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Jutting into the Aegean Sea from southwest Turkey, the thumb-shaped Bodrum Peninsula (Bodrum Yarimada is named after the city of Bodrum on its southern coast. At the center of what’s dubbed the Turkish Riviera—or Turquoise Coast—it offers lively resorts, sleek marinas, and quiet fishing villages wedged between blue seas and windmill-dotted hills.
Bodrum’s most prominent landmark, the Castle of St. Peter stands on the promontory that divides the city’s twin bays. Complete with towers, battlements, and gardens—and home to Bodrum’s Museum of Underwater Archaeology—this 15th-century-built fortress is a must-visit for travelers.
Once a glorious temple of gleaming marble and finely carved columns; the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus stood 164 feet (50 meters tall and was capped with a marble sculpture of a four-horse chariot. Built in 351 BC to house the tomb of King Mausolus, it was the grandest mausoleum of its time and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The ancient Greek city of Miletus (Miletos) in modern-day Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye) was once an important port city. When the river’s location changed, the city was eventually abandoned.
The settlement at Miletus dates back to 1400 B.C.E., and the city grew to be one of Greece’s wealthiest cities - thanks in large part to its position at the mouth of the Maeander River. Over the centuries, the river changed course, leaving Miletus behind. The city was later destroyed by the Persians in 499 B.C.E. and then rebuilt on a new grid plan that was to become the model for Roman cities. Excavations at the site began in the late 1800s, and today you can see the remains of a theater, a stadium, a Temple to Apollo, a Byzantine-era castle and church, and Roman baths.
A cluster of ancient 2-story homes spread across three tiers, the Ephesus Terrace Houses reveal how wealthy Romans lived during the city’s glory days. Glass floors let you admire geometric mosaics and still-colorful frescoes gleaming on the walls—it’s a small wonder some compare the site to Pompeii.
The ancient Greek city of Priene is in modern-day Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye), but its Greek roots are clearly visible in the excavations you can visit. The remains of the city of Priene we can see today date back to the 4th century B.C.E., but it’s widely known among archaeologists that the original Priene settlement is much older. How much older, they can’t say - those remains are likely still buried - but it’s possible the original city was established before 1000 B.C.E.
One of the main attractions at Priene is the Temple to Athena, situated at the highest point of the old city. Other sights in the excavations include a theater, the agora, a city council building called a “bouleuterion,” a gymnasium with Roman baths, and a Temple of Demeter.
Set on a north Bodrum hillside, Bodrum Amphitheater (Antik Tiyatro is a relic of the ancient Greek city of Halicarnassus. Built in the 4th century BC and later developed by the Romans, the restored 13,000-seat theater offers a fantastic glimpse into the ancient world alongside stellar city views, and is a stage for concerts and events.
Looming over the seafront along Bodrum harbor, Bodrum Castle is not just a historic landmark—the medieval ruins also house the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Showcasing the archeological finds unearthed from shipwrecks along Turkey’s (officially the Republic of Türkiye) Aegean Coast, the museum is a trove of ancient artifacts, Bronze age finds, and maritime treasures.
With its white sand, turquoise waters, and refreshing lack of tourists, Limnionas Beach is where you can plop yourself directly into one of the postcard seascapes for which Greece is famous. Set in a cove along Limnionas Bay, the beach is protected from strong winds and rough seas, making it a haven for boat excursions and snorkeling.
Crowning the promontory dividing Bodrum and Gumbet, the Bodrum Windmills are one of the region’s prettiest landmarks. Built in the 18th century to grind flour, the seven stone structures are now derelict but are still picture perfect and offer stupendous views over the bays of both resorts.
Stretching about half a mile (1 kilometer) along the northeast corner of Kos, Lambi Beach is a popular swimming and sunbathing spot near the island’s main town and port. Lined with sand and pebbles, the beach offers chairs and umbrellas for rent, water sports, restaurants and snack bars, and views facing the Turkish coastline.
Once guarding the western entrance to the ancient Greek city of Halicarnassus, the grand Myndos Gate (Myndos Kapısı marked the route to nearby Myndos (now Gümüslük. Now in ruins, the gate is the last trace of the city’s once-mighty fortifications and remains a prominent landmark of modern-day Bodrum.
