Turkey’s third biggest city isn’t high on many people list when planning a trip to the country. Tourism to Turkey is dominated by the magnificent city of Istanbul and the seasonal beach towns of the Mugla Province.
Izmir however has much to offer, once the ancient city of Smyrna, is now a modern and developed center set around a huge bay and surrounded by mountains.
Izmir can be reached from anywhere within Turkey by bus or train and there are daily flights from Istanbul, Ankara, and Antalya. Ferries from Greece and Venice are also available.
Given the cities age there are very few historical sites mainly because of the great fire of 1922. The historic sites left standing are worth a visit. The Agora is the best-preserved remains of the ancient history of the city.
The Kemeralti market is a unique and authentic experience with its colorful shops on narrow and winding streets and hidden courtyards. The market is centered around the Kizlaragasi Hani, a grand ottoman era caravanserai sitting perfectly in front of the beautiful Hisar mosque.
The Ascensor offer scenic views of the city and a unique dining experience. It was constructed over 100 years ago with the original purpose of connecting hilltop residents with the rest of the city.
Izmir is home to multiple well organised beaches that are easy to reach from the city center. If you’re interested in shopping, then the Konak Pier and Forum are both modern and atmospheric shop centers.
Dining in Izmir is an enjoyable experience. The seafood is delicious, fresh and plentifully available. Kumru is a popular sandwich found all over Turkey but a unique vegetarian version is only available in Izmir. Izmir also has its own version of Tulum, a traditional goats milk cheese.