TURKEY: Your guide to BODRUM
Why summer in Bodrum?
Having moved out of our apartment in July, we opted to spend a month near(er) to the beach as we waited to depart. So in August 2022, we spent our time in the in BODRUM area of TURKEY! We were trying to soak up all the sun and beach time we could before we move to a landlocked state in the USA! (*spoiler* As this is published, we have yet to make that big move to the USA…)
Yazlık (Summer House) Culture: Turkey has a winter and summer culture. Those families who can afford it, have a summer house near some coast line to escape the heat of the city. Families will sometimes buy one together so that all can enjoy it. Three of our of 4 sets of our neighbors do this exact thing ever year. Ever since we moved to Turkey, we had wanted to try it out.
In summer 2020, after a strict and exhaustive COVID lockdown (I know no one wants to remember that time!), Jason and I tried out our first Yazlık summer spending 3 weeks in a summer villa located in Kalkan, Turkey near Kas. You can check out some of our other travels during COVID times to Kalkan that summer.
And now once again, we are we opted for a month in a yazlık… this time in Bodrum, Turkey.
Now on to BODRUM!
Bodrum is a year round city for some expats and locals. But in the summer, Bodrum truly shines. This vibrant, coastal town vibe draws in all sorts of tourist, but especially British ones! Tons of villas and property are own by Turks and internationals as their summer getaway. And when they aren’t able to enjoy, some choose to rent their properties out to others.
IN THIS POST:
Where is Bodrum?
Located on the South West coast of Turkey, Bodrum is a province(or state) in Turkey. As well, within the province of Bodrum there is also a city named Bodrum.` `With its surrounding 32 islands and islets, forming a 174 km long coastline, it is one of the most well-know places in Turkey when it comes to beaches and summer travels.
Here are some of the closest cities:
- 100 km N from Didim – 1 hour 45 minutes
- 165 km SE from Marmaris – 2 hour 20 minutes
- 235 km SE to Datça – 3 hours 45 minutes or 1 hour (car ferry)
- 233 km SW to Fethiye – 3 hours 20 minutes
- 243 km N to Izmir – 3 hours 30 minutes
From our home in Izmir (depending on where you live) to Bodrum, travel by car takes around 3.5 hours. Check
Little bit of history
Now that you have learned Bodrum’s location in Turkey, let’s chat about its history.
Bodrum’s history goes back to the Lydians in the 6th century passing into the hands of the Persians in 546 BC, after which the Persians took complete control of South West Anatolia (aka Turkey). Halicarnassos fell to the Seljuk Turks in 1071 AD. Yes, that’s right, this is the Mausoleum of Halicarnassos – better known as one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World (By the way, Turkey is home to 2 of the 7 with 1 being just of the coast on the island of Rhodes!)
A main feature of Bodrum is the castle of St Peter was constructed in the 1400s. During the time of the crusades, it served as a place for Christian refugees. The city, then known as Petrion, eventually came under Ottoman rule in 1522 AD and the name of the town changed to Bodrum as it is known today. History follows the rest of Turkish history from here.
Today the town of Bodrum, has grown and changed while restoring and protecting its historical areas. Each of the Peninsula little towns mentioned below has its own centre, and hub with restaurants and shops, all of the differing character, with local markets selling local fruit and veggies and Peninsula resorts.
I’ll share more about WHAT TO SEE and DO in a few sections below!
Areas of Bodrum Peninsula:
Now that you have learned a very brief overview of Bodrum’s history, let’s chat about the Peninsula and its smaller towns. This could give you a better idea about where you may want to stay if you are looking to vacation in Bodrum!
- Bodrum City: Bodrum proper draws in more year-round residence expats and even the winter seems to teem with life with its mere 120,000 population. The summer is when it really shines at it explodes with visitors, both locals and tourists alike! The marina is one of Turkey’s best, along with lots of shopping options. The transportation options and excellent bus network make it ideal for visitors who don’t want to rent a car. We love that new and old parts of town are easily walkable and close to the waterfront where one can catch any type of boating tour to explore the seas.
