Shopaholics and fashionistas are in for a treat when they book a holiday in Izmir. From quaint antique shops full of hidden treasures to designer brands at discount prices, there’s something for everyone to spend their money on. And when you’ve scoured all the traditional shops for bargains, it’s time to head to the streets and brush up on your bartering banter. In an open-air market, you can hunt for accessories to round off your newly acquired outfits, find all the ingredients for a traditional Turkish meal or simply wander from vendor to vendor soaking up the colour and atmosphere.
Whilst seafood is inarguably the top choice of dishes to sample, it isn’t the only item on the menu here. The area is also famed for the Turkish classic gözleme. This delicious flatbread is similar to an Indian naan bread, with a variety of fillings to choose from and in Izmir, there is a restaurant that has taken this variety to the limit with more than 700 flavours of the tasty treat.
Proudly proclaiming itself as the ‘seventh continent’ of the world, Izmir has an incredible heritage that’s just waiting for visitors to come and discover it. Through exhibitions, cultural projects and a calendar that is brimming with events year-round, Izmir has plenty to show off and offer in terms of culture. The museums alone are worth the visit to this fascinating corner of the world as they cover every topic from archaeology to ethnography and more. As for festivals, there’s something to suit every taste from film to jazz and organic products to puppetry festivals.
Surrounded by a bay of waters so blue they’ll dazzle you, every view in Izmir is bound to blow you away and make you snap-happy. Whether it’s the picture-perfect port of gently bobbing boats that takes your breath away or the stunning city itself with its verdant green gardens and ancient ruins that steals the show for you, you’re bound to be captivated from the moment you arrive.
All that is gold may not glitter but that doesn’t make seeing a collection of jewels, precious metals and Hellenistic trinkets any less fascinating to ogle at. In Izmir’s Archaeology Museum you’ll find one of the most impressive gem collections in Turkey as well as a late-Hellenistic-period bronze statue of a runner recovered from the Aegean Sea close to the city of Kyme. It’s not just shiny objects that this museum plays host to however, between the building and its garden, there are more than 1500 exhibits for visitors to enjoy.
Dating back to the 17th century the Kemeralti market is one of Izmir’s many wonders. Absolutely packed with shops, craft stations, cafes, tea gardens and places of worship, this one-stop-shop for all things fabulous is the heart and hub of the Izmir social scene. There are many ways for visitors to explore this area, from walking tours to open crafts workshops. Alternatively, you could simply wander freely through its many teetering piles of goods and treasures. While exploring, be sure to take a moment to sit peacefully in one of the hidden courtyards or people watch over a steaming cup of Turkish tea.
Izmir’s Kordon is a picturesque masterpiece of coastal architecture. Here is where everyone can enjoy an evening of fine dining and finer wines in one of the promenade’s many bars, cafes or restaurants. If you want to make an extra special evening in the scenic locale, why not grab some fresh snacks from the market and hunker down with a beach blanket on the stretch of grass beside the Kordon for a Turkish picnic like no other.
Dating back to the 4th century BC, Izmir’s Agora is an ancient structure that was bliterated by an earthquake which shook the area. However they were rebuilt by order of Roman leader Marcus Aurelias in after AD 178. These reconstructions are remarkable in their preserved perfection, with vaulted chamber ceilings, basilicas and basement cisterns. More fascinating still, archaeological work is still taking place on the site so many of its mysteries are still being uncovered today.
In Izmir, if you’d prefer milder temperatures and less of a crowd, book a visit during the autumn from September to November when the sun will still keep you toasty but isn’t scorching. Summer temperatures can be expected during the typical months of June through to August.
British nationals need a visa to enter Turkey, except for cruise ship passengers with ‘British Citizen’ passports who are visa-free for 72 hours. Turkish visit visas are valid for multiple stays up to a maximum of 90 days in a 180 day period. For the latest information on travel regulations, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey/entry-requirements.
The currency used is Turkish Lira (TRY).
In Izmir the language spoken is Turkish.