Eat Like a Local...
Gozleme is a very traditional Turkish snack. Like pancakes but with a variety of fillings they make a light and delicious treat for lunch or early evening. Gozleme can have meat, vegetables, cheese or a mixture. Locanta or restaurants that serve Gozleme in Bodrum town are few and far between but if you look for it or ask many chefs will whip some up for you.
In towns like Turgetreis, Gumusluk and Sirince you will find traditional Gozleme houses.
In the same vein try Borek and Baklava (it's Turkish not Greek you know!!)
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Sirince: Beautiful Mountain Town
The beautiful town of Sirince is set not far from Selcuk and Ephesus (approx 6km). It is well worth the detour! The town is set high in the hills and in some of the most magnificent scenery in this part of Turkey.
Sirince's claim to fame is it's superb wine industry - white, red and it's unique fruit wines (we are particular fans of the black mulberry variety!). Every street is lined with wine sellers (Turkish word for wine is sarap), just choose the one you like and then be amazed by the choice. The wine sellers will do tasings for you to so you can try before you buy.
Wine apart, Sirince is a wonderful place to walk around. It's traditional crafts are on display and the town has a real sense of timelessness about it. The architecture is unusual and so unlike that often seen on the Aegean/Bodrum peninsula.
If you are going to Efes for the day - you must go to Sirince!!
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Gumusluk: Ancient City of Myndos
Gumusluk is the site of the ancient town of Myndos and is a world heritage site. There is a large car park on the outskirts of the town and you can walk along the front very easily. Lots of restaurants to choose from all specialising in fish.
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Visit Turgutreis - the edge of the peninsula!
Turgutreis is a trek to get to from Bodrum due to some variable road quality! There is a main road from Bodrum or a coastal road - the main road is good and takes about 25mins, the coastal road is less entertaining!
This area of the Bodrum Peninsula is full of history and as with Bitez this larger town provides an interesting break from what Bodrum has to offer. There are many little islands off the coast here (marking an ancient shipping lane apparently). There are three reasons to visit Turgutreis - the great shopping, nearly as good as Bodrum depending on your point of view and what you are after. With a bazaar and lots of souvineer shops available it makes a change if that is what you are after.
The beaches are vast and lovely with locals and holiday makers alike visiting - the taxi driver who took us dropped us off and then came back for us at the end of the day, how nice was that! Finally there are a massive number of water sports available including scuba and the usuals. Busy tourist town but well worth popping over from Bodrum too.
The archaeologists out there might like to know that there is a super castle just out of the town. Aspat was the hiding place of Genoese pirates for many years. The Castle of Aspat was built by the Genoese to keep watch.
June 23rd is a big date in the Turgutreis calendar as it remembers the man after whom the town is named - if you are on holiday then there will be many events :0)Related to:
- Family Travel
- Water Sports
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Go to Bitez for the day!
Bitez is a beautiful and somewhat quiet town (when compared to Bodrum that is!) about 5 miles away from Bodrum itself. I went there again this summer after an initial visit many years ago now but always remember how lovely the place was with delightful beach areas. The journey to Bitez by road is fairly short (it is not too far after Gumbet along the coastal route) and taxi's are more than willing to take you there. You can also get a Dolmus from the town easily enough. The turn for the beach is marked easily and car parking is available near the beach.
It is an area well known for its mandarin orchards and is a very beautiful, green place. It is also well known for its water sports such as windsurfing and water skiing(but I didn't have a go at those while there!).
If you are weary from the nightlife in Bodrum and Gumbet, Bitez can possibly provide a pleasant alternative that is convenient. Much quieter than Bodrum - it would not be my choice for a two week holiday but for those who are more laid back it is a suitable alternative :-)
The beach is delightful and is covered with sun loungers that are free and have excellent cushions and umbrellas. The restaurants that line the beach offer a sun bed service so you can eat and drink without ever leaving the sun lounger, cool :o)Related to:
- Family Travel
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tiny streets leading to nowhere!
I liked a lot walking in unknown small streets watching the local houses all paint in white (other colours are not allowed). It was very funny when some locals trying to talk to me about directions because I was looking the signs etc and I was trying to explain that I just walk around and I wasnt lost :)
But what I liked more was the flowers around or up to the walls of the houses, red, yellow etc
Ancient ruin of Myndus gate
The ancient city of Halikarnassos, old name of Bodrum had a city wall around it, the Myndus gate was one of the ways in. In 333 BC Alexander the great entered the city after a long fight, theres not a lot left to look at , but if you like history this is for you. Walking the Myndus gate is off Turgut Reis street,this is a one way street but you are walking against the traffic flow.
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Excursion to Ephesus
I went on an excursion to Ephesus from Bodrum leaving at 7am. The cost was 60YTL [£23] this included fare, guide , entrance fee and a good lunch. There was a breakfast stop 6YTL[£2.30]. The guide takes you through the site, wear a hat because there is no shade, also carry a bottle of water it can get very hot. I had thought about travelling independently from Bodrum to Ephesus but decided again this, the tour is hassle free. Arrived back at 5pm. Iwas picked up at my hotel and on return, GOOD VALUE TRIP. I booked at the agency next to the tourist office near the castle.Related to:
- Historical Travel
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Underwater Archaeology Museum at St Peter's Castle
St Peter's Castle has another treasure, particularly for the lover of archaeology - the castle houses the museum of underwater archaeology and it is the centre of underwater archaeological techniques in this part of Europe.
