Turkey: The Bodacious Bodrum Peninsula
The Bodrum Peninsula, it even sounds mysterious, doesn't it? rather like saying ‘Narnia' or ‘Pandora'. It immediately makes one curious and keen to know what exotic delights await.
The Bodrum Peninsula (Bodrum being the largest town in the area) is a gorgeous stretch of land that stretches from the southwest coast of Turkey into the Aegean Sea and is a heady mix of gorgeous coastal towns, ancient ruins, and thriving restaurants, clubs and shops.
And it's just sat there waiting for you, so what on earth are you waiting for? Oh, you don't want to throw caution to the wind? Fine, let's dangle the proverbial carrot in front of you as we present The Bodacious Bodrum Peninsula.
The town of Bodrum is a thriving hub of activity, an exciting mix of rich history, water sports, guided tours of ancient ruins and of course, wonderful food. It's a great place to explore like an insatiable blood-hound or indeed lounge and watch the world go by like a hard-to-please moggy.
By night (and just like Pandora now that we think about it) Bodrum comes alive in a new and alluring way, with a broad range of night-life opportunities lining the streets ranging from live bands to full-on raves.
How ever you choose to spend your time in Bodrum, you'll find that it's the gift that keeps on giving and that there is ostensibly something to cater for every taste and tendency. Our top picks would be:
St Peter's Castle
Even if you aren't a big history hoarder, you'd be hard pushed not to be bowled over by the objective magnificence of this castle which has been standing since roughly 1402. Proudly sat overlooking the beautiful sea, you can cunningly plan your visit to catch a breath-taking sunset. Perhaps even more fascinating however is the adjoining Museum of Underwater Archeology which was opened in 1964. There you'll discover real shipwrecks, including the oldest ever found! Plus you'll see the cargo these doomed ships were carrying and a particularly noteworthy 3,300-year-old shipwreck known as the Uluburun wreck which has drawn all manner of academics and marine professionals from all over the world.
Another must-see, even if you don't consider yourself as ‘historically curious' is the Ancient Amphitheatre, a stunning relic from the Roman period. Seating 13,000 guests and with some seats still harboring inscriptions from its glory days (people who sponsored the establishment perhaps?) the Amphitheatre is still used today for all manner of concerts and festivals. If you're there do go and have a look, it's an amazingly well-preserved nod to the past.
Turning our attention to the glorious nightlife now, Küba Bar is one of the local favourites and is situated in an old, beautiful building near another favourite, the Marina Yacht Club. With a jazz-backed ambiance and some of the best seafood you're likely to find, this is a great one for a sophisticated start of cocktails that transcends into some fabulous opportunities to throw some shapes!
Animal Antics & Natural Attractions
If Sir David Attenborough has taught us anything it's that we really do love our animals and there's perhaps nothing more rewarding when holidaying to a far-off land than getting up close and personal with the local flora and fauna. The Bodrum Peninsula is just as giving in this regard as everything else and some of the top picks nature-wise would be:
Dalyan & Turtle Beach
We admit it, we sort of adore Turtles at Clickstay, they're gentle and beautiful and boy, they have a tough childhood! I mean we think school is tough, but these little guys hatch and even before they've had their first cuppa (or the turtle equivalent) they're racing for a life and death marathon to reach the sea. So, let's rephrase it, we don't ‘sort' of adore them, we're behind these awesome animals all the way and if you've never been lucky enough to see them then Bodrum might be the perfect place to do so.
If you take a boat tour (you'll find a variety, but the full-day tour is well worth a go) you'll set sail to Iztuzu Beach, home of the wonderful Loggerhead turtles. When and if you can take your eyes off these astonishing animals, you can then get a look at the incredible Lycian tombs that are encrusted in the rock face. The entire trip has some breath-taking sights and often you get lunch thrown in too!
There are a huge amount of diving schools and facilities in and around Bodrum all of which are an utter thrill for all you water babies and fish fans. Whether a beginner or an old hat at delving beneath the big blue you'll find that the crystal Turkish waters are a treasure trove of natural wonders. From the stunning coral reefs and mystical caves to the sheer plethora of aquatic wildlife, you won't be able to help but be spellbound! Some trips even allow you to feed fish and you can play at David Attenborough and photograph the whole experience too!
You'll soon discover that a great many buggy-based trips can be arranged to give you an off-road, close up view of the wonderful scenery of the Bodrum Peninsula. The Bodrum 4WD Jeep safari is a particularly fun one (that includes lunch!) which takes you to some of the most remote parts of the area including up mountainous tracks and around the nearby towns too. Other similar expeditions let you learn to drive a buggy yourself which means you get the added thrill of splashing through mud and bumping along dirt tracks while taking in the gorgeous view as you go!
As the second largest town in this Peninsula, Turgutreis is certainly somewhere to visit. Thriving in a more understated and authentic manner than Bodrum, Turgutreis is home to a great many discoveries, including fabulous sprawling markets, wonderful boat trips and is also the home of the architecturally stunning Merkez Cami.
With a pulsing nightlife after sun-down and many eateries and quirky shops by day, Turgutreis is considered the less touristy of the bigger towns and you can really get a sense of the warm Turkish culture.
This really is a delightful part of the Bodrum Peninsula, rustically charming and quieter than either Bodrum or Turgutreis but by no means dull. A seaside town, Gümüşlük is a big pull for anyone wanting to have some fresh fish for dinner, and you'll find plenty of eateries that will happily dish it up, many of which lining the harbour so that you can enjoy staggering sunsets as you sip a cold glass of wine. The beach is wonderful and gives you a great view of the well-known Rabbit Island and there's also plenty of loungers for you to kick back on with a good book! If lounging isn't what you're after there's also snorkelling and swimming to be had in the protected bay area as well as hiking in the nearby Karakaya hills.
Yalıkavak tends to become a favourite of many who visit the Bodrum Peninsula, it's got a wonderfully authentic vibe to it and plenty to see and do. The Palmarina is a particular highlight for foodies, with a great selection of restaurants and bars (as well as the obligatory great views!) and the Magi pebble beach is a great little place to soak up the sun and take a moment to appreciate where you are. According to one of our bloggers, there's also a great little Mojito bar too which is a must visit in the warm evening after a long day of exploring!
Are you not amazed? We've only covered a small slice of this wonderful location, elsewhere there are yet more wonders to behold, more activities, more sights and thank the stars, more great food.
Better yet, you don't need to stumble through a wardrobe or head to outer-space, just hop on a plane and start your adventure.