Turkey // The central and southern Aegean //

The Bodrum peninsula

For anyone staying in Bodrum, it’s worth making at least one day- or half-day trip across the peninsula it calls home. You might even consider basing yourself in one of its many relaxed villages, such as Gümüşlük or Akyarlar, rather than in hectic Bodrum. The peninsular population was largely Greek Orthodox before 1923 and villages often still have a vaguely Hellenic feel, with ruined churches, windmills and old stone houses. However, the area has become immensely popular with moneyed Turks of late, and whitewashed cube-buildings have proliferated – some now appealing boutique hotels, others eerily empty, where building projects have gone belly-up. Luxury hotels, on the other hand, are proliferating – every major world chain either has, or is about to have, a hotel open here.

The peninsula still exudes a unique charm. Its north side, greener and cooler, holds patches of pine forest; the south, studded with tall crags, is more arid, with a sandier coast. There are also plenty of serviceable beaches, with Bitez, Ortakent, Yalıkavak and Türkbükü, among others, currently holding Blue Flag status for cleanliness.

Note that most of the peninsula’s hotels and restaurants only open from May to October. Travel at other times is certainly possible, though, and it’s blissfully relaxing.


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