Turkey 13 Mar 2024 BY Batul Eidi

Discover Bodrum's Top Attractions & Exciting Things to Do

Bodrum is a coastal haven on the Aegean cherished by the super-wealthy and celebrities alike. Its elite reputation is reflected in its bustling marina filled with yachts, ready to whisk you away for a day of coastal sightseeing and swimming stops.

While the beach is a major draw, Bodrum also offers a handful of historic attractions for those seeking more than just sun and sand. The town itself is a picture-perfect sight, adorned with whitewashed houses that beg to be photographed.

It was formerly known as Halicarnassus and was home to the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, also known as the tomb of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Bodrum witnessed the rise and fall of various civilizations. From Persian rule to Hellenistic influence, and eventually Roman control. In the 15th century, the Knights Hospitaller arrived and used the remains of the Mausoleum to construct Bodrum Castle, giving birth to the town's modern name.

Over time, Bodrum's economy evolved from fishing and sponge diving to becoming a thriving tourist destination. Today,  it is one of the best places to visit in Turkey for sun-and-sea vacations, attracting visitors from all corners of the globe who seek to soak up its undeniable charm.

To make the most of your time in this premier resort town, we've compiled a list of the top Bodrum tourist attractions and things to do when you visit.


12 Top Things to Do in Bodrum

Stroll the Waterfront Promenade and Marina

Stroll the Waterfront Promenade and MarinaTo truly experience Bodrum, start by visiting the marina, which provides an excellent starting point for exploration. Take a leisurely walk along the waterfront promenade, relishing in the breathtaking views and understanding the city's historical significance as a bustling trade port.

Nestled between two tranquil bays on the Aegean coast, Bodrum was once the Greek city of Halicarnassus. Today, its promenade is a vibrant hub filled with lively vendors, inviting outdoor restaurants, and a picturesque display of fishing boats, cruise ships, and luxurious yachts.

As night falls, the promenade becomes even more enchanting, offering captivating vistas of neon sunsets, the illuminated stone walls of Bodrum Castle, and a starry sky above.


Visit the Bodrum Castle

Visit the Bodrum Castle

A must-visit Bodrum tourist attraction is the iconic Bodrum Castle, also known as the Castle of St. Peter. Recently reopened after extensive renovations, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a captivating blend of beauty and historical significance.

Originally constructed in 1402 by the Knights Hospitaller, also known as the Knights of St. John, the castle served as a strategic stronghold for the order. Within its expansive walls, visitors can explore various exhibitions, including the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, which showcases remarkable artifacts. The castle also features a gallery displaying glassware and amphorae, as well as the remains of a 14th-century ship.

As you wander within the castle grounds, you'll discover a serene garden adorned with pomegranate trees, mulberries, aloe plants, and quince. Adding to the enchanting atmosphere are the majestic peacocks leisurely strolling through the shaded pathways.

One of the highlights of the castle is the Commander Tower, offering a breathtaking panoramic view of Bodrum. Ascend to the top and be rewarded with an incredible vista of the picturesque hills, the bustling marina, and the sparkling sea. It's a sight not to be missed during your visit to Bodrum.


Delve into Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archeology

Delve into Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archeology

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of underwater archaeology at the Underwater Archaeology Museum, nestled within the walls of Bodrum Castle. Established in 1964, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the submerged treasures and the rich history of the ancient city of Halicarnassus.

With its 14 exhibition halls, the museum showcases an impressive collection of lagan, cargo lost at sea and later discovered during underwater excavations. Delve into the mysterious stories behind these artifacts as you wander through the halls, making it an engaging activity for families visiting Bodrum.

One of the highlights is the Glass Hall, where you can admire objects crafted from glass dating back as early as 1400 BC. These exquisite pieces were salvaged from shipwrecks in the region, providing a glimpse into the ancient craftsmanship and maritime trade of the time.


Photo Op at Bodrum Windmills

Photo Op at Bodrum Windmills

One of the must-see landmarks in Bodrum is a cluster of 18th-century stone windmills perched atop a hill, overlooking Bodrum and Gumbet Bays. These windmills, which were operational until the 1970s, were strategically positioned to harness the coastal winds from the northwest.

Though now mere remnants of their former glory, the windmills add a touch of unique ambiance to the landscape, particularly during sunrise and sunset. While the Bodrum windmills themselves may not hold much interest, the breathtaking panorama that unfolds from the mountains makes this area a must-visit.

