13 BODRUM DAY TRIPS: History, Culture, Food, Beaches, and More 

Best Bodrum Day Trips

While most people typically associate Bodrum with a carefree seaside vacation full of sun, sand, and beaches, there’s a lot of amazing places to see beyond the resorts!

From a local art village near Bodrum to a full-day boat tour around the bay, a hop across the border to another country (yes, really!), or a trip to ancient ruins, there are so many options for amazing Bodrum day trips. 

Bodrum is one of our favorite destinations (especially in the spring), and we believe that there are so many awesome — and underappreciated! — places to visit around Bodrum, which is where we got the idea for this blog post. 

In this post, we’ll look at 13 of the best day trips from Bodrum. These are excellent options if you’re visiting during the summer and want to escape the crowds, you have an extra day or two in Bodrum, or simply see a different side of Turkey. 

We’ve organized the post by length (i.e. from closest to farthest destinations) and included information about the destination, the best way to get there (by rental car, bus, or ferry), and any other useful travel tips. 

TRAVEL TIP: If you rent a car, you can pick and choose from the places mentioned and make your own itinerary — many are within a short distance from each other, and you can see multiple places in one day. 🙂 

Let’s check it out! 

See the Crystal Clear Waters of the ‘Bodrum Maldives’: Orak Island 

Distance from Bodrum: On the peninsula 

Without a doubt, Orak Island is one of the most popular day trips from Bodrum — and you’ll quickly understand why when you scroll through the photos. 😉

Located some 15 km (9 mi) from Bodrum, Orak Island feels like a hidden paradise island with its turquoise coves, beaches surrounded by olive trees, and clear water that’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling. 

Since Orak Island is, well, an island, the only way to get there is by boat. We recommend taking a boat tour (like this top-rated one), which leaves in the morning and spends the whole day (~6 hours) sailing to small islands. There’s also a delicious lunch and complimentary swimming gear like goggles included!

This was actually one of the experiences that we remember most from our first trip to Bodrum — the beautiful (and super clear!) water, the relaxing atmosphere, the awesome people (both our tourmates and the crew)… maybe we should book another trip back to Bodrum soon? 😁

Tour an Award-Winning Vineyard 

Distance from Bodrum: 35 km 

While you might typically associate countries like Italy, Spain, France, or Argentina as popular winemaking regions, did you know that Turkey is also carving out a name for itself? In fact, Anatolia (the historical name for Turkey) was one of the earliest wine-producing regions in the world and played an important role in its creation!

Even better, you’re already in Turkey’s most important wine region! 😉

The Aegean wine region is the biggest producer of wine in Turkey (the Marmara and Central Anatolia regions are second and third) thanks to its diverse soil types, favorable climate, and a history of wine cultivation that goes back centuries. 

If you’re ready to try some of Turkey’s best wines, then you’re definitely in luck — one of Turkey’s best vineyards is just a short day trip from Bodrum! During the vineyard tour, you’ll enjoy a private transfer to/from your hotel, learn about wine making traditions with an expert, and enjoy a four-course meal (with wine, of course!) — all set among ancient olive trees and beautiful views. 

We love that the tour is flexible, and you can choose which time you prefer (i.e. morning, afternoon, or an evening dinner). This is perfect if you want to do two tours in one day! 

Get Cultured at Dibeklihan Culture & Art Village

Distance from Bodrum: On the peninsula 

Located just 9 kilometers from Bodrum city center, a trip to Dibeklihan really does feel like you’ve been transported to a cozy little ‘village!’ 

Although it might look like an ancient caravanserai (roadside inn for caravans), Dibeklihan was actually opened in 2009. The complex has about a dozen stone buildings that serve as spaces for art galleries, design workshops, boutiques that sell handmade items, and restaurants and cafes. If you’re visiting during the season, you might also come across exhibits, concerts, talks, and other interesting events.

While there, don’t miss the Sandık Odası, which is a miniature museum filled with ​​everyday items from previous generations, like daggers, coffee utensils, clothing, tableware, and other ethnographic items. ​​There are information placards in English and Turkish. 🙂 

Despite visiting during a weekend in May, Dibeklihan wasn’t too crowded when we were there — we could easily find a table at Arkabahçe Cafe and walk around the shops without bumping into others. It’s an absolutely delightful place to spend an hour or two, and one of our favorite “hidden gems” in Bodrum. 😉

See the Abandoned Village & Bodrum Windmills

(Sandıma Köyü + Yel Değirmenleri)

Distance from Bodrum: On the peninsula 

Prefer something a little off the beaten path? Then you’ll definitely love these next two places! They’re located fairly close to each other, which is why we put them both in one point. 🙂 

Sandıma Köyü translates to Sandıma Village, and is an abandoned village with traditional stone houses. The village’s history goes back some 600 years, but around the mid-1960s, the inhabitants moved down to the coast for better opportunities. If you’ve visited Kayaköy in Fethiye, this village has a similar atmosphere (but on a smaller scale). 

