Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city, is a fascinating destination with a rich tapestry of history, culture and modernity. Nestled on the Aegean coast, this bustling metropolis offers a captivating mix of ancient sites, vibrant bazaars, and a thriving arts and culinary scene. A city tour of Izmir is an opportunity to delve into the heart of this dynamic city and discover its unique charm and diverse attractions.
Start your journey with Kemeraltı Bazaar and Konak Square
Start your Izmir adventure in the heart of the city at Kemeraltı Bazaar. This historic market is a feast for the senses, with narrow alleys lined with colourful stalls, teahouses and shops. Here you can buy traditional Turkish goods, from spices and textiles to handicrafts and jewellery. As you explore, soak up the authentic atmosphere and enjoy a cup of Turkish tea at one of the local cafes.
Next to the bazaar is Konak Square, where you’ll find some of Izmir’s most iconic landmarks. Marvel at the striking clock tower, a symbol of the city, and take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque seafront promenade with stunning views of the Aegean Sea.
Ancient history and architecture Agora and Kadifekale
Your Izmir city tour continues with a visit to the Agora of Smyrna, an ancient Roman marketplace dating back to the 4th century BC. Explore the well-preserved ruins, including columns and porticoes, which offer a glimpse into the city’s past.
Next, climb to Kadifekale, the Velvet Castle, which sits on a hill overlooking the city. This historic fortress was built during the reign of Alexander the Great and offers a panoramic view of Izmir. It’s an ideal spot to take some stunning photographs.
Izmir has a thriving arts and cultural scene. Visit the Izmir Art and Sculpture Museum, which houses an impressive collection of contemporary and classical Turkish art. Alternatively, enjoy a performance at the Izmir State Opera and Ballet or explore the vibrant street art found throughout the city.
Izmir Archaeological Museum and Atatürk Museum
To deepen your understanding of the region’s history and culture, visit the Izmir Archaeological Museum. The museum houses an impressive collection of artefacts spanning thousands of years, showcasing the rich heritage of Izmir and the surrounding area.
For a more personal insight into Turkey’s modern history, visit the Atatürk Museum. This is where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, stayed during his visits to Izmir. The museum offers an insight into his life and the early years of the Turkish Republic.
Izmir is famous for its delicious cuisine, and your tour of the city wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of the local dishes. Be sure to try Izmir’s famous ‘kumru’ sandwich, a mouth-watering combination of sesame-crusted bread filled with various ingredients such as sucuk (Turkish sausage), pastirma (smoked beef) and more.
Take a wonderful journey through Izmir’s vibrant nightlife and fascinating ancient cities.