Yalıçiftlik is a small village located near the popular resort town of Bodrum, Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye). It is just outside the Bodrum Peninsula along the Aegean Sea above a series of secluded coves, and it's at the entrance to the Gulf of Gokava. Accommodations here run from simple to luxury. The town's scenery includes pine forests, orchards of fig trees, and the sandy coastline. There is a market once a week where you'll find fruits, vegetables, and other local products. The beaches in Yalıçiftlik are perfect for sunbathing or swimming, and you'll also find several restaurants and cafes serving fresh, local seafood and traditional Turkish food near the beach. You can also go hiking in the nearby forest and explore ruins in the hills from the ancient Legegian and Carian civilizations.
In Yalıçiftlik and the surrounding areas, you can get a glimpse into traditional Turkish village life. There are stone farmhouses on the hillsides with orchards and beehives. These areas outside of the beach resorts are mostly untouched by tourism. Yaliciftlik is often included on tours on traditional Turkish sailing boats that visit several of the quiet villages along the coast of the Bodrum Peninsula.
One of the greatest ancient Roman cities was Ephesus, and its ruins are located in Selcuk, Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye). It is one of the most popular sites to visit in Turkey. Near the ancient Agora, visitors can see the remains of the Temple of Domitian and Domitian Square. The Temple of Domitian, formally known as the Temple of the Sebastoi, was built in honor of Emperor Domitian's family, and it is the first structure here known to be dedicated to an emperor. Though not much remains of the temple today, archaeologists have learned much about its structure.
Visitors can see the remaining foundation of the temple and imagine what it might have once looked like. It was approximately 165 feet by 330 feet and sat on vaulted foundations. The northern end was two stories tall and was accessed by stairs, which can still be seen today. There were also several columns on each side of the temple. Reliefs from some of the columns can still be seen here as well.
Flanking an island-dotted bay on Bodrum Peninsula’s west coast, the fishing village of Gümüslük is a slice of traditional Turkey. Less developed and quieter than many nearby towns—although it can get busy during summer—this gem keeps visitors happy with a pretty beach, underwater archaeological relics, and seafood restaurants.
Located in one of Bodrum’s twin bays, Bodrum Marina—officially called Milta Bodrum Marina—is one of the city’s favorite waterfront spots. With berths for 475 yachts as well as shops and restaurants, it’s a stylish place to stroll and relax, and also a departure point for many Bodrum boat trips.
Mumcular is a small town located about 18 miles northeast of Bodrum, Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye). The old name of the town was Karaova. It is in a forested region on the Bodrum Peninsula in southwestern Turkey not far from the Aegean Sea and it has a Mediterranean climate. The area is quite dry, so in 1989 the town built the Mumcular Dam in order to have a reservoir. The reservoir is important for irrigation and drinking water. The population of Mumcular, including the nearby communities, is approximately 15,000 people.
The region where Mumcular is located is well known for the production of olives, tobacco, and honey, as well as carpet making. There is a weekly market in Mumcular where local vendors sell fruits, vegetables, handmade goods, textiles, and a variety of other products. For visitors looking for someplace less touristy than the popular city of Bodrum, visiting Mumcular could be a good option. Visitors can take tours from Bodrum to Mumcular to see what traditional Turkish village life is like and to learn more about the art of carpet weaving.
Mazı is a small village located about 25 miles east of Bodrum, Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye). It is the farthest village in the area from the popular resort city of Bodrum. It is located above a secluded cove along the Aegean Sea on the Bodrum Peninsula in southwestern Turkey, and it has a Mediterranean climate. Construction is not permitted in this part of the Bodrum region, so the village still feels very authentic and tranquil and there are only a few guesthouses. The residents of Mazı mostly make a living by weaving carpets, agriculture, producing honey and fishing.
Since the road leading to Mazi was only paved a few decades ago, the village hasn't seen as much tourism as the rest of the area. The town center is located up on a hill which, in the past, was a way to help prevent the village from being attacked by pirates. It overlooks the Gokova Bay. Nearby you can visit the bays of Yasli Yali and Ince Yali. Visitors can also visit Kargili, Feslikan, Kissebuku and Adayali beaches by fishing boat. Due to its location on the sea, Mazi is an ideal location to go swimming.