- BLACK SEA
- EASTERN TURKEY
Although more than a million tourists flock to its beaches, boutique hotels and clubs each summer, Bodrum (Halicarnassus in ancient times) never loses its cool. More than any other Turkish seaside getaway, it has an enigmatic elegance that pervades it, from the town's grand crowning castle and glittering marina to its flower-filled cafes and white-plastered backstreets. Even in the most hectic days of high summer, you can still find little corners of serenity, in the town and especially in its outlying coastal villages.
Only in the past few decades has Bodrum come to be associated with pleasure, paradisical beaches and glittering summertime opulence. Previously, it was a simple fishing village, and old-timers can still remember when everything was in a different place or didn't exist at all. Long before the palmed promenades and epicurean seafood restaurants, Bodrum wasn't even desirable: it was the place where dissidents against the new Turkish republic were sent into exile. Today, laws restrict buildings' heights, and the whitewashed houses with bright-blue trim evoke a lost era. The evocative castle and the ancient ruins and Ottoman mosques around town also help keep Bodrum a discerning step above the rest.