Ideas for Family Fun in & around Bodrum
Turkey is a fabulous place for family holidays. We first went to Bodrum when Pierre was a 1-year-old baby and had a brilliant time. The Turkish people seem to love children so blond-haired-blue-eyed Pierre got complimentary remarks and affectionate pats on the head wherever we went!
If you’re travelling with a small child, I highly recommend forgetting the pushchair and taking a baby-carrier. It’s so much easier for hopping on and off the local “dolmus” minibuses and for navigating bumpy pavements. We ran out of nappies but were able to stock up in Bodrum and had the choice of international big brands or cheaper Turkish equivalents.
Here’s my guide to our favourite family activities:
1) Beat the heat on a “pirate ship” boat cruise
You’ll get a lovely cooling breeze if you stay below deck and the crystal clear, turquoise water is beautiful up close. Very close, if you want, because the boat will moor and give you the chance for a swim in one of the sheltered bays, or try fishing from the boat so make sure you take your swimming costume and a towel!
You get a lovely lunch on the boat cruise using local produce (think fresh grilled fish and luscious watermelon) and, if you’re lucky, the “pirate” crew will put on a bit of a show for you. Listen carefully for the lookout’s cry of “dolphin” and you may be lucky enough to spot one swimming alongside the boat – definitely a magical memory!
2) Wander around the local markets
The sights and, above all, smells of the stacks of herbs and spices at Bodrum’s markets are amazing. Make sure you stock up on apple tea – not tea at all, but a fruit flavoured powder to mix with cold water (the stallholders will offer you glasses to try as you wander around, but check it’s made with bottled water before sampling!) – and of course some Turkish delight.
3) Revisit the past
It’s amazing to walk along the streets and come across ancient ruins that you can walk up to, touch and photograph with nobody seeming to care! As well as the unmarked ruins you’ll come across, there’s a very impressive ancient theatre (which, amazingly, is still used for summer concerts), the remains of the Myndos Gate and the Castle of St Peter to discover. If you’re brave enough to venture further afield (and don’t have really small children who may find it just too hot), a visit to Ephesus is an absolute must for any history buff.
4) Discover Turkey’s natural beauty
A visit to Pamukkale is pretty mindblowing. Over thousands of years, the run-off from warm water springs have created what looks like a winter wonderland of stalagmites and stalactites. Definitely a unique photo opportunity that shouldn’t be missed!
5) Find some local bargains!
Staying closer to home, wander around the shady shop-lined lanes of Bodrum looking for bargains (don’t forget to haggle!). Look out for blue glass “evil eye” ornaments and bracelets, as well as natural sea sponges in the market stalls down by the castle entrance.
6) Go on a nature hunt
Don’t go off the beaten tracks because there may be scorpions (having said that, we’ve never seen one!) but just wandering around close to your hotel, you should be able to spot lizards basking in the sun or climbing up walls. We even stumbled across a big iguana-sized one about 30cm long once which was pretty impressive!
You’ll spot camels in the unlikeliest of places too – for a few coins, you can sit on one for a photo or go for a ride. Even the local flowers (beautiful bougainvillea) and trees (I’d never seen a tree-sized rubber plant before) are worthy of a closer look, and the kids will love seeing fruit like lemons, pomegranates and oranges growing in the trees.
About the author
Cheryl Pasquier is mum to the French/English bilingual Madhouse Family (made up of Madhouse Daddy, 13-year-old Sophie, 9-year-old Juliette and 5-year-old Pierre) and blogger at Madhouse Family Reviews