20 Reasons to Visit İzmir
Just a Step Away from You!
Besides its remarkable features, its geographical location is one of the most important reasons for choosing İzmir. It can easily be reached with a few hours of flight from many places. It’s also very close to the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey. It doesn't matter which country in the world you are in. There are direct flights to 88 destinations from 35 countries from İzmir. You can easily come to İzmir from anywhere in the world also thanks to the flights from İstanbul, which is less than an hour's flight away. In addition to the numerous places you can visit in Izmir; famous nearby destinations such as Bodrum, Marmaris, Pamukkale, Kuşadası, and Ayvalık can be reached in a few hours. It is possible to get to other places of interest such as Cappadocia, Antalya, and Mardin with direct flights. You can also travel between the two countries by ferry services organized to some of the Greek Islands that share the beauties of the Aegean. The reasons to visit İzmir are countless. How about exploring this holiday paradise?
The Destination for a Happy Vacation
Aegean means İzmir and İzmir means sea, sand, and sun… The sun is very generous here: It warms up the city 300 days a year. With its unique bays, blue flag beaches, facilities that offer all kinds of water sports, İzmir is the primary destination for a fun, joyful and happy vacation! İzmir is a city where you can dive into the refreshing sea after sunbathing on the unique beaches and enjoy authentic breakfasts, the famous kumru, local foods that include thousands of various herbs and seafood with a side of various mezes. Whether you like a peaceful and quiet vacation or a fun and active one, you will find what you are searching for here in “The Princess of the Aegean!” Please click here for detailed information about the beaches, marinas, boat tours, surfing, fishing, and diving in İzmir.
İzmir, the City of Sun
No matter what the season is, if you want to go on a vacation, you don’t have to wait for the summer months to enjoy the sun. In İzmir, the sun shines on the fertile plains, deep blue waters, foothills on which the animals graze, streets on where the happy people wander for 300 hundred days of the year. Many of the beaches along the 629 km coastline of İzmir have blue flags. The city in which spectacular beaches lie next to one another and the summer tourism develops naturally attracts visitors from all around the world. The world-famous holiday destination Çeşme welcomes a great crowd during the summer. Being located on a peninsula at which the North and the South winds collide makes the location a center of attraction for windsurfers. Alaçatı, which is located on the Çeşme peninsula, is a world-famous attraction center with its colorful nightlife. Once a farming village, Alaçatı welcomes its visitors with dozens of inns and boutique hotels and also attracts a great crowd from May to September with its international windsurf competitions organized on shallow seas that provide safe surfing. Foça, located about 70 km northwest of the city center, is another coastal district that attracts thousands every summer with its sun, sea, and sand. With their unique and authentic environments, the districts of Dikili, Karaburun, Menderes, and Seferihisar complete the city from the north to the south. Feel the warmth of sunshine throughout your vacation here in İzmir!
Discover the 8500 Year History
Are you ready to explore 8.500 years of richness? İzmir has always been a city people preferred to live in with its location at the West of the East and at the East of the West; the city has been a home to countless civilizations since it was founded. İzmir is a city that was founded twice. The first settlement of ancient Smyrna dates back to 3,000 BC. The city was founded for the second time in Kadifekale (Pagos) in 4th Century by one of the generals of Alexander the Great.
Home of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
İzmir is even more special with its world heritage sites! İzmir is a city that embraces history, protects cultural and historical assets and aims to transfer these assets to the next generations. The UNESCO World Heritage List is a list that is determined by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee and consists of "cultural" and "natural" values in the world. Two out of fifteen values of Turkey that are in the UNESCO World Heritage List are located in İzmir. Listed in 2014 and 2015 respectively, these are Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape and Ephesus. Located in Ödemiş district, the historical Birgi City is on the UNESCO Temporary List of World Heritage. Would you like to witness history by visiting these places that are on the UNESCO World Heritage List?
The Multi-Faith City
İzmir has hosted several different faiths from past to present for thousands of years. People have prayed in various impressive religious structures such as the temples with statues dedicated to mother goddesses, churches, synagogues and mosques. People in the city have always lived freely in mutual respect and tolerance. The fact that the House of Virgin Mary, which has been declared as the place of “pilgrimage” by the Christians, “Church of the Councils”, the first church to have been built for Virgin Mary, and the Saint John Basilica are located in İzmir, makes the city an attractive district for faith tourism. Moreover, in the city there are several synagogues, which date back to the 16th century.
