Located at the junction of the 2 best seas in the world; the Aegean and the Mediterranean, Bodrum is home to 67 blue-flag beaches. A blue flag is a stamp of approval given to only to the cleanest waters, making Bodrum one of Turkey’s biggest beach holiday destinations.
You would think that finding a swimming spot would be an easy thing to do for locals but it is not. Unfortunately, Bodrum’s coastal stretches have been split between various pricey hotels, bars, and residential projects. During the summer months, Turkish tabloids thrive on the bikini bodies of the Turkish celebrities shot at the beach clubs or private yachts in Bodrum. And remains open to the public is often too crowded to enjoy.
While some people love the way Bodrum evolved to be a such a flashy summer spot, as the people who grew up playing on Bodrum’s untouched beaches, we are quite nostalgic about the way things used to be. That being the case, we decided to compile a list of the best Bodrum beaches where we like to go to while Bodrum is under the siege of visitors & businesses. 1-9 are some spots where you can find peace and simplicity.
With that said, fancy beach clubs are a part of the Bodrum experience. So for those who want to check out that scene, we have a few recommendations on those too (number 9). If being lazy on a beach isn’t for you, you can check out some great beach activities at number 10.For more Bodrum tips from locals, you can check out our Top Things To Do In Bodrum blog.
As you can tell from the map, they are all scattered about the Bodrum Peninsula and beach hopping just won’t work because of the distances. So, the best thing to do is to pick your hotel in the area where you like the beach. You will find our hotel recommendations from each area below.
If you have already booked your stay, you can see if any of the recommended beaches are close by. It is good to know that taxi is very expansive in Bodrum. Renting a car makes much more sense. If you don’t drive, you can try to hop on a dolmuş. It is a minibus that travels on an assigned path but unlike buses, it doesn’t have fixed stops so you can get on or off anytime.
Below you will see our recommendations from Gümüşlük and Yalıkavak but actually, they are amongst the worst places to swim in Bodrum. However, they are still the most popular 2 areas of Bodrum because of the social life around them. We incorporated beaches from them to offer solutions for those who are staying there.
1. KARGICAK BAY ♡
Let’s make one thing clear from the start: This is not the kind of secret you want to let friends in on unless they are the type to really appreciate it. In our view, Kargıcak is the most beautiful bay on this list. A small, undeveloped village which has only relatively recently become accessible by road. If you have rented so wheels for the trip, however, don’t breath a sigh of relief yet – as you’ll have to brace yourself for over 2 km of rather bumpy, winding road. But the pay-off is more than worth it.
The waters are a little murky due to the boat tours that used to take off from the harbor. The sudden arrival of tourists to this tiny community – not to mention the build-up of trash it resulted it – apparently led to some tense confrontations with tour operators. In the end, the police intervened and decided to solve the issue by barring the tour boats from ever returning to Kargıcak.
The effects of this ruling have been nothing short of magnificent. The village has since regained the simple charm and character of earlier times. This is not to say many people aren’t aware of its existence. But given its distance from Bodrum across Andhallenging road conditions, it is certainly only visited by those few most dedicated to its spirit.
This is one of the most isolated beaches in Bodrum, so it pays to pack all the food and water you think you will need for the duration of the day. Also, don’t forget your sunglasses!
We would like to see Kargıcak’s charms shine on forever. That said, enjoy camping and picnicking while here – just make sure you don’t forget to pack up your things and bring your trash with you.
Kargıcak is a fishing bay area. At nearby Seagarden, one can head over to one of the many former tour boats that now serve grilled fish brought fresh from the surrounding waters, served deliciously with salad and fries. Click for location.
Peksimet is our most prized secret location. We discovered the place – which doesn’t even show up clearly on Googlemaps – almost by accident. When we arrived, however, no force could stop us from diving in its fine waters and wading over its inviting sands. There are only one or two restaurants based along the shore – much of which is still free for public use with sunbeds set out by the local municipality. The only issue is the lack of toilets and changing facilities along the shore. This is especially a winning destination to enjoy a beautiful view of the sunset.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this place was nowhere near Bodrum. Yet you would be wrong. We drove and drove mile and mile before getting to this lovely, isolated village. Mazı must be one of the most beautiful villages in all of the Bodrum region, with a scattering of homes lining its three bays and woods that go right down to the shore.
