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  • Coastline Riviera-redolent coves and groves
  • Coast life Sailing to Byzantium

Bodrum Peninsula has had travel writers waxing poetic since ancient times, when King Mausolus' tomb was named one of the world's seven wonders: these days, yachts, their diamond-laden owners, and equally sparkly waters are what's worth writing home about.

Bodrum started life as Halicarnassus, an ancient Greek city famed for its nautical carpentry (the distinctive gulet boats were first nailed into shape here) and Mausolus’ tomb – yes, we have Bodrum to thank for the word ‘mausoleum’. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and an earthquake or two put paid to the majestic memorial, built for the king by his wife (and sister – it’s complicated). Luckily, there’s still plenty to lure you to this 174km stretch of Turkey’s south-western shore. The northern coast is quiet, peaceful, and popular with visiting oligarchs, who drop anchor at Torba, Göltürkbükü and Gundogan; the southern side has the best beaches: Bardakci, Gumbet and Içmeler are three popular sun spots. Despite earning the moniker ‘Turkey’s Cote d’Azur’, the Bodrum Peninsula has managed to remain peaceful and unassuming; as well suited to simple pleasures – seafood, sea views, a chilled glass of wine and a book or two – as it is to A-list adventures. Before visiting be sure to apply for your Visa online; from 10 April 2014 the traditional entry Visas are being given the heave-ho in favour of e-Visas. The online application costs US$20 a person (www.evisa.gov.tr).

Do go/Don’t go

July and August are hot, pricey, busy and buzz-y. If you’re looking for sizzling-hot sunbathing by day and posers’ parties by night, this is the time to come. For a quieter stay, visit in early June, September or October.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Bodrum International Airport (www.bodrum-airport.com) is 36km from Bodrum city centre, and around a 45-minute drive. Airlines that fly here from European cities including London, Manchester, Amsterdam, Paris and Dusseldorf include: Turkish Airlines (www.turkishairlines.com), Thomas Cook Airlines (www.thomascookairlines.co.uk) and Martinair (www.martinair.com).
  • Boats If you’re lucky enough to have your own super-yacht, you’ve come to the right place. Moor your vessel at the Bodrum Marina waterfront: it will be in good company, surrounded by millionaires’ toys.
  • Automobiles Car rental companies based at the airport include Avis (www.avis.com). Navigating your way to Bodrum from here is fairly easy; for beach hopping and hilltop-town exploring, we’d advise adding on a SatNav.
  • Taxis Look out for the sunshine-yellow licensed local taxis, which can be flagged down or hopped into at taxi ranks. Try Turkbuku Taxi (+90 (0)252 377 5639) if you can’t spy any on the horizon. Alternatively, make like the locals and hop on a Dolmus, the traditional Turkish bus, affectionately nicknamed the ‘shared taxi’.