Bodrum is fast becoming a sought-after destination for those searching for an exotic holiday on the Aegean Sea. The city captivates with its unspoiled natural beauty, rich culture and warm hospitality. Growing enthusiasm for the Turkish seaside has prompted airlines to increase flight routes, making Bodrum now easily accessible.
At the entrance of the Gulf of Gokova, Bodrum has experienced various incarnations from the Ancient Greek city Halicarnassus to its Medieval iteration as Petronium. Thousands of years of diverse influences have shaped the dynamism of the city’s art, architecture, textiles and cuisine. There is also a distinct emphasis on utilizing natural resources, which extends to the Turkish gastronomic tradition embracing local soil, olive trees and a wood fire.
After spending the better part of a week in Bodrum, I was awed by how close I could stand to ancient history, the craftsmanship of its artisans and the quality of its cuisine although what I left with was more than this: I was touched by the heart of its people. There was a depth of sincerity in my interactions with the locals that left me smiling throughout the entirety of my trip. A holiday in Bodrum is an adventure to a land ripe with authenticity.
What to See
Zai Bodrum is a series of contemporary structures intertwining nature, art and Turkish gastronomy, resulting in an open-air cultural oasis. Owners Yunus and Derya Büyükkuşoğlu showcase their extensive personal collection of regional art as a rotating exhibition. Gallerist Anna Laudel has an outpost on the grounds, currently featuring artist Flóra Borsi in a solo show “Part of Me.”
Mathieu Forget: “L’invitation au voyage”
Movement artist and performer Mathieu Forget’s interactive photography exhibition “L’invitation au voyage” showcasing Turkish architecture is on view for the summer season at the Bodrum EDITION. Viewers can download a QR code to see the performances by Forget, known as “the flying man,” come to life. While on the premises, guests can also see the hotel’s impressive permanent collection of Turkish artists.
Where to Eat
World-renowned Turkish chef Osman Sezener brings his talent to the world stage in this vibrant seaside restaurant. Utilizing local ingredients, natural processes and a wood-burning oven, The Kitchen presents a perfect fusion between Anatolian and Aegean gastronomy. With seafood caught locally in Bodrum and the Cesme Peninsula, it is unsurprising that the most popular dish is the catch of the day.
Kahraman Bodrum is a traditional fish restaurant tucked away on a quiet bay in Yalıkavak. Guests are invited to select from an extensive display of Turkish mezze. Although Kahraman Bodrum is an affordably priced dining experience, the restaurant does not compromise on service. Make a reservation for dinner, for it is an idyllic place to watch the sun disappear into the horizon.
Where to Stay
The Bodrum EDITION
From the moment guests step into the luxury beachfront hotel, they enter a serene paradise. The lobby is neutral and airy, with long linen curtains floating in the breeze, framing the view of the wine-dark sea. Guests can spend their days dozing in a private cabana or enjoying a restorative spa treatment. Wander or take a buggy through jasmine-lined pathways down to the beach. The staff are attentive and accommodating, always making guests feel at home. The Bodrum EDITION is heaven in its purest form.
This boutique hotel refers to itself as “the best kept secret in Bodrum” and is a great budget-friendly option. The modern guest rooms have terraces lined with bright purple floral vines and glimpses of the bay. While the hotel is not located directly on the beach, it has an expansive pool. Relax in the charming sculpture gardens or enjoy a Mediterranean dish from the Agora Restaurant.
What to Explore
Dibeklihan Culture and Art Village
Dibeklihan channels the spirit of Silk Road caravansaries. Hidden away in the mountains between Bodrum and Yalıkavak, this architectural gem is host to an eclectic mix of artisan shops, cafes and venues. Wander the stone corridors and peruse the ceramics, caftans, jewelry and antiques on offer. Dibeklihan also has a rotating exhibition currently featuring Turkish artist Zehra Sargin.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Bodrum is home to the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The tomb was built between 353 and 350 BC for Mausolus of Caria and designed by Greek architects Satyros and Pythius of Priene. The exchange rate with Turkish Lira makes this attraction incredibly affordable at approximately $1.00.