The tourism season in Bodrum is still going strong into September, the month traditionally considered the premium visitor month, when smaller tour groups once again embark on their special interest travels. A chief attraction for those interested in history and archaeology, Bodrum Castle and the Museum of Underwater Archaeology housed inside its 600 year old medieval walls warrants at least two hours to climb and explore.
Conveniently for those who can and wish to avoid the midday sun and heat, the summer visiting hours have been extended into the evening, with the last entry allowed at 22:30pm and gates closing at 23:00, after opening at 08:30 am, seven days a week. However, to get value out of the 150tl entry fee, it is recommended to begin your visit before 19:00 when the two most important exhibition halls of the recreated full size ships and the remains of their cargos found underwater can usually still be found open. Note- As yet, there is no daily list at the entrance of which exhibition rooms are open and when.
The summer season of 2022 has revealed a whole ‘new’ Museum and Castle experience, meaning that anyone who has visited it before September 2017 should see it again, as the renovations have been completed. In 2017 the Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s Museums and Monuments experts presented comprehensive plans for restoration and remodelling, with the lucrative contract awarded to the Hera company, and work started in September 2017 when the entire Museum was closed, and remained closed until May 18th, 2021 when the first courtyards were reopened in a ceremony.
The first important task was to clean, restore the mortar and stone and reinforce the actual fabric of the Castle walls, some of which date from the first phase of construction begun in 1453. Scaffolding and cranes took over the famous iconic skyline. Meanwhile inside the walls, some of the 20th C structures were demolished including the administrative offices which were moved to the new structures in the North Moat, and the imaginative Carian Princess Hall, though the exhibition has been moved to a smaller room. The replica Ottoman minaret built in 1998 was retained on the original plinth attached to the Gothic style chapel built by the Knights Hospitallers of St John order of the Crusaders
The spaces opened out in the gardens have been redesigned for displaying the many marble sculpted, small altars, gravestones and in the upper courtyard, the figures of men and women of ancient times. There are also areas where important anchors of different ancient eras are laid out.
The first necessity for a visiting tourist are views and platforms for ‘selfies’ and the first ramp from the entrance brings the visitor to the Cannon Exhibition Area on the battlements, and a few steps up to the ideal platform with views over the Bodrum Harbour.
The second necessity is adequate signage, and visitors are urged to look for the information signs around the paths and steps, particularly the well-researched signs explaining the heraldry of the Knight’s coats of arms high up in the walls. Most of the exhibitions have detailed information where available.
The main exhibition halls devoted to the finds made in Underwater Archaeological research along the Turkish coasts, are to be found in the Glass Shipwreck Hall in the first courtyard, the Yassi Ada Hall, and the Uluburun Bronze Age Hall in the upper courtyard by the English Tower.
The Towers named for the languages of the Knights, not their nationalities which were very different, display for the first time, interesting collections from recent land excavations on the Bodrum Peninsula, of the Leleg culture at Pedasa (Konacik) and the ancient Mycenaen Culture finds in Ortakent.
If you need a step by step guide to the Museum and Castle, the audio guide on hire from the Ticket window is highly recommended. Better still, by hiring a qualified Turkish Tour Guide you not only have someone to guide you there but to share great information for context and general history and culture. They should also take you to the site of the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos, right in the centre of Bodrum town, the building of which predates the Bodrum Castle by 16 centuries, and where the stone materials were taken from to build the Castle.
Oh yes – so many stories, so don’t miss out.
Please note that stairs, ramps and other physical barriers mean that the Castle is not recommended for the physically limited visitors. Or even for wearing stiletto heels!
The summer hours will change usually in mid-September, reverting to autumn hours, closing around 20:00pm, then winter hours are usually 08:30am – 17:30pm and closed on Mondays.
If you wish to confirm hours before visiting call 02523162516 or
As the Museum has only reopened in 2022, many websites mentioning the Museum and Castle may not be up to date.