Look at artefacts taken from wrecks in the Aegean, the mural of the development of sea trade in this area and huge ships. Some of the exhibition is contained in the old ottoman mosque which was originally a chapel in the time of the Knights of St John. The shipwrecks held here come from medieval and Roman ages as well as teh Uluburin - the oldest shipwreck ever discovered. This all makes St Peter's Castle a double treat.
The Haluk Elbe Art Gallery at the front of the Castle is named after the first Director of the museum.
Drive to Lake Bafa!
Lake Bafa is a massive lake and National Park approximately 1 hours drive from Bodrum along the main motorway towards the North (you take the same road to get to Ephesus and the airport). The Lake is unspoilt and a gorgeous place to drive around and sit at.
There is a wide range of activities to do at the lake including bird watching, fishing and camping (although there are some hotels along the route). There is evidence of the many civilisations that have lived near the lake in past times - seen in the ruins of monasteries (apparently there were hermits here) and the ancient city of Heracleia is also on the banks of the lake.
It was not always a lake but geological changes over many centuries closed up the Gulf and created a lake which is now roughly 15km by 10km. There is plenty to see and if you just wanted to go walking here you would get to see such beautiful wildlife.
There are some places to eat around the lake but the quality of food in these less well developed villages is variable - you may want to bring your own snacks or picnic instead! We had a rather startling experience at a lakeside cafe that served hard bread covered in flies and some very unusual fruit juice.
Ancient Village of Euromos
Euromos is a fantastic site about 7 miles or so from Milas and would make a good addition to a day out near this town. The site has been home to Greeks and Romans in antiquity and the evidence of the religious behaviours of these peoples is in plain view - if a little battered looking. The village is just past Milas near the town of Selimiye (not too far from the delightful Lake Bafa). It has had many names including Hyramos.
The dramatic preserved ruins of the Temple of Zeus provide the best part of the site but there are other partially excavated remains of bath houses and other Greek assorted town buildings - interpreters believe the site was never fully functional and was a work in progress. Column bases and capitals in the Corinthian style are easy to see on the ground and in situ and are superb!
It is quite a compact site, easy to get round but also quite exposed to sunlight so wear a hat if you go in the hottest part of the day. It is open every day and is very inexpensive to visit (approx 10YTL).
Pictures to come!
Gümüskesen Tomb, Milas
Gümüskesen Tomb is well signed in Milas and is a lovely sight. It is a monumental chambered tomb (Turkey has many burial archaeological sites from before the 1st Century). This tomb is believed to be a smaller replica of the long since disappeared Mausoleum in Bodrum. It is useful for archaeologists who have been wondering for a long time about the possible appearance of the Mausoleum.
This is a first century Roman chambered tomb. It is in an excellent state of repair and is accessible. You can still see the place where the mourners would come to make offerings. If you are in Milas for a day of shopping you should definately visit this monument.
Milas: A day out from Bodrum
The ancient and very historical city of Milas was once the capital city of Caria and it has a great deal of archaeology for those with a car or willing to do the bus journey. Milas is about 45km from Bodrum. It is worth the trek to see some well preserved Roman artefacts. It is handily placed near the airport so is an ideal stop off on the way to/from Bodrum for some shopping and food.
In days gone by this city was called Mylasa and its claim to fame now is that it has been and is one of the centres for traditional Turkish carpet making. Each carpet designing and making region in Turkey has its own style - Milas carpets are plainer and more geometric than those from other regions. Just remember to be careful when buying carpets - Turkish carpets are really works of art and some are certainly expensive enough to be framed. Genuine carpet dealers will take you to see where the handmade carpets are produced and allow you to watch the process. It is quite amazing to watch the ladies weaving and knotting and it is as you watch this that you understand how the carpets are so expensive - the hours taken can be phenomenal. Check the carpets and be happy before you part with money.
Ottoman Shipyard and Cemetery
There is a hidden gem in Bodrum, that boat lovers and historians might enjoy - the Ottoman Shipyard. It was discovered when Turkcell were doing their city wall excavations. This area has been recently restored and its best feature is the Ottoman tower that would have been used by Ottoman ship builders to keep an eye on the harbour and watch for enemies and pirates (apparently). Ships have been built here and in other parts of Bodrum for thousands of years (and still continues today with the modern gulet building), it is said that the Carian ship builders actually made ships for the ancient Egyptian pharoahs. Bodrum has a naval tradition whereby its various warrior leaders fought at sea and Bodrum has had to repel many sea based invaders. This Ottoman shipyard was built around 1800 (a date of 1784 has been suggested for the tower).
Taxi's will be able too take you to the site which is quite near to the harbour, heading North. The restored tower is used for exhibitions. Also behind the site is an Ottoman Cemetery with its very distinctive Islamic funeral monuments. It is no longer in use as a burial site. The famous Cafer Pahsa is buried here (mosque in town is named after him).
Open daily from 9am - 6pm (free)
Photos to come soon
Water Cisterns: Eco friendly water saving!
Spotted around the peninsula are white domes of varying sizes with small square holes in the sides - I wondered for ages what they were, and many are in the most unusual places (sides of houses, fields, there is even a huge one on the main road between Bodrum and Gumbet). A taxi driver explained their purpose to me a long time ago.
These are water collection cisterns. Their name in Turkish is Kumbet and this is how the next door town of Gumbet got its name - named after the cisterns. They were used (and some still are) to collect the rare rain water which would then be used to water fields and feed animals (to save precious drinking water supplies).
These cisterns are often crumbling and care should be taken if you intend to explore them closely. The cisterns in this style can actually be found further afield than Mugla - I saw an ancient set of them near Selcuk last summer!
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