- Bitez: Bitez Beach is well known for its shallow bay which extends out almost 500 meters! Sofia and I both loved that we could enjoy the warm, clear water while standing so far out! This laid-back local vibe offers boat trips and varied selection of restaurants, bars and shopping. [Note: Its neighboring town of Gümbet (going west from Bodrum before you make it to Bitez) is so overcrowded, loud and a MAJOR tourist destination for Europeans, especially Brits. The lounge chairs are back to back and squeezed into every bit of sand, leaving no room for others to enjoy the coastline. We stayed 5 minutes and said NOPE, quickly moving on to the somewhat calmer Bitez.]
- Turgutreis: This is a close second to Gümüşlük and has a bit more room for all the tourist. This is another coastal resort and also does well with British fans still being close to Bodrum city, but I found it to be less party style and more relaxed, a good option for families with kids. Its varied portfolio encompasses a wide range of apartments and villas to stay. Sitting near other towns, it offers seclusion yet easy access via local minibuses opens it up to the rest of the peninsula. Even I found myself looking at apartment hotels as we meandered for potential trips in the future.
- Gümüşlük: This was our first Bodrum week long vacation with some friends a few years ago(2019). White houses scaling the hillsides along stretches of winding roads make this area comparable to Santorini. The main village boasts of it walkable seafront area lined with popular seafood restaurants. It is our favorite spot for a sunset dinner by the water. Steeped in history, there are still a number historical areas nearby. The most interesting site to see in the bay is the underwater ancient road of Myndos, as well as a Byzantine church restored into a present day cultural centre. This is one of the few places on the Peninsula that has been awarded a blue flag (The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators. In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.)
- Yalıkavak: Near our private rental villa in Gökçebel, Yalıkavak is positioned on the North of the Peninsula. The marina, surrounded by high quality boutiques and restaurants, draws in some of the wealthiest locals and foreigners with their impressive yachts. Towards the eastern side of town, Yalıkavak has a small, but busy centre with a more traditional touristic covered bazaar. Unfortunately, their prices reflect the crowd that is drawn to this area, even ice cream was double the price here!
- Gökçebel: This is where we stayed! We definitely took a chance on this little hillside village of traditional stone houses knowing that Yalıkavak and Gündoğan were close by. It definitely helped that we had a car. Nearby is the abandoned village of Sandima – check out my video about it here. We found both locals and guests enjoy this quiet way of life off the beaten track and local Sunday market but noticed, too, its growing popularity due to the close distance to shops, bars, and restaurants of Yalıkavak and Gündoğan.
- Gündoğan: Gündoğan Beach (one of our favorite free public beaches), is one of the longest beaches on Bodrum Peninsula, is beautifully situated among the tangerine, olive and pine trees. I would say it is more favored by the Turks and thankfully protected from all the businesses with their chairs that go up to the water! While there isn’t much to do in Gündoğan apart from swimming, sunbathing and yachting (and WOW, there were some amazing yachts!), there are a few cafes and yummy restaurants to enjoy.
- Torba: While we didn’t make it to Torba, we heard it was worth a day trip to enjoy this little town. Though it’s small, Torba still boasts of a few notable tourist resort, several modern hotels, and a few pebbly and sandy beaches. While we had already visited Didim previously, Torba is the port where ferry services between the Bodrum Peninsula and Didyma arrive and depart, and where day excursions can be made to see the famed Temple of Apollo. The ferry is also a convenient way of visiting the impressive sites of ancient Miletus and Priene for those only staying in Bodrum.
- Ortakent: I want to briefly mentioned Ortakent because we went through this area quite a bit. While Jason would work, I sometimes would take Sofia here to enjoy the kids play area. There is a large mall, dining, Decathlon Sports store and a huge grocery store called METRO that tends to carry more items than the local grocery story.
What you should see and do in and near Bodrum, Turkey:
1. Explore Bodrum City!
Bodrum city is peppered with historical sights, including the renovated amphitheater and joint Bodrum Castle (Castle of St. Peters or Egion Castle) & Museum of Underwater Archaeology. The open-air Amphi-theatre overlooking Bodrum is another fantastic site to enjoy and concerts are still held there in the summer months.
This city is small, walkable, easy to navigate with just enough nooks and alleys to keep you wandering the streets for more during your week-long holiday. From the glitzy marina to the quaint cobbled back-streets of the shopping area, the multitude of restaurants, bars, shops and cultural events make this location a year-round destination.
