Turkey is a big country with a very long coast on Black Sea, Sea of Marmara, Mediterranean and Aegean and mass international tourism is limited only to a handful of resorts. Different nationalities have different preferences, sometimes also biased by the tour companies that find it more efficient to offer holiday in the same resorts for logistics. There are high end exclusive resorts, family resorts, 18-30s style fun/party resorts, nature resorts, historic areas, it is impossible to say that there are good and bad resorts as Turkey offers a holiday style to suit anyone, if you do your research carefully. One person’s paradise is often another one’s hell. And of course Turkey is not only limited to its coast. Inland Turkey has many gems to offer as has been discovered by many intrepid Trip Advisor members over the years, giving their reviews here. Natural wonders, historic sites, mountains, rivers, valleys, adventure holidays, cultural retreats. Even within the same resorts there are parts of it that are very different to each other, quiet parts, local parts, fun parts, all inclusive, self catering...
1. Be very clear on what type of holiday you are after and your holiday style 2. Decide on a realistic budget, Turkey is not as cheap as some people think or was 10 years ago, but again still have many cheap parts (these are the more local places, not top tourist destinations) Have realistic expectations. 3. Decide if you want a package holiday or a tailored/DIY holiday as this will have an impact on which resorts will be offered to you. Package holidys focus on mass tourism resorts. 4. Read previous posts in TA on specific resorts and start having a feel on different places. 5. Ask 'specific' questions here, they are always answered by Turks, tourists, Turkey lovers, people who enjoyed their holidays or were disappointed. A great variety of replies will be given and believe me not everyone has a commercial interest, actually this is rare and very easy to spot 6. Read as many resources as you can find such as newspaper travel supplements, magazines, guide books 7. The more you narrow your research the better such as which hotels, which bars, which restaurants, where to shop, market days, excursions and prices of stuff. It is great to be equipped with some recommendations and to know what to expect 8. Have a great holiday!! 9. Come back and write your reviews and help others. I though I’ll start with a few resorts that I visit regularly (I am Turkish) to kick start this thread and others can input their opinions on what other resorts are like and their top tips. I hope it does not become too heated as I truly don’t believe there is a right or wrong type of resort as everyone has their own holiday styles.
Bodrum Bodrum is not one resort but a collection of around 10 around a peninsular. Bodrum town is a large town with an established centre and people living 12 months. No real beach, it has a great historic castle of Knights of St John, marina, decent nightlife, some popular restaurants, bars with live music (always popular with Turks) and lots of shopping. Good local market once a week. It should probably be more of a place to visit for the day or a couple of nights then stay if you are looking for a quiet beach holiday.
Gumbet: A large-ish British resort. Some parts perfect for a Aya Napa style party holiday with loads of young (and old) Brits come to have good fun time. Numerous late night loud bars and ‘English Breakfast’ style cafes and restaurants. This part of Gumbet is not huge though and there are more local or quieter parts if you move away from ‘Bar Street’ Gumbet is one of the most controversial resorts as it is some people idea of perfect holiday and some people’s idea of absolute hell. You should do your research very well if you want to visit and where to stay and eat in Gumbet.
Bitez : A small relaxed resort with nice beach, plenty of bars and restaurants but very different to its neighbouring Gumbet. Yalikavak : A large resort, a large British population, some with holiday homes here. A somewhat more upmarket resort which also means higher price tags. Affluent Turks from Istanbul have villas here as well. There is a new marina, very good seafood restaurants, beach and shopping. It is not the prettiest of resorts but offers a good variety of activities. Turkbuku : This is where I spend my holidays as my family has holiday home here and I can fully expect Turkbuku to be many people’s idea of hell!! It is predominantly Turkish and very expensive. It has a style similar to St Tropez, Cannes, Miami Beach, etc. Exclusive beach clubs, even more exclusive bars/clubs, big yachts, expensive food and drink. If you are foreigner you are likely to be ignored as they count on their seasonal repeat Turkish customers from Istanbul. You need know-how and introductions to have good time in Turkbuku. I have been asked about Turkbuku by many TA forumites from NYC as this was what they were looking for and they had great time, others may truly hate it.
Other resorts around Bodrum are Gundogan (smaller neighbour to Turkbuku), Turgutreis (a large-ish resort with a good mix of Turkish and international guests and suitable for families, singles, couples, old and young. Probably an all round resort), Gumusluk (a small fishing village with lovely seafood restaurants and a small beach, hotels are a distance from the village), Akyarlar, Ortakent, Guvercinlik and a couple of more small ones There is something around Bodrum for everyone.