Bodrum is an intriguing vacation spot, boasting everything from highly interesting historic sights to beachfront relaxation for the sun thirsty. The close proximity to the Aegean sea provides ample opportunity to explore the waters, the reefs and caves.
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassis is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world still around. Few know what the mausoleum really looked like, but it is believed that the famous sculptor, Skopas, was responsible for parts of the decoration, but it was certainly extravagant. Today, the visitor can only see the remains of the building’s walls, as it was destroyed by earthquakes.
You do not need to be interested in ancient ruins to take a trip to an archaeological site. En route, you will experience the countryside and the journey will take you through small towns and villages that you would otherwise miss.
A few kilometers from the holiday resort of Altinkum, in Yenihisar, lies Didyma, a great temple to Apollo. Didyma was a religious site and the oracle there was as famous as the oracle of Delphi. The temple was destroyed by the Persians around 400 BC, and the existing ruins date from Roman times. The remains of 120 columns give an indication of the size of the temple.
Milas, about 50 km north-east of Bodrum, is a notable carpet center with a long history in carpet-making, peculiarly woven in soft tobacco colors. It’s a pleasant town to stroll around in, with good shopping bazaars and several archaeological sites. Prices are lower than in Bodrum.
This excavation is almost as remarkable as Pompeii, Italy. Ancient Ephesus had around 400,000 inhabitants. The first town was built around the temple of Artemis – another of the ancient worlds’ seven wonders. The ruins visible today are from the Roman era.
The remains of the Temple of Artemis are outside the ruin area. On the hill above stands the cathedral of St John, where the evangelist is buried. St John is believed to have lived in Ephesus together with the Virgin Mary.
Bodrum harbor is full of gulets – traditional boats – that take visitors on trips along the beautiful coastline. They are comfortable vessels with large rear decks and good cabins. You can choose between day trips or longer ones and the captain is usually the cook. You can also rent a sailing boat with a crew or take a bathing boat to one of the picturesque beaches. There are small shady bays everywhere throughout the peninsula.
Layers of limestone have created this impressive natural phenomenon, reminiscent of a glacier on ancient rock. Water runs constantly from one level to another on the remarkable terraces.
Unfortunately, too many visitors have worn away the cliff and today most of the pools are closed to the public. Above Pamukkale lies the ancient Hierapolis, which was a great spa and health resort in Roman times.
The beaches of the Bodrum peninsula are excellent for diving and snorkelling, bathing boats or dolmus can take you to most of them. Bagla (14 km from Bodrum), on the south coast, has fine sandy beaches, but windsurfers usually prefer Gümbet (about 3 km west of Bodrum). On the west coast, you can find good beaches at Akyar, Turgutreis, Gümuslük and Yalikavak. These are all small villages with fish restaurants and popular anchorages for sailors. In Karaada bay, there are caves with hot water springs.
A stunning example of the greatness of the ancient city of Halikarnassus (present Bodrum), the amphitheater dates back to the 4th century BC and overlooks the Aegean Sea. This Bodrum landmark, one of the best preserved structures of ancient Halikarnassus is reachable by walk from the city center.