The City of Flavor
İzmir has a multicultural and rich cuisine just like its history. This delicious cuisine is another reason to visit İzmir. Even though İzmir’s cuisine was shaped with the taste of the Levantine living here during the Ottoman rule, you can also find the most delicious examples of Turkish, Cretan, Greek, and Balkan dishes. The most prominent feature of İzmir’s cuisine is that it’s healthy. Both the Aegean Sea itself and the climate softened by the Aegean Sea provide İzmir with the freshest seafood and the freshest vegetables. Moreover, the fact that people pay more attention to healthy eating in recent years increases the popularity of İzmir cuisine. Olive oil forms an integral part of the culinary tradition and has been used in Aegean cooking for over 4,000 years. Olive orchards and production plants are plenty in the region and even the simplest grilled fish or blanched herbs find new heights once drizzled with this liquid of the Gods. Since olive oil is both high quality and affordable, it becomes the leading part of İzmir’s cuisine and gives life to healthy vegetable dishes and salads. The culinary highlight of the Aegean and İzmir is the wild greens and herbs, collected by villagers from gardens, fields, plains, and farms; prepared and cooked in the simplest ways, slightly blanched or sautéed with olive oil. It may take a bit of knowledge to fully perceive the variety because the little on the meze platters (small appetizers) they may seem fairly uniform at first glance. Visiting the herb festivals is the best way to know more about them. Amongst the must-try herbs in İzmir are ivy, mallow, nettle, wild cabbage, radish, wild mustard, blessed thistle, chicory, glasswort, angel’s tears, and watercress. Seafood is another highlight and countless fresh seafood restaurants border the seashore. The city is famous for salt-encrusted grouper, red mullet on vine leaves, fried or stuffed mussels, flounder fillets on skewers, gilthead seabream, grilled seabass and an İzmir specialty, fish in milk. Kumru and boyoz are the most famous street food İzmir does not let down the ones who love street food. Two legendary dishes of the city, boyoz and kumru, are well known even on the furthest corners of the country. They are easiest to find food in İzmir, with almost every patisserie selling them. With Judeo-Spanish roots, boyoz, mainly a mix of sunflower oil and flour and a little sesame paste is a round pastry made plain, or with meat, spinach or cheese filling. Kumru, on the other hand, is a special kind of sandwich, featuring kasseri cheese, sucuk (spicy sausage), and slices of tomato. With bakeries open 24/7, especially in Çeşme, kumru is the first choice of all who want a satisfying bite fast.
Free Yourself In the Nature
With its mountains, plains, highlands, lakes, rivers, caves, fertile lands, Mediterranean climate flora, wildlife, bird sanctuary, rich fauna, marshlands, swamps, bay and peninsula Izmir has dazzling natural beauty. When you add year-round sunshine to its eco-tourism wealth, many activities can be done in Izmir immersed in nature.
The City of Health
İzmir has always been identified with the word health. Its fresh air, enjoyable venues right next to the sea, hospitals, modern health facilities, specialist doctors in various fields, accommodation facilities that appeal to every budget, clinical rest houses, two-hour flight duration to European countries and advanced land, sea and air transportation makes İzmir one of the leading cities when it comes to medical tourism, with all its sub-branches like thermal tourism, medical SPA, third age tourism, etc. İzmir’s relationship with health is very old. The most important healing center of the 4th century BC, named after the ancient god of medicine and healing Asclepius, Asclepion was built in Pergamon, İzmir. On the doors of these ancient medical facilities which set an example to modern ones, it says “Death cannot come in”. Blended with healing herbs, olive oil, and seafood, and enriched with the tastes of different cultures living in the city for centuries, Aegean cuisine is one of the indispensables of healthy living in İzmir. The city which has 300 days of sunshine a year offers a variety of outdoor activities like windsurfing, kitesurfing, mountain biking, swimming, diving, trekking, and camping. There are over 100 mountain trails for hiking and mountain biking; in fact, only the city center has a 40 km long coastal path including a track and a cycling trail. We wish you healthy, peaceful, happy and joyful days here in beautiful İzmir!
