You can find plenty of beautiful beach towns and resorts in the Bodrum Peninsula, which borders the Aegean Sea. Even so, namesake Bodrum was the original resort town that rose to fame with its upscale marina, heavenly beaches, ancient ruins, trendy restaurants and eclectic nightlife. Other villages followed suit, and now the whole peninsula is decorated with seaside resorts, opulent hotels and aquatic excursions.

    Some villages boast the same cosmopolitan vibrancy as Bodrum, while others have retained their traditional Turkish charm. This gives you a chance to experience any type of beach vacation. Whether you wish to lounge on quiet sandy shores or hang out in a luxurious marina, the Bodrum Peninsula has plenty of idyllic towns and villages, most with a pristine beach, for you to visit.

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    Yalikavak

    Admire the modern marina and extravagant yachts

    Yalikavak has transformed itself into a crown jewel of the Bodrum Peninsula thanks to the swanky Palmarina. Lavish yachts fill the marina and the former sponge diving port is now the hippest place to live on this Turkish neck of land. Yalikavak is some 18 km from Bodrum on the northwest side of the peninsula, giving you sensational views of rolling hills and the Aegean coastline.  

    The influx of wealthy yachters was a sparkplug for the local economy and boutique shops, restaurants and sumptuous villas decorate the town. You can still experience Yalikavak’s old-world charm with a stroll through its sleepy Old Town. Visit Turkish tea shops, dine on delicious seafood and explore the town’s weekly open-air markets. 

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    2

    Turgutreis

    Visit the largest weekly market on the Bodrum Peninsula

    Turgutreis is the 2nd largest town on the Bodrum Peninsula and its easy access to amenities attracts both holidaymakers and expats. The town is an excellent base to explore the western side of the peninsula and its 5-km beach hosts an abundance of aquatic activities. Test your windsurfing talents, sail around the nearby islets, explore enchanting coves or capture a dramatic sunset.

    For a little retail therapy, make sure you swing by the town's weekly market, held on Saturdays. Experience the local vibe and shop for fresh produce, textiles and nifty souvenirs. Wander down to the town’s marina to gaze at yachts and check out the upscale shops, quaint cafés and galleries lining the waterfront.

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    3

    Gumbet

    Partake in adventurous water sports or exciting nightlife

    Gumbet has a long, sandy shoreline sits alongside a tranquil cove with unbeatable conditions for water sports. It's a short 10-minute drive from Bodrum, giving you easy access to an energetic atmosphere and picturesque beaches.  Enjoy a fun-filled day of water skiing, boat trips, parasailing or simply lounge on Gumbet Beach. From the water, you’ll have excellent views of rugged hills, pine forests and delightful windmills overlooking the bay. Thrill-seekers can also join exciting 4x4 and cycling trips to explore the adjacent countryside.

    After your outdoor adventures, experience Gumbet’s cosmopolitan flair at its Mediterranean restaurants, traditional shops and lively nightclubs. Bars, cafés and clubs line the beach promenade and Bars Street for a rousing time after sunset. 

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    4

    Bodrum Town Centre

    Discover architecture from multiple eras of history in Bodrum’s cultural hub

    Situated on the southeast side of the peninsula, Bodrum Town Centre remains the overwhelming heartbeat of the area. As the central hub for the entire peninsula, your trip will almost certainly start here. Wander its cobblestone streets and admire archaeological sites like the Bodrum Castle and its Museum of Underwater Archaeology, the Bodrum Amphitheatre and the nearby Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.

    Around its ancient sites, pedestrianised streets filled with upscale restaurants, boutique shops and exciting nightlife highlight the town. Much of the activity is centred around the Bodrum Marina Yacht Club. Here, you’ll have delightful views of the Bodrum Harbour, an excellent collection of bars and restaurants, and entertaining live music performances. 

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    5

    Gumusluk

    Relax on the beach or be cast away on a scenic boat tour

    Gumusluk has all the makings for a secluded, peaceful getaway without the modern expansion seen elsewhere on the Bodrum peninsula. Roughly 30 minutes from Bodrum Town, this authentic village is worlds apart from its coastal neighbours. The ancient city of Myndus (or Myndos) was located here and the preservation of Gumusluk’s historic sites has retained its bucolic charm.