Just a 6-kilometer drive are the Yel Değirmenleri (windmills). Windmills are a traditional symbol of Bodrum, and were especially useful thanks to the windy nature of the region — they were built in the 1850s and used for many decades! 

On top of the hill, there are still three windmills that have stood the test of time. One of them was restored in 2006 and is still functioning — you can walk inside and see what it looks like inside.

There’s a parking lot right next to the windmills, but be careful, it’s a bit of a sharp turn! 

Besides these ancient structures, the hill is popular among locals for having some of the most amazing views in Bodrum — you’ll get to see both coasts, and the sunsets are amazing! 

Visit the Cobblestoned Streets of Kos, the Nearest Greek Island

Distance from Bodrum: 24 km (via ferry)

Did you know that you can travel to Greece in less than an hour? Escape the crowds for a day and enjoy the charming cobblestone streets and ancient ruins of Kos, a Greek island that’s a short ferry ride from Bodrum’s center. In fact, a Bodrum to Kos day trip is one of the most popular things to do while in Bodrum! 

There are daily departures between Bodrum and Kos, which either take 30 minutes or one hour (depending if you choose the fast catamaran or standard ferry). The tickets cost 30 EUR per person, and you can save a few euros if you buy the “same-day return” excursion ticket (i.e. a day trip). 

Once you’re in Kos, there are tons of things to fill up your day trip itinerary. For example, you could check out the iconic Castle of Neratzia (Castle of the Knights), a 15th-century fortress located near Kos harbor that offers lovely panoramic views. You can also stroll by the seaside promenade (Akti Kountouriotou street), see the architecture of Kos’ Old Town, and explore Zia village

For history, the island has its own Archaeological Museum of Kos, an open-air theater from the 2nd century (Roman Odeon of Kos), and the Plane Tree of Hippocrates (where the famous philosopher allegedly taught his students). Don’t forget to stop by the Church of Agia Paraskevi, which has beautiful blue dome ceilings. 

Of course, Kos’ beaches rival those of Bodrum — some favorites include Mastichari Beach, Kefalos Beach, and the aptly-named Paradise Beach. However, it’s a good idea to take a taxi, as a lot of the popular beaches are located far away from Kos’ Old Town. For lunch, we always stop by Noah’s Ark — the owner used to work as a chef and cooks some of the most amazing grilled meats! 😋

Here are some great tours to and on Kos island:

Relax on the Datça Peninsula 

Distance from Bodrum: 45 km (via ferry)

Hey look, another fun ferry trip — but this time we’re still in Turkey. 🙂 

If you really want to get away from the crowds and noise of Bodrum, we have just the thing: a day trip to Datça! 

Datça is similar to Bodrum in a few ways: it’s a peninsula, there are plenty of nice beaches, and the center has charming streets. However, Datça is​​ also different in that it’s much quieter and laid-back.

If you want to have a relaxing yet interesting day trip, we highly recommend Datça! There are daily ferries in the summer that leave in the morning and return in the afternoon, plus a free shuttle bus that takes you from the port to Datça center. The trip is even easier if you have a rental car, as you can visit the ancient city of Knidos, swim in the hidden coves and bays, and stop at the little villages along the way. 

Likewise, be sure to visit Old Datça (Eski Datça Mahallesi), which is just 3 km (1.8 mi) from ‘new’ Datça. The Old Datça neighborhood is such a sweet little hideaway, where you’ll find charming cobblestone streets, traditional stone houses, and a slower pace of life. 

Go Back in Time at Iasos Ancient City…

Distance from Bodrum: 60 km 

Located an hour’s drive from the center of Bodrum, Iasos Ancient City is a sprawling open-air museum that was once an important port city. The settlement dates back to 3,000 BC, and it especially flourished during the Hellenistic era thanks to its strategic position.

