Situated on the shores of the Aegean Sea, Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey. Izmir, with a population of four million, has both the hustle and bustle of the city and the beautiful coastline. In the heartbeat of the port city, one can easily sense the authentic Turkish way of life.
Modern City Break in Turkish style
Izmir is a cosmopolitan metropolis that has still managed to admirably preserve the traditional Turkish lifestyle. The architectural look of the city, which was destroyed by fire, is quite modern – the best view over Izmir opens from the top of the Asensör lift at a height of 50 meters.
Izmir enjoys a scenic location on the shores of the Aegean Sea. Although no real sandy beaches can be found in the city, its waterfront boulevards are lively among both locals and tourists. There are handsome mountains on the horizon of the port city, and the beaches are not far away. Cesme, for example, is a beautiful beach destination that is easy to travel to from Izmir.
Shopping and entertainment on the city streets
Like a decent Turkish metropolis, Izmir is also a shopper’s paradise. The colorful bazaar has everything from souvenirs to wedding dresses and spices to Turkish tea. The bazaar is much more than just a place to shop – it is also a window into local life. A typical Turkish gift is the Evil eye jewelry, which is believed to banish evil away.
After the day of shopping, the bazaar dust can be shed in the Turkish hammam. The steam bath and spa experience are definitely part of your holiday in Izmir. The evening can be continued in the numerous nightclubs, pubs and bars along the seafront promenade. Those looking for a quieter place to spend the evening should try the traditional Turkish tea room.
History and the present live side by side
Although Izmir is one of the youngest and most modern cities in Turkey, it is often also the choice of a tourist interested in history. Due to its location, the place is a great base for ruin trips – in addition to the Agora ruins found in the city, Izmir is easy to make an excursion to the ancient city of Ephesus.
Good to know about Izmir
Izmir is ideal for the city-breaker interested in history. Of course, the city also has great shopping opportunities as well as good connections to nearby beach resorts. This is a particularly great choice for the traveler looking for a Turkish holiday town that differs from traditional tourist destinations.
Izmir is a safe holiday destination, where care should be taken, especially with regard to pickpockets. The best time to travel is in the spring, early summer, or fall – the midsummer heat can feel heavy.
FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT IN IZMIR
Flights via Istanbul
During the summer season, the Turkish company SunExpress will fly direct flights from Helsinki to Izmir. Alternatively, a self-employed traveler can first fly to Istanbul, from where the journey can be continued either by flying to Izmir.
Izmir is not part of the package tours of Finnish tour operators, but trips are made to Kusadasi, which is about a hundred kilometers away.
Hotels and accommodation
Finding accommodation in Izmir is not a problem: in a city of millions, there are numerous options from luxury hotels to affordable inns and youth hostels. So far, there are no package tours to Izmir from Finland, but it is easy to book hotels and flights separately.
Getting around Izmir
Attractions in Izmir are easy to reach on foot, and the centrally located hotel makes exploring the city convenient and hassle-free. If necessary, the tourist can also hop on a local bus or metro. Izmir Bay, on the other hand, has ferry services.
Excursions to the surrounding area can also be done either by bus or with your own rental car. However, care must be taken when renting a car – Turkish traffic is very busy.
SIGHTS OF IZMIR
Izmir bell tower
Standing proudly on Konak Square, the 24-meter bell tower is Izmir’s most famous landmark. The beautifully decorated tower was completed in 1901. Konak Square and the steps of the bell tower are popular gathering places in Izmir.
The ruins of the Agora
The ruins of the Agora, built during the reign of Alexander the Great, are left. Traces of Roman-style construction can still be seen in the Agora, which was destroyed in an earthquake and later rebuilt by Marcus Aurelius. There is also an Islamic cemetery with old tombstones in the area.
Interesting museums in Izmir
For those interested in history and local culture, there are several fascinating museums in Izmir. Housed in a charming building, the Ethnographic Museum offers Turkish traditions and local arts and crafts.
The Archaeological Museum, on the other hand, caters to tourists interested in ancient remains – a spectacular collection of Greek and Roman research finds is on display.
Asansör – lift to the top
The district at the top of Asansör Hill is named after an elevator that was built to transport residents to heights instead of folding 155 steps. Rising to a height of 50 meters, a magnificent panoramic view over Izmir opens up.
The ancient city of Ephesus
From Izmir, it is definitely worth taking a trip to the ancient city of Ephesus. Founded as early as the 12th century BC, Ephesus was once one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire, and even today you can see traces of the past with its spas, libraries and amphitheatres in the ruins.
This is how you spend a successful holiday in Izmir
- Enjoy the authentic Turkish urban atmosphere.
- Explore the city’s interesting museum offerings.
- Shop at bazaars and small shops.
- Take the elevator to the top of Asansör to admire the scenery.
- Take a trip to the ancient city of Ephesus.