The first bay, Çakıllıyalı, is nt really on the large side. The shoreline comprises of a single hotel with two or three small pensions with a beautiful little garden area. The place is entirely run and staffed by locals. You are more than welcome to pop over and set up a little tent on the shore in front of the hotel as locals take great pleasure in making visitors feel welcomed above all else. They even insisted we pop by to use their showers completely freely when we were done at the beach. Similarly, the restaurant is open to any and all.
İnceyalı and Hurma Bays
İnceyalı and Hurma are the second and third bay which together make up one whole separated by small, rocky outcrops. Given their larger scale, and unfortunately, like many other large beaches in Bodrum, the area is largely run and maintained by shore-side restaurants and hotels. Yet the sense of tranquility is just as all-pervasive here. It’s the perfect place to finish that novel and be at peace between ventures out to enjoy the pure, still waters of the bay.
The pebble beach and cozy waters are a sight to behold. Plus, prices in Mazı are much more reasonable than Bodrum. Our accommodation, which included three meals, came to just 125 lira each.
The traditional Aegean cuisine served up was full of olive oil goodness. The place is guaranteed to give you some much-sought-after respite from city life. Hiking and rambling fans also ought to note that a section of the Karia Road route runs through the area. Click on this link for more info.
This location is plain and beautiful – little wonder the Kempinski hotel chain choose it as their Bodrum location. In fact, until the Kempinski showed up, barely anyone knew about this quiet coastal strip and it has remained fairly low on visitor numbers even now.
What’s on offer?
Yalı has a larger and smaller stretch of coastline. The smaller of these has a cafe run by the local municipality, meaning decent food at affordable prices. Lunch for two can set you back as little as 40 Lira and beer is likewise well priced, so enjoy the sunset in style! The beach is also equipped with frequently cleaned toilets, changing rooms, and showers.
Gerenkuyu is the larger beach, which looks out over Yalı. There are few amenities around, except the fenced-off site of a future hotel. The beach remains nearly empty all year round, so it’s yours for the taking. Let’s hope it stays like this long into the future!
Gerenkuyu Smaller Beach and Municipal Cafe location.
Gerenkuyu Larger Beach location.
Torba Bay lies on the right side of the road mid-way between Bodrum town and the airport. We are obsessed about Güvercinlik and the Torba area due to its beautiful wooded landscape. These areas are completely encircled by forested hills and mountains and although many rich and famous residents have upped sticks in the area, it is still a quaint and simple place and a far cry from the glitz of Yalıkavak. As the coast is dotted with pebble beach, the waters are pure and temperate.
The municipal-run cafe on Torba beach is decently-priced and extremely well-run. The toilets, showers, and changing rooms are in pristine condition. The area is also extremely decently priced, but there are other dining options with more expansive menus.
1. In our view, the best parts of Torba are a little further out
You can get here on foot or by boat
On foot: Carry on straight past the Torba Cafe until the road starts to turn into a rough-and-tumble dirt track. You should arrive at an incredible, wide-open beach in around 35-45 minutes. It’s probably best to take some sturdy footwear for this walk to make sure you don’t give up halfway down the road.
By Car: We don’t recommend anything less than a 4X4 to traverse the terrain needed to get here, but if you have a suitable motorcycle or mountain bike, be sure that the tracks smooth out eventually. A car can get you to this untouched shore with its crystal clear waters in 15-20 minutes. You can be sure your picnic will be entirely undisturbed. Although a residential area lies just up ahead, thanks to its own harbor area, there is little need for locals to wander through this area of coastline.
2. This is the ideal place for a boat tour.
This area is far quieter and sees a lot less tourism compared to other beaches in Bodrum, meaning boat tours of the bays will allow you more time to swim and explore.
The bays that Adabükü Doktorlar Sitesi stretches across are some of the most unspoiled beaches in Bodrum. Like Aktur, Doktorlar Sitesi is one of the oldest of the new residences constructed in Bodrum. The place is still amazingly calm, perhaps due to its being inhabited by middle-aged residents. The waters are crystal clear, but it’s just a shame its facilities are only open to those who live here. You’ll probably need to know someone here to get the best out of it.