From this vantage point, you can enjoy stunning views of Bodrum and the iconic St. Peter's Castle on one side, while gazing upon the beauty of Gumbet Bay on the other. You can reach the windmills independently via dolmus or private transfer, or as part of an organized excursion.

Within the windmill complex, there is a charming café where you must try their unique offering – freshly squeezed pomegranate juice without seeds. Allocate about an hour for sightseeing, capturing memorable photos, and savoring the panoramic vistas.


Explore Bodrum Old Town

Explore Bodrum Old Town

Immerse yourself in the charming and picturesque lanes of Bodrum, which form the heart of this vibrant coastal town. These narrow streets, tucked behind the beach, bazaar, and marina, are a delight to explore, exuding the Aegean ambiance that sets Bodrum apart from other tourist destinations along the coast.

As you meander through these enchanting alleyways, you'll be captivated by the sight of whitewashed cottages adorned with bougainvillea and vines, evoking the town's fishing village heritage. This area offers a unique and nostalgic glimpse into Bodrum's past.

For photography enthusiasts, these meandering lanes provide the perfect backdrop for capturing the essence of Bodrum. You can truly experience the town's authentic character and feel like you've stepped back in time.

The best way to uncover the hidden gems of Bodrum is to wander aimlessly along the narrow lanes branching off from the waterfront. Along the way, you'll encounter charming cafes and inviting restaurants, offering ideal pit stops to relax and soak in the atmosphere.

For an easy and enjoyable stroll, follow Saray Sokak, a cobblestone street that leads from the waterfront harbor to the Mausoleum of Mausolus. This route offers a taste of old Bodrum's ambiance and historical significance.

If you're up for a more energetic adventure, continue your ascent on foot along Kelerlik Sokak, all the way to Bodrum Theater, where you'll be rewarded with panoramic views from the hilltop.


Shop at the Bodrum Bazaar

Shop at the Bodrum Bazaar

If you want to do shopping in Bodrum, it boasts a network of shaded lanes that come alive, particularly after sunset, when diners flock here for a leisurely post-meal stroll.

Bodrum's bazaar offers a refined interpretation of the traditional Turkish market, featuring proper shops instead of stalls. While haggling may not be common, the range of choices compensates for it.

Explore a plethora of offerings, including Turkish and Central Asian textiles, locally crafted pottery in vibrant hues, and exquisite handmade woodwork. For those seeking some glitz and glamour, the bazaar presents an array of gold shops, fashionable beachwear, and trendy attire.

After a day of sun-soaked relaxation, meandering through the bazaar's inviting shops becomes a quintessential Bodrum experience. For a refreshing break, visit the Tarihi Han, a restored historic caravanserai, and savor a cup of coffee or tea in its shaded internal courtyard. Don't miss the opportunity to explore the artisan stores on the upper level of the han.

While exploring the eastern section of the bazaar district, you'll come across a sparse ruin site, marked by two remnants of walls. These are the remains of the 18th-century Greek Orthodox Aya Nikola church, adding a touch of historical intrigue to the area.


Enjoy Bodrum Nightlife

Enjoy Bodrum Nightlife

When the sun sets, Bodrum comes alive with its vibrant and star-studded nightlife, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking an unforgettable evening. This coastal town has long been a favorite among celebrities, who often indulge in sunset dining and cocktails at their preferred nightclubs.

For a romantic waterfront dining experience, Ayana Mes is a perfect choice. Set right at the water's edge, this charming spot offers an array of delectable options, including catch-of-the-day seafood prepared in various tantalizing ways, succulent lamb kebabs, and traditional Turkish mezes.

After dinner, the real fun begins as you dive into the pulsating Bodrum nightlife. Start your adventure on Bodrum Bar Street, also known as Cumhuriyet Street, which stretches along the coast, starting from the square in front of Bodrum Castle. This lively street is lined with an assortment of nightlife venues, such as Veli Wine Bar, renowned for its live music and claiming the title of the oldest bar in Bodrum.

Another one of the things to do in Bodrum at night is explore Gumbet Bar Street, a bustling party hub brimming with dance floors and bars to keep the night alive. No matter which direction you choose, you're bound to discover a nightclub that suits your tastes.

