A Weekend in Izmir
You can have a great time in Izmir on a weekend without having to take a day off from your work. Here is how to make most of a weekend visit to Izmir!
Izmir is the perfect destination for weekend getaways. There are many reasons for this. First, thanks to Adnan Menderes Airport, which is located very close to the city center, you don’t have to sacrifice most of your time to travel, and road fatigue. You can fly to Izmir on a Friday evening or Saturday morning, and start your weekend holiday vigorously. The second reason is that Izmir is a city that meets all of the different holiday expectations. Whether you prefer a two-day seaside getaway or a holiday where you can explore the cultural and historical areas of the city during the day, and enjoy the nightlife after the sunset, Izmir has countless options for you.
Where to enjoy the sea in Izmir?
If you’d like to spend two days in the warm but not overwhelming waters of the Aegean, sunbathe by the sea and read your book to go back to work fresh on Monday morning, there are countless beaches in Izmir waiting for you.
When it comes to beaches, the most popular destination in Izmir is undoubtedly Çeşme. With its clear sea, warm sun, fine sands, boiling sulfurous healing waters within the sea, Çeşme has a total of 29 kilometers of coasts. More than 20 beaches including Şifne, Küçük Liman, Pırlanta, Paşa Limanı, Ilıca Beach, Çiftlik, Altınkum, Çatal Azmak, Sakızlı Bay, Tekke Beach, and Ayayorgi are waiting for you in Çeşme Peninsula.
Dikili, which is famous not only for its sea but also for its amazing sunset view, is another great alternative. If you want more options, you can check the beaches of Pamucak, Foça, Urla, Seferihisar, Menderes, Karaburun and Aliağa.
What else to do in Izmir?
If the purpose of your weekend getaway is to get to know Izmir, see the most beautiful corners of the city, and taste the famous dishes instead of enjoying the sea, we have awesome suggestions for you as well.
The first two places you must see in Izmir are Alsancak Kıbrıs Şehitleri (Cyprus Martyrs') Street and Kordon. You can shop down the street, sit in cafes and bars. Then you can go to Kordon, which is just the parallel street by the sea, and take a walk to get some fresh air. There are many places in Alsancak where you can enjoy the nightlife. You can also take a ferry and sea Karşıyaka.
Everybody knows how famous the Grand Bazaar is in Istanbul. There is also a trade center in Izmir which is almost as old as the one in Istanbul: Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar. With its 500-year history, the bazaar is a must-see and shopping spot in Izmir. Many shops such as coppersmiths, jewelers, handbag sellers are waiting for you in the bazaar. Izmir's oldest hotel Yeni Şükran, the National Library Building, and Izmir Opera and Ballet House are also in the neighborhood. Don't forget to take a Turkish coffee break at Kızlarağası Inn and then go see the historical Clock Tower.
If you’d like to see the two most beautiful city views in central Izmir, you need to go to the Historical Elevator in Karataş, and Teleferik (aerial cableway) in Balçova.
If you are interested in the charming coastal towns that have managed to preserve their local identity, you can go to Sığacık. If you go there on a Sunday morning, you can visit the local organic market after breakfast.
If you are interested in history, you can devote a day to the Ancient City of Ephesus. Pergamon, Agora, Erythrai, and Teos are among the other ancient cities waiting for you in Izmir.
What to eat in Izmir?
There are many foods you should taste during your weekend getaway in İzmir, the two most famous being kumru (a sandwich prepared by İzmir tulum cheese, cheddar, tomato, pepper, sausage and salami in a special bread), and boyoz (a pastry made by baking round pieces of dough which consist of wheat flour, water, and salt). Kumrucu Ömür, Kumrucu Şevki, Kumrucu Ateş, Kumrucu Apo, and Historical Alsancak Gevrek Oven are some of the places where you can taste the most delicious kumru. On the other hand, Alsancak Dostlar Bakery is one of the most famous places when it comes to boyoz.
Since you are at the capital of Aegean Cuisine, don’t forget to taste the vegetable dishes with olive oil. If it's spring, you can taste the freshest herbs of the region. Eggplant crunch, sweet tarhana, sinkonta (baked pumpkin) and fish soup are among the famous and healthy dishes of İzmir.
İzmir does not disappoint meat enthusiasts either. Famous meat dishes such as İzmir meatballs, Elbasan Tava, Tire kebab, Ödemiş kebab, and lok lok are mostly made from lamb meat.
Lokma, sakız tatlısı (desert with gum), sakızlı dondurma (gum-flavored ice cream), sakızlı un kurabiyesi (flour cookies with gum), shambali, samsades, lor tatlısı (a dessert with soft uncured cheese), and karabaş out reçeli (buckwheat herb jam) are the most famous desserts in İzmir.
In 2019, İzmir became a part of the European Cycle Route Network (EuroVelo) thanks to its efforts for the development of cycling tourism. If you want to explore the city in a fun and healthy way, you can try one of the numerous routes where you can take the wind behind you and ride your bike freely...