The public beach is located right in town making it easy to dip into the water at anytime of day. The harbor nearby offers day trips via boat to other locations so you can enjoy the sea to the max. (Keep reading for all my local to-dos and restaurant recs at the end of this post!)
I have a whole post dedicated to our first time we visited Bodrum! Most things are still the same (I did updated it a bit since visiting this summer). Check it out for all the BODRUM CITY GUIDE.
WATCH our day tour of Bodrum below.
2. Abandoned Village of Sandıma
Sandıma Ghost Town some call it, is Bodrum’s small version of ‘Kayakoy’ but instead of a deserted Greek village, new nearby developments nearby drew residents out of this dying town. This deserted village leans a bit into an eerie ambience. A quick 10-minute drive by car from Yalıkavak, or 35 from Bodrum City, takes you to a hillside of 80 crumbling houses displaying old-style architecture of whitewashed stone walls with wooden shutters. Only one house was occupied for a while, and it use to double up as an art gallery for visitors. Unfortunately, the owner past away last year.
On the way you can stop by Zay Kahvaltı Evi for breakfast and a view!
3. Exploring the different towns of the Bodrum Peninsula
I know that most tourist come here for the all inclusive resorts and parking themselves by the sea to get a proper tan. However, if you are not the lounging type and enjoy exploring more outside your hotel or resort, we suggest take some day trips out to the other surrounding peninsula towns.
Our first recs? Outside of Bodrum, Gümüşlük and Turgutreis… See our description above for the main towns on the Bodrum pennisula. Here I will highlight a couple of towns we enjoyed most:
Gümüşlük: There are many private rentals in this area, all with amazing views of the sea. For a panoramic view of the Gümüşlük town, take a hike up to the top of Gümüşlük Kocadağ. There is even an observation area with a huge Turkish flag that can be spotted from the bay below. There are two restaurants we enjoyed. Located on the mountainside with the best sunset views over the Gümüşlük hills and delicious food is Tashev Gümüşlük Restaurant. Our favorite meals were the meat dishes, a special lavas and meat served over an eggplant puree. The second restaurant, Bi Üst Kat (Çipa Balık), is located in the middle of Gümüşlük Bay town. This seafood restaurant with its fish and mezes, is the perfect location for views of the calm bay waters backdropped with Gümüşlük Kocadag mountain. Plus, everything we ate was fantastic and we only ordered the mezes (side dishes). Oh and enjoy a scoop of gelato from Fonda as you wander through the night market with all the local small shops.
Turgutreis: I personally would love to come back and stay here in a seaside Apart Hotel like the Aybey Apart Otel or the Sunset Beach Apartments. Both hotels just in front of the public beach (which you will read in the next section was one of our favorites!) This town is a bit bigger with an old town shopping area and a newer more modern vibe further south at the marina (think Starbucks and a Barcelona Restaurant Bar). There is a bit more diversity and fun for everyone here. We ate burgers at Bee Bistro&Cafe but honestly didn’t think they were the best. (We are super spoiled by the best burgers in Izmir, Burger Street, being in our neighborhood! It’s hard to beat that!)
As you travel around the pennisula, be on the lookout for the famous windmills of Bodrum. The Bodrum Peninsula is littered with 200 year old reminders of a time before tourism (and Turkey). You will find that these white-washed, circular windmills are in various states of repair and stand out against the landscapes on high ridges to catch the breeze. Near our area, you can enjoy breakfast with them and see the views a windmill would enjoy at MMK Yeldeğirmeni Yalıkavak Windmill. Close by is a place to stop and take in the stunning views of the north west bays of Yalıkavak and Gündoğan.
Pedasa Ancient City near Torba: I don’t have a DON’T DO LIST but we did NOT visit this Ancient City. If you have been around FollowingtheFunks even for short period, we hardly ever miss an opportunity to visit an ancient city! However, I could not find ANY good information or even a recommendation to visit the` Pedasa site. Wait, there was 1 website, but I truly believe they have never visited it personally. It seems like it is an ancient site that is there but not cared for. Meaning, you could potentially get lost in the site that suppossively spreads across several hill-tops…
4. Spend time at the different beaches!
Let’s be honest, this is why you are all reading this post! And it’s the main reason Bodrum is so popular in the summer!
