You’ll find the Izimir area on Turkey’s west coast, which includes the cosmopolitan port city of Izimir and the popular beach resort of Kusadasi. This region is also home to the magnificent Ephesus, one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the world.
If you’re wondering what to do in Izmir, read our handy guide below for some great ideas to keep the whole family happy, or hit the right romantic note if you’re here with your partner. We’ve put together a list of the top things to do in Izmir and the surrounding area, so you can pick your favourite and plan your holiday down to the last detail.
1. Visit the port city of Izmir
Set on the spectacular coastline, the lively port city of Izmir is the third biggest settlement in Turkey. It has been a significant Aegean port since ancient times, but today it boasts a distinct cosmopolitan vibe. You can expect to find a chic harbour, a pretty waterfront park and a stunning pier built by none other than Monsieur Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame).
2. Shop at Kemeralti Market
No trip to Izmir is complete without a visit to the bazaar, which is a maze of narrow alleyways and tiny stalls. It’s the heart and soul of the city and a favourite with the locals as well as visitors. Kemeralti Market runs all the way from Konak Square through to the ancient Agora, and it dates to the 17th Century. You’ll find a wealth of shops, workshops and coffee shops here, along with tea gardens and mosques. This is the perfect place to sample a slice of local life.
3. Relax on Long Beach
A 5km stretch of sun-soaked sands awaits at Long Beach at Kusadasi, just a short trip from the city. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy long lazy days in the sunshine and watch the world go by. If you fancy having a go at surfing then this is the place to do it. The breaks are clean and reasonably gentle, perfect if you’re a first-timer and still learning how to stand up. When you’re ready to refuel, you’ll find seafood restaurants lining the promenade serving up the catch of the day.
4. Explore ancient Ephesus
A trip to the ancient city of Ephesus is one of the top things to do in the Izimir area; you’ll find it within what was once the estuary of the River Kaystros. It’s only half an hour or so from Kusadasi, and it’s well worth the trip to see streets lined with classical columns and stunning statues dating back to the 10th Century. There’s a beautiful amphitheatre with gorgeous sea views to explore, too.
5. Enjoy peace and quiet at Milli Park
You’ll find this pretty nature reserve in Guzelcamli, and it’s the perfect place to go if you want to escape the crowds. You’ll find three white sand-and-pebble beaches here, where you can unwind and soak up the sunshine. It’s easy to get there from Kusadasi; just take a 30-minute dolmus (minibus) ride, and the price of your fare also will also include park entry.