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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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Essential Information

Getting Around Some places in Izmir are served by rail or bus links from Izmir International Airport, but many destinations, including Kusadasi, aren’t. If this is the case for you, private shuttle transfer or car hire is the best option. Alternatively, ask your hotel if they operate a service. Resorts like Kusadasi are easy to get around on foot, and taxis and organised tours are both widely available for exploring. Travelling by bus or car Izmir city has a big bus terminal where you can travel far and wide. As a tourist, you’re more likely to use the resorts’ dolmus minibus services, where you flag the bus down and say stop when you want to get off. Car hire is a good option if you want the freedom to explore independently but do remember that Turkish driving can be erratic by UK standards! Remember to stick to the right hand side of the road. Passports and Visas British citizens require a visa to enter Turkey. To avoid waiting at the airport, buy one online from the official e-Visa website and print it out. Your passport should have 6 months validity from arrival date plus a blank page for your visa stamp. The most recent guidelines can be found at For more information and advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey/entry-requirements or the Foreign Office at www.fco.gov.uk/en/ Health and Safety Travel and medical insurance are a must for your holiday in Turkey. For more info, see www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey/health Vaccinations You don’t need special vaccinations to travel to Turkey but your routine jabs should be valid. See your GP before travel for any specific medical advice you may require.
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Places to go and things to do in Izmir

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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!

Places to go and things to do in Izmir

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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

 
Read More
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.

Read More
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!

Read More
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