There are lots a beaches to go to in the peninsula of Bodrum. Most towns have companies or beach clubs that you can pay a fee for the day and get a chair and umbrella. As well, almost every town has a ‘halk plaj’, or public beach, to enjoy for free! There are usually umbrellas but no chairs so bring your own if you want!
Here are some of our favorite beach spots:
Bitez Public Beach: I’m listing it not because it was the best, but I do need to give an acknowledgment to the impressive Bay Area. This public beach is fairly tiny, fighting for space next to the rest of the bay lined back to back with lounge chairs. The best part about the bay though? The shallow waters that you can wade in. I was 500 meters out of into the bay before the water even started coming up to my thighs! And the water was clear with fast settling sand. I had never been to a beach like that.
Turgutreis Public Beach: To our surprise, we love this little town and were a bit sad that it was a bit far from us (30-40 minutes). The drive from our villa near Yalıkavak take us through the winding hillside neighborhood and white-washed summer homes. This public beach is right downtown and spacious. the clear water was warm and shallow with almost no waves making it perfect for our daughter to play. See above section for a restaurant rec.
Yalıkavak Public Beach: To the very west of Yalıkavak, away from all the ritzy side of town and almost considered Tilkicik Koyu, is a pebbly coastline shaded with trees. Since it’s not so ‘sandy’ or ‘beach like’ I think it isn’t as popular. But on the hot mornings or afternoon, I loved spending a hour here with my daughter cause it is shaded. She loved all the rocks she could through into the water! This area is near a restaurant I wanted to test out, but never got around to it – Zeytin Lina.
Küdür Public Beach: This beach is located on the small peninsula separating Yalıkavak and Gündoğan. Choose from 3 different coves with shallow, lapping waves. We loved this beach most for Sofia due to the abundant trees and shade they provided. If you want to take a little walk, the Panormus Kaya Mezarları (rock tombs) are situated just behind this area. Nothing special if you already seen this kind of tombs elsewhere in Turkey, but if you haven’t then I suggest checking it out!
Gündogan Public Beach: As mentioned above, this is one of the longest public beaches in Bodrum which also means, lots more room to enjoy the sea. There is a huge carpark right by the beach (paid) as well as a few markets to grab drinks, snacks and food. We also LOVED that there was a park for kids right on the beach! I’m so sad we didn’t discover it earlier in our month-long stay. I think we would have visited it more! Extra side note: Jason and I did a date night here and enjoyed seafood (fish and Meze) here at the waterfront, family run Hasıraltı restaurant. It’s small so you may miss it if you aren’t paying attention! It was lovely and delicious.
Cennet Koyu Cove Beach: When we would ask locals what beaches to visit, this is on every Türk list. While the water and sand were not my favorite, the small cove and lovely views made we quickly realize why others loved it. We went here a few time, but it was always for an evening after the crowds have left. We would pack a picnic and enjoy the sunset alongside the campers and yacht that had set up for the night.
Note: most official public beaches will have some type of facilities – beach watch/tower/lifeguard, changing rooms, outdoor shower to rinse off, bathrooms if its really nice!
5. Day Boat Trips, Water Activities and Scuba Diving
The boat trips, water activities such as jet skis and paragliding, and scuba diving are a must for this area.
If you are staying in a resort or hotel, most have connections and can provide bookings for such activities. However, if you are like us and went the private rental route, then I suggest using the company EasyBookTours. They can handle any type of water activity, boat tour, or land tour you could possible desire for the Bodrum area. I personally did not book with them, but I did have friends who were very happy with the service they provided for their private boat tour!
The boat tour go all over the pennisula depending on what and where you want to go. One popular option is going to Orak Island, east of Bodrum, a long, mostly uninhabited stretch of the peninsula. You can visit on a day-long cruise making a stops at 2-3 swimming spots such as Red Bay, on your was to Orak Island where you can swim and snorkel in shimmering waters. Most all tours include a lunch which normally involves a fresh salad, grilled chicken, fruit, and of course, Turkish tea. Another boat tour option is to Çatalada, a.k.a. Çatal Ada, located just 3 miles off the coast from the town of Turgutreis. An island with three conical hills, its name means literally “fork island”. It is also a popular scuba diving place.
The most popular scuba diving location is Kara Ada Island, well known for its scuba diving airplane. Most of the companies leave early from Bodrum city and the nearby areas. If you have family members or friends that want to join but don’t want to dive, they have a special price for them too!