Rock enthusiasts can head to Kule Rock City, while whisky connoisseurs should visit the Gekko Cocktail and Whiskey Bar. If you're in the mood to dance, shimmy your way to Club Mood Bodrum. For a truly unique experience, embark on a voyage at sea aboard the Club Catamaran.


Marvel at One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Marvel at One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

A must-visit attraction in Bodrum is the awe-inspiring Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, renowned as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Constructed between 353 and 350 B.C., this grand structure was commissioned by Artemisia in memory of her husband, Mausolus.

Although the original ornate sculptures now reside in the British Museum, the remnants of the podium and columns at the archaeological site offer a glimpse into the monument's immense scale and magnitude. Standing in its presence, you can't help but appreciate the architectural marvel that once graced the ancient city.


Visit Halicarnassus Theater

Visit Halicarnassus Theater

In addition to the remarkable Mausoleum, Mausolus left behind another architectural gem in Bodrum: the Theater of Halicarnassus. Just a short walk from the mausoleum, this impressive structure was built in the 4th century BCE under the patronage of the renowned satrap, offering entertainment to the people.

Over six centuries later, the Romans undertook restoration and expansion, resulting in a breathtaking fusion of Greek and Roman architectural styles that still captivates visitors today.

With a seating capacity of up to 13,000 spectators, the theater was a hub of cultural gatherings. However, the theater's most enchanting aspect lies in its cavea design, nestled on an excavated hill, providing breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea.


See Bodrum's Myndos Gate

See Bodrum

The Myndos Gate showcases two reconstructed towers, though with a modern interpretation of the original stonework. In addition, a 50-meter-long trench was excavated in 334 BCE to impede the advancement of Alexander the Great's forces.

Archaeological excavations in the vicinity of the gate have revealed vaulted Hellenistic and Roman tombs. Plaques placed around the site provide informative insights into its historical significance.


Enjoy Water Sports

Enjoy Water Sports

For those seeking an adrenaline rush and a thrilling experience, exploring the water sports scene in Bodrum is a must. While boat trips are popular, the peninsula offers a range of exciting activities to get you out onto the water.

Partaking in water sports is one of the unusual things to do in Bodrum. All you have to do is head to beaches like Bitez, Ortakent, and Gümbet, where you can rent kayaks and paddle your way through the crystal-clear waters. For an extra dose of excitement, these same beaches also offer parasailing, allowing you to soar above the coastline and take in breathtaking aerial views.

Paddleboarding has gained significant popularity and can be enjoyed at various beaches along the peninsula, including Turgutreis and Camel Beach in Ortakent. Glide along the serene waters, feeling a sense of tranquility and connection with nature.

For those looking to delve into more specialized water sports, Bodrum has options like kiteboarding. Kiteboard Bodrum, located on Celebi Island just off the coast of Ortakent, stands out as a professional provider of kiteboarding experiences.

They offer lessons for beginners and advanced riders, along with equipment rentals. Transfers to the island are included in their package prices, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience.


Explore Zeki Muren Arts Museum

Explore Zeki Muren Arts Museum

For a unique and insightful experience in Bodrum, visit the Zeki Muren Museum of Art. This extraordinary museum is dedicated to the famous Turkish singer, composer, and actor, Zeki Muren. Housed in the singer's former residence, the museum showcases a fascinating collection of his personal belongings, memorabilia, and information that sheds light on his remarkable career.

Zeki Muren, often compared to Elvis in terms of his impact on music, holds a special place in Turkish music history. Exploring this museum provides a deep understanding of how he became an iconic figure in modern Turkish music.

While the Zeki Muren Museum of Art might not appeal to everyone, it is a place that many visitors will appreciate and enjoy. In just an hour or two, you can immerse yourself in the life and legacy of this influential artist.


Bottom Line

Bodrum offers a plethora of activities and attractions that cater to every traveler's taste. From exploring the ancient wonders like the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and the Theater of Halicarnassus to strolling through the charming narrow lanes and capturing the picturesque scenes, there is something for everyone.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, a photography lover, or simply seeking a memorable vacation, Bodrum has it all. So, pack your bags and embark on an adventure to Bodrum, where history, culture, and natural beauty converge. Don't miss out on experiencing the magic of Bodrum firsthand!

Share your story!

Comment below and let us know about your Experience.

Your story inspires others!


Leave a Comment