The first impression you get when you arrive in Bodrum is really a “wow” effect. White houses scattered around the village make a beautiful contrast to the incredible palette of blue shades. Blue sky, deep blue waters, turquoise blue waters near the beaches and blue painted tables, windows or signs form a veritable 50 Shades of Blue. Flowers, local shops shining with colors, a brimming marina with mahogany yachts and red flags complete the lively picture of this enchanting place.
Why I Went
When the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism invited me (and a group of other Swiss bloggers) for a three-days October break to the Bodrum peninsula, I immediately accepted. I think this was the fastest answer to a mail I ever wrote: I love traveling to warm destinations, sailing, going to a place full of history, enjoying good food and…taking pictures of course! I knew this place would be the perfect backdrop to gorgeous images. Being with other bloggers on top of that is ideal for me, because everybody totally understands if I check my phone all the time, carry a heavy camera with me, photograph food before eating it, pose in front of every flower or monument, and so on.
Next this was: friends and family started to ask me are you sure it’s safe? Or are you taking a political stand by going?
How Safe It Is
I had an excellent experience from minute number one onward. Airport security was the way it should be (correct and not annoying), the general atmosphere in Bodrum very relaxed, we all could wear what we liked (and I had a couple of deep plunge dresses), and we never experienced a moment of tension or preoccupation. Of course I can’t speak for the whole country (Bodrum is to Turkey what St. Moritz is to Switzerland or Porto Cervo is to Italy), but I can certainly say one thing: the Bodrum peninsula is truly a gem and I can warmly recommend it.
People or Politics?
I come from a family that always lived from tourism (in Italy), so I really feel a connection to the tourism industry. Shop and restaurants owners, small entrepreneurs, people in the yachting or hospitality business in Bodrum are people, not politicians. Their work is top class and service reaches a very high standard everywhere – I would go back anytime and totally support what these people are doing.
What Is So Special About Bodrum?
- It’s very pretty: houses trimmed with purple bougainvillea and painted in white (local laws don’t allow them too high or in any different color); beautiful mahogany yachts in the vibrant harbors around the peninsula, sandy beaches, boutique hotels, colorful markets with fresh foods and spices, beautiful historical sites, a castle and incredible views make this place real eye candy.
- In October you get unbelievable value for money. Temperatures are perfect (around 15-18 degrees at night and 20-25 during the day), the place is lively but not crowded, all shops are open, prices are about half of high season, so you can really have top class holidays in a luxury yacht or resort for very reasonable prices. Alternatively, Bodrum has accommodation and services for any budget.
- It offers culture and history: two meters under the narrow streets lies 5000 years of history – the Museum of Underwater Archeology collects some beautiful examples. The Roman theatre, a Mausoleum (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), Bodrum Castle and the Myndus Gate provide culture and entertainment for any visitor who is interested in understanding the history of the area.
- It’s good for sports, families, the young and the old: Bodrum is diversified and has something for everybody. Night life, water sports, low-budget accommodation, but also design hotels, gourmet restaurants, luxury yachts and Jeep Safari – here anybody can find what they are looking for.
Our Personal Highlights
- Blue Cruise. They call it a Blue Cruise because of the blue sky, blue sea, and because in the local language being blue means becoming tipsy (try Raki with your meal and you’ll see!). We were offered a day on a 4 stars yacht (the rating goes from 2 to 7) and, to give you an idea of prices in low season, it costed 1’000 Euro per day. If you consider that it has room for 6 people who can divide the cost, you’ll see how convenient this experience can be – especially because the standard of food and service is so high and personalised. Our host, Sükrü Gözütok, who owns one of the biggest and best yachting companies in the area, Bodex, just build a brand new luxury boat, Gul Sultan, featuring an impressive 80 sqm. flybridge with outdoor Jacuzzi as your personal infinity pool, sleek design and top finish from local artisans (remember every boat is different and made to personal specifications). His latest idea? Golf and Cruise: a one week cruise that stops in 3 different golf courses to allow to be active both on land and water.
- Food! One of the bloggers in our group, Sylwina, is a food blogger. This was particularly interesting because we started to discuss recipes, compare ingredients, taste and comment the dishes with great attention, and finally take pictures of any type of food (to the annoyment of those who were starving and had to wait for our photo sessions). We tried a great variety of local food and delicacies, with an incredible amount of fresh ingredients and different flavours. On the yacht, the crew baked us a cake while we were swimming, can you imagine the smell when we went back to the boat? We felt treated like Princesses and also ate very healthily.
For a magical dinner, I recommend the village of Gümüslük: a small place featuring a series of restaurants directly on the water, lit by lanterns hanging on trees in the water and with the sound of the waves as the only soundtrack (music is not allowed, so all you can hear is the quiet sea and the clanking of cutlery). The food is lovely in each one of them and service is top level. Don’t worry about which one you pick: they are all excellent as they have to fit very precise quality standards.
- The People. Perhaps the thing we enjoyed most was how people were flexible and friendly with us. We didn’t have any internet? A Wi-Fi router magically appeared. We heard a traditional music, saw a bride and watched her from far? The people at the wedding invited us for dinner and to dance with them. We ended up at the launch of the bride’s bouquet (trying to avoid it because nobody in our group wanted to get married!) and obviously felt very flattered for being included in such a personal – yet festive and traditional – ceremony. So thank you to everybody who pampered us, flattered us, entertained us and fed us during this trip: I will be back to Bodrum for sure.