Bodrum also boasts of a Dolphin Park. They offer daily show and even an option to swim with the dolphins. The tickets are not cheap though (by Turkish standards). We ended up not going as our daughter is only 3 years old. Maybe when she is older it will be fun to spend $150 for our family to see a dolphin show.
Most large resorts have some type or multiple even water parks! The biggest indolence water park is Bodrum Aqua Park. It is best for older child. I did find another small part called Pirate Inn that may provide a bit more enjoyment for those families with smaller children.
Scuba diving was definitely on my list to do, but between guests and Jason’s work (yep, he works from anywhere so it’s not just a vacation for us), I never made it. We also have done boat tours before, both the 100 people a boat with crazy loud music and the private ones where we brought our own party!
BUT, don’t do as we did. Definitely take advantage of all these fun water activities, especially if it’s not something you get to do often… or ever!
6. Day Trip to Kos, Greece
A quick 30 minute ferry boat ride from Bodrum gets you to the Greek island of Kos! If you have never been to Greece then Kos, one of Greece’s Dodecanese islands, is a great ‘taster’ island. This harbor town gives you your choice of sandy beaches, Greek and Roman landmarks, 15th-century Neratzia Castle, Ancient Agora ruins, and 3rd-century Casa Romana villa has lavish mosaics.
I am currently working on my complete GUIDE TO THE GREEK ISLAND OF KOS and will post it here when it’s done!
Until then, if you are curious about other Greek Islands accessible from Turkey, check out these other links:
- 8 Tips for Traveling to the Greek Islands/Countries from Turkey – where I explain more about the ferry system from Turkey to the Greek Islands.
- BLOG ARTICLE: Lesvos
- BLOG ARTICLE: Rhodos
- VIDEO LINK: Tour Rhodos with us!
- Coming soon: Kos, Greece!
BONUS/NEARBY: DIDIM, MARMARIS, + DATÇA
I marked this as a ‘bonus’ because honestly, it’s a bit of a drive to get to all of these locations and not all a doable day trip. But they would be a fun overnight or add on to your time in Bodrum.
While we don’t have a blog post for everything, a long standing website I have gleamed so much info from should have some info about all of these sites – even to just get you started. So, make sure to check out Turkeysforlife.
- DIDIM: 100 km N – 1 hour 45 minutes (or ferry from Torba)
- MARMARIS: 165 km SE – 2 hour 20 minutes
- DATÇA: 235 km SE – 3 hours 45 minutes or 1 hour (car ferry)
- FETHIYE: 233 km SE from Fethiye – 3 hours 20 minutes
Our other tips for this area:
- For our road trip, we drove in our own car from Izmir to Bodrum. Even thought the drive is only 3.5 hours, we usually like stopping about halfway at the Çeri Restaurant (Instagram) located on Bafa Lake and did the breakfast Turkish style. The food and the views of the lake and the surrounding mountains were amazing.
- If you don’t want to drive from Izmir, taking a bus will be the easiest and quickest route. You can find bus tickets here. Looks like most companies go and take approximately 4-5 hours.
- The closest airport to the Bodrum area is still the Milas-Bodrum(BJV) airport and then take a shuttle or taxi which is approximately 40 minutes to the Bodrum City.
- FROM ISTANBUL, Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines offer a quick 1 hour direct flights from both airports (Pegasus mostly operating out of SAW).
- Airlines do not offer direct flights from IZMIR to Milas-Bodrum airport as it is too close. But you can fly with a stopover via Istanbul or Ankara airports.
- We stayed in a private villa with a pool we found on Airbnb with the intentions of have friends come on and off to share it with us. There were some quirks but overall it worked out. I would suggest a checking out these websites:
- Airbnb – We found our villa (Turkish owned) via Airbnb. Located up the mountain side 15 minutes from Yalıkavak in the little Turkish village of Gökçebel, our villa was large enough for 2 families to share with a pool. There was some things not mentioned in the listing and some quirks we had to work through but overall it worked out for us. We loved being a bit more secluded in a smaller, less populated area with all the fun stuff located nearby. Remember to check for monthly discounts! You can find it LISTING HERE.
