What to see in Izmir?


In the most detailed information about Izmir with photos. The main sights of Izmir with descriptions, guides and maps.

City of Izmir (Turkey)

Izmir is a city in western Turkey on the coast of Aegean Sea. It is the third largest city in the country (after Istanbul and Ankara) and the second most important port. Izmir is a dynamic, fast-growing metropolis with a rich history and a lot of young people. It is a city with a European-Mediterranean flair that is unique in Turkey, where modern glass facades and wide boulevards rub shoulders with traditional red-tiled roofs and old mosques.

Izmir is an ancient city founded more than three thousand years ago. In ancient times it was called Smyrna. It is a colorful city of olives, figs and grapes with a rich cultural and historical heritage, to which had a hand of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Byzantines and the Ottomans. Izmir is a great place to relax: the beaches and the sea, clubs and bars, attractions and ancient monuments. It is a young city with a lot of universities, which is full of energy and is in constant motion.

Things to do (Izmir):

Hello, Izmir!

€130 per tour

Hello, Izmir!

See the most interesting and picturesque spots of the old Turkish city on a guided tour

Izmir and the Legacy of Smyrna

€100 for a guided tour.

Izmir and the Legacy of Smyrna

Explore the city of olives and figs, the rich architecture of Antiquity and historical events

Geography and Climate

Izmir is located in western Turkey in the northeastern part of the Aegean Sea. The city is built around a large bay at the mouth of the Meles River. The predominant relief is low mountains and hills. The climate is Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Snow cover and frosts are rare.

Tourist Information

  1. The population is more than 3 million people.
  2. Area – 893.13 square kilometers.
  3. Language: Turkish.
  4. Currency – Turkish Lira.
  5. Visa – for up to 60 days is sufficient to have a passport that is valid for more than four months from the date of entry into Turkey.
  6. Time – UTC +2, in summer +3.

Izmir Bay

Izmir Bay

Beaches of Izmir

The Aegean coast of Izmir has several beaches that are located near the city center: Foça, Dikili, Urla, Seferihisar and Çeşme.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Izmir for a beach holiday is from June to September. If the main purpose is to explore the city and its attractions, it is better to come in May and June and September and October.


Izmir is a city with a rich history during which it has lived through periods of prosperity and decline. More than three thousand years ago, the ancient Greeks founded the city of Smyrna, which housed one of the seven churches of the Apocalypse (the seven early Christian churches in Asia Minor). In 133 BC the Greek settlement was conquered by Rome. Under the Romans, Smyrna reached its greatest prosperity. After the collapse of the Roman Empire the city belonged to the Byzantine Empire, lost its importance and fell into decline.

In 1076 Smyrna was conquered by the Seljuks, but in 1102 Byzantium regained control of the city. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, Smyrna was conquered by the Maltese Knights, and later belonged to Genoa. In 1402, the city was conquered by Tamerlane. In the 16th century Smyrna was conquered by the Ottomans.



Although Smyrna became part of the Ottoman Empire, Christians made up the majority of the population. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the city was occupied by Greece. According to the Treaty of Sevres, the city was to be ceded to the Greeks, but Mustafa Kemal and his supporters did not recognize the treaty. On September 9, 1922, the Turkish army entered the town. It ended with the burning and massacre of the Christian population. The town is called Izmir since 1928.

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Getting there

Izmir is one of the largest transportation hubs in Turkey. It is easily accessible by car, bus, train and plane. The airport is located 20 km south of the city and is one of the largest in the country. It has several daily flights to Istanbul, Antalya, Ankara and some major European cities.

There are two train stations in Izmir: Basmane and Alsancak. Basmane is located in the city center and serves regional trains. A metro line runs near the station. Alsanjak receives intercity and commuter trains.


The small Konak Pier shopping center is located on the waterfront (Kordon). A very large shopping complex Forum is located in the Bornova district. In the historic city center (Kemeraltı) you can buy souvenirs and traditional goods. There is also a bazaar.

Kemeraltı Bazaar

Bazaar in Kemeraltı

What to try in Izmir:

  • Fish and seafood. Most of the fish restaurants are concentrated in the waterfront area.
  • Kumru – a warm sandwich with Turkish sausage, grilled cheese and tomatoes.
  • Melons.
  • Çi Börek or Tatar cookies.
  • Tulum Peyniri – a kind of cheese.
  • Copsis Kebab, a local kind of kebab.
  • Boyoz – a product made of dough.
  • Gevrek – sweet bagels, which are dipped in molasses before baking.
  • Köfte – traditional Turkish food (usually meat with rice).

