Bodrum is a beautiful city on the famed Turquoise Coast of Turkey! Its unique blend of history, markets, and oceanfront restaurants is just some of the many draws to this area. Bodrum is quickly becoming known throughout the world as a premier summer hot spot in Europe. Join us as we cover all the best things to do in Bodrum Turkey, from the markets to the castle and more fun tips!
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How to Get to Bodrum Turkey
There are several ways to get to Bodrum Turkey. Yet as you’ll see below, what mode of transportation you take depends on where you’re coming from!
Bus: The bus system is popular in Turkey and you can use the vast network to get pretty much anywhere. We even saw buses being advertised from Istanbul to Bodrum Turkey! While there are small bus stations inside Bodrum, it’s important to note the larger bus station (used for longer trips) is 15 minutes outside of town.
→ Using the Turkish Bus System: How Reliable are the Buses in Turkey?
Flight: If you’re flying into Bodrum you’re most likely coming via a quick flight from Istanbul. From most popular destinations you’ll have to do a quick layover in the capital city before continuing on to Bodrum in Turkey. Much like the bus station, Milas–Bodrum Airport is located about 30 km from the actual city.
Ferry: With its position along the sea, it’s easy to take the ferry to Bodrum from nearby Greece. In fact, one of the most popular day trips from the island of Kos Greece is to take the boat over for the day! The ride takes just 20 minutes and you can see many Greek islands from the coast of Bodrum.
→ Kos to Bodrum Ferry: Our Boat From Greece to Turkey & Day Trip Advice
Our First Impression of Bodrum in Turkey
Taking the ferry over from Kos, we had no idea what to expect. After all, Bodrum would be our very first experience in Turkey! The boat seemed to be made up almost completely of travelers heading over for the day trip we described above.
After a quick ride across the ocean and clearing customs, we had made it! The walk to our hotel took us along the beautiful marina and by the traditional Gulet boats. However, once we dropped our bags we made our way into the lively streets that make up Bodrum Turkey!
A sprawling market area led us out to a long promenade filled with endless cafes, bars, and restaurants. The Bodrum Castle sitting proudly above it all really put some perspective on the history of the area. Needless to say, we couldn’t wait to explore more of Bodrum!
→ Turquoise Coast in Turkey: 12 Best Tips For Visiting the Turkish Riviera
Where to Stay in Bodrum Turkey
If it’s your first visit to Bodrum we recommend staying in the city center for at least a night or two. Just outside the city, there are many high-end accommodations and more remote holiday stays along the Peninsula. However, to truly experience Bodrum staying right in the city is a must!
Boutique Hotel – Ena Boutique – Ena is located in the heart of Bodrum Turkey and is just a short walk to the ocean. Enjoy the modern design and breakfast overlooking Bodrum Castle.
Central Location – Costa Maya Bodrum – This gem is tucked back just a short walk from the marina and market. Fun tropical atmosphere with a pool sitting in the middle of the small resort.
Budget Friendly – Bodrum Sade Pension – Central hotel with beautiful decor and just steps from the beach. The colorful rooms bring your stay to life while being close to many of the best restaurants.
Ultra Luxury – METT Hotel & Beach Resort Bodrum – If you’re looking for the ultimate luxury and relaxation outside of Bodrum, this is it! The property has multiple swimming pools, an onsite restaurant, and a private beach area.
Eating Out in Bodrum Turkey
It’s no secret that Turkish cuisine is some of the best in the world. It has a unique mix of flavors that caters to every type of traveler! With specialties ranging from hearty meats to amazing vegan dishes, you’ll have no problem finding amazing food in cities like Bodrum.
Nokta Sebzeli Bodrum Döner is a great place in the market to grab a quick plate. However, there are countless doner kebab restaurants where you can eat something on the go. Don’t miss out on one of our favorites called the Iskender!
Otantik Ocakbaşı is one of the most popular restaurants in town and for good reason. This is a good spot to try Turkish meze where you can pick from several cold appetizers brought out on a tray. They also have an incredible selection of kebabs and tasty lamb dishes.
→ Beginners Guide to Food in Turkey: 25 Delicious Dishes & Drinks to Try
6 Amazing Things to do in Bodrum Turkey
1. Tour the Bodrum Castle
The number one thing you can’t miss in Bodrum Turkey is touring the ancient castle. It’s the unmistakable center of the city and sits beautifully over the town beach and marina. This region has a long and unique history and the Bodrum Castle perfectly encompasses that.
