Bodrum in 48 hours
Saffet Emre TonguçThroughout its long history, Bodrum was known as Petrius, after Saint Petrus; its name was only changed to Bodrum after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.
In antiquity, it was the home of Heredotus, the “father of history,” while during the Ottoman era it was the home of the Grand Admiral Turgut Reis. In the Republican period, it became a place of exile for political prisoners.
The small fishing village of the past was identified with the poet who harmoniously described its deep blue sea and barren hills. The "Fisherman of Halicarnassus" was followed by other artists such as Neyzen Tevfik and Zeki Müren in the years to come, and these figures were followed by the rest of the world.
Bodrum is now seen as the St. Tropez of Turkey: The pristine beauty of the past has now been replaced by a brasher kind of beauty.
Head to the airport as soon as you leave work. It gets dark late in the summer, so after arrival don’t hesitate to visit Bodrum’s bazaar, but you don’t have to buy anything. Picturesque views, local texture and fresh vegetables that the urban person is not accustomed to are enough to bring you back to life.
Gemibaşı Restaurant, right across from the Bodrum Marina, has an expertise in seafood. It is one of the best restaurants in terms of service, location and price. If you are more comfortable with multiple choices, you should also consider Memedof Restaurant with a menu mainly focused on seafood and Kocadon Restaurant, which specializes in Mediterranean food.
Those who want to continue the night with live music and the sea breeze in the background should head to the Yacht Club. I suggest you check its program before going. Do not think that you will have an early night there because you lose track of time when you are having such a good time.
For the people who are looking for a different place, I suggest Mandalin by the sea and Adamik Bar, which is quite popular among the folk who are coming back from the night.
If you still have any energy to hang around, join the dancing crowd of Mavi bar. Its 03:00-05:00 rave is famous. Witness that some things from the past haven’t changed and lose yourself in this “generation-less” feast.
Go to Teldolap to rest your soul. It is a great place to look at the sea through the landscape, to have a delightful country breakfast. Take your time while doing all of these. If you want a different place to have breakfast, you can also try the cafe next to the Tepecik Mosque in the Bodrum Harbor.
Now that’s enough laziness. With a little walk, you will both burn some calories and reach the underwater archeology museum. The Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum is unique in Turkey as an example of the “Living Museum” concept. The historical artifacts are stored in the historical St. Jean Castle, built by Crusader Hospitaliers by using the stones from the Mausoleum, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
For those who want to meet real Bodrum cuisine, I suggest Kısmet Restaurant in Konacık. All the food is prepared daily. And if you want to see Bodrum from above, Kafedaki awaits you with its unique view and delicious dishes. Besides the Mediterranean cuisine, the meat dishes and rich wine menu make it hard for you to choose what to eat.
One of the primary reasons to come to Bodrum is its beaches and beach parties. Xuma Beach is still at the top of the list, with fast service, welcoming personnel and quality music. It’s all of the things you imagine when you think of Bodrum. Moon Beach is a leisure place. You can sunbathe during the day and enjoy the never-to-be-forgotten beach parties. Also keep in mind that you can drink your cocktail while admiring the sunset before tasting world cuisine at night.
Go to Gümüşlük’s Limon cafe for sunset. End the day with a colorful harmony of land and sea as the sun goes down.
If you are staying in Gümüşlük, I suggest Mimoza Restaurant. Maçakızı Hotel’s restaurant is now a Bodrum classic. Chef Aret Sahakyan’s extraordinary dishes should be tasted before leaving Bodrum. I also recommend Kurochan by Cennet Cove. It has the most distinguished examples of Japanese cuisine.
The night life of Bodrum has just started. Hop inside Maiki Hotel, a place for people who want to dance with quality music. Another alternative is Sess Club in Göltürkbükü.
It is said that every beautiful thing lasts only for a short while, but can you think of anywhere else that lingers in your memory for such a long time? Before you leave for the hectic city life, spoil yourself with a delicious breakfast. My place of choice for it was Havva Ana’s place in Yalıkavak. Another alternative is Seval’s Place in Akyar.
After you are done with breakfast, it is time to visit the Zeki Müren Art Museum. You can see the belongings and photographs of Zeki Müren, who was nicknamed “The Sun of Art” and the “Pasha of Bodrum,” while listening to his music. You can see the extraordinary aura of him inside the house he left behind.
I’m someone who likes to try different things. Bitez is a place I love in Bodrum. Visit Bağarası Restaurant and try their leek stew, crispy ravioli, herbs and olive oil dishes and its friendly chats. Its only fault is that it makes it harder for you to leave Bodrum. I went to Özbalcı Pİtta Restaurant on the recommendation by a friend about it being the “best in the peninsula.” He was proven right. You should also try Özbalcı’s Turkish Delights. If you want to eat fish before you leave, you should visit Fener fish restaurant in Akyarlar. Beside the dishes, be prepared for a magnificent view of İstanköy Island. You should not forget Bitez ice cream for a refreshing dessert.
Sarnıç Beach Club in Bitez is one of the primary choices with its beach, food, service, music and delicious cocktails. If you want to relax while having fun and want to have proper food at the same time, Mu Art is for you.
You can enjoy the sunset on the terrace of The Marmara Hotel, opposite the Bodrum Castle.
Now it’s time to leave but you can still visit Bargilya Restaurant in the Gulf of Güllük. The ancient city and present time fishing village, Bargilya, are very close to Bodrum, just a few kilometers on the road toward the airport. Visitors can’t believe the delicacies they taste in this restaurant are real. Capture the image of this last moment before you go back to real life.
Translated by Yunus Yüzsüren