Of all the places that I have been to, my favourite place to chill out and relax is Yalikavak in the Bodrum Peninsula in Turkey. My first experience of this area was a holiday to Gumbet in September 2003. Three couples including myself and my husband decided to have a child free week and stayed in the Magnific Hotel right on the seafront.
This was our first time in Turkey and we were instantly impressed with the restaurants and standard of food, the charm of the locals, the wonderful climate and the shopping. Turkey has to be the best place for designer copies as they don’t have any laws against selling designer rip offs and their bags, jeans, shoes etc are of very good quality. Add that to the fact that you can still be roaming around the shops at 11pm at night and you do really have a shopper’s paradise.
The nearby resort of Bitez is smaller and less commercialized and is ideal for both couples and families who want a classy resort on the beach with a great array of bars and top quality restaurants with a good choice of local shops. On the other side of Gumbet you have the bustling Town of Bodrum, well worth a visit. From the amazing castle to the Marina, Bodrum is worth at least one days visit especially if you want to take in the local market which moves from town to town. These three resorts are linked by local dolmus (mini bus) and it is incredibly cheap and easy to move between all three.
A 20 minute drive from Bitez over the mountains will bring you to the quieter oasis that is Yalikavak. Once a small fishing village, this charming town remains a busy working harbor but a short stroll towards the multimillion new Marina shows how this resort is developing into the jewel of the Bodrum Peninsula. This laid back resort sports amazing restaurants and pretty bars which because they are open all year remain under the same ownership, year after year so you always know the service will remain constantly great. On Thursday the town comes alive when the Market arrives and from 7am until 8pm in high season you can spend hours buying wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables, rugs, spices, nuts, flavoured tea’s, clothes, plants, flowers, etc. Even those who despise shopping cannot help but be impressed with the amazing variety of goods on sale.
The highlight of any trip to the Bodrum Peninsula has to be the Boat Trip. These depart daily from all the resorts and vary in cost; from €10 - €20 per person. For this you get to spend the day on a large wooden gullet with plenty of space to spread out and sunbathe on large cushions whilst sailing around the many stunning coves that abound in this area. You will enjoy a great lunch cooked fresh by the staff which usually includes breaded chicken, pasta, salad, chips and fresh fruit. There are many stops to allow you swim and in the afternoon you will be served tea/coffee and cake. This is my family’s favourite excursion and although we do it every year, we look forward to it immensely. We have often gone as a group of 10 to 12 and had the whole boat to ourselves.
Since 2003 I have visited Turkey at least once a year and sometimes three times. We now bring the family who won’t travel anywhere else. We have brought friends and family with us and they have all been impressed with the unique experience that is Turkey