It was originally built by the Knights of St. John in the early 15th century. Evidence of this can be seen all over the castle which displays their coats of arms. In addition to seeing the actual fortress, you’ll have breathtaking views of the Turkish coastline from the top of the Bodrum Castle.
At the time of our visit, it cost only 60 Lira ($3.50 USD) to enter and includes entry to the Museum Of Underwater Archaeology. This is a small price to pay to learn about the history of Bodrum Turkey!
2. Stroll Along the Bodrum Marina
We mentioned our stroll along the Bodrum Marina being the first thing we saw off the boat, and we found ourselves back here a couple of different times! There is a nice strip of restaurants that offer delicious seafood as well as cafes facing the water.
If you continue on the boardwalk you will make your way into a more luxurious area where many yachts are parked. There are some really nice cafes here where you can get another view back towards the Bodrum Castle. We recommend grabbing a Turkish ice cream at Marina Bitez Dondurma to enjoy as you stroll.
3. Explore the Bodrum Turkey Market
First of all, you should know this isn’t your average market! In Bodrum, the market stretches from the marina to the town beach with a number of different stores and restaurants on its interior.
To be honest, the stores inside the market were our favorite part of Bodrum. As our hotel owner told us, they are mostly filled with fake designer clothes and souvenirs. However, the real charm of this area is the architecture and restaurants!
While there are a few English pubs in the mix, you will also find delicious kebab spots and places to grab a Turkish coffee or tea. We also loved how it is covered from above with giant cloths to block the afternoon sun.
4. Enjoy the Beachfront Cafes and Bodrum Bars
Bodrum plays host to a number of fun establishments right on the water! The best part about this is you can grab a beach chair and drink while dipping in and out of the sparkling blue ocean. This is truly the place to be on a hot day in Bodrum!
One of our favorite things to do in Bodrum Turkey was to walk over to the waterfront for sunset and grab an ice-cold drink. One of our favorite cafes as you exit the market was Yula Bodrum. A little further up the shoreline, you will find another cool spot in Leman Kultur Bistro.
The way the sun sets over the Bodrum Castle and the colors change in the sky is pure magic! What a fun way to end your day on the water.
5. See the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
After visiting the castle, there are a few other can’t-miss historical sites in Bodrum. The mausoleum of Halicarnassus was once one of the ancient wonders of the world. First built in 350 BC, it was erected as a tomb in the Kingdom of Caria.
Unfortunately, a great earthquake took out much of the mausoleum in the 15th century. All that’s left today is some rubble and small artifacts so you’ll have to use your imagination! Can you imagine the structure standing 150 feet high?
Even though this is the case, the small museum is definitely worth experiencing on your trip to Bodrum. Especially since it’s just a short 15 minute walk from the waterfront.
6. Bodrum Turkey Amphitheater
Just above the mausoleum is another incredible piece of Bodrum history. Yet, this one is very much more intact! With it being so close to the mausoleum, it’s easy to see them both at the same time.
Back in the day, the Bodrum Amphitheater could host up to 10,000 people. It’s amazing to stand where people once did taking in performances in 6th century B.C.
Honestly, it’s hard to believe that such a large amphitheater sits just off the main highway road. I guess that’s because they only uncovered it in the 1970’s from underneath the grassy hill!
Have any questions about visiting Bodrum in Turkey or want to share your own favorite things to do in this fun city? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
More Turkey Tips
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- Kas Turkey: Why It’s the Best Town on the Turkish Riviera
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Turkey Travel Planning
Flights: We always find deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Thailand to Siem Reap Cambodia for under $50 USD!
Rental Car: Discover Cars is our company of choice when abroad. It is especially popular to rent a car and explore the famous Turquoise Coast.
To pre-book long distance buses check Omio for the best routes all over the country.
Accommodation: Compare competitive sites for hotels such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for fun activities all over Turkey. You can book everything from a Hot Air Balloon ride in Cappadocia to a Turkish Dance show in Istanbul and even take a Full-Day Jeep Safari in Kusadasi to the National Park!
Travel Insurance: Never travel internationally without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Here’s all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists! Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials.
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