- Holiday Lettings (UK)
- Of course you can go with the Turkish site sahibenden.com but you will not have the protection that these other rental sites provide you for cancellation and property issues. So I DO NOT recommend it, especially if you don’t speak Turkish.
When to go to Bodrum:
- Bodrum, which has a Mediterranean climate, is actually a town that can be visited in all seasons. Winters are warm and rainy, and summers are very hot. In short, it may be more accurate to determine the season according to your needs.
- Like us, most people go for the summer season to cool off in the many villas with pools, apartment site, or swim in the sea, you should choose hot or hot weather in summer, and
- However, if you want to escape the cold winters were you live and be in a warmer place, you can choose it even in winter – just don’t expect the pools to be open! The sea however, is always available for a chilly swim!
In fact, the first time we ever visited Bodrum was in the wintery off-season. And even in off-season, it was still a wonderful place to visit (you can read out here).
Restaurants we enjoyed:
Usually I list by breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but here I will just list with the locations at the beginning starting nearest to our location in Gökçebel near Yalıkavak. The ones with the *** are the ones we personally ate at. The rest was my list of places I wanted to try or were recommended.
- ***Yalıkavak – Sefte Bahçe – We loved this little breakfast spot of the side of the hill overlooking Yalıkavak! The atmosphere was calm and beautiful. We picked the spot in the corner by the kids area so our daughter could play. The breakfast variety was outstanding including some Balkan Turk style pastry (borek).
- ***Yalıkavak – Safiye Kahvaltı Evi– Kahvaltı/Turkish Breakfast. This restaurant had only been open a few months. We picked it for it’s kids area, but honestly we found it to be overpriced, and lacked attentive service to refill our dishes…
- ***Yalıkavak – Meet Lab Coffee and Lilith Natura Gelato – It seems every little marina town has a Starbucks but we always look for an alternative option. This was a serene, well-design open coffee shop with delicious cold brew and scrumptious desserts. Within the cafe is a little gelato bar with some of the most expensive ice cream on the Bodrum peninsula at almost double the price of other scoops of ice cream. We had it once, and it was worth it!
- *** Yalıkavak – VOI Coffee – This had a gorgeous view overlooking another bay of Yalıkavak. Their egg Benedicts was outstanding as well. It’s great for relaxing but not so great for getting work done as it’s all open air and the sun is ever moving.
- ***Yalıkavak – Antepli Pide & Lahmacun Salonu – Hand down one of the best Turkish meals we had all summer! I still dream about this beyti kebab. It’s a little hold in the wall place that attracts more locals. The atmosphere is less than impressive, but the food is EXCELLENT! Don’t let the location deter you from going here!
- Yalıkavak – Kozalak kahvaltı evi – Breakfast, view and one of our favs, pisi (fried bread)
- Yalıkavak – Asmalı Çardak Kahvaltı Evi – breakfast
- Yalıkavak – Brava Bodrum
- Yalıkavak – Kitchen Bodrum
- Yalıkavak İceberry Palmarina – Frozen yogurt sho
- Yalıkavak Zuma Bodrum – $$$$ Japanese restaurant
- ***Gündoğan – Hasıraltı Restaurant – (Seafood) Jason and I did a date night here and enjoyed seafood (fish and Meze) here at the waterfront, family run Hasıraltı restaurant. It’s small so you may miss it if you aren’t paying attention! It was lovely and delicious.
- ***Turgestis – Bee Bistro and Cafe – Burgers but we didn’t really like them.
- ***Gümüşlük – Tashev Gümüşlük – Located on the mountainside with the best sunset views over the Gümüşlük hills and delicious food. Our favorite meals were the meat dishes, a special lavas and meat served over an eggplant puree (Tashev Spesiyal Köfte).
- ***Gümüşlük – Bi Üst Kat (Çipa Balık), is located in the middle of Gümüşlük Bay town. This seafood restaurant with its fish and mezes, is the perfect location for views of the calm bay waters backdropped with Gümüşlük Kocadağ mountain. Plus, everything we ate was fantastic and we only ordered the mezes (side dishes).
- ***Gümüşlük – Fonda – Enjoy a scoop of gelato from as you wander through the night market with all the local small shops.
- Gümüşlük – Melengic Balik Restaurant
- Gümüşlük – Tiki Taka – On your way from Yalıkavak to Gümüşlük is a tiny little taco stand. We never did stop to try it but maybe you can!
