Home » How to Spend a Weekend in Bodrum, Turkey – The Best Things to do in Bodrum

How to Spend a Weekend in Bodrum, Turkey – The Best Things to do in Bodrum

If you’re looking for a beautiful seaside resort in Turkey, offering great dining, brilliant hotels and a great selection of things to do, Bodrum is a great place to go in Turkey. I spent a weekend here at the start of a two week Turkey itinerary, and it was the most perfect place to start a trip around the country.

Bodrum has previously been known as a mass-market tourist resort, but I was pleasantly surprised that these are located more out-of-town and the centre of Bodrum consisted of charming streets, a relaxing harbour area and lovely markets.

If you have plans to spend a week in Bodrum, you will find plenty of activities to do and attractions to see. But if you only have one day or a weekend in Bodrum, you’ll still get a real feel for the place and will see the majority of its sites in the town centre and I would recommend including Bodrum on any itinerary around Turkey.

So here’s my guide to some of the best things to do in Bodrum, as well as some other essential information such as where to stay in Bodrum and how to get around. Hopefully you will find this blog post useful in planning your own trip to Bodrum!

Exploring Bodrum: Essential things to know

Streets of Bodrum, Turkey
Charming streets in Bodrum, Turkey

When is the best time to go to Bodrum?

Peak season in Turkey stretches from around May to September, similar to other European destinations. I visited in the high season in Bodrum and didn’t find it to be too busy or hectic. The daytime temperature was hot, around 33 Celsius or so and it was blue skies and sunny. In the evening in Bodrum, it was still very warm.

Getting around Bodrum

The old town, including the marina of Bodrum, is small enough to walk around on foot easily. In fact, much of it is pedestrianised. Even the bus station is walking distance (10 minutes) from the town centre. If your hotel is just out of town, it is highly likely it will have a shuttle to the centre of Bodrum.

Arriving in Bodrum airport (Milas Mugla airport) is fairly simple, although the drive from Bodrum airport to the centre of town is around 40 minutes. The Havas Bus service offers frequent and straight forward transfer buses between the two (costing 10 TL), or another option is to use a taxi, this is likely to cost about 130 TL. You can find out transfers from Bodrum airport here. I actually used GetYourGuide for a transfer service, which was pretty efficient and dropped me at my accommodation in Bodrum.

Where to stay in Bodrum?

There are so many hotel options in and around Bodrum, it can be quite hard to pick. As I was travelling solo in Turkey, I chose to stay in a hostel in the town centre. I stayed at the Eskici hostel, which was just metres from the beach. It offered a chill out pool and a really cool relaxed vibe.

You can check rates for the excellent Eskici hostel here at Booking.com

Other good value hostels and hotels in Bodrum include:

Where to stay in Bodrum, Turkey
The pool at Eskici Hostel

However, Bodrum is also known for some spectacular luxury hotels, such as the Mandarin Oriental and The Bodrum EDITION.

You check prices for these, and several other top hotels in Bodrum below:

What to do in Bodrum

Wander its charming streets

Streets in Bodrum Turkey
Cute streets in Bodrum Turkey

Bodrum’s town centre consists of many little laneways, all offering charming experiences and unusual street art. Wandering around the quaint town centre of Bodrum, I’d keep coming across corners of tumbling bougainvillea and gorgeous wall climbers, tucked away from main paths.

The Turkish people are hugely passionate and patriotic, and the Turkish flag is everywhere, adorning many buildings’ walls. You will also see the ‘evil eye’, meant to ward off evil spirits in many places too. You could say it is kind of like Turkey’s national symbol.

A very pleasant afternoon or longer can be spent exploring the streets of Bodrum. There are many Instagram-worthy photo stops in Bodrum, but thankfully, not too many photoshoots happening at once!

what to do in Bodrum
Tumbling bougainvillea in Bodrum
Exploring Bodrum
Charming laneways
Bodrum Turkey
Bodrum Turkey
best attractions in Bodrum
Bodrum’s waterfront

Sample Turkish cuisine at one of Bodrum’s best restaurants or cafes

Like many European seaside towns, the waterfront and the marina area in Bodrum is lined with great restaurants, bars and cafes. Some are really quaint and romantic, and some more lively. But on the whole, I was really amazed with how beautiful they were. You feel charmed to enter!

One restaurant I particularly liked was Kortan 365 on the waterfront in Bodrum. The building dates back over 450 years and it’s really like stepping back in time, however I was surprised to learn it turns into a lively evening spot after dark!

Turkish cuisine is one of my favourites. I highly recommend borek, which is white cheese in pastry and aubergine salad topped with yoghurt.

I tried a Turkish coffee with keen anticipation, but realised it’s not for me.

Other brilliant places to eat in Bodrum include:

Avlu Bistro is tucked away and offers a wonderfully romantic setting

Annalivia a popular Turkish restaurant offering fantastic views over the bay

Memedof Fish Restaurant is one of the fine dining restaurants in Bodrum, and offers some of the best seafood in town.

