In the eyes of its devotees, Bodrum, with its low-rise whitewashed houses and subtropical gardens, is the longest established, most attractive and most versatile Turkish resort – a quality outfit in comparison to its upstart Aegean rivals, Marmaris and Kuadası. However, its recent, almost frantic attempts to be all things to all tourists have made it hard to tell the difference, while the controlled development within the municipality – height limits and a preservation code are in force – has resulted in wholesale exploitation of the nearby peninsula, until recently little-disturbed. The new airport at Milas enables easier access for both tourists and İstanbul-based weekenders, the latter's fondness for the area inflating prices in general.
The Bodrum area has long attracted large numbers of Britons, both the moneyed yacht set and the charter-flight trade. Most of the big UK package-tour operators are active here, which can be either reassuring or offputting, depending on your viewpoint. If you want waterborne distractions laid on by day and some of the most sophisticated nightlife in Turkey (complete with imported DJs and lager louts), then Bodrum town, and Gümbet in particular, will probably suit. If you're after a coastal backwater with some vestiges of local character, then peninsular outposts such as Gümülük and Akyarlar more closely answer to the description.