In the Alsancak area there are many cafes and bars in small streets in old Ottoman houses.


Konak Square

Konak Square

The central square of Izmir is Konak Square. It is the real heart of this Turkish city and one of its busiest and most interesting places.

Clock Tower

Clock Tower

The Clock Tower is a symbol of Izmir and it is a 25 meter tall marble structure built in 1901 in the center of Konak Square.

Yali Mosque

Yali Mosque

Yali Mosque is a small, elegant 18th century Muslim mosque with colorful tiles around the exterior windows and a slender minaret located in Konak Square.

Not far from Konak Square is Kemeralti Bazaar, a crazy neighborhood full of hustle and bustle. Thousands of small local stores, artisan workshops, tea shops, coffee shops, and inexpensive eateries are located in a maze of narrow streets. It is one of the most authentic places in Izmir.

Hisar Mosque

Hisar Mosque

Hisar Mosque is Izmir’s largest mosque, built in the 16th century. It is surrounded by the bustling shopping streets of the Izmir bazaar.



Asanser is a historic tower with elevators built in 1907 to facilitate access from the lower town to the upper town. It is now a great observation deck.

Kadifekala Castle

Cadifecal Castle

Kadifekal Castle is the ruins of an ancient hilltop defensive structure whose origins date back to Smyrna. Sections of walls and gates are extant.


The Agora

The Agora is the ruins of the ancient Greek and Roman marketplace of ancient Smyrna. It used to be the center of the ancient city with a lively bazaar and public buildings. Now you can see the reconstructed colonnade and gates, arches and vaulted chambers.



One of the most popular places in Izmir is the Kordon promenade. It stretches along the sea from Konak Square to Alsancak district.

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Interesting places around Izmir



Ephesus is one of Turkey’s most famous landmarks, the striking ruins of an ancient city. It is a unique cultural landscape with heritage of Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods.

The most important landmarks of Ephesus:

  • The Isa Bey Mosque, an outstanding work of Seljuk architecture. It is one of the oldest and most important examples of Muslim architecture in Anatolia.
  • The House of Our Lady is a Christian shrine. A small ancient building where, according to tradition, the Virgin Mary lived after the death of Christ and the persecution of Christians.
  • Basilica of St. John – a church built in honor of John the Theologian, who lived and preached for some time in Smyrna.
  • Library of Celsus – one of the symbols of Ephesus, the ruins of an ancient library built in honor of the Roman senator Celsus.
  • Temple of Artemis – The ruins of one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
  • The ancient terraced houses of the rich Romans.
  • The Great Theater, a magnificent antique building that seated 24,000 spectators.
  • Temple of Hadrian, one of the most beautiful buildings in Ephesus, built in honor of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.



Pergamon (Pergamon) is the ruins of an ancient city on the top of the hill of Kale which is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It was the capital of the Attalid state. Pergamon is an outstanding example of urban planning of the Hellenistic period with monumental architecture, ancient temples, theaters, and a library. The most striking sights are the Temple of Athena, the coolest theater of the Hellenistic period, the library, the great altar, the temple of Dionysus, the agora and the water system. Also the cultural landscape of Pergamon has been diluted with Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman structures.



Şirince is a small village with atmospheric narrow streets and old, somewhat dilapidated houses.



Birgi is a small old town with charming streets and stone houses.

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Izmir (Turkey), all about the city: photos and description, what to see 2022

Izmir Turkey

On the shores of the Aegean Sea, in the western part of Turkey, lies the beautiful Izmir. This amazing metropolis, third in size after Istanbul and Ankara, is considered one of the most important seaports in the country. Izmir is famous for its rich historical past. It is actively growing and developing. It is the oldest mosques, cosy and winding streets and classic houses covered with red tiles, harmoniously coexist with ultra-modern skyscrapers, glass windows of the shopping centers and spacious boulevards.

In ancient times the city had another name – Smyrna. Greek founders, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans left their imprint on the image of the metropolis during the time of its existence. That is why the architecture and culture of Izmir is incredibly multi-faceted.

Geography and Climate

Izmir Turkey

Izmir is built at the mouth of the Meles River. It is built as if along the perimeter of a spacious bay. The terrain is hilly, in some places there are low mountain peaks. Climatic conditions are pleasant, as throughout the Aegean coast. It is hot and dry in summer, and comfortable in winter, though rainy. The snow in Izmir and the frosts are very rare.

