Islands of Izmir
Many islands that look like paradise are waiting for their guests in İzmir, the Pearl of the Aegean.
Having many extraordinarily beautiful bays and beaches, İzmir also has many islands that those who say “I cannot live without the sea” will fall in love with. Here are the most famous islands of Izmir.
After enjoying the sea on countless beaches in Karaburun, one of the rare places that can keep calm despite its beautiful bays, crystal clear sea and natural beaches, you will see Büyükada when you look across the pier. Büyükada, also known as Sahip Island, is a place that belongs entirely to goats and swallows. You can rent a fishing boat from the beach and follow the odor of thyme to go to Büyükada. In this virgin island, you will experience firsthand how the silence can offer this much of peacefulness.
Büyükada is also frequented by diving enthusiasts. You can see sea rabbits, starfish, shellfish, sea tulips, lobsters, octopuses, and endangered pinnae during your dive here. Amphora shards from ancient periods, giant anchors, and mine wagons the origins of which are unknown are among the objects you may encounter in Büyükada dives.
Foça Islands, located off the Izmir Bay, consists of Fener Island, Hayırsız Island (a.k.a. Atatürk Island), İncir (Fig) Island, Aslan Burnu Rock, Pita Island, Metelik Island, Orak Island, and Eşek (Donkey) Rock. The area is very popular among divers. Around Fener Island, you can see the seals, the permanent visitors of the region. Hosting the experienced divers, the Aslan Kayası diving point allows for a depth of 30 meters. It is possible to reach Eşek Island, which takes its name from donkeys that roam freely, with tours from Çeşme. Orak Island is famous for hosting hundreds of rabbits.
Quarantine stations are medical institutions that are built near big harbors for ships passengers and crew of which are diagnosed with contagious diseases to spend their quarantine periods. The 150-years-old Urla Klazomen Quarantine Station, also known as Quarantine Island, is one of the three registered quarantine stations in the world that have managed to survived until this day.
The station was built in 1865 by the Frenchmen who were good at sterilization and it was actively used until 1950. The road leading to the island was built in 1950. However, the marble road built during the period of Alexander the Great (6th century BC) can also easily be seen under the sea. Sterilization materials, rail system on the quay, boilers, shower cabinets, wooden cabinets, and special nets where the laundry was placed have been meticulously preserved.
The pink quarantine station building which is used as a training facility today by the Ministry of Health’s General Directorate of Health and Borders is still standing in all its glory. Attempts to turn the building into a health museum are still in progress. Since it’s not officially a museum yet, special permission is needed to visit the quarantine station. However, the directorate on the island is happy to help visitors who want to see it.
Garip Island, which is connected to the Bademli village of İzmir, is a paradise in the literal sense of the word. With its turquoise sea and white sand, Garip Island will make you feel like you were in the Caribbean. If you want to enjoy the sea, sand, and sun here, it is useful to bring all your needs with you, keeping in mind that there are no facilities on the island that sell food or drinks, including water. You can reach the island by renting a boat from Bademli Port or by the daily boat tours.
Just like Garip Island, Kalem Island is also one of the "Radiant Islands" mentioned by the famous historian Strabon. If you want to enjoy the sea in this paradise island that deserves its title of the "Maldives of the Aegean", you can take a boat from Bademli, and even if you are confident, you can swim to the island. Compared to Garip Island, this island has daily visitors' quota. It is a good idea to make a reservation before visiting Kalem Island due to this limitation which is implemented to make your time on the island quiet, calm, and peaceful.
Yassıca Island, also known as the Sheep Island, is located directly across Çeşmealtı. The 400-meter beach on the island, where there is no settlement, makes it an attractive destination, especially in the summer. You can spend both peaceful and enjoyable time at Yassıca Island, which can be reached directly from Karşıyaka and Üçkuyular ferry ports, operated by a company affiliated with Izmir Metropolitan Municipality.
Pırnarlı Island, where there is no settlement just like Yassıca Ada, takes its name from the pırnarlı plant that grows on it and is from the maquis group. Olive and fig trees cover most of the island. There is not much activity on the island because there is no facility, but if you come here by boat, you can swim off the island if you wish.
Also known as Kösten Island, Uzunada is the fourth largest island in Turkey. The ancient Greek historian Thukididis mentions that some of the ships of Spartan admiral Astuochos took shelter here for eight days due to strong winds during the Peloponnesian War. Since Uzunada is registered as a military island today, civilians are not allowed.
Hekim Island, which is the second-largest island of the Gulf after Uzunada, is located just across the Kazomenai Ancient City. It is not currently allowed to go to Hekim Island, which has become a popular destination for hunters due to the abundance of game animals.