Cheap flights to Izmir
Theme parks, archaeological sites and beaches to die for are just some of the tourist treats waiting in store for those who choose beautiful Izmir as their next holiday destination. Known as the ‘Pearl of the Aegean’, Izmir is the perfect choice if you’re looking to combine a city break with that longer beachside holiday you’ve been after. While it might be Turkey’s third largest city, it still retains the holiday resort vibe of smaller towns along Turkey’s turquoise Aegean coast. A bay packed with palm-lined promenades, seafront restaurants and cafés as far as the eye can see make this city a popular holiday choice with tourists.
And with more than 5,000 years of history, you can expect to be bombarded with archaeological goodies at every turn, both inside the city and close by. Oh, and did we mention the beaches? Not many cities can boast sandy stretches and waters of this quality right on their doorstep, or the top quality beach resort of Kusadasi just down the road.
The 17th-century maze of Kemeralti, the historic shopping district of Izmir is a souvenir goldmine. Eager shopkeepers, old architecture, locally made handicrafts and the famed Turkish shopping banter lends to an exotic experience reminiscent of old Izmir before it modernised itself. Don't forget to haggle on prices.
A highlight on the Izmir social scene, the Alacati festival celebrates the diversity of herbs and vegetables of the Aegean region. Along with fun activities and workshops, locals present their specialty homemade dishes for sampling and purchase. 9-10 April, http://alacatiotfestivali.com.
Commanding a fantastic panoramic view over Izmir city centre, Izmir's landmark Kadifekale castle, built by Alexander the Great is where Saint Polycarp, the 2nd-century Christian bishop was martyred. Climbing the hill on a hot summer's day is not for the fainthearted so catch a taxi up.
Konak Square is the heart of Izmir, famed for its iconic clock tower dating from 1901. Interesting sites nearby include the Museum of Modern Art, the 1755 Yali Mosque and historical Kemeralti, a bustling bazaar district ideal for buying souvenirs and trying the Turkish art of haggling.
The extensive animal collection at Izmir Wildlife Park impresses adults and children alike, with a fun and educational atmosphere provided through informative English signboards. See giraffes, snakes, zebras, lions, birds, elephants and reptiles. Don't forget to see the creepy crawlies collection! http://www.izmirdogalyasamparki.org.tr/
A short drive to the outskirts of Izmir, the ancient ruins of Pergamon city (a UNESCO World Heritage site) garners fame because of its Hellenistic theatre embedded into the hillside. Founded in the 3rd century BC, other city remains are fascinating evidence of Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman Empires.