Bardakçı Koyu, located right next to Bodrum center is a place of crystal clear waters you can explore marine life at. Unfortunately, due to much of the shoreline being parcelled off between hotels and beach-club owners, there is nowhere to casually set-up at without paying a fee. There is a pıublic beach, but this is rather on the small side.
Kumbahçe is another bay close-by Bodrum main. Kumbahçe’s pebble beach, opposite Bodrum Castle, is a little lacking, but nice enough. The view of the castle and city lights it offers in the evening is probably the best feature of this shoreline.
Gümüşlük isn’t quite fit to make it onto this list. In the high season, the beach crowds out and the sea itself is quite murky with seaweed. However, towards the start and tail-end of the tourist season, it is an ideal place to experience the magic trinity of sun, sea, and sand – with a host of activities on offer.
We enjoyed some long hours wading in the sea before lounging around on the sunbeds. We then walked to Rabbit Island, located just off the coast. We then enjoyed the stunning sunset on offer. We also rented out a canoe and paddleboard.
Gümüşlük Beyond the Beach
Come evening, it was time to nurse a beer at the Jazz Cafe before making sure we had enough room to enjoy a meal at our favorite Bodrum restaurant, Limon Gümüşlük. AThesimply and homely garden-setting requires an early booking and is located about 150-200 meters inland. Plus the Hayat Cafe, based in a secluded orange grove, is an ideal pitstop. The staff is friendly and the food is good quality and good value, with a lunch for two, including drinks, setting you back 40-45 lira. If you arrive in winter, you’ll also get the chance to pluck some of the ripened fruit.
This is a very popular beach-club among the people who live near Bitez. The only thing missing is the beach! – rather, this establishment has been constructed over the rocks on the bay. If you’ve gotten all the way to Bitez, then it would be a sin not to sample the famous namesake ice cream parlor with its specialty blackberry flavor. For a more filling dining experience, head to the Kısmet Restaurant between behind the Finansbank on the main road heading towards Konacık – but there is not much food left after 4 pm here! Click for location.
9.2 Aktur, Bitez
This is actually a small residential community, but it is possible to come to rent out an apartment for a few days and enjoy the clear, pure waters of one of the more private beaches in Bodrum. Click for location.
9.3 Camel Beach (Kargı)
These areas are simply incredible in terms of their natural beauty, although the summer months can get a little too bustling. There are also camels available to mount and ride up and down the beach. Click for location.
There is a side of Bodrum only inhabited by Turkey’s rich and famous, where a light lunch can set you back the price of a domestic airfare, every stretch of sand is closed off by some exclusive hotel or beach-club, and what was once a small fishing village is no-where to be seen: That’s Türkbükü. Some of the most popular places here include Maça Kızı, Kuum, Maki and Sess and Ship A Hoy in the evening. Click for location.
9.5 Cennet Bay (Göltürkbükü)
Cennet Bay,is a hidden gem located far from the bustling crowds of Bodrum proper. With rough and tumble roads and no public transport, the place looks set to remain quiet for the coming future only visited by boat-captains who benefit from mooring up in its deep waters. Aside from the public beach, there are a number of more luxurious private stretches at the İl Riccio and Mandarin hotels. Click for location.
Yalıkavak is undoubtedly one of Bodrum’s most popular locations, however, the northern waters can get rather choppy, so there are better options for swimming. That said, Palmarina Marina and Xuma Beach are popular dining and entertainment locations but there are calmer Bodrum beaches. Click for location.
Akyarlar is one of the best beaches in Bodrum in terms of its waters, that are clear, calm, and cool. This is a local’s favorite, as it has managed to stay quiet and well-hidden from the tourist droves over the years – although this may have started to change. Meteor Beach offers the best sands and has a good restaurant. Karaincir and Xanadu are good alternatives, although the latter is a little pricey. Click for location.
10. Active Sea Options
If you get bored just lying on the beach, we have three suggestions (If the articles are in TR make sure to switch to En from the upper right corner)
1. In Gündoğan, you can learn free diving from a record-holding instructor!
2. Take yourself off to a windsurfing course, available at many beaches in Bodrum
3. Kitesurfing in Bodrum doesn’t quite compare to Akyaka, but courses are available.