Taking its name from its principal resort in the Gulf of Gökova, Bodrum Peninsula extends 42km into the Aegean, with the Datça peninsula and Greek island of Kos to the south and the Gulf of Güllük to the north. The Gulf of Gökova is where the famous Blue Voyages began, and boats today can still reach ancient sites that remain difficult to access on land. The town of Bodrum, ancient Halicarnassus, is Turkey's' premier resort, with a busy airport, Milas-Bodrum, 36km to the north. Marinas extend year by year but the peninsula maintains an insular charm, and elegant, unspoilt areas remain, so when the crowds become too pressing, the sensible traveller would do well to hire a car, flag a cab, jump on a dolmuş or catch a coach along the peninsula to the west. Here are pleasant small seaside villages such as Kadıkalesi, Göl-Türkbükü and Yalıkavak, a favoured destination, and Gumuşlük, which stages a prestigious summer classical music festival. This is also where the most beautiful new houses are to be found, including Rıfat Özbek’s, featured on the cover of Berrin Torolsan’s book At Home in Turkey.
Between the new developments and the pine forests, old dry-stone walls delineate fields that once produced wheat destined for hilltop windmills and still enclose olive and tangerine groves. Away from the crowds of Bodrum, there are attractive fishing villages and resorts. Sandy beaches on the south coast from Gümbet to Akyarlar are popular in summer, but on the west and north coasts fishing villages such as Gümüşlük are less developed, while upmarket Turgutreis and Yalıkavak have some beautiful new houses, including the Turkish retreat of Rıfat Özbek, featured on the cover of Berrin Torolsan’s At Home in Turkey. The book includes the Ertegün house in Bodrum, by the award-winning architect Turgut Cansever, whose daughter and son-in-law created Amanruya resort on the peninsula’s north coast.
Bodrum, the main town in the peninsula, is 35km from Milas-Bodrum airport. A trip around the peninsula from Bodrum is about125km.
Head out of Bodrum towards Yalıkavak, or take a boat across to Cnidus and the Datça Peninsula.