While it’s not as famous as Ephesus, it’s not as far either. 😉

Iasos Ancient City is free to visit, and has a variety of things to see. While many of the places are in ruin, some are surprisingly well-preserved — in fact, excavations have been taking place since the 1830s and are still going on to this day! If you’re lucky, you might come across some local archaeologists looking for treasures. 🙂 

The most famous ancient ruins are the Agora, which was the central marketplace and the ‘heart’ of the ancient city, and the Roman Theater, which is still under excavation. The Bouleuterion (a place where parliament met) is surprisingly well-preserved. Be sure to check out the City Walls and the Acropolis as well for nice views of the harbor. Many of the places mentioned have information placards in English, so you can learn more about the history. 

While you’re there, you can take a 5-minute walk to the nearby Iassos Fish Bazaar Museum which, like the name says, used to be an ancient fish bazaar and now functions as an open-air museum. There are some pretty statues in the museum and best of all, it’s free! 

Travel tip: If you’re arriving at Milas-Bodrum Airport and renting a car, you can easily visit Iasos — it’s just a 30-minute (30 km / 18.6 mi) drive from the airport. Iasos Ancient City has free entry, and is open from 8:30 to 17:30 every day (including Monday). 

… Or the Ancient City of Stratonikeia

Distance from Bodrum: 80 km 

If you didn’t get enough history at Iasos (or are taking a different route), there’s another amazing ancient city further inland!

Stratonikeia is unique because it contains influences from practically every major era, including the Carian, Ancient Roman, Seljuk, and Ottoman periods. The ancient city is especially famous for its magnificent theater, although there are dozens of other ancient structures like streets, a gymnasium, terraces, a parliament ‘building’ (bouleuterion), and much more.

Like Iasos, Stratonikeia has also not been fully excavated yet — it’s rumored that more than 70% of this ancient city is underground!  

If you’re visiting the area, then be sure to drive 14 km up north to Lagina Antik Kenti (Lagina Ancient City), which was a smaller territory of Stratonikeia. In fact, Lagina was used as a religious center, and there are remnants of temples and altars.

Stroll around the Harbor of Kuşadası 

Distance from Bodrum: 150 km 

A little over 2 hours from Bodrum, Kuşadası is a nice place to relax and enjoy the Aegean atmosphere. The name of the city, Kuşadası, literally translates to ‘Bird Island’ because the shape of the island reminded sailors of a bird’s head when seen from the water. 

The city is especially known for its port area, which has a lovely promenade to stroll around and enjoy the views. If you’re into shopping, then definitely stop by Kuşadası Port (also known as Scala Nuova Village), which has a nice open-air shopping mall. 

You can also walk to Güvercinada (‘Pigeon Island’ — in keeping with the bird-themed names ;)), which has a 14th-century castle; stroll around Kuşadası Bazaar, and look for the colorful houses of Kuşadası.

Kuşadası is easily reached by car or bus — there are direct daily departures from Bodrum Otogar to Söke. From Söke, it’s a 30-minute drive to Kuşadası center.

Visit One of Turkey’s Most Famous Attractions: Ephesus!

Distance from Bodrum: 170 km 

Love ancient history, stunning ruins, and UNESCO Heritage Sites? Then taking a day trip from Bodrum to Ephesus is a must! 

Once a thriving port and the second-biggest city in the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC, it’s now a collection of well-preserved ruins teeming with historical wonders.

You can spend an entire day in Ephesus, as the complex is huge. The most popular attraction in Ephesus is the Library of Celsus (you’ll see this famous symbol on practically every photo advertising Ephesus), as it was the third-biggest library in the Greco-Roman era. Of course, there are plenty of other attractions as well — walk down marble-paved streets, imagine the roar of the crowds at the Great Theatre, and discover temples dedicated to emperors and gods.

The trip from Bodrum to Epheus takes about 2.5 hours (170 km / 105 mi) and can be combined with other attractions in the area. Alternatively, you can also opt for a group tour that includes an expert guide, comfortable transfer, and local lunch. We recommend this tour: 

See the Charming Wine Village of Şirince 

Distance from Bodrum: 180 km 

Just a few kilometers east of Ephesus is the charming wine village of Şirince. You read that right — Turkey has its very​​ own wine village. 😉 

Hidden in the hills above Ephesus, Şirince is a local Turkish village with whitewashed houses, red-tiled roofs, and lush green surroundings. When you get there, it really feels like you’ve stumbled onto a hidden gem! 

Şirince is the perfect place to savor slow-paced life and enjoy the stunning scenery. Walk along cobblestone streets lined with boutique shops, sample delicious local wines (our favorite is Üzüm Cafe and their 8 fruit wine sampler), or see the ancient St. John the Baptist Church. There are also plenty of delicious restaurants run by local families (many who are also farm-to-table!) 