- ***Bodrum City – La Pasion Restaurante Espanol – Spanish cuisine with the matching vibes. It is on the higher end of prices but we loved everything we ordered here. You can read more about it in our Bodrum City Guide.
- ***Bodrum City – Zakka – One of our day tours of Bodrum took us by this place. The homemade food (ev yemekleri) was delicious. One of my favorite dishes is Çökertme Kebabı and it did not disappoint! The manager was so friendly and our daughter loved the beans and rice he served her!
- ***Bodrum City – Bitez Waffle and Dondurma. If you are looking for a favorite local ice cream place. This is your place. Bitez Waffle and Dondurma is a chain that you will find in many areas. They do the famous dessert waffles and their ice cream is more of the icier(less creamy side) which Turks seem to love.
- Bodrum City – Dukkan – “Mukkemel food” and I really wanted to go here! Looks a bit small so maybe make a reservation.
- Bodrum City – Avlu – More date night style but also looks like it has a great atmostphere.
- Bodrum City – Red Dragon- Intenational option Chinese food
- Bodrum City – Keci – While we didn’t make it here, all the reviews rave about this restaurants twists on the mezes they make (this small dishes, appetizers, tapas). I am not sure how family friendly it is. Maybe we will try it another time!
- ***Bitez – Rick‘s Place – Traditional British style fish and chips. With all the Brits that come to Bodrum, it’s no surprise that fish and chips places do well here. Sofia and I stopped here for some British favs. It’s a bit heavy and the portions are large. Consider sharing.
Few other tidbits to wrap this guide up:
- Seasonal area: While some parts of Bodrum are more year-round areas, a lot of the smaller beach town and businesses are more seasonal. The requirement? Sunny and warm, maybe places start to get to open around April and May, and they live for the crowded June-September season. Don’t be surprise if a lot of these recommendations are closed if you are going in the winter. Bodrum City will mostly stay open, so we suggest staying there in the winter months!
- Any weekly local pazar (market) in the area you are staying! It is a fun thing to check out if you have never been to a local market. It can also make the area around it a bit congested. We actually did do this in our area of Gökçebel every Sunday! The little shop of ……. made the BEST gozleme and tepsi borek (pan savory pastry) with yummy cheese and greens. I craved it all week.
- Other Market Shopping: I thought it would be helpful to note that regardless of where you are staying, there will be some or multiple markets/grocery stores that carry all your food and household needs. We shopped mostly at the Migros and Carrefours. Twice I went to the big METRO store in Ortakent to pick up some other harder to get items. If we couldn’t make it into METRO, almost every beach town has a Macrocenter which is known for carry more imported food items (and the prices reflect it too unfortunately. Things like limes, cilantro, tortilla chips… they are generally stocked here when other places don’t have them.
- Beach clubs: Personally I thought the public beaches were nice and I personally preferred them. But we aren’t a family to spend all day, hours upon hours at the beach. We like to go for a hour or 2 and then be done. However, if you want to spend a whole day on the water with facilities, restaurants, etc. – then check out the local beach clubs or companies that provide lounge chairs on the sand.
- Hamams and Beauty Care: Most resorts will have some time of hamams or Turkish baths. They service to both resort guests and outsides. I called around to a couple and the cheapest price was 50 Euros but most were more. Bodrum Rashid’s Hamam/Turkish Bath is more traditional style and seemed to be highly recommended and it’s located towards Ortakent in the middle of the peninsula.
- I did get my nails done once at Tırnak Nişantaşı Bodrum. All I have to say is that both myself and the sweet gal doing my nails, it’s way too expensive…. (like almost 3 times as expensive as getting them done anywhere else in Turkey… and that is without ANY polish included. geezsh).
Overall, Bodrum is a fun getaway for everyone! Plus, there are so many Brits on summer holiday there that I never felt like a foreigner! If anything I felt more Turkish since we live in Turkey and speak Turkish. While our goals were more to hang out with friends and relax for this trip, we did enjoy checking out the rest of the Bodrum peninsula.
Don’t forget to check out our BODRUM PLAYLIST on YOUTUBE!
Comment below and let me know about some of the questions below:
- Do you want to travel to Bodrum now?
- Have you traveled to Bodrum before?
- If so, what did you love? What did we miss?!