Let's kick-start this new conversation space! What's your favorite destination in Turkey and why?
Turkey is such a huge country that you really are spoilt for choice. The main reasons I love Turkey is it's history, food & people, which vary by region, but never fail to deliver amazing trip memories.
My Favourite Coastal Destination: Bodrum
I've heard many people dismiss Bodrum because it's a tourist hub, but you need to scratch below this area's veneer to discover it's true charm. Bodrum is located on the Bodrum Peninsula, which consists of lots of little towns and villages, located on the coastal and inland areas. It's on the western edge of Turkey, bordered by the Aegean, and is only a 25 minute Catamaran ride to the closest Greek island of Kos.
Turkey is often referred to as where East and West meets, and that label is certainly true in the Bodrum area. It's Turkish, but has a more laid back European feel than the areas in the middle and east of the country.
No matter what kind of traveller you are, you'll be able to find your ideal location on the Bodrum Peninsula. It's a holiday destination Jeckyl & Hyde
--- Although there are big resorts here, there are also plenty of small Turkish Pensiyons lining the beaches in small fishing villages.
--- There are popular fish restaurants which attract the Turkish glitterati of cities like Istanbul and Ankara, but there are also plenty of little Turkish Lokantas (where the locals go) .. for a fraction of the cost, and offer a delicious selection of locally sourced and seasonal dishes.
--- There's the biggest open air night club in Europe, with 20 Euro cocktails, and there's also small local cafes where you can enjoy a quiet early morning Turkish Coffee with the fisherman, before the rest of the town has woken up.
--- There's tourist shops packed with mass-produced trinkets, and there's loads of small craft stalls hosted by the local municipalities given to local artists who make their own unique souvenirs.
--- There's big double-decker day boats, with all you can drink, foam parties with pumping music, and there's also small wooden sail boat gulets which take a maximum of 8 passengers, where you can relax all day, with nothing but the sound of the Aegean breeze in the sails.
--- There's lots of organized day trips, offering tour guides and transport at an inflated cost, but there's also a great local public transport system of small buses (dolmus) which are cheap and frequent, and in the season run from early morning to early morning the next day.
--- There are a couple of local Malls, but I prefer wandering around the local weekly farmers markets. Each town and village has it's own, and this is the best way to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Every time... I'd opt for the Coffee at the local municipal cafe; a day on a quiet sail boat, dinner at a local lokanta & a stroll around the local artisans at the local craft market, & finally a glass of wine sitting at a little table over looking the water, listening to the waves in the darkness & my feet nestled in the sand.
If you're visiting the Bodrum Peninsula, I'd highly recommend getting out and about on the dolmus and explore some of the other local towns and villages.
Top of the list has to be Gumusluk: formerly known as Myndos, with lots of archeological activity going on here. This village is going to become one of the areas key historical sights in years to come. It's a small fishing village, but because of a nearby artist community and it's annual classical music festival it attracts an eclectic mix of people from other parts of Turkey, and the world (many of who end up living here). There are no resorts here, just small hotels and pansiyons and lots of local cafes and restaurants, and a unique little collection of artists selling their crafts at the evening craft market stall.
I've been returned to the Bodrum Peninsula for years, it continues to change & develop, but you can still seek out slices of holiday nirvana here, you just need to get off the beaten path to search for it.