If you’re up for an adventure, you can visit Ephesus, Şirince, and Kusadasi in one day.
Here’s how to do it:

📍Drive from Bodrum to Ephesus — 2.5 to 3 hours 
(Ephesus opens at 8:00)
📍Walk around Ephesus — 1.5 to 2.5 hours 
📍Drive from Ephesus to Şirince — 20 mins 
📍Walk around Şirince, enjoy lunch — 1 to 2 hours
📍Drive from Şirince to Kuşadası — 40 mins to 1 hour
📍Walk around Kuşadası, enjoy dinner — 1 to 2 hours 
📍Drive from Kuşadası to Bodrum — 2.5 to 3 hours 
TOTAL TIME — ​​10 to 14 hours  

We recommend leaving early in the morning so that you have time to enjoy all of the places mentioned. Go to Ephesus first, since exploring the ancient ruins will take up most of your time (and you’ll do the “biggest thing” first). From there, it’s a short drive to Şirince, where 1 to 2 hours is enough to walk around the village and enjoy a delicious lunch (and some souvenir shopping on the way back to your car :)). Finally, drive to Kuşadası and enjoy a sunset walk along the waterfront and a nice seafood dinner. 

Go on a River Cruise in Dalyan

Distance from Bodrum: 190 km 

While slightly further than most of the places we’ve mentioned so far, Dalyan is a charming place that offers a laid-back atmosphere amid nature — and it’s also a refreshing change of pace from the lively atmosphere of Bodrum! 

The city revolves around the Dalyan River. While the river stretches across an impressive 230 km, the most popular section is a picturesque 10-kilometer segment from Dalyan town to Iztuzu Beach. One of the most popular activities in Dalyan is (you guessed it 😉) a river cruise, where you’ll glide across the river and see the amazing Lycian Rock Tombs carved into the cliffside. 

Other popular attractions include visiting the Ancient City of Kaunos; relaxing on Iztuzu Beach, where one side is the salty sea and the other is freshwater (it’s also one of the main breeding grounds for local turtles!); and slathering on mineral-rich mud at the famous Dalyan mud baths, which are alleged to have health benefits and rejuvenate the skin. 

The best way to do all of the aforementioned things is through a day trip (like this one!), which typically offer an all-in-one combination of a tour guide, transfer, food (breakfast and lunch), river cruise, a stop at Iztuzu Beach, mud baths, and a stop in Dalyan center.

Chill Out in the Travertines of Pamukkale

Distance from Bodrum: 250 km 

If you’re really in the mood for an adventurous day trip, then Pamukkale is calling your name! 

The furthest destination on our list of day trips from Bodrum, Pamukkale is definitely an all-day adventure — it takes a minimum of 10 hours to do this trip. It takes about 3.5 hours to travel one way, so it’s best to depart very early in the morning (before traffic starts!). Depending on your travel style, you can expect to spend around 2.5 to 4 hours in Pamukkale. 

Pamukkale is an excellent day trip because all of the attractions are concentrated within a short distance of each other. Of course, the most famous attraction are the Travertines of Pamukkale, which are beautiful turquoise thermal pools surrounded by white limestone. You can walk (and swim!) in some of the travertines, which are rumored to have healing properties. Just a short walk away is the Cleopatra Pool (so-called because Cleopatra herself bathed here!), the Ruins of Hierapolis (an ancient city from the 3rd century BC), and the Museum of Hierapolis

Depending on the weather, you can also take a sunrise hot air balloon flight (but you’ll have to get there really early — by 4 am!) or a tandem paraglide tour (between 7:00 to 17:00 :)). For the really adventurous, there are also gyrocopter flights!

You can also do this trip by bus, but we don’t recommend it because you’ll be tired by evening.

However, taking the bus is the most budget-friendly option (besides renting a car). It’s a 4- to 5-hour bus ride from Bodrum to Denizli (the city where Pamukkale is located), with the earliest departures at around 7:45 in the morning. You’ll arrive in Pamukkale in the afternoon (around 13:00) and have a few hours before departure. 

The last two bus departures from Denizli to Bodrum are at 18:00 (arrival at 23:00) and 22:00 (arrival at 2:00). You can buy tickets on Flixbus or at the Bodrum Otogar (bus station). 

Finally, there are a handful of tour companies that do Bodrum to Pamukkale day trip tours, such as this top-rated option. You’ll get to travel in comfort, have an experienced tour guide tell you all about the history of the sites, and enjoy a few hours to explore on your own before being transported back to Bodrum. 


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