Postcard from Bodrum: Must-See Sights in Turkey’s Top Beach Resort

The Mandarin Oriental Bodrum from the air.

The Mandarin Oriental Bodrum from the air.

Bodrum, the chic Turkish seaside resort, is known for its sparkling beaches and relaxed vibe. We asked friends of Max Luxe who have summered in the area for years to tell us what to visit on this picturesque Aegean Sea peninsula.

– Yachting

Yacht owners aren’t the only ones excited about Bodrum’s new Palmarina, a mega-yacht basin ringed by hotels, restaurants, and luxury shops. The complex includes an outpost of Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore’s night club, somewhat eponymously named Billionaire, as well as Nobu and Cipriani restaurants. Owned by an international shipping conglomerate, the marina has all the services yacht owners need — and a brokerage in case you’d like to pick up a new boat while there.

– Hotels

The chicest hotel in the Bodrum area is the new Mandarin Oriental, which opened in July 2014. The 109-room beachfront property is built into a hillside forested with olive trees. Visitors get the usual plethora of luxury services, including impossibly stunning pools, a spa, and ten restaurants and bars, which often feature international DJs. Jetting in with a large crowd? See if you can book the 4-bedroom, 7-person duplex suite with private pool (from 2000 euros per night).


– Beaches

If sand is your favorite part of a luxurious vacation, you have two choices: beach clubs, which offer full-service amenities, and quieter stretches of coast that you can reach by boat.

The area’s beach clubs typically welcome day visitors, who can get access to restaurants, beach chairs and umbrellas, pillows, drinks, shower and changing facilities, and even cooling mists. Some of these clubs are on the beach in front of hotels. They tend to get crowded, so arrive early.

Those in the know single out the beach clubs at Xuma, Dodo, Kuum, Maki, Maçakızı, Bej, and Moon Beach.

To visit several of the area’s beaches and the nearby islands, consider chartering a captained boat for a few days’ cruise. Beaches you may want to visit include Kisebükü, which can only be reached by sea. Several luxury charter companies offer crewed itineraries on sailboats, motor yachts and traditional Turkish gullet boats, including stops at some of the prettiest beaches like English Harbor. Among them: Europa Yachting, Blue Cruise Bodrum, and Akasia Yachting.

20090830 Boat to Bodrum_dsc6651

– Antiquities

The Bodrum peninsula boasts some spectacular ancient sites, as do many of the towns in coastal Turkey. A huge amphitheater from the fourth century BC graces the town, as well as St. Peter’s Castle, a Crusader-era fortress, which is now the Underwater Archaeology Museum. History scholars will note that the town, once called Halicarnassus, was home to the noted Mausoleum, a king’s tomb, now in ruins, that was one of the ancient world’s Seven Wonders.