Destination: Turkey: Bodrum
Bodrum, hailed as the “new St. Tropez” in recent years, has become a destination of two experiences: the scene-y, glamorous summer months when the global haute monde descend, and the less pretentious, quieter Bodrum that emerges in the spring and early fall.
When you visit Bodrum during the off-season, it seems as if the entire Peninsula breathes a quiet sigh of relief, as echoes of celebrities in designer bikinis, Saudi petroleum heirs, and European party-goers fade from the decks of the beach clubs that cut into the otherworldly blue of the Aegean Sea. It’s not to say that the summer months aren’t fabulous: the population of Bodrum explodes from 40,000 locals in September – May to more than one million in May – August, 90% of whom are wealthy Istanbulites seeking shelter from the oppressively hot city at their breezy seaside houses on Bodrum Peninsula.
Bodrum town, the ancient Greek seaside city of Halicarnassus has come a long way from its founding in 1,000 B.C., but history still lingers if you look for it – at the ruins of the Mausoleum (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), an amphitheater from the Hellenistic age and the 15th-century Castle of St. Peter, which commands the Bodrum Town harbor.
Bodrum’s explosion as a summer “it-destination” within the last ten years for glamorous travelers looks to become even more established in the next ten. And it’s with good reason – every glimpse of the water from the seaside roads is as extraordinary as the last, and it has quickly become an area where it is as fashionable to be on the beach club decks looking out to sea, as it is to be aboard a luxury yacht or gulet looking back at those who lounge on shore. The more relaxed vibe of the summer enclave that hearkens back to the Bohemian lifestyle of past decades still exists, you just have to know where to look to find it.
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