Things to do in Bodrum: From Xanadu Island Bodrum and Beyond…
AD – Press Trip with Visit Türkiye and Jet2Holidays. As always any opinions are honest and my own.
Türkiye, the coast of happiness.
Glorious sunsets, crystal clear blue water and hospitality like no other – Why Bodrum is a must for your next sunny break away!
When I mentioned I was taking a trip to Türkiye on my Instagram people were instantly intrigued. I’d been as a small child with my parents but didn’t remember much apart from the kindness and loving nature of the locals giving me fruit and little crystals shaped like animals at the local market!
I’ll be honest, as an adult (before our trip) Türkiye didn’t tend to feature in my holiday searches when looking for some summer sun or a romantic little couples break away. But after spending a glorious 5 days in the oh so stylish and luxurious city of Bodrum, let me tell you, it’s right at the top of my list!
Just 3.5-4 hours away from England by plane and with a time difference of only 2 hours, Türkiye is the perfect destination for some summer sun with amazing seafood, interesting culture and luxury hotels to boot. I didn’t realise just how easy it was to get to and how many Bodrum flights with Jet2 there were. Without a huge shift in timezones or long flights, we were able to jump straight into holiday mode and begin relaxing as soon as those wheels hit the tarmac!
Where We Stayed
There are a multitude of gorgeous places to stay in Bodrum from boutique hotels to luxurious resorts designed with everything you need. We stayed at the stunning Xanadu Island Bodrum with Jet2 which if you’re travelling as a couple for a relaxing week in the sun is perfect. An Indulgent Escapes hotel from Jet2holidays with beautifully big rooms, pillow menus, monsoon showers and your concierge just a text away it makes for a very comfortable and luxury feeling stay.
As we wandered around the beautiful infinity pool with views of the sea and the private beach below we didn’t have to rush for sunbeds once. With personal shade covers and lounger service for any drinks we fancied we settled in for a couple of gloriously lazy pool days working on our tans!
Freshly made stone baked pizzas at lunch, stacked burgers, delicious salads and more are on the menu and that’s just the snack bar. It’s 24/7 all inclusive at Xanadu Island Bodrum so you’re always looked after. The buffet while on the smaller side for the size of the resort was always fresh, well stocked and had a lot of choice with traditional Turkish dishes and continental options. We never went hungry and looked forward to every meal there – you’d certainly be more than happy there for a week of indulgence.
Did I mention free ice cream? A huge chest freezer full of magnums, cornettos and more available to rummage through all day! What a place!
Alongside the restaurant, bars and gorgeous poolside, Xanadu Island Bodrum also has a beautiful spa with a range of reasonably priced treatments. Full body scrubs, facials, massages and beauty treatments with experienced therapists make for a wonderful treat of an evening or during the day for a break from that beautiful Turkish sun. We tried out a full body massage, a Himalayan scrub and a luxury facial during our stay and it was heaven. Gorgeous products, lovely treatment rooms and pure relaxation all round – highly recommended for a little holiday treat!
If you like to be entertained there are evening shows and some activities throughout the day but the poolside is calm, relaxing and there’s no awkward pressure from the animation team to join in – something that we very much appreciated!
We could have easily spent our entire week lounging by the pool, eating our way through the menu, being pampered in the spa and stacking up the local beers! If you’re looking for a sunny all inclusive resort to relax in Xanadu Island Bodrum has you covered. But with such a beautiful city to see outside our hotel oasis and so many things to do in Bodrum, it was time to explore…
Things to do in Bodrum
The Bodrum windmills are a famous landmark that people often recommend. The windmills themselves were used from the 18th century till 1970s although they aren’t much to look at today. The view however is stunning and well worth a visit. Come up here for a drink and take in the views of the city. Snap a photo on the swing and watch one of Bodrum’s beautiful sunsets before heading back down and enjoying dinner by the sea.
The castle is a fantastic place to visit for the history buffs and it also contains the award winning museum of underwater archeology. Built from 1402 onwards, by the Knights of St John, the castle was then taken over by the Islamic Ottoman Empire in 1523. After being left empty after World War I the Museum of Underwater Archeology was opened inside Bodrum Castle – the biggest of its kind and showcasing some of the most significant discoveries from the ancient Aegean Shipwrecks. It’s really impressive.
The garden inside the castle has almost every plant and tree from the Mediterranean region and you can even spot peacocks parading around the grounds. It’s open well into the evening if you prefer to beat the midday heat and we loved looking around – certainly well worth a visit.
