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Travel In Low Season – Bodrum

When I travel, I appreciate tranquility and having the time to enjoy and discover without being rushed by the madding crowds. I am one of those people who are not in favor of high temperatures. I am very climate and crowd sensitive when I plan a trip for myself and for my clients who are visiting Turkey for their vacations. I know that some people don’t have much liberty in choosing vacation times, but if they do, it is much better to look at alternative times and types of travel. I believe beautiful places are beautiful all year round if you pitch the right time of the year.

I am in the travel business for more than 30 years and I am an avid traveler myself. There are some solid advantages of traveling on shoulder season or in the off-season:

- The ratio of visitors vs locals changes for the best. It is quieter, there is less competition for services.

- If you are an active traveler like me, you find better temperatures for hiking, kayaking, biking, etc.

- Locals are more relaxed because big groups of strangers who challenge their lifestyles are gone and the vendors are content. I was once in Kos, the Greek Island in December, 30 minutes ferry ride from Bodrum. I saw an old man sipping his espresso. He looked very relaxed and gave us a big smile. I told him that he looked very happy. He said, “Yes, tourists are gone”. I said, “We are tourists too”. He said, “I can handle you”.

- You have less impact on cultural and natural heritage.

- The costs are lower.

- Nowadays, there is one more important advantage of traveling out of high season: the COVID-19 pandemic. You simply reduce the risk quite a bit.

BODRUM

There is a reason that millions of people visit Bodrum during the tourism season. This amiable town on the Aegean Sea, has great restaurants, nightlife, accommodates one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, one of the best underwater archaeology museums in the world, hiking, sailing, and diving opportunities, only 45 minutes to the Greek island, Kos, etc.

I used to hate to go to Bodrum for many years, then I realized that the first time I have been there, it was the middle of summer, during a heatwave, crowded by Genghis Khan’s raiding army (at least, it felt that way). Then, one day I went to Bodrum in February and I saw Bodrum in the way that it was described in the books of Cevat Şakir Kabaağaç (Fisherman Of Halicarnassus), the “Blue Anatolia” as he calls.

I grew up with the books of the Fisherman. By reading his books, I could smell the salty sea, hear the songs of the fishermen and sponge divers, see the enchanting nereids guiding the sailors, get carried away by the Dionysiac rituals. He is still one of the 2 icons of Bodrum, together with Herodotus, the ancient historian.

Times are changing and not in the way we wished for. I want to see and experience the real deal, as much as possible. That’s why I enjoy my time in Bodrum more if I avoid the high tourist season. I walk the narrow streets, visit the fish market, chat with the fishermen fixing their nets and enjoy calamari over a glass of raki, sitting on the beach and dreaming while watching the Castle of St. Peter. Drive 30 minutes to Myndos, sit by the stove, get cozy with friends over a glass of wine, watch the sea, visit the farmer’s market, and breath the crisp air blowing from the Aegean.

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