hesitate to go there the day before, shopkeepers start shopping in the afternoon and start selling their products: then it is much calmer. Do not hesitate to bargain and beware of fakes. The market is huge and you will have to browse it to get the best deals, but that’s part of the game!
The remains of the ancient theater of Bodrum
What to see in Bodrum to find out how it was in ancient times? Built-in the 4th century BC during the reign of the Mausoleum of the King, the Ancient Theater is a masterpiece of the ancient city. At its peak, it could accommodate 13,000 visitors who came to watch gladiator fights or theatrical performances. Today, local and foreign artists are still performing on the spot – follow the program when you arrive in Bodrum!
The theater is open every day, admission is free. The site offers an exceptional view of the city and the Aegean Sea: on clear days you can even see the Greek island of Kos.
To see Bodrum is also an opportunity to enjoy the surroundings. Indeed, the city is located in a very rich region, and many excursions allow you to discover the Bodrum peninsula and various islands of the Aegean Sea.
A classic day trip includes a visit to the Black Island, or Kara Ada, famous for its hot springs flowing out of the cave. Cleopatra’s beauty was due to these waters, which are said to have magical properties! Then the boat docks in Ortakent, a very charming fishing village. Finally, the berthing point will allow you to swim in the turquoise waters.
Also, consider visiting Kos Island if you don’t know what to do in Bodrum for the day. There are many excursions to discover the beauty and heritage of this Greek island, which can be reached from Bodrum by boat in just twenty minutes. Paradise beaches, charming villages, and ruins of the Greco-Roman period. Kos is worth a visit!
3 thoughts on “8 things to see in Bodrum”
We wanted to experience the bustle and hustle of the Turkish way of living without blasting music or extra busy night life so we opted for Bitez. We ended loving it so much that we went back a second time the following year.
Is renting a car a good option or should we just use taxis? We want to explore around the peninsula and my guess is taxis could end up costing a small fortune.
Our kids loved the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. I only wish they had an online ticket booking system, we had to wait quite a lot and with two kids in tow this isn’t the best scenario.