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).
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.