St. Tropez of Turkey

With its spectacularly serene azure bays, alleyways garlanded in bougainvillea and landscape fragrant with the odor of citrus, wild herbs and jasmine, one might actually forget that Bodrum offers significantly more than just brilliant sun, sand and sea. Bodrum is unique in its blending of a vast and impressive archaeological heritage with all of the requisite ingredients for a fabulously relaxing holiday.

Visiting historophiles will be fascinated to find the remains of the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, in the center of Bodrum town, or the late Bronze-Age shipwreck, the Uluburun, preserved within the Castle of St. Peter, a Crusader stronghold. Indeed the entire peninsula recalls the ancients.  Bodrum itself rises atop the foundations of Halicarnassus, birthplace of Herodotus, while the sunken ruins of Myndos and a restored Greek Orthodox chapel draw the curious to the western tip of the peninsula.

If the ancients found Hallicarnassus to be an indispensably strategic port city, unquestionably it’s the beauty of Bodrum and its treasured waters that encourage visitors to return again and again. The seaside village ports of Torba, Türkbükü, Yalikavak, Yaliçiftlik, Gümüslük, Bitez and Türgüt Reis together comprise what has become known as the St. Tropez of Turkey.  For it is here that the Blue Voyage began its journey through the years to become one of the more unforgettable experiences of a lifetime. In Türkbükü you can sunbathe adjacent to the stars; in Gümüslük you can partake in a meal caught earlier that same day off the shores of ancient Myndos, and in the lovely village of Ortakent, you can explore the typical stone tower homes of an earlier civilization.

Yet if Bodrum is renowned for any one thing, it’s the nightlife, alternatively pulsating, romantic, vibrant and soothing. Nightclubs attract the young and fabulous, candlelit waterside restaurants feed the senses and concerts are staged in evocative locales such as the Antique Theater, the ancient city walls, or within the castle’s ramparts. In the summertime, Turkish art and culture, be it ancient or modern, traditional or contemporary, will be on display in this most extraordinary of seaside retreats.

When your attention is ready to turn away from the lull of the sea and the rolling hills dotted with windmills, citrus groves and antiquity, the pristine travertine pools of Pamukkale and the ancient theaters and soaring temples of Miletus, Priene and Didyma are just a day’s excursion away.