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If Bodrum and Marmaris have already made it to your ‘been there, done that’ list, why not try the new kid on the Turkey holiday block – Izmir? This gorgeous stretch of Turkey’s west coast is becoming a firm family holiday favourite thanks to its amazing beaches, modern resorts and friendly locals. Izmir holidays are perfect for those seeking a chilled-out getaway in the sun, with great beaches, shopping, restaurants and activities to do in and around the resort, plus there are fantastic cheap deals to grab all-year-round.

 

The towns and city of Izmir are also steeped in history and have retained a real authenticity, for those who like to soak up the resort's culture. A list of best places to visit in Izmir includes Izmir Clock Tower, Kadifekale, Kordonboyu, Ephesus Archaeological Museum and Izmir Wildlife Park. The envy-inducing Mediterranean climate, with breezy evenings to match, will make your holidays to Izmir a fantastic choice for early spring and summer breaks. The summers here are extremely hot and dry while the winters are extreme too, so the best time to visit Izmir is during the months of June and August when there is less rainfall and weather is pleasant.

 

Adnan Menderes Airport is the nearest airport to Izmir. If you're trying to reach Izmir from elsewhere, Milas Airport is the second nearest at a distance of 124 km. Izmir is well connected by road to all major cities of Turkey, making day trips an easy choice, too.

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Beach Life

 

 

Beach Life

Izmir’s most popular beaches are around the area’s main resort town, Kusadasi. The powdery sands and calm, shallow waters here appeal to fun-loving families who want to paddle and build sand castles. Cesme is the place to head if you’re into windsurfing or kitesurfing, and Dikili is also a very popular spot thanks to it's 40km long golden beach.

Lively Nightlife

 

Lively Nightlife

For those who want lively nightlife, head for the Kordon and Alsancak areas. You’ll find nightclubs to dance until the sun comes out and bars with dizzying cocktail lists. If you want a more relaxed evening, stick to the beach bars, and countless pubs and wine bars which line the resort waterfronts.

 
Visit Izmir City

 

Visit Izmir City

Izmir is Turkey’s third largest city, but the lack of beaches mean it can be surprisingly quiet here, even in summer (as long as your visit doesn’t coincide with a cruise ship docking!). Visit Konak Square with its palm tree surrounded clock tower before strolling to the Kordon, a seaside promenade with great restaurants and shops and explore the traditional bazaar.

 
Hot Springs at Pamukkale

 

Hot Springs at Pamukkale

Pamukkale is a hot spring near Izmir. The hot spring water flows from the top of the hills and collects in the mini plateaux. But on its way down the mountain it also adds layers of limestone to the ancient plateaux. You can take bath in the hot waters which are said to have healing properties.

 
Turkish Cuisine

 

Turkish Cuisine

Turkish cuisine is packed full of flavour and the coastal resorts have some of the region's top restaurants – with great views, of course. Turkish treats include local wine, delicious meze, kebabs, meatballs and ayran, a popular drink made of salty yoghurt. You’ll also find plenty of your favorites from home on the drinks front, so everybody will be happy on a holiday here.

 
Dive and Explore Shipwrecks

 

Dive and Explore Shipwrecks

The Aegean Sea was historically an important shipping zone and in spite of its placid looking blue waters, many vessels went down in storms in its depths. Today, these shipwrecks form part of the adventure for tourists. Many dive agencies in and around Izmir will take you scuba diving where you can see few well-known wrecks and the amazing marine flora and fauna. Snorkeling is also possible.

 
Explore a Wonder of the World

 

Explore a Wonder of the World

Just 20 minutes’ drive from Kusadasi is the ancient city of Ephesus, one of the world’s best preserved Roman settlements. A highlight is the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Sightsee in the morning, when it’s cooler, on an organised tour.

 
Barter in the Bazaars

 

 

Barter in the Bazaars

Kusadasi’s Grand Bazaar and Orient Bazaar can be found down by the harbour and are top picks if you want to pick up some bargains or local gifts for the family. But remember to barter – it is half the fun, and if you are lucky, you could get things for half the price!

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