The Frequent Destination of Cruise Ships
One of the best reasons for visiting İzmir is that it is so easy to visit İzmir! İzmir is not only two-hour away from the most important airports in Europe, but it’s also one of the most frequent destinations of cruise ships in the Aegean Region. İzmir is a city that received the Leading Cruise Destination Award in the scope of the World Travel Awards in 2011, 2012 and 2013. When you arrive at our port, just know that you will be welcomed by officials and will be able to travel the city thoroughly with the help of free İzmir Guides prepared in 10 different languages. With its marinas that offer all kinds of opportunities to its guests, İzmir is on its way to becoming the go-to destination of marine lovers. So, let’s unfurl the sails in the city of İzmir!
The Heartland of Shopping
One of the most enjoyable activities you can do in İzmir is shopping. In almost every district of the city, you can find colorful and cute small shops, branches of world-famous brands, big shopping malls, historical bazaars, and district markets. The Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar is the first place that comes to mind when it comes to shopping. Aside from Kemeraltı, which is the world’s biggest open-air market, many shopping centers selling products from domestic and foreign brands, outlet centers that allow you to buy quality products at affordable prices, district markets where local products are displayed on the stalls, and with trade centers such as Karşıyaka and Alsancak, İzmir is the perfect destination for shopping. So, come on, give yourself to the wind of shopping in İzmir.
The City of Fairs and Congresses
İzmir, which has the largest fairground in Turkey, is hosting the most prestigious fairs of the world throughout the year with its facilities equipped with all kinds of technology, such as Kültürpark and Fuar İzmir. İzmir International Fair, Marble İzmir Fair, International Wedding Dresses, Suits and Evening Gowns Fair which are accepted among the most important fairs of the world are just a few of the fairs organized in the city. There are also numerous congress halls and hotels in İzmir where congresses of all scales can be organized.
İzmir, the Capital of Surfing
The sea in İzmir means vast waters that enables all kinds of sports on and under water. Çeşme is the capital of surfing in Turkey. Çeşme Bays, especially Alaçatı, Ilıca, and Pırlanta, look like as if they were created for surfing. They host surf enthusiasts from all over the world. In addition to the locations, you can also surf, windsurf, and kitesurf in Urla’s Çeşmeler, Seferihisar’s Akkum, and Foça’s Çandarlı. Menderes, Karaburun, Dikili, and Selçuk districts, on the other hand, are good destinations for water sports such as jet ski, banana, water ski, and canoeing, etc.
The Land of Unique Handicrafts
The products of the talented people of İzmir make you feel all kinds of different emotions: Sometimes they take you back in time, re-visit history; sometimes they reflect the modern age. There are many handicrafts unique to İzmir. The most important of which is the evil eye bead. It is believed that the evil eye bead protects the owner by attracting the negative energy around itself. There are craftsmen who produce this enchanted object in different shapes and sizes with different techniques. The evil eye bead production art which has a history of 3,000 years has seldom changed and continues in Görece, Menderes; and Nazarköy, Kemalpaşa. Among the local handicrafts that continue in İzmir, mainly in Tire and Menemen are weaving, lashing, traditional shoe-making, beledi weaving, matting, pottery, felting, and tinsmithing. It’s possible to see examples of these arts in various museums and workshops. Are you ready to see the most beautiful examples of handcrafted products in İzmir?
It’s Worth Discovering
There are many “firsts” that make İzmir unique. Here are some of them: Three of the “Seven Churches” mentioned in the Bible are in İzmir. The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is in İzmir. Parchment paper was discovered in Bergama. The first church that was built for Virgin Mary is in Ephesus. The snake figure which is the symbol of medicine was originated in Bergama. The first healing temple (Asclepius) was built in İzmir in the name of the God of Healing, Asclepius. Homer, the author of the epics of the Iliad and Odyssey, lived in İzmir. Stating that everything changes by saying “You can never step in the same river twice”, the famous philosopher Heraclitus (BC 540-480) lived in İzmir. One of the writers of the Bible, St. John, passed away in İzmir. His tomb is still located in the city. Klazomenai, the first oil workshop of the world to be discovered to date waits for you in Urla. The first temple in the name of the Goddess Athena was built in İzmir. Herbal therapy, psychotherapy, and natural therapy were first used in İzmir. The famous doctor of the ancient times, Galen (AD 131-210), lived in Bergama. Philosopher and poet Xenophanes lived in Kolofon in 6th Century BC. Philosopher Anaxagoras (BC 500-428) lived in Clazomente (today’s Urla). The famous singer Dario Moreno lived in İzmir. The first and the single village with a theatre in Turkey is Bademli. The first library of Asia was built in İzmir with 200.000 books.
