Bodrum, Turkey has a reputation for being a destination for the world’s celebrities and the affluent. But just how expensive is Bodrum? And is it even possible to come here if you are not part of the wealthy elite? We’ll discuss that in this article, as well as some of the pros and cos about visiting or living in Bodrum.
(Go to this link if you would like to watch a video with the same information: Bodrum Turkey Video)
Our favorite meal in Bodrum which was at a restaurant called Sünger Pizza. But we didn’t come for the pizza. We came to this restaurant because it has a dish that is local to Bodrum called çökertme. It’s usually made with sauteed beef but we got the chicken version. What we loved about it is that the chicken is served on a bed of thin crispy potatoes. It came with two kinds of garlic yogurt sauce, and it was by far our favorite meal in Bodrum. But it was also the most expensive meal costing 120 lira or US$6.50.
If you want a restaurant that is isolated away from the touristy area then head to Torba Cafe Restaurant. The restaurant is in the owner’s backyard along with the roosters and pets. The meat is cooked on his backyard BBQ grill, so it’s super fresh and tasty. It was about two dollars and fifty cents for a huge chicken sish kabob put into a wrap with tomatoes and onions.
Next up, is the great traditional Turkish breakfast we had with different breads, cheeses, olives, and dipping sauces. Our favorite of those was the honey because it is a special honey local to this area. The bees make this honey from the sap of pine trees instead of flowers. We liked this honey so much we bought a bottle in the grocery store. The entire breakfast was about four dollars each. And you can get a breakfast like this all around Turkey, not just here in Bodrum. We had ours at Torba Cafe (not to be confused with Torba Cafe Restaurant mentioned earlies). It’s actually a government owned restaurant right on the water in Torba.
Of course one of the top things to do in Bodrum is to visit the waterfront, the marinas, and the many beaches in the area. The beach in Bodrum itself was particularly narrow. The beach and shoreline along Yaşhi beach are a little bit bigger and can accommodate more people compared to Bodrum. But the beach at Turgutreis was our favorite. It was bigger, had less rocks, and a stunning sunset over the nearby islands.
The most popular touristy thing is probably the Bodrum castle and museum. You could spend several hours exploring all of the different parts of the castle, as we did. The price was about US$8 for the entry fee.
Another popular site to visit is the Halicarnassus Mausoleum. There isn’t too much remaining of it today. But at one time this mausoleum was so grand that it is now considered one of the ancient wonders of the world.
The prices for purchasing or renting property, as you can probably guess, is going to depend on the location. If you are on a budget, we suggest a location more inland and away from the water. A neighborhood called Konacik, which is a bit inland and seems like a completely fine town, has 100 square meter apartments starting in the 2,500,000 lira range (about US$135,000). And of course when you start looking at bigger homes, you’re in the millions of dollars range.
If renting a one hundred square meter apartment on a one year lease, prices start around US$500 per month in the inland areas, and more like US$800 closer to the water.
If you are a slow traveler and renting for one month on Airbnb, most listings are near the water. Prices are in the US$1000-US$2000 range in the off-season, and roughly double that during the summer.
If you’re just here for a holiday and need a budget hotel, then we would recommend Hotel Olivia in Torba. This is where we stayed, and it’s just north of Bodrum. The price for our clean and large room was only US$29 per night. But that was during the low season and the price will more than double if you stay here in the summer. It was about a 15 minute ride from our hotel into Bodrum in a shared minivan taxi called a dolmuş.
Pros and Cons
Pro: Cost of Living (International Standards)
The cost of living in Bodrum is reasonable when compared to other beach cities in the Mediterranean. Based on our experience here in Bodrum, we think we could comfortably live here long term, for something in the US$1400 to US$1600 per month. That would include an apartment rental, food, transportation, and activities.
Con: Cost of Living (Turkish Standards)
Although Bodrum is less expensive than similar cities on the coast in Europe, prices are quite high here compared to the rest of Turkey, especially housing and restaurant prices.
The people who live here are accustomed to foreigners and English is more widely spoken than other parts of Turkey.
Pro: The People
The people here were extremely friendly and polite. Turkish hospitatlity is definitely on display in Bodrum.
Pro: The Weather
It does get a little hot in the summer and a little cool in the winter. But overall the temperature is pleasant, and the sunshine is plentiful here.
Pro: The Small Town Feel
There aren’t many big high rises here. And wandering through the back alleys feels like you’re in a village, not a city. Yet the conveniences of a big city are here, like shopping malls and big supercenter type grocery stores.
There can be some traffic jams here. We got stuck in a few when riding around, and we were here in the off season. I’m sure the traffic is even heavier during the summer. It’s not nearly as congested as the bigger cities like Istanbul, but a little bit of the small town charm is lost due to the traffic.
Overall we think the pros far outweigh the cons, we would not hesitate to recommend Bodrum to anyone considering a holiday here, or living here long term.
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