    The calm waters of Gumusluk Beach make it an ideal spot for swimming, snorkelling and boating. Sunbathing, scenic hiking trails and the picturesque views from Rabbit Island are popular ways to soak up the peaceful atmosphere. The village’s fishing acumen provides you with some of the peninsula’s best seafood restaurants. Visit in summer to catch the International Gumusluk Classical Music Festival, one of Bodrum’s premier cultural events.

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    6

    Bitez

    Embrace traditional Turkish charm and a family-friendly atmosphere

    Bitez is only around 5 to 6 km west of Bodrum but provides one of the most laidback atmospheres on the peninsula. The town boasts the longest shoreline on the Bodrum Peninsula, and you’ll find plenty of places to take in the Aegean coast. Unwind along the beachfront where you’ll find lots of charming cafés and restaurants. The smell of citrus trees accentuates the charm of the village.

    The tranquil waters of Bitez make it one of the top places for water sports among all age groups. Windsurfing is the most popular activity and learning the sport is an exciting endeavour. If you’re just here to relax, Bitez has numerous shaded areas to embrace the relaxed pace.

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    7

    Torba

    Unwind on a wooden jetty beside the bay

    Torba is about a 10-minute drive northeast of Bodrum and its bay provides you with sensational coastal vistas. Its sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and scenic hills showcase the peninsula’s rustic beauty. Torba is teeming with history and its ancient sites are among the most interesting places in the village. Trek one of the hills overlooking the bay to find a 2,500-year-old tomb and discover the ruins of a Byzantine monastery. 

    Head to the Fishing Boat Harbour to join one of the numerous fishing excursions. This is also a wonderful launching pad for a sailing trip to nearby islands and coves. Wooden jetties are scattered around the beach where you can sunbathe and listen to the peaceful waves.

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    8

    Turkbuku

    A getaway for the rich and famous

    The secluded bays of Golkoy and Turkbuku form the extravagant village of Turkbuku (also called Gulturkbuku). Its pristine location on the northern side of the peninsula has become a sumptuous hideaway for luxury travellers. Lavish beach clubs, fashion boutiques, and exquisite eateries cater to elite customers arriving by private yacht. 

    Restaurants and bars transform their establishments with jetties where you can spend sunny days lounging by the water. Lush gardens heighten the village’s ambience, and the cool breeze carries the aroma of scented trees. The hills across the bay offer marvellous seaside views and its boardwalk is bustling with nightly activities.

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    9

    Ortakent

    Hang out on the beach or find historical ruins

    Ortakent is centrally located on the Bodrum peninsula, but the village is often overlooked by travellers. Divided into 2 distinct sections, its inland business district sits a couple of km from its glistening coast. A stop in Ortakent often results in a glimpse of authentic Turkish culture. Visit a local tea house for a delightful welcome to the village. Citrus orchards decorate the streets, while seaside fun draws locals to Ortakent-Yahsi Beach.

    Weekly produce and textile markets give you the chance to mingle with the locals and have a unique shopping experience. Ortakent is also renowned for its historic ruins – the walls of the Mustafa Pasha Watch Tower are among the town's most impressive sights. 

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    10

    Hebilkoy

    Swim or snorkel in the crystalline waters of the bay

    Hebilkoy may be the best-kept secret on the Bodrum Peninsula for a peaceful getaway. The sleepy village is situated on the northern shores of the peninsula with serene waters offering a plethora of seaside fun. You can swim, snorkel or enjoy picturesque boat rides from its quiet bay.

    You won’t find much activity in Hebilkoy as serenity is its primary draw. Make sure you stock up on groceries elsewhere if you plan on spending an extended amount of time here. There is a lack of shops in the village, but its scenic hillsides offer some of the most dramatic sunsets on the peninsula.

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    Daniel Grenier | Contributing Writer

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