Shaped like a painter's palette, the Bodrum Peninsula in south-west Turkey is blessed with a full spectrum of colours: green hilltop villages, white pebble beaches and orange satsuma groves. Watched over for 600 years by a Crusader castle, Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus) refers to the main town and the peninsula it occupies, and is a world-class luxury destination.
Pick up traditional, handmade strappy sandals at Sur Sandalet
or elegant, embellished ones at Mysabella
in the Palmarina
shopping centre and marina in Yalıkavak. Palmarina's wide range of local and international luxury stores include Hiref
, a line of Ottoman-inspired decorative items, and Kismet by Milka
, which offers contemporary jewellery by the brand's Turkish designer. The shopping arcade at the brand-new Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum has a branch of Beymen
, Turkey's leading luxury retailer, as well as high-fashion and jewellery. For an authentic local experience, visit the outdoor textile market on Tuesdays in Bodrum town.
With its beaches, clean waters and verdant hills, the peninsula offers everything from swimming to trekking. You can walk up to the windmills that overlook downtown Bodrum, or sail, snorkel, jet-ski, windsurf, wakeboard or dive to local sites encompassing wrecks, reefs, walls, drop-offs, caverns and tunnels. A boat tour of the area's many coves and bays is an ideal day out, or take a leisurely Blue Voyage along the coastline in a gulet. Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum has a dedicated aquatic centre for watersports enthusiasts. The annual Bodrum Cup regatta
, held in the third week of October, marks the end of the season.
Everything tastes better in Bodrum thanks to its abundant, fresh local ingredients. To sample specialties like çökertme kebab, çiçek dolması (stuffed courgette flowers), deniz fasulyesi (samphire salad) and grilled octopus – best served with raki, Turkey's national drink – try unpretentious Çimentepe, set above Yalıkavak. At Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, JuJu Bistro serves local snacks and Mediterranean dishes. For a romantic meal, visit Mimoza on the beach at Gümüslük, or Limon in the hills above for the best sunset views. For unique seafood such as oysters with Parmesan béchamel, head to Orfoz, a hidden hole-in-the-wall in central Bodrum.
Bodrum's bars and nightclubs rival global capitals. Göltürkbükü is the epicentre, and Ship Ahoy
its prime landmark. Palmarina's Billionaire Club
, is all champagne and chandeliers. JuJu Bar @M2
at Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum serves Asian light bites with wine and craft beer by day, becoming a cocktails-and-champagne beach party at night. Downtown Bodrum's venues include the infamous Barlar Sokagi (Bars Street), but Küba Bar
, in a 150-year-old house, and the Marina Yacht Club Jazz Bar
are veritable institutions.