Port Review: Bodrum, Turkey

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It’s a classic seaside getaway for Europeans with nice beaches, trendy clubs, and boutique hotels, but Bodrum retains most of its elegant charm even though it can be over-run with tourists.

The Facts 

Location: South-western Turkey.

Language: Turkish.

Currency: Turkish Lira.

Docking/Anchoring: Ships dock at Bodrum Cruise Port on the edge of town, which is about a kilometre from the Castle of St Peter. 

Transport: You can easily walk into Bodrum, although most cruise ships will also offer a shuttle into town. 


Bodrum’s picturesque harbour is dominated by the Castle of St Peter, a 15th century Crusades outpost, which is confirmation that this Turkish city has a deep history waiting to be explored. Urban planners have restricted development with building heights capped and with its whitewashed homes with blue trim, it’s become an elegant town with ancient ruins and Ottoman mosques scattered throughout. 

Don’t Miss

The Castle of St Peter stands sentinel over Bodrum, and is the classic postcard image for this part of the world and the top tourist drawcard. You can spend all day wandering its towers, gardens and dungeons and there’s also the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology within the complex.

Taking a gullet cruise along the coast in a classic Turkish wooden boat is one of those quintessentially Turkish experiences you have to try even just once. Most day trips will take you to secluded bays and beaches where you can swim and snorkel in pristine water.

Best Photo Op

The Castle of St Peter is the photo that captures Bodrum, and you should be able to capture it across the bay as you sail into or out of the town. 


Bodrum is famous for leather goods so this is a good place to look for bags and shoes. There’s also a thriving market trade in designer knock-offs like Prada and Gucci which can actually be of pretty good quality. The marina is where most tourists go shopping with its open air markets, al fresco cafes and restaurants. Haggling is accepted and expected and be warned - some of the shop owners, especially the carpet salesmen, can be quite pushy when they spot a tourist. Also watch out for pickpockets which operate around the busy bazaars.

Food and Drink

There’s plenty of options for traditional Turkish cuisine and keep an eye out for salted fish, stuffed vine leaves and grilled meats including kebabs. As a tourist destination there’s no problem finding burgers, pizza, Asian and Italian joints. The marina area is where the action is, and although it’s great for people watching, the prices can be expensive. If you have the time to explore the back streets, you’ll be able to follow the locals and find a Meyhanes, or Turkish taverna, with its overwhelming choice of traditional dishes. The local beer is Efes, there are some really good Turkish wines and the classic local liqueur is called raki, which is an aniseed flavoured drink.

Pick of the Excursions

One of the most popular tours is a half day excursion which takes in the Castle and the ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, which is Bodrum’s original name. To obtain the stone to build the castle, the Knights of Rhodes tore down the Mausoleum which was a magnificent tomb that was once one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 

Most ships also offer a culinary tour which is a great way to get to the heart and soul of Bodrum, and provide a guide to traditional Turkish cuisine. Most itineraries include a stop at a local market to meet with a local chef who can introduce you to the vast array of produce including olives, jams and fruit and vegetables. Tours will usually include lunch at a traditional Turkish restaurant and some will also include a cooking school.


Joanna Hall


  • 4
    Is It Safe?

    Posted by Curious on 17th Dec 2018

    My girlfriend has been on a cruise which stopped at Bodrum and she loved it....but in light of what's going on in the world, is Turkey safe to visit overall?