Bodrum

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Bodrum is a relatively isolated resort town on the Aegean coast of Turkey. Its landscape is incredibly lush, brimming with gardens and palm tree-studded streets. It has received a lot of attention in recent years from tourism companies but retains its small town charm.

Despite its isolation, Bodrum is a surprisingly sophisticated city. Its residents own high-end sailboats and million dollar homes. It stayed a quiet, removed fishing village until writers began publishing accounts of their visits here in the 1960s. Now, if rich Turks don’t live here, they surely make a point to visit. It’s got history, too.

 Bodrum was the site of the ancient city of Halikarnassus, famous for the Mausoleum of Halikarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Of course now, it exists mostly in pieces in London’s British Museum. The foundation is all that’s left in Bodrum, and you have to pay to see it. You can also see the old city gates (Myndos Gate).

The Castle of St. Peter is one of the town’s most well known buildings. It was built in 1402 from the remains of the Mausoleum to protect the town. If you can tear yourself away from the scenery—should stop at the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, located inside the castle, which displays artifacts from underwater excavations.

There’s not much of the ancient city remaining today, but current excavations and repairs are underway to change that. Bodrum is low key in the off-season (spring and fall) but during the height of tourist season, the town knows how to party.

 Its nightlife scene is a strong one, with the enormous outdoor Halikarnas disco earning fame as the loudest club in the Mediterranean. Before you hit the discos, there are plenty of excellent restaurants along the beach on the town’s eastern side to indulge in. Shops on the east side are more touristy, while on the west they’re upscale, catering to foodies and wealthy sailing enthusiasts.