Another great thing to do in Bodrum is a boat trip to nearby islands. There’s plenty of boats to hop on with others or you can splash out and hire a private boat for the day. Go swimming in the sea, visit cleopatras caves, enjoy a freshly cooked lunch on board and sail around at sunset for more glorious views. Our boat trip was one of the best days of our trip with the crystal clear waters to snorkel in surrounded by fish, and we even saw a wild boar on a nearby beach! Our crew cooked up some fresh sea bream and we sunbathed on the top deck with fresh fruit and the sea air around us.
We didn’t get a chance to scuba during our visit but if the snorkelling and the visibility of this stunning water is anything to go by, it could be a fantastic place to dive deeper into.
If high end shopping and big boats are your thing then a trip to Yalikavak could be fun! See the mega yachts moored up at the marina with incredible eateries and designer outlet stores. You can even grab a steak and a glass of champagne at salt bae’s restaurant! There is some big money around here and Yalikavak had such a buzzing atmosphere it was a joy to walk around in the warm summer evening heat.
Gümüslük at Night
If the high rolling life isn’t for you then a trip to Gümüslük could be the perfect evening out. This might have been our favourite part of Bodrum – oh so beautiful with a wonderfully chilled vibe.
As the sun sets on this strip beside the water hundreds of colourful gourd lanterns begin to light up lining the street and the hustle and bustle of open air seafood restaurants come to life. With little market stalls to browse and bars to stop for a glass of wine or a beer it’s a beautiful place to explore at sunset and into the night.
There are also some lovely market stalls and shops to browse in Bodrum marina around the castle. You will often see the Turkish Evil Eye (Nazar Boncuk) dotted around above entrances and available to buy. People believe the jealous glances of others can bring bad luck, so the evil eye protects you and your loved ones from that negative energy. They’re a popular trinket to take home from a holiday to Türkiye.
It was lovely walking around the marina early evening – everywhere felt so relaxed and safe and there’s some great bars with live music to enjoy too!
There’s a fantastic mix of sights to explore in Bodrum but also a huge selection of nice bars and restaurants to float around in the evenings too. It’s a seriously nice part of the country and one we felt right at home in.
Our favourite restaurant of the trip and one to visit if you can is Sait in Yalikavak. Nestled in the marina with stunning sunset views this seafood restaurant is on another level. Pick your fish or seafood and they cook it all for you while you enjoy delicious meze and a glass of wine by the water. The garlic butter prawns and sea bass were some of the best seafood I’ve ever eaten and the staff can’t do enough for you to make sure you leave happy and full.
My favourite meze dish was stuffed zucchini flowers – a type of dolma dish that was so fresh and moorish we had to order them every evening after this! Plus a fiery yet creamy chilli yogurt dip with lashings of fresh bread dipped in. Of course finished off with some Turkish tea and homemade baklava. I would visit Sait ten times over, we thoroughly recommend it.
A Beautiful Brunch Spot
We went for breakfast at Bozukbag a very popular breakfast spot serving a traditional Turkish breakfast – Serpme – which translates to a sprinkling! And a sprinkling is exactly what a Turkish breakfast is! There’s a whole table full of different tastes and dishes to explore from honey, bread, jam, a delicious egg and red pepper dish called Menemen, olives, fresh tomatoes and cucumber, Turkish tea and more. We didn’t know where to start and it certainly set us up for the day. A beautiful little breakfast or brunch spot and we’ll worth a visit…it’s certainly Instagram worthy and was very popular with locals and tourists alike.
Foods to Try
Another food to look out for is Sütlaç a traditional rice pudding which is so creamy and delicious I could have eaten an entire bucket full! It doesn’t look like much behind the counter but it is WELL worth a try. And a wonderful little ice cream shop Bitez Dondurma that’s become one of the most famous in Türkiye. Opened in 1955 and using all organic and natural flavours – you have to grab a scoop if you come across it while exploring the city.
Türkiye is known for their meat and that also did not disappoint. Start with a meze then order some different meat dishes and just tuck in – the flavours are incredible and we couldn’t get enough. I’m still dreaming about the lamb shank we tried in the Bodrum Marina Yacht Club – absolutely incredible!
And I also need to mention the fresh fruit. Did you know Türkiye produces 70% of the worlds apricots? Their fruit is deliciously juicy and sweet and a real treat especially on a hot day. Honeydew melon and Turkish cheese is my new favourite snack so much so we’ve since been having it at home since we got back!
Basically, if you’re a foodie you’re going to be right at home in Bodrum! There’s so much choice and a multitude of new flavours to enjoy.
If I haven’t convinced you to visit Bodrum with this post I don’t know what will! The gift of delicious food, beautiful views with crystal clear water, historical places to explore and top notch hotels to relax in. All tied up with that beautiful blue sky sun and warming Turkish hospitality.
What more could you want from your next break away! I hope this post has helped you plan lots of things to do in Bodrum and you enjoy your incredible holiday as much as we did!
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