The average monthly air temperature is

  • January and February 8,5°C
  • March and April 11.5°C
  • May and June 22°C
  • July and August 26.5°C
  • September and October 20°C
  • November and December 10.5°C
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  • Population – more than 3,000,000 people;
  • The area of the country is about 894 square kilometers;
  • Official language is Turkish;
  • Official currency – Turkish Lira.

No visa is required to visit Izmir for up to 2 months. The only requirement is the availability of a passport. But you should pay attention to the validity of this document – the passport must be valid not less than 4 months from the moment of crossing the borders of the country.


The History of Izmir

The city called Smyrna was founded by Greek settlers. This was the period of the birth of Christianity. By the time the settlement was founded, there were only 7 Christian churches in all of Asia Minor. They were called the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse, and one of them was erected in Smyrna. In 133 BC the Roman conquerors came to the Greek lands, and the city passed to the Romans. It was as part of the Roman Empire that it experienced its most significant periods of prosperity. But when the empire collapsed, Smyrna fell into a long decline.

In 1076, the Seljuks took over the city territory, which was by then part of the Byzantine Empire, but the Byzantines regained their power after a period of time. When the Byzantine Empire fell into oblivion, Smyrna was conquered by the Genoese, and at the beginning of the 15th century it was conquered by Tamerlane. Ottoman soldiers established their rule in the city only two centuries later.

Despite the fact that Smyrna became part of a predominantly Muslim state, up to the early 20th century the lion’s share of the population practiced Christianity (mostly Greeks and Armenians). For this reason, Muslims called the town nothing other than “Giaur Izmir” (“Infidel Smyrna”).

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The next important event in the history of Izmir happened after the loss of the Ottoman state in World War I. The city was occupied by the Greeks. A treaty was drawn up whereby Smyrna was ceded to Greece, but Kemal Ataturk and his allies declared the treaty null and void. And in the fall of 1922, the Turkish army crossed the borders of Izmir. This event had significant consequences: there was a dramatic change in the ethnic composition. Greece and Turkey, in fact, exchanged the population, after which Izmir became almost entirely Muslim. By the way, the city officially received its new name only in 1928.

As hundreds of years ago, the metropolis is buried in the green of olive and fig trees and vineyards. Holidays here are a real pleasure. Visitors to the city greet the cleanest beaches, gentle sea, modern restaurants, bars, nightclubs and, of course, the many attractions. Despite the large number of historical sites, Izmir is considered a youth city. Its streets and squares are full of movement and energy and life is in full swing around the clock.

How to get to Izmir

Getting to Izmir is not difficult because it is one of the most developed transport hubs in the country. You can get here by bus, train or car and arrive by plane.

The main airport is located near Izmir, just 20 km south of the city limits – İzmir Adnan Menderes Havalimanı. A solid airport terminal considered as one of the largest in the country. From here many popular European cities and Ankara, Istanbul and Antalya are reached by air several times a day.

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From Istanbul you can get to Izmir by Turkish Airlines, Pegasus and SunExpress.

The second option is a bus ride. Intercity transport in Turkey is quite comfortable, the trip lasts about 7 hours, so you should choose a night trip – and by morning you’ll be in town. You can buy a bus ticket on the Russian-language website here.

Another option, which is quite convenient, is to rent a car. Driving from Istanbul to Izmir is a pleasure, since most of the way is taken by the autobahn with a perfect surface (roads are paid). The distance between the cities is 470 kilometers, and along the way there are not only cafes and toilets, but even small shops. So it will not be a hard drive. Moreover, you can easily get from Izmir to Ephesus and Pergamon in your own car.

The railway connection is also quite good. There are two railway stations. The first of them – Basmane – is located almost in the heart of the metropolis. Its main task is to serve regional flights. Not far from Basmane there is a subway. The second station – Alsandzak – is aimed at the reception of suburban and intercity trains.

Sights of Izmir

Izmir Turkey

The Square with a Clock

  • One of the main attractions is the central square of Izmir called Konak meydanı. Get to know the wonderful metropolis and get a feel for its character and atmosphere.
  • The symbol of the city is the Clock Tower (Saat kulesi) which rises in the heart of Konak Square. The marble structure from 1901 reaches 25 meters into the sky!
  • Yalı Camii is a fairly modest Muslim shrine built in the 18th century. It attracts attention with its elegant exterior, colorful framing of the windows and graceful minaret.

