The Ibiza of the eastern Mediterranean, Bodrum thrums with cosmopolitan energy. The once-unpresuming fisherman’s village is now a must-do stop on the circuit of places frequented by people who have a lot of money but pretend that they don’t. The secret to enjoying Bodrum is to embrace the port's lifestyle by indulging in long lunches at the local “day clubs” and exploring the ultra-chic nightlife in style.
What We Love
The Macakizi Hotel: If you're only in port for an afternoon, go for lunch; the chef will wow you with dishes made with local ingredients and stellar olive oils, like grilled octopus with white-bean hummus and pan-seared scallops with black-olive tapenade. If you have time to spare, consider an overnight in one of the super-stylish but practical rooms.
Gulet Sailing: The bays and islands near Bodrum make it a fine place to charter a day-long voyage aboard one of the region's traditional wooden sailing boats.
Best Known For
The Castle of St. Peter: This 15th-century crusader outpost — which dominates the skyline — is the first thing most visitors see when arriving in port. Take a tour; it's worth seeing it up close.
Greek-Style Architecture: The predominant building style here — brilliant-white cubes with vibrant bougainvillea — makes Bodrum feel more like an Aegean island than old-world Constantinople.
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Who It's Best For
Sybarites: This isn't the conservative part of Turkey by a long shot. It's a place to party and play, and sundresses and bikinis are welcome.
Sun Worshipers: The sun seems to shine non-stop, and beach-lounging is such a serious occupation here that it counts as an activity.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's Seasonal: It gets crazy during the peak periods ... and quite the opposite in the low season. In the winter, it could be so dead that you may be the only person at the hotel. Be prepared to roll with the punches if the hotel decides to shut down and you are moved elsewhere.
The Beach is Rocky: Bring reef walkers. And let go of all those fantasies about sand between your toes.
Ann Abel is a Brooklyn-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Departures.