Izmir is the 3rd largest city in Turkey and probably the most liberally minded of all the Turkish cities. It is close second on my favourite cities in Turkey. (First being Istanbul!)
Located along the Aegean Sea, this seaside port city is a major hub yet doesn’t give a “big city” feel at the same time.
The neighbourhoods throughout the city are vast. The history is rich. And its local life is always lively.
Some of my favourite places to visit in Izmir are: the bazaar area near to Konak, the ancient ruins of Smyrna, the boardwalk along the water and the residential neighbourhoods near the sea, like Bostanli.
I also like Izmir because the weather is moderate all year round and it’s along the coast. Two things that are important to me. Hahahahaha 🙂
Konak Area and markets
The clock tower in Izmir – or Saat Kulesi – is a main attraction, not only for tourists. On any given day you will see local families there sitting or playing with the children around the beautiful clock. It’s a typical afternoon thing to do!
The markets just behind the clock area – Kemeralti Bazaar – is home to EVERYTHING you will ever need or want.
Of course there are hundreds of different places to sit down for a while and enjoy some kebab and ayran and then a cup of strong Kahve before continuing on more of the wandering!
Ancient Greek Agora Ruins of Smyrna
The ancient city of Izmir was called Smyrna. The agora, or market place of the ancient city is beautiful and you can almost imagine life busily happening there.
Boardwalk near Alsancak area
This is probably one of my favourite areas of Izmir. The boardwalk along the water…parks and bench everywhere to enjoy the view and take life in. The cafes with spectacular sea views. Even the Ataturk Museum plus other note worthy sites to enjoy.
Bostanli and residential neighbourhoods
I have friends who like near Bostanli and so if I am not staying with them I rent a great little Airbnb nearby that gives me access to all the great amenities I will need throughout my stay – local produce markets, bakeries, kebab places, supermarkets, clothes shops, everything!
The Velvet Castle of Izmir
Kadife Kale as said in tourmakerturkey.com: “Velvet fortress, known as Kadife kale in Turkish saying, is the name of the hill on mount Pagos is about 155 m from the sea level and 3 kms far away from downtown commanding a beautiful scenery of the port and a large view of the greater Izmir. Velvet castle was built in 3rd C BC by one of the generals of Alexander the great by his recommendation after he had been told in his dream by pagan gods. Indeed Alexander’s aim was to rebuild Smyrna stucked on Tepekule hill in order to compete with the famous port cities in his time like Ephesus,Pergamum and Rhodes so the castle was built then Smyrna began expanding down to the gulf.”
One last part of Izmir that I really loved was the Asansor lift.
Due to the difference in elevation between the two streets, an elevator was built by Nesim Levi, a Jewish businessman in 1907, with the aim to facilitate access the road easily.
The view from the top – spectacular! You can even have an afternoon tea overlooking the Aegean. It is lovely!
I also love the fact that Izmir is not far from Greece – a simple ferry ride over from one of the islands and VOILA! You are in Turkey!
A great place to spend the weekend if you want to travel internationally and only have a few days…and are based on the Aegean coast, of course. 😉