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.
Enjoy glorious summer highs and mild winters
4 hours from the UK, Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB)
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.
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.
Stroll around the port city
No trip is complete without experiencing the sights and sounds of the bazaar. This is the real heart and soul of the city, and a great place to go if you want to sample a slice of local life. Kemeralti Market, which began in the 17th century, runs from Konak Square through to the ancient Agora. You’ll discover all kinds of handmade goods and unique souvenirs to take home with you. When the sun goes down, make your way to the chic harbour, where you’ll find a wealth of restaurants serving up traditional Turkish fare. Seafood is a highlight here, so look out for the likes of octopus and sardines on the menu. And if you want something heartier, try Izmir kofte, a spicy meatball casserole. You can wash it all down with a glass of local wine; the fruits of the region have a great reputation, and the Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are particularly good.
Take a trip to the beach
Holidays to Izmir will take you within easy reach of some of the finest beaches on the Aegean Coast. If you want to escape the city for the day, go in search of sandy shores and fresh air where you can relax. Long Beach is a haven for water sports lovers, and you can try your hand at surfing here. Ladies’ Beach is another firm favourite. Little ones will love playing around in the sand, while you sit back, relax, and soak up the beautiful Turkish sunshine.
Visit historical attractions
The history here dates back thousands of years and its fascinating historical attractions are a big draw for many visitors to the region. Within easy reach of the city, you’ll discover the ancient cities of Ephesus and Agora, both of which were founded by none other than Alexander the Great. You can expect to find classical columns, stunning statues and so much more. If you’re not blown away by the culture, then the views over the coastline from the amphitheatre in Ephesus will definitely make the trip worthwhile.
IZMIR HOLIDAY RESORTS
HOLIDAYS IN IZMIR
Safety and Security
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Izmir Turkey is best for…
Culture lovers: You can visit the top museums and head for the bustling bazaars all year round. And don’t forget to sample some local Turkish delicacies (including Ayran, a foamy drink of yoghurt, water and salt which tastes much better than it sounds!).
Explorers: You’ll discover historical sites galore in this region, and if you’re going in search of beaches, they’re ready and waiting nearby. Holidays to Izmir are perfect for exploring the wider area.
Nature lovers:Right on your doorstep, you’ve got the lovely Dilek National Park, a protected area featuring mountainous walking trails, lush forests and hidden coves. Why not go deer-spotting, hike up a hill, or take a dip in the sea?
Language: Turkish, with English widely spoken in the main resorts and tourist hot spots.
Currency: Turkish Lira.
Local time: Izmir is 2 hours ahead of GMT/UK time.
Fly to: Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport. Transfers to Izmir resorts take 50 minutes to 2 hours.
Flight time from UK: The flight time to Izmir is 4 hours.
Weather and climate
Temperature: Occasional highs of 35°C in July and August.
Best time to go: For more comfortable sightseeing temperatures, book holidays to Izmir for spring or autumn.
In summer, temperatures rise into the 30s (°C), so it’s the perfect time of year for Izmir holidays if you’re seeking hot sunshine. It remains mild in winter, too, but it’s probably too chilly for a swim in the sea. And if you want sunshine and temperatures in the mid-20s, you’ll love spring and Autumn here.
By metro: There’s a quick and efficient metro system in Izmir city. It’s a straightforward way to make your way between the city sights if you want to get there fast.
By bus: This is the cheapest way to get out and about to nearby resorts, and there are many main bus centres and shuttle buses running to and from the area.
By taxi: They’re great for getting from the airport if you want to be dropped off right outside your hotel. Don’t forget to ask for an estimate before you get in.
Izmir International Festival: Music lovers, you should time your visit with this lively music festival. Every June, this city hosts performances and concerts at venues all over the city, and past acts include the likes of Ray Charles and Elton John.
Izmir European Jazz Festival: Cementing this city's reputation as a hotspot for music is the annual Jazz Festival. Held in March, you can expect performances from the big names in Turkish and European jazz.