İzmir puts flavour, culture and a seaside lifestyle in the spotlight
According to Lonely Planet, İzmir’s coastal location is a strong advantage. The city also offers a marvellous blend of historical and contemporary culture, delicious and healthy Aegean cuisine and a high quality of life. According to the publication, İzmir’s historic bazaar, cultural and artistic venues, vineyard routes, beautiful beaches, and ancient ruins are all compelling reasons to visit the region. Lonely Planet also highlights the annual International İzmir Festival, held between June and July, which includes various concerts and dance performances in notable venues such as the Smyrna Agora. The guide also recommends sampling local wines in Urla, one of the vineyard routes in İzmir.
There is much more to discover in İzmir
Despite being the third largest city in Türkiye, İzmir has an easy-going atmosphere that contributes to the high quality of life. Although the town is visited by millions of tourists each year due to the ancient city of Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, according to Lonely Planet, İzmir is “not yet fully discovered”. This city is built for living and features nearly two kilometres of beautiful coastline stretching to the vibrant Kemeraltı Bazaar. The exceptional location and easy access to picturesque seaside towns and beaches contribute to İzmir’s allure. The west coast of İzmir is dotted by several quaint villages and famous coastal settlements, from Foça to Urla and from Karaburun to the Çeşme Peninsula. In Urla, known for its vineyards and Turkish wines, visitors can savour delicious meals at farm-to-table restaurants. At the same time, Alaçatı, the heart of the Çeşme Peninsula, showcases Aegean herbs and seafood. Moreover, İzmir proves its food and beverage bona fides with its inclusion in the Michelin GUIDE this year.
Treasures of Anatolia
For the ancient treasures of İzmir, you can turn to both Bergama and Selçuk. In the ancient city of Bergama, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and home to the second largest library of antiquity, you can embark on a journey into the region’s history dating back to the prehistoric era. In Selçuk, you can explore the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the ancient city of Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the magnificent settlements that gave life to the Ancient Age, including the Basilica of St John and the House of the Virgin Mary. You can add Şirince, famous for its fruit wines, to your itinerary. Built on a green hillside with views of the mountains of Selçuk, Şirince was recently included in the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s ‘2023 World's Best Tourism Villages’ list.
Beautiful İzmir is a popular destination for arts, culture and history. In addition to galleries and museums showcasing traditional and contemporary art, the city draws attention with diverse events. The most recent city attraction is the İzmir Culture and Arts Factory, which opened in the restored late-nineteenth-century Alsancak Tekel Factory. The İzmir Culture and Arts Factory also hosts the Ephesus Culture Route Festival, the city’s most important event, which takes place this year from October 28 to November 5.
İzmir is also the first city in Türkiye to be chosen for the EuroVelo 8 - Mediterranean Route, and with its cycling routes and ‘Bicycle Friendly’ certified hotels, it is also an ideal destination for travellers seeking to explore the region on two wheels.