Where to eat Bodrum
The interior of Kortan 365
Where to eat Bodrum
Interior of Kortan 365 restaurant
Sea views in Bodrum
Sea views in Bodrum from Kortan 365
Turkish coffee in Bodrum
Trying Turkish coffee in Bodrum
Turkish cuisine in Bodrum
Trying Turkish cuisine in Bodrum
Restaurants in Bodrum
View of the waterfront in Bodrum

Visit Bodrum Castle and learn about the area’s history

Bodrum Castle
The outside of Bodrum Castle

The castle in Bodrum dates back to 1402 and is one of the town’s main tourist attractions. Bodrum Castle offers amazing views over the town and the turquoise Aegean Sea. It is also home to the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, housing one of the most important collections in the world. However, at the time of writing, the castle has been closed for over a year for a €25 million restoration and is set to re-upon in summer 2019, at the earliest.

Join a boat trip in Bodrum

Some of Bodrum’s best beaches are further out in the bay and can be reached by boat.

Gulets, the traditional Turkish style of boats, line the harbour. You can also sail the Greek Islands of Kos or Rhodes easily from Bodrum, which is a cool day trip.

Gulets in Bodrum
Gulets lining up in the port in Bodrum
Gulets in Bodrum
Day trips ready to go in Bodrum

GetYourGuide offer hundreds of day trips from Bodrum and excursions by land or sea to exciting attractions nearby:

Wander the artisan shops

The shopping in Bodrum is surprisingly good. I found I wanted to buy so many knick-knacks, clothes and sandals. In fact, Bodrum is famous for its excellent quality leather sandals! I thought the beautiful shell and jewellery stands were particularly eye-catching and I wanted to buy everything.

Shopping in Bodrum, Turkey
Wandering the stalls by the marina in Bodrum
Shopping in Bodrum, Turkey
Wandering the laneway stalls in Bodrum

Soak up the fun nightlife

The atmosphere in Bodrum is surprisingly lively and welcoming. The town centre didn’t feel tacky, although I’m aware it sometimes has this reputation. I think a lot of revellers stay in their resorts or bars nearer their hotels maybe.

What do to do in Bodrum
Wandering the charming laneways in Bodrum

Have you been to Bodrum before? How did you find it? I’d love to hear, so do let me know in the comments below. Visiting Bodrum was a really pleasant surprise, and the perfect first place to visit on my two week Turkey itinerary. I found a weekend to be a good time to explore Bodrum, but I could have easily spent a week enjoying the beaches in Bodrum.

I hope this guide to Bodrum has been useful in planning your own trip to Turkey!

If you’re considering a longer Turkey adventure, you might find my two-week Turkey itinerary here useful, as well as my guides to Pamukkale, Ephesus, sailing the famous Turquoise Coast, Istanbul and Cappadocia.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, feel free to share using the below links! Wanna see more? Check my Instagram here, my Facebook here or my Twitter here!

Disclaimer: This visit to Bodrum, Turkey was entirely paid for by myself and there was no involvement from the tourism board or a hotel. This is an independent guide.

Best things to do in Bodrum
A snapshot of daily life in Bodrum

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11 Comments

  1. Natalia
    September 11, 2017 / 9:02 pm

    I agree, Bodrum is a perfect destination. It has it all: a sea, a beach, old history, great food, hospitality, and beautiful scenery. I added this town to my bucket list. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Amelie
    September 12, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    Bodrum is amazing ! I have already been two times and can only recommend it. The people are super friendly as well and we always had amazing turkish food and tea. And I can only agree : The nightlife is great .

  3. Victoria
    September 12, 2017 / 10:02 pm

    I’m loving these bright colors. I would go just to check out those cute streets, indeed!

  4. Sapphire Kharyzma
    September 13, 2017 / 2:15 am

    Turkey is such an interesting country! I’ve never been drawn to it, but your experience sounds so amazing! I want to also try the food, I heard its extremely delicious

  5. Patti
    September 13, 2017 / 9:51 am

    Bodrum sounds like a great place for a summer vacation. Who can resist great restaurants and cute streets!

  6. Leigh
    September 13, 2017 / 10:13 am

    Oh wow, I had no idea parts of Turkey was so Greece-like. Ive just been to Santorini and if you just look at the photos, Bodrum could be mistaken for Greece! I really want to go now! Pinning this — you’ve just added another destination to my bucket list! 😉

  7. Alexa Meisler
    September 13, 2017 / 3:11 pm

    Your photos are gorgeous. I’m sold on Bodrum!

  8. Maria
    September 13, 2017 / 8:02 pm

    I’m totally convinced to visit Bodrum. It’s so lovely and bright, with the coastal and Summer vibe that I love.

  9. Antonina
    September 13, 2017 / 8:37 pm

    It’s a pity I didn’t visit Turkey when I lived so close – at the other side of the Black Sea. The country is full of picture perfect places like this.

  10. Raul
    July 17, 2018 / 3:37 am

    Hi, I am planning to visit Turkey in October/Nov.
    Just wondering if Bodrum is still as great to visit during this season.

    The pictures look great

  11. Melissa
    March 25, 2019 / 5:29 pm

    I can’t wait, visiting Bodrum end of April! Hopefully we will have time to do everything you suggest

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