A few weeks ago, our Programme Manager Angela Field led a consumer incentive group to Bodrum in Turkey. The port city has been dubbed the “St. Tropez of Turkey” so we were excited to hear her report back.
Over to you, Angela!
September is the month to travel to Bodrum: lovely weather, balmy nights, fewer tourists and crowds, stunning sunsets and good shopping bargains. The market vendors were more willing to negotiate at the end of the tourist season – as opposed to my visit around March and April.
We stayed at the Rixos Bodrum Resort. It’s an all-inclusive property in a prime position on its own private bay. The location is excellent; it’s away from the hustle and bustle of Bodrum Old Town but close enough to catch the efficient and affordable public transport system that runs both day and night.
I loved this resort for many reasons: it has different dining options, staff wherever you look, the most comprehensive buffet dining service that I’ve ever seen; a superb spa with an excellent Turkish Hammam; a beautiful beach with private cabanas and butler service, free-flowing drinks day and night, excellent live music each evening, 5-star service, spacious rooms with either a sea or forest view…
The list just goes on.
Bodrum City Tour
The next day, we had an excellent half-day tour of the city’s historic sites. We visited Bodrum Castle, the Mausoleum, the Amphitheater and Myndos Gate.
Sitting on a rocky peninsula, the Bodrum Castle is also known as Castle of St. Peter; it’s on the site of the original Carian settlement in the center of Bodrum Old Town. Recently renovated and revamped – this castle visit is great as it’s small enough to get through without getting bored with all the daunting historical facts and figures.
We also visited the Museum of Underwater Archaeology that’s home to the world’s oldest-known shipwrecks, recovered glassware and amphoras. In ancient times, amphoras were used for transporting and storing olive oil and wine.
We also stopped off at the Mausoleum; one of the Seven wonders of the ancient world, built in 350 BC.
The Mausoleum was destroyed in an earthquake and the ruins were used in the building of the Halikarnassus Castle. Earlier in the day, we visited the historical windmills near Bodrum Harbour. Made of stone and lined with wooden planks, the windmills were used from the 18th century to the 1970s by locals.
We also stopped at the Ancient Theater of Halicarnassos that dates back to the 4th century BC with a 5,000 seating capacity. Our entertaining and informative guide enthralled us with stories of ancient times. Wow, how powerful the Turks were back then!
Such a fun day out exploring Bodrum’s remote villages, forests and mountains! Driving in Suzuki Jeeps, our 130km route was mostly off-road with many stops en-route at spectacular viewpoints. After a coffee break at Çiftlikköy, the vehicles climbed to the highest peak of the Peninsula. A great photo opportunity!
Continuing through the Etrim and Mumcular villages, we arrived at a sleepy village for a traditional and rustic lunch prepared and served by a local family. Chickens roamed around our feet and tried to eat from the buffet dishes!
Then, we drove through pine forests, feed terrapin turtles at a dam and stopped off at an olive farm to see how olives are pressed into olive oils.
We visited a Turkish Carpet factory; we were shown the detailed efforts it takes to weave traditional Turkish carpets. We were also introduced to a few large camels who were being trained and groomed for the annual Turkish camel fighting; quite a social event on the locals’ calendar!
This was a fun day out – and was a great way to explore the local sites of Bodrum.
Aegean Private Boat Cruise
We chartered a private boat for a stunning day cruising the beautiful blue waters of the Bodrum Peninsula. We stopped in a few protected bays to swim in the warm waters – some attempted snorkeling (not a lot of underwater life) but most of us were happy to float on the many inflatables! Of course the most popular inflatable was, by far, the floating bar.
We enjoyed a wonderfully delicious lunch on board. Of course, the music got louder as the cocktails and beers flowed as the day got longer. And yes, the Afrikaans sokkie tunes were hauled out later in the day! I’m not sure the crew understood what was happening when several people started twirling around the deck at a speed.
This excursion is a must-do experience for anyone visiting Bodrum! A private boat charter is much nicer than sharing a boat with the masses.
We arranged for 8 of our travelers to visit the ancient city of Ephesus. They raved about the experience! Next time we will definitely include this excursion into a Bodrum itinerary: it really does need to be seen to be believed, and gives a fascinating insight into just how powerful, wealthy and advanced the Turkish empire was.
Thinking of Bodrum or another city in Turkey for your next incentive travel destination? Drop us a message.
Written by: Angela Field