The jewel of the Aegean, Izmir is the major resort for holidaymakers who are looking to explore this part of Türkiye with its lovely landscapes and magnificent coastline.
Türkiye’s third-largest city, İzmir has been an important Aegean port since ancient times, when it was known as the Greek city of Smyrna; its seafront is as fetching and lively as any in the world. The city’s rich and fascinating heritage reflects the fact that it has been the home of Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Levantines and Turks over the centuries. Today, the city still enjoys its small but culturally-colourful Jewish and Levantine communities – and its unique and delicious cuisine attests to this. Its monumental history and delightful sea towns make Izmir one of Türkiye’s must-see places – one you should definitely add to your holiday list.
Here are some of the coastal towns of Izmir:
The biggest and most famous of the beach resorts around Izmir, Çeşme is an essentially Turkish resort and thermal spa (Çeşme means ‘spring’), dominated by its 14th-century Genoese fortress with a labyrinth of twisting back streets behind. The attractive promenade is lined with restaurants. The long, sandy beach where most of the hotels are concentrated lies a little outside the town.
A beautiful corner of the Aegean, Özdere is a coastal town in the Menderes district of the Izmir region. With a temperate climate, favourable location and nearly 40-kilometre-long coastline and blue-flag beaches, Özdere is a local centre of tourism.
The promenades and walkways along the shoreline host numerous taverns, shops and restaurants that cater to visitors.
The laid-back market town of Bergama is the modern successor to the once-powerful ancient city of Pergamon (Pergamum). Unlike Ephesus, which heaves with tourists year-round, Pergamon is for the most part a site of quiet classical splendour. Its ruins – especially the Asklepion and Acropolis – are so extraordinary that they were inscribed on Unesco’s World Heritage List in June 2014, the 999th site in the world (and the 14th in Türkiye) to be so honoured.
The thermal springs of Pergamon made the city one of the principal centres of healing and beauty. One of the major thermal spas of Pergamon is within the Sanctuary of Asclepius (Güzellik Ilıcası). It is believed to have been commissioned by King Euamens of Pergamon, and its healing and beauty properties were enjoyed by Cleopatra.
Alongside its historic and cultural heritage, Bergama is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Trekking along the route to Kozak Plateau through the pine forests covering the Kozak mountain range between Bergama and Ayvalık, dotted with ruins and rural landscapes, also provide opportunities for photo safaris.
38km from Izmir, Urla is situated in the centre of the peninsula bearing the same name. The Urla Peninsula prides itself on its 40km coastline, untouched small bays and 12 islets.
Urla has a very Aegean ambience with its small squares, coffee shops under the vines, village bazaars and restaurants serving delicious and healthy Aegean cuisine.
Liman Tepe is an archaeological excavation site not to be missed when visiting Urla. Liman Tepe, whose history goes back six thousand years ago, is recorded in history as the oldest settlement in the Urla district. It was one of the harbours of the Ancient Klazomenai City, and among the most significant harbour cities in the Aegean in the 3rd millennium B.C
Named after the seals that live on the islands surrounding the city, Foça (Phocaea), refered to in the Legend of Homer, was established by Aeolians in 11th century BC.
Very well placed for access to Izmir airport, this pretty fishing village has a lively harbor front with excellent seafood restaurants.
Foça offers a unique combination of historical, natural and urban preservation sites and many parts of the district are under strict environmental protection, due to the value of the flora and the fauna, and the beauty of the small bays and coves. It is also home to the endangered Mediterranean monk seals.
Dikili, located 120km north of Izmir, ia a lovely district appealing to local and foreign visitors alike and is famous for its spas.
There are thermal spas in Nebiler, Bademli and Kocaoba villages. The Port of Dikili provides international transport by sea and is a major source of income for the local communities.
The sub-district of Çandarlı, is a well-developed town and an important tourist resort with its rich history and extraordinary beauty.
Natural attractions include a crater lake in Merdivenli village and pine forests and historical caves in Demirtaş and Deliktaş villages.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our look at some of Izmir’s coastal towns. Next time you’re planning a visit to Izmir, why not give yourself time to visit one and see for yourself …
Sources: Daily Sabah/Lonely Planet/Turkey Home/Wikipedia
This article was first published on 28 July, 2018