With miles and miles of wondrous coastline, it's no wonder the Bodrum peninsula is popular with holidaymakers in search of sun and sea. It even has a reputation for being the 'Turkish Riviera' or 'Turkey's St Tropez.' Most of the region's beaches are a mix of sand and pebbles and for the most part are clean. The nearest beach to Bodrum is that of Gumbet, less than a couple of miles away, it is a busy area with wall-to-wall hotels, bars and restaurants frequented by a largely British clientele. Unfortunately, the beach itself is neither clean nor peaceful. However, it is close to the centre of Bodrum and the multitude of activities on offer in Gumbet. Bitez is the next bay along from Gumbet and only five miles from Bodrum. The clean, sandy beach found here is popular with families for its calm, shallow waters. Ortakent's long sandy beach is on the other side of Bitez while further west, the beach at Turgetreis is one of the most beautiful and popular on the peninsula. With uninterrupted views of the Greek island of Kos directly opposite it, this small town combines its clean, sandy beach with a number of pleasant cafés and restaurants. Golturkbuku is found in the north of the Bodrum peninsula and is an attractive bay popular with the Turkish jet-set and celebrity crowd.
Should you travel to Bodrum you will no doubt hear about the famed Blue Voyage, ('Mavi Yolculuk' in Turkish) a cruise that tours selected locations along Turkey's southwestern coast. A typical itinerary can begin in Bodrum, Didim or Kusadasi and will usually finish in Antalya. Usually week-long getaways, they take in the historical towns, quaint harbours, secluded coves and pristine beaches of the region from aboard a gulet, a traditional Turkish yacht. These wooden sailing boats are a common sight in the jewel-like Mediterranean waters and should you wish to see them en masse, head down to the Bodrum marina.
Otherwise, you can also admire gulets aplenty during the annual International Bodrum Cup which celebrates the end of the cruising season in October. It is an exceptional competition in that only the traditional wooden yachts are allowed to compete in the main regatta. With its beginnings in the late 1980s, the contest has since become one of the most famous events in the region.
Words by Richelle Harrison Plesse