Many tourists will find that the best way to sightsee in Izmir is to simply take a walk around the city centre and the Konak Square (Konak Meydani), as well as the waterfront Kordon and the coast, where some very pleasant natural beaches await. For impressive views, take a ride on the Asansor elevator, or onboard one of the popular Teleferic cable cars. Family attractions in the city are plentiful within the Culture Park (Kultur Park Alani) and include the city's zoo, while the Izmir Bird's Paradise within the Cigli area is also likely to be of interest.

 

Izmir is a truly historical Turkish city and although a devastating fire in 1922 resulted in the loss of some splendid buildings, there are still countless landmarks of significance, such as the unusual oriental Clock Tower (Saa Kulesi) on Konak Square. Also of note in Izmir is the rather elevated Kadifekale Castle and the numerous Jewish synagogues. However, it is the awesome Agora of Smyrna that serves as the main draw card, a Roman marketplace where Colonnades of tall stone Corinthian columns can still be found standing. The Agora of Smyrna (Agora Open Air Museum) really is a 'must see' and lies off the Anafartalar Caddesi.

 

There are a number of extremely impressive museums spread around Izmir, offering information about subject matters such as archaeology, ethnography and commercial history. The Ataturk Museum remembers the life of Turkey's official founder (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk) and features a host of personal effects. If you favour the world of art, then Izmir's Culture Park is the place to head, being home to both the Museum of Art and History, and the Museum of Arts and Sculpture, which houses a mixture of Turkish paintings, ceramics and sculptures.

The Izmir Province deserves to be explored and in particular, many enticing day trips present themselves along the coast of the Aegean Sea. Especially nearby is Bodrum, which boasts an attractive combination of beaches and history. Cesme is just 30 minutes from Izmir and known for its windsurfing and stunning coastal views. You may also like to consider longer excursions from Izmir to leading Turkish cities, such as Ankara, Antalya and Istanbul, where mosques, temples and basilicas await. In particular, the rather overwhelming Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is quite enormous and features literally thousands of shops and stalls.

More Izmir Information / Fast Facts and Orientation

  • Country: Turkey (north-west)
  • Location: Province of Izmir
  • Status: city / provincial capital
  • Area: approximately 330 square miles / 855 square kilometres
  • Population: approximately 2.7 million
  • Language: Turkish
  • Currency: New Turkish Lira (TRY)
  • Time zone: UTC + 2, summer UTC + 3
  • Country dialling code: +90
  • Telephone area code: 0232
  • Average daily Izmir January temperature: 12°C / 54°F
  • Average daily Izmir July temperature: 33°C / 91°F