View of ship and Bodrum Castle in the background

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Things to do in Bodrum


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This little corner of Turkey has it all! Culture, stunning natural beauty and an extensive menu of tasty dishes to sink your teeth into. The Aegean Sea caresses the shore as delicately as meze dishes tickle your taste buds. A cultural exploration through village sidestreets might be the perfect starter, while a leisurely stroll along the waterfront might be the perfect end to your meal or day. And a trip to the Hamam might be the perfect palate cleanser, getting you ready for more Turkish adventures. Here’s our favourite things to do in Bodrum.

Bodrum Castle

View of Bodrum Castle over the sea

It may have seen its fair share of battles and conquests, but there’s no battle or contest when it comes to being Bodrum’s number one historic sight! Its castle takes the crown with ease. After all, where else can claim to have been built using stones from a Wonder of the Ancient World? Constructed by the Knights Hospitaller in the 15th century, using stones from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. After an unfortunate demise at the hands of an earthquake, their early style of upcycling meant that the wonder’s tale lives on! Ottomans seized control of Bodrum Castle in the 1520s, converting it into a mosque. Since then it’s also been a prison, before becoming the outstanding tourist attraction you’ll find today. And like a book of fascinating short stories, it’s these succinct and action-packed chapters that truly hook visitors!

A little extra helping of history can be found in the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, tucked away within the castle. So many visitors find themselves cast adrift for hours, lost among the enthralling shipwreck collection. The highlight being the artefacts from the Uluburun Wreck, believed to be the oldest sunken shipwreck ever uncovered. If too much time inside leaves you with that sinking feeling yourself, head up for amazing views out to sea! Or stretch your legs with a leisurely stroll through the castle’s colourful gardens.

Visit the Waterpark

Young girl on slide at Turkish waterpark

Slide straight into holiday fun and make a huge splash at one of Bodrum’s two waterparks! Aquapark Dedeman is the area’s first and can also claim to the biggest act in town. Start the day off slowly with a few gentle slides, before taking on the adrenaline pumping thrill rides – where you’ll find yourself racing towards the water at high speed. If you’re in Bodrum with your kids, there’s child friendly slides that will let you make little splashes together. Plus there’s all those waterpark favourites that make for amazing days out! Kick back on a lazy river, catch a wave in a pool or just break up the fun with a relaxing swim. Bodrum Aquapark might be smaller but there’s lots of fun to be had here. With more than 20 slides a zipline and bungee catapult for the more adventurous among you. You’ll certainly dry off quickly…

Hit the Hamam

Woman getting a massage at Turkish bath

With softer skin and a smile on your face, you’ll leave the Hamam feeling refreshed and rejuvenated! The tradition of the Turkish baths and spas dates back hundreds of years, so you’ll also be grabbing a little culture as those aches and stresses melt away. And it’s this combination of rich history and ultimate relaxation that draw so many to Turkish Hamams!

Synonymous with the lavish and powerful Ottoman Empire, there’s often an air of luxury and architectural brilliance about these ancient buildings. Domed roofs, intricate pillars and of course that warm and inviting marble slab. Choose a traditional treatment and you’ll find yourself laying on this, as your skin is exfoliated and massaged by soft oily hands. Rinsed with warm water, you’re ready to take that calm back to your Bodrum villa, through the rest of your holiday and all the way back home.

Days at the Beach

Clear blue seas and golden sands at Kargi beach

No list of Bodrum’s best would be complete without its amazing collection of beaches! Combining golden sand perfection, lashings of natural beauty and plenty of quaint seaside villages. Bitez is the perfect example of this coastal cocktail, which is probably why it’s so popular! Its curving arc of soft sand is lapped by turquoise waters, with a smattering of citrus and orange groves separating it from the step back in time that is Bitez village. Shallow waters are music to the ears of beach loving parents, while the offshore breeze offers ideal windsurfing conditions. We’d all love a bit of Bitez! Yalikavak is another golden wonder, with more for foodies – the waterfront restaurants here are simply mouthwatering.

Then there’s the beaches that pack pleasant surprises! Kargi Beach is well known for its camel rides, so why not hop on for a ride on one of these wonderful creatures? You definitely won’t be leaving with the hump! Gumusluk beach is separated from the harbour by the sunken walls of the ancient city of Myndos, with stones visible as you paddle, swim and snorkel. Sitting opposite the charming Rabbit Island, you’re also guaranteed a great view as you chill on the sand. And with renowned seafood restaurants close to the harbour, finish your day with a tasty fish dish.

Meze and Coffee

Turkish delight and coffee in an ornate cup

Mealtimes in Turkey are all about good food and good company, both to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. And that’s what meze dishes are all about. Sociable and made for sharing, they let conversation flow as they’re passed around the table. Plus, everyone gets to try a little of everything and there’s nothing more wonderful than sharing a favourite dish with a friend or loved one. Meze can be found all across Turkey and Bodrum is no exception. So keep your eyes peeled for these amazing appetiser menus in any restaurant you enter.

Familiar dishes like hummus and feta are perfect for little ones and fussy eaters, while adults and the more adventurous can tuck into local delights. Dolme should be high on your list, with these vine leaves loaded with meat vegetables and more. And we’ll only briefly mention the fresh seafood, marinated peppers and tasty aubergine before there’s too much mouth watering!

You might not be mad about coffee, but it would be a shame not to try a Turkish cup while you’re here! Many believe that the Turkish way of brewing is the oldest in the world, with a history dating back to the 15th century. It is often told that the Ottomans introduced it to the Sultan and quick as a sip it became a palace favourite. Coffee houses soon followed, letting people meet and mingle over a cup of the good stuff. This way of life very much lives on today…

Find your own Turkish delight with our Villas in Bodrum, and start dreaming about coffee, culture and coast.

Gary Stringer

Gary Stringer is a SEO Content Executive at James Villa Holidays.

I love to travel and I love to write - so I'd like to think I've found the perfect job!...

See all articles by Gary Stringer

See all articles by Gary Stringer


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