Known as the “Pearl of the Aegean” Izmir is Turkey’s third largest city with a bustling atmosphere and ancient heritage. Izmir is the gateway to holiday resorts along the Anatolian coast with the resorts of Çesme and Kusadasi just over an hour’s drive away. The ancient site of Ephesus is also easily accessible.
Spend some time soaking up the atmosphere in Izmir and enjoying the laid back atmosphere. A visit to Kemeralti Market is a must. This 17th century bazaar hums with life and it popular with locals and tourists alike. Shops, coffeehouses and tea gardens are all crowded into its narrow lanes. Take some time out to visit one of the city’s hidden gems, the Museum of History and Art which is crammed with treasures from the ancient world. Once you’ve finished with the museum, head down to the iconic seafront kordon (promenade) to stretch your legs and watch the sun set from one of the many bars, cafes and restaurants.
To the west of Izmir lies the relaxed coastal resort of Çesme, which has a long seafront promenade, a 16th century castle and several thermal springs in the vicinity. Alternatively, visit one of the white sand beaches, like Altlnkum Beach, dotted along the Çesme peninsula.
Further south at Kusadasi, there are a choice of eight beaches including Long Beach with its 5km stretch of golden sand. If relaxation isn’t your thing there are windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing schools as well as two popular water parks, Adaland and pirate-themed Tortuga Water Park. After a day on the beach sample Kusadasi’s lively nightlife.Kusadasi is also the starting point for day trips to Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best preserved of Turkey’s ancient cities. A day visiting the fascinating archaeological sites will give you a feel for what life was like in ancient times.
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