The City of Arts and Culture
Experience a life full of art and culture… İzmir is full of museums, cultural centers and its socio-cultural calendar is packed with events, exhibitions and festivals all year round. İzmir’s Archeology Museum which is a short walk up the hill from Konak contains a fine collection of Greek and Roman artifacts. Next door to the Archeology Museum is the Ethnography Museum, originally built in 1831 as St. Roche Hospital. The lovely 4 story stone building houses colorful displays of local arts and crafts.
A Peaceful and Modern City Life
İzmir is one of the most modern and peaceful cities in Turkey. You'll be happy every moment you spend here and you'll want to come back again at the first opportunity. Whether you stay in the city center or the surrounding districts in İzmir, you can fulfill all your needs 24/7. Once you're in İzmir, a well-planned schedule can enable you to tour the historical and touristic places of the city, to walk around the astonishing streets of the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar, most likely to come across a festival or an international fair, to try out the appetizing local food, get to have a taste of the luscious desserts and to stroll around the colorful traditional bazaars breathing in the enchanting smell of fresh fruit and vegetables. You can hop on a ferry from the Pasaport Pier and travel to Karşıyaka with the wind kissing your face. You can also watch plays, concerts and other shows at one of the numerous art venues in the city. Many festivals and celebrations are organized in almost every region of the city at which people from every culture come together and express themselves. You can go on a boat trip on the pristine seas of Dikili and Foça, go fishing at the beaches or see the sunset with your loved ones at the seafood restaurants in the company of delicious side dishes and fish. If you wish, you can travel back to your childhood riding on a swing at the outdoor picnic areas or you can make your way to an elegant shopping mall that has chain stores of world-famous brands and experience a glamorous world. In the morning, you can have breakfast on the Pasaport shore and have boyoz, gevrek and, cheese, then wander around the beach that is adorned with palm trees. Come and spend your holiday in İzmir and enjoy all the opportunities this magical city offers!
The Organic City
İzmir, the heart of organic agriculture, is the city of those who want to live a healthier and better quality life. Since everything in this city is natural, everything is healthy! The lands on which controlled and quality agriculture is conducted have also made İzmir one of the leading cities in this area. There are three organic markets where the producers sell their certified products. At these markets which open on Fridays in Karşıyaka, and on Saturdays in Bostanlı and Balçova, only the producers with certificates can sell products. The annual İzmir Organic Products Fair, on the other hand, welcomes thousands of guests and offers many products and solutions on traditional agricultural methods, healthier living standards, nutrition, and textiles.
A City Full of Festivals
İzmir is one of the most vibrant and colorful cities of the country with numerous events hosted throughout the year. Every event held in the city center and the area around it welcomes tens of thousands of people. It’s very likely that you will come across one of the many music, food, flower or theatre festivals during your visit to İzmir. You can click here to see the upcoming events of the year. İzmir is one of the most active and colorful cities with the events it has throughout the year. Every event held in the city center and the area around it welcomes tens of thousands of people. It’s very likely that you will come across one of the many music, food, flower or theatre festivals. İzmir is waiting for you to enjoy new experiences…
The City of Bicycles
How about having more fun when exploring the city? Get ready to ride your bike freely in the city center or districts with the wind behind you. You can rent a bike with the BİSİM system from one of the 31 stations situated between İnciraltı Recreational Area and Bird Paradise then return the bike to whichever station you prefer. Also, you can take your bike with you in rail systems and make your trip more enjoyable by traveling on many bicycle roads going through districts. To see all the stations you can rent a bike, please click here. In 2019, İzmir became a part of the European Cycle Route Network (EuroVelo) thanks to its efforts for the development of cycling tourism. So, don’t hesitate to discover İzmir, the first Turkish city to be a part of EuroVelo, on a bike. You can rent a bike with the BİSİM system from one of the 31 stations situated between İnciraltı Recreational Area and Bird Paradise then return the bike to whichever station you prefer. Also you can travel with your bike in rail systems and make your trip more enjoyable by travelling on many bicycle roads going through districts. How about discovering İzmir, a candidate of the European Cycle Route Network (EuroVelo), on bike?
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