Bodrum on the Aegean coast of Turkey attracts rich and famous celebrities, budget holidaymakers, solo travellers and white collar Turks from the big cities. Infact it appeals to everyone and this is evident from its reputation as one of the most popular tourism destinations in the country.
Credit can be given to its diversity in amenities such as the cheap B&B hostels or the 5-star luxury hotels in Bodrum whose personal services include your own private chauffeur and maid. While I cannot afford the latter, I enjoy travelling around Bodrum but it is not often that I will stay in the town centre, a pulsating hub of buzzing traffic, large nightclubs, overpriced bars and a marina attracting anyone competing on the social scene.
Instead I visit the lesser-known villages and surrounding holiday resorts belonging to the same peninsula. While some of them have made tourism the main feature and income for locals, life still seems more grounded, compared to Bodrum town. All are within close distance to each other so if I have tempted you to stray from the pulsating hub and centre of Bodrum, maybe these resorts will appeal.
Holiday Resorts to Visit on the Bodrum Peninsula
1: Rustic Gümüslük
This is one of my favourite holiday resorts simply because I have never been to another place that is so laid back as this one. People just don’t seem to care about anything apart from enjoying seaside life and the Aegean sun. Highly favoured by Turkish celebrities, at night-time, the attention is on seaside restaurants serving fresh fish and seafood dishes. If you want to splash out on lobster, calamari, and octopus or king prawns, this is the place to do it.
2: Upmarket Göltürkbükü
Having passed through briefly, I have plans to return to Göltürkbükü once my bank balance has significantly improved. The resort, restaurants, bars and hotels are highly overpriced therefore attracting the rich Istanbulites, who just want to splash the cash about!
3: Quiet Kadikalesi
I have been here twice now and while it does have attributes like perfect windsurfing conditions, there is not much to do apart from sunbathe and swim. It also lacks character and vibes so visit for the day but don’t stay overnight.
4: Trendy Yalikavak
Having undergone a massive transformation, Yalikavak now boasts of an advanced marina attracting wealthy yacht owners from around the world but the old town accommodating for the middle working class is just as active and popular with locals and expats. I have just returned from a week’s stay in Gokcebel that is a small Turkish village within Yalikavak, and along with Gumusluk, I highly praise this area.
5: Watersports Gumbet
This small, hedonistic town attracts mainly British holidaymakers, enamored by the beach, water-sports and themed bars and restaurants making them feel at home by supplying British breakfasts and large screen football entertainment. Some call it tacky while others say it is a perfect family holiday destination.
6: Friendly Turgutreis
Sitting next to Yalikavak, this resort is another haven for British holidaymakers and expats. For good reason though because it has a gorgeous beach and sunsets views that are perfect to watch with an ice-cold beer. Despite its growth and expansion over the years, it has a working-class ambiance once you head away from the beach and touristic areas.
9: Welcome to Bitez
A long beach that is impeccably maintained and backed by bars and restaurants make Bitez popular with families and couples. Devoid of a clubbing and party nightlife scene, it doesn’t appeal to everyone but in the height of summer, can get crowded because it is also popular with Turks.
A few other holiday resorts such as Torba and Gundogen might appeal to those who really want to drop off the grid but my suggestion to everyone who can drive is a road trip of the Bodrum Peninsula that leads you to stay 1 or 2 nights in each resort. In my opinion, it is the best way to tour an invigorating and active hub of the Aegean coast of Turkey.