Some say the Bodrum Peninsula in the southwestern city of Muğla is Turkey's St. Tropez, but whether it is true or not, the area has always been attractive for tourists. What makes a Bodrum trip more tempting being able to drive away from its center and discover the further flung neighborhoods
Summer has finally arrived and people everywhere are making travel plans for the holidays. While this may come easily for some others are faced with indecisiveness which can become overwhelming. So if you are not quite sure where to go this summer, head to Bodrum. Known as Turkey's "tourism hotspot," Bodrum is located in the province of Muğla and has long been a top destination for domestic as well as foreign travelers. This bustling city offers something for everyone and is known for its celebrity guests, nightlife, shopping and restaurants. But if the "busy scene" is not your thing and you would rather spend time in calm unique coastal towns, there are some alluring gems just outside the city that are worth visiting.
Indulge in Yalıkavak
An 18-kilometer drive from the center of Bodrum, the coastal town of Yalıkavak boasts some of the most panoramic sea views in Turkey. Yalıkavak is a quiet escape from Bodrum's busy streets, but still offers guests plenty to do and see. This up-and-coming destination offers a laid back atmosphere, making this unique seaside destination a perfect place to visit. No car? No problem. Shuttle buses leave from Bodrum and run all day and late into the night, offering guests quick and easy transportation.
If luxury is what you are looking for, then Palmarina is the place for you. This newly designed luxury yacht club is the biggest in Turkey, housing mega-yachts from all over the world. The fascinating marina is set up like an entertainment complex complete with top designer shops, a nightclub for billionaires, delicious restaurants and a long refined boardwalk where you can take a stroll and gaze at million-dollar yachts. Many top celebrities are frequent visitors of this marina, so do not be surprised if you run into one of your favorite celebrities.
Surrounded by hills covered in white villas, Yalıkavak offers vacationers the chance to rent private villas rather than busy hotels, and there are plenty to choose from. Villas offer guests a chance to relax in a more quiet setting and if you look into it, most are situated within a complex offering large swimming pools for you and your family. The best part is that almost all of the villas face the sea and offer breathtaking views and brilliant sunsets, for which Yalıkavak is famous.
Once a fishing and sponge-diving village, the town center still retains some historical charm. Head down to the old part of town, where quaint streets offer shops, cafes, a local art gallery and restaurants. When it's time to eat, you will find an array of options from traditional Turkish cuisine to international tastes. Fish restaurants line the water and there is no better place to enjoy a fresh catch of the day. Twice a week a local market sets up in town, offering visitors a chance to bargain for local fruits, vegetables, cheese, fish, clothing, textiles and leather goods.
Enjoy the water
Surrounded by blue waters, Yalıkavak is the perfect place to enjoy the sea without the crowded beaches. An array of islands can be seen from the Yalıkavak coast, and the best way to explore the waters is to take a boat trip from the old harbor. You can enjoy the sea, swim amongst the island's coves and see breathtaking scenery from aboard your boat. There are also a few beaches you can head to with some even offering free sun loungers, and restaurants located alongside the beach, requiring only that you buy food or drinks.
Relax in Gümüşlük
Located 23 kilometers from the center of Bodrum, this seaside village and fishing port is sure to captivate your heart. Located at the western tip of the Bodrum peninsula, Gümüşlük is one of the oldest settlements on the peninsula and sits on the site of the ancient Carian city of Myndos. Thanks to archaeological value, the town is protected from development, preserving the historic charm and character of this quaint village.
Seafood with a view
With dozens of restaurants lined along the sandy beaches of the harbor, the hardest decision to make will be which one to choose. Renowned for daily fresh fish, this place is sure to satisfy your seafood craving. The seating areas of the restaurants are positioned right on the beach and one could not find a better view of the sunsets, so schedule your dinner around that time, as the view is worth it.
Discover Rabbit Island
Rabbit Island dates back to the Byzantine era, and houses recent archaeological finds, including an ancient theatre, a sacred burial area and a church dating back to the 5th century. It is accessible by a partially sunken historic walkway that allows visitors to walk right across the water to get to the island.
Stroll the local shops
After lunch in one of the many restaurants along the harbor, take a stroll down through the local shops. Here you can find handmade jewelry, leather goods, Turkish towels, homemade jams and ice cream. Most sellers make their own goods, and you are guaranteed to find a souvenir to take home.