Why all the buzz about Bodrum?
Both a peninsula and a town, Bodrum is an hour’s flight away from Istanbul on the southwest coast of Turkey. And after exploring Istanbul’s palaces and mosques (see “Turkish Delight Part 1 – Istanbul“), we’re keen to see for ourselves what Bodrum is all about.
Visit Bodrum, spot a celebrity
Jutting 25 miles into the dark blue Aegean, the hilly Bodrum Peninsula is a popular summer holiday destination for Brits and Europeans. Bodrum is also a celebrity hotspot.
Celebrity sightings include Beyonce, Tom Hanks, Sting and Elizabeth Hurley.
And Bodrum town is a starting point for a multi-day “blue cruise” in a gulet (traditional Turkish yacht) along Turkey’s famed “Turquoise Coast.”
In July and August, the town throbs with nonstop nightlife.
But you can escape the throngs by staying in one of the pretty outlying villages, like Torba or Turkbuku, favored by the wealthy from Istanbul.
Sandy beaches are few.
So instead, the small resorts and boutique hotels have wooden decks on stilts extending over the sea, with ladders for entering the water to swim.
We book into boutique art hotel of Casa dell’Arte in Torba, then the sexy stylish Macakizi in Turkbuku, where we spend the days like sloths, reclining on plump cushioned loungers under shade canopies, rousing every so often to slide into the crystal water for a dip.
Exploring the Bodrum Peninsula
Occasionally, we catch a dolmus (public mini-bus) into Bodrum town.
We tour the 15th century St. Peter’s Castle and its shipwreck museum.
We also have dinner one evening at the fish market, where restaurants cook up fresh seafood you buy from stalls.
From Bodrum, we also make a day trip to the ancient Greek/Roman city of Ephesus and the traditional village of Sirince.
Sirince is nestled as if in a bird’s nest on top of a mountain.
People live here much as they did centuries ago. There are no cars, and the women – dressed in head scarves and long peasant skirts – crochet doilies and embroider napkins. To make a living, the villagers sell handmade fruit wines, olive oil soaps and handicrafts to tourists.
While browsing, we’re fortunate to see a rare circumcision procession.
A young boy, dressed all in white, rides atop a white horse, while family and friends dance around him, playing flutes and banging drums. Our guide explains that male babies are circumcised at birth, but the celebration occurs when the boy is about 10.
So does Bodrum get our thumbs up?
Yes, and no. We wouldn’t want to stay in Bodrum town in the height of summer – simply too busy for our tastes.
But staying in one of the coastal villages on the peninsula? Idyllic.
Now we get the buzz about Bodrum.
A special thank you goes to Vanguard Travel Services, one of Turkey’s top tour and travel agencies, for their prompt airport and hotel transfers and knowledgeable local guiding services.
Read our magazine article on Turkey
The complete story of our visit to Turkey was published as “Turkish Delight” in Compass, Cruise & Travel Lifestyles (see a PDF) and World Traveler magazines. And we’re jazzed to report that the story won a Silver award in the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) 2013 Travel Writing Competition!