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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. 



Stretching back to the 17th century, this is one of the best ways to get a feel of Izmir's past. Get lost, like the locals do, in the mass of alleyways and be guided by the sights, sounds and smells. It's a good opportunity to try two of Izmir's specialities, boyoz and kumru, local snacks of which the city are understandably proud.

As a highly recommended place for shopping in Izmir, Forum Bornova also hosts children activities like shows and cinema blockbusters, making this a family day out. After a whirlwind shopping spree of brand name and budget labels, numerous restaurants throughout the mall serve every type of food you can imagine.

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.


No trip is complete without visiting the vast, ancient site of Ephesus. The scale and variety of the ruins are spectacular. Go early to make the most of it and invest in a guidebook or one of the official guides.

Key Areas

Known as one of the best outdoor activities on the Izmir Peninsula, the Izmir Telerik cable car ascends slowly for a stunning mountain top view of the coastline and surrounding districts. Take a family picnic, buy snacks, or rent a BBQ to cook your own meat while enjoying the scenic green landscapes.

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.

Day Trips

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.

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