The return of Turkey's Turquoise Coast
Recent political turmoil has lead to a turndown in tourism along the Turquoise Coast, often referred to as Turkey’s very own St Tropez. But Bodrum is fighting back and with the city’s impressive Palmarina on side and a heap of high profile new openings on the way, the future looks bright for this beautiful region.
Turkey’s shopping appeal surely lies in picking up gorgeous local artifacts at the many markets and open-air bazaars which are dotted all along this coastline. Those who love to haggle will feel right at home bargaining for handwoven carpets, leather handbags and engraved backgammon boards at the market in Bodrum – or deliberating over worry beads and evil eye bracelets in Yalikavak. Over at Palmarina, things get considerably more upscale, with well-known international designer brands – the likes of Missoni, Orlebar Brown and Lacoste – forming something of an open-air shopping centre at the marina. Happily, local flavor has not been entirely abandoned and plenty of authentic, if expensive, local stores are to be found here too. Buy some colourful sandals from Mysabella or splash out on a leather handbag at Misela, headed up by Turkish designer Serra Turker.
For drinking and dining
Whilst Bodrum itself is packed with very decent local restaurants and bars, the real joys of this region lie in anchoring up and eating and drinking along the coastline from Göltürkbükü to Yalikavak, Gümüşlük and beyond, where evenings can be enjoyed right next to the sparkling waters of the Aegean. Gümüşlük is a good place to start, specifically at Mimoza, too far along from the main cluster for tourists to venture and with the most idyllic setting by the water. Il Riccio in Türkbükü, meanwhile, has a Michelin-starred sister restaurant in Capri; here, fresh fish is the best thing to order as you settle into a table on the buzzy outdoor terrace. After dinner, head around the coast to the Macakazi hotel – home to what is surely the most picture perfect beach club in all the land. This is a Turkish-owned hotel, and as such, there’s a pleasing local flavor to the place – something many of the surrounding five-star developments cannot lay claim to.
For rest and relaxation
Guess where Kate Moss heads to when she needs to chill? You guessed it. Bodrum’s LifeCo centre might have a celebrity following but the vibe is far more understated than might be expected. Sure, there’s the pool and the dreamy setting in Türkbükü, but the rooms are as pared back as the public spaces. That said, the centre is none the worse for it – the surroundings simply strengthen the feeling that they mean business. A couple of days spent here on a master detox plan or weight loss programme and you’ll return to your superyacht in ship shape. Those seeking something a little less hardcore should head instead to the spa at Bodrum’s Mandarin Oriental. Here, there are multiple hammams with private scrub rooms along with outdoor spa cabanas. Continue the indulgence after your treatment by picking up some freshly made baklava in the Mandarin Cake Shop.