Planning a Trip
By Plane -- Visitors to Bodrum actually fly into Milas, about 32km (20 miles) away and reachable in under a half-hour by way of the coastal road. Turkish Airlines (tel. 444-0849 for call center or tel. 0252/536-6597 at the Bodrum airport), Onur Air (tel. 444-6687 for call center or tel. 0252/523-0022), and Fly Air (tel. 0212/444-4359) are all competing for your business, keeping fares as low as 49YTL ($43/£20) and up to 139YTL ($121/£56) for a one-way flight. Turkish alone has five daily direct flights from Istanbul, as well as one direct flight from Ankara, and connecting flights from other major domestic cities. There are also several charter companies arriving from Germany and England; check with your local travel agent for information on when these are operating.
Havas (tel. 0212/444-0487) provides transfer service by bus into Bodrum's bus station; the ride takes about 45 minutes and costs 14YTL ($12/£5.60). Havas departures are coordinated with Turkish Airlines, Onur Air, Fly Air, and Atlasjet flight arrivals. A taxi from the airport costs about 50€ to 60€ ($73-$87/£36-£43).
By Bus -- Buses provide the cheapest and most comprehensive service into Bodrum, from pretty much everywhere in Turkey. The major bus companies serving Bodrum are Pamukkale (tel. 0252/316-6632), Varan (tel. 0252/316-7849), Kamil Koç (tel. 0252/316-5350), and Metro (tel. 0252/313-2233), but remember that rates vary widely from company to company. Aydin Turizm (tel. 0252/316-3250) runs service along the Mediterranean coast to Ortaca, Dalyan, Dalaman, Fethiye, Ölüdeniz, and Kas.
By Ferry -- Bodrum Express Lines (tel. 0252/316-1087; www.bodrumexpresslines.com) and the Bodrum Ferryboat Association (tel. 0252/316-0882; www.bodrumferryboat.com) run daily hydrofoil and ferryboat service between the Greek islands of Kos and Rhodes. Bodrum Express Lines operates ferryboat service between Bodrum and Kos on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, departing Kos at 4:30pm (Jan-May the departure is at 3:30pm) and departing Bodrum at 9:30am. The ride takes 1 hour and costs 25€ ($36/£18) one-way; passage for a small car is 100€ ($145/£71). From April through October, Bodrum Express Lines adds direct ferryboat service between Kos and Yalikavak, Didyma, and Turgut Reis.
Bodrum Express Lines' hydrofoil service operates from April through October only. Trips between Bodrum and Kos depart daily Monday to Saturday (9:30am from Bodrum; 5pm from Kos). The ride takes 15 to 20 minutes and costs 25€ ($36/£18). The Rhodes service runs on Monday and Friday in high season, and takes 2 hours, 15 minutes. Departures from Rhodes leave at 5pm; from Bodrum, the hydrofoil leaves at 8:30am. The cost is 50€ ($73/£36) one-way. Same-day round-trips are available in summer and cost up to 10€ ($15/£7.15) above the one-way price. There is no ferry or hydrofoil service November or December.
Bodrum Express Lines also runs twice-weekly hydrofoils between Bodrum and Marmaris. Hydrofoils arrive in the charming town of Gelibolu (where BEL will complete the journey for you with a bus to Marmaris). Total travel time is 1 hour, 50 minutes (the last 20 min. are on the bus). The one-way ticket costs 25€ ($36/£18).
The Bodrum Ferryboat Association (tel. 0252/316-0882; www.bodrumferryboat.com) also runs hydrofoil service (20 min.) to and from Kos, with service running once daily in July and August. Service from Kos departs at 5pm. The 9:30am departure to Kos from Bodrum allows for a short day excursion. Both the one-way and return ticket costs 25€ ($36/£18). By ferry the same journey takes 1 hour, also with a 9:30am departure (Mon-Sat); the fare is 35€ ($51/£25) one-way or round-trip. BFA also runs passenger and car-ferry service to Datça (2 hr.) for 20YTL ($17/£8) one-way and 30YTL ($26/£12) return with a bus transfer from Korman landing to Datça town, and 50€ ($73/£36) if you're loading a car. Children under 6 travel free; 6- to 12-year-olds pay 50%. The ferry departs in summer daily at 9am, and less frequently in winter, possibly twice a week. All tickets for ferries and hydrofoils can be purchased either at the dock, or through any travel agent in town. Allow at least 30 minutes before departure for your arrival at the docks; it can get pretty chaotic.
The tourist information office (tel. 0252/316-1091) is open daily 9am to 6pm, good for little more than their collection of regional brochures and the latest copy of the Aegean Sun -- a handy English-language publication with the only decent map available of Bodrum. Try to locate a copy of the Bodrum Guide as well. Stick with your hotel concierge for any significant information on Bodrum.
The white stucco town of Bodrum dots the hillside overlooking twin bays, separated by a narrow landmass from which the impressive St. Peter's Castle rises imposing above the sea. West of the castle is the Inner Harbor, home to the state-of-the-art Karada Marina. Neyzen Tevfik Caddesi runs the length of the Inner Harbor from the marina to the castle, serving as the nucleus of a neighborhood that caters mostly to the yachting crowd, and thus is quieter and more polished than the Outer Harbor. Cevat Sakir Caddesi bisects Bodrum, connecting downtown Bodrum with the otogar, the weekly market, and the highway, ending up directly at the mouth of the old bazaar.
If there are any bargains to be found in Bodrum, it's around the Outer Harbor, south of the castle. This is home to Bodrum's infamous nightlife and the late-night throbbings of Halikarnas Disco, so that a basic room in a pension for $13 and a sleepless night go hand in hand.
The narrow and one-way streets of Bodrum discourage the use of a car. Although the waterfront spreads out over two harbors, downtown Bodrum is easy to cover with a pair of comfortable shoes and a bit of stamina. A scooter is a good option, because aside from solving the parking problem, you can get away with tooling around aimlessly down side streets or weaving unexpectedly through the pedestrian traffic on the waterfront promenade. For those lodging outside the city center, dolmuses provide regular service along all of the major thoroughfares through the otogar to the city center, and from the otogar, you're connected to all of the bays and villages of Bodrum's scenic peninsula. A car, however, will provide the freedom to explore the spectacular nooks and crannies of the entire peninsula.