The lively port city of Izmir is situated on Turkey’s spectacular western coastline. It’s the third biggest settlement in the country, and has been a significant port on the Aegean Sea since ancient times. Today, Izmir holidays will take you to a cosmopolitan place, complete with a buzzy harbour, modern boutiques and a glorious pier built by none other than Monsieur Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame). But you’ll still get a feel for tradition when you head for the bustling bazaars and explore the ancient landmarks. You’ll also find plenty of white-and-gold beaches in the area when you’re ready to relax.
Things to do
During holidays to Izmir, you’ll want to make sure you see every inch of the city. There’s a blend of old and new here, from the buzzing bazaars to the chic marina restaurants. And if you’re going in search of beaches, you’ll find a superb selection of sandy shores and quiet coves a short way away. If you’ve always fancied hanging ten then grab your board and paddle out to the line-up, as some of the beaches are great surfing spots. You won’t want to leave this region without seeing some of the region’s most famous historical sites, including the ancient city of Ephesus.
There are several beautiful beaches near Izmir where you can spend your afternoons lounging on the soft, golden sand and paddling in the clear waters. Recline on a sun lounger whilst you enjoy the view of the water glistening in the sunlight. The beaches in Cesme, Foca and Dikili are easily accessible via public transport from the city centre. Ilica Beach in Cesme is popular for its great amenities and cove of soft sand that gently shelves into warm shallow waters.
There’s a great choice of nightlife in Izmir from traditional dining to cocktail and wine bars. Spend your evenings in the wide range of bars and pubs and enjoy the lively atmosphere. There’s plenty of opportunity to dance the night away in one of the nightclubs if you fancy it, the majority of which can be found in the Kordon and Alsancak areas.
History to be explored
Izmir was once the ancient city of Smyrna, but is now a developed tourist destination surrounded by lush green mountains and set by a tranquil bay. The historical hub has a range of ancient buildings, castles and museums to visit. One thing that should be at the top of your to do list is the Birgi Cakiraga Mansion, as this unique building is crammed full of hand crafted artwork and has a brilliant view of the city.
Visit the area’s most famous archaeological site; the Ancient City of Ephesus, in the small town of Selcuk. It was once the Mediterranean’s thriving commercial centre and is significant for early Christianity. Visit the 4th century AD House of Virgin Mary, which is said to be where Mary lived after the death of Jesus. See the small church and bedrooms and drink from the fountain; its water is said to have curative properties. The impressive archaeological site has the remaining foundations of this once great city and carved columns from the Hellenistic Age. The area is also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, The Temple of Artemis, and the Basilica of St John.
Places to stay
Located on the sparkling Aegean Coast, Kusadasi is one of the most idyllic spots in the region. The resort is loved for being the picture-perfect beach destination, with beautifully smooth white sand lapped by the azure ocean. Kusadasi is also the gateway to the region’s ancient sites and has a busy old town filled with authentic bazaars. Its modern centre is also something to shout about, with a top clubbing scene and plenty of bars and restaurants to pick from. The resort is within easy reach of Izmir city and Ozdere.
More Travel Guides
We also have travel guides available for destinations including: Cesme | Kusadasi | Ozdere