Izmir Turkey

Izmir Turkey

  • The Agora is the ruins of an ancient marketplace. It was once the center of Smyrna. It was the center of trade and the most important public buildings. Modern tourists can admire the restored elements such as the arches, gates, colonnade and vaulted chambers.
  • Kordon embankment (Kordon sahili) is one of the most popular places in the city, which is adored not only by visitors, but also by the natives. The promenade begins near the Konak Square and ends near the Alsancak district.

Beaches of Izmir

Izmir beaches

Within the city, in contrast to Istanbul, there are no decent beaches, and all that is close – often dirty, and sometimes completely undeveloped beach areas.

The closest territorially and relatively clean beaches are located in a historical place called Foca. This is the site of the former city of Phocea, which was part of an association of ancient Greek polities.

Today, this area is divided into the new Foça (Yeni Foça) and the old Foça (Eski Foça). We are interested in old Foça. Distance from Izmir to Foça is about 80 kilometers.

Old Foça has several city beaches and nice private beaches – Q Beach Club and Bueno Beach Club.

You can get to Foca by bus from Izmir Bus Station or by renting a car.

Interesting places around Izmir

Izmir Turkey

Ephesus is one of the most popular tourist sites not only around Izmir but also all over Turkey. The ruins of an ancient settlement keep the secrets of the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman past. Ephesus has many attractions, but there are a few major ones that are definitely worth exploring:

  • Isa Bey Mosque is a masterpiece of Seljuk architecture, one of the oldest examples of Islamic architecture in Anatolia.
  • The Basilica of St. John is a church built in honor of St. John the Evangelist. This clergyman, according to legend, lived for a period of time in Smyrna and was engaged in preaching.
  • The Temple of Artemis – this attraction, or rather its remains, is of most interest to tourists. After all, the Temple of Artemis was once ranked among the Seven Wonders of the World.
  • The Great Theater is a beautiful antique building, the halls of which could once hold over 24,000 spectators. – It is a modest Christian temple. According to legend, it was in this building that the Virgin Mary lived after the crucifixion of Christ and during the most ardent Christian persecutions. – a beautiful shrine erected in honor of the Roman ruler Hadrian. – This library building, built in ancient times, was named after the Roman governor Celsus. Today the ruins of the library are called the symbol of Ephesus.
  • Also when you come to Ephesus you should pay attention to the architecture of terraced houses of wealthy Romans, of which there are quite a few in the city.
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Izmir Turkey

At the very top of the hill of Kale are the ruins of the ancient city of Pergamon (Pergamon). It is not for nothing that these remains, which have a rich history, are included in the list of sites protected by UNESCO. This large settlement was once the center of the Attalide state.

The city admired its extraordinary architecture, a unique water supply system, monumental buildings (theaters, libraries, temples), among which are from different historical periods – not only from the Hellenistic period, but also from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. One of the symbols of Pergamon is the majestic Temple of Athena.

The village of Şirince is old and modest, with slightly dilapidated houses and narrow, atmospheric streets.

Birgi – A miniature old town with authentic architecture and picturesque streets.

Cesme (Alaçatı).

Izmir Turkey

For those who came to Izmir, or for those who are looking for a new place to stay in Turkey, I can’t recommend enough a trip to Alaçatı. This resort is close to Izmir, about 75 kilometers away, and here only locals mostly rest.

Cesme is very fond of the Turkish bohemia, the stars and the party. The resort is not cheap, but the beauty of the sea and the views are beyond all expectations. Visit the municipal beach Ilıca Plajı, with fine white sand and blue water, and in the evening, it is worth a trip to Alaçatı, to walk through the old streets with colorful houses, reminiscent of the Greek.

Who should go to Izmir?

If you like to touch ancient history, learn the old architecture and dive into the past, then Izmir is the city for you. It is contraindicated to those who like calm, unhurried beach rest – you won’t be able to relax on the beach and bask in the sun’s gentle rays. The city is noisy, crowded and full of life 24/7!

But for the shopping lovers, Izmir is not so bad. The Kemeralta market sells everything you want. But tourists are often overpriced for tourists, so be sure to haggle – it’s an opportunity to save well.

For the lowest prices go to Bostanlı Bazaar (Bospa market). But beware, it is only open once a week – on Wednesdays.

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