İzmir is a city where those who know how to enjoy life live, in contrast to the chaos of big cities, where peace comes into being. Although it is Turkey’s third largest settlement and a lively Mediterranean city, life is not rushed in Izmir, which lives in the calm of a holiday town.
This includes exploring the sights. Don’t just visit this European city, live it with its 8,500-year-old history, warm-blooded people, and sunny climate that has blended countless cultures since ancient times.
This is a starting point for Turkey’s leading touristic centers. The most beautiful towns and villages of the Aegean, with their unique personality, are waiting for you when you get away from the city center and make your way to the holiday resorts.
Golden sand beaches, turquoise blue sea, exquisite coves and beaches, delicious tastes, magnificent boutique hotels welcome you. Go to Çeşme , Alaçatı , Karaburun, Kuşadası , Foça , Urla or Dikili , one of the most beautiful holiday destinations of the Aegean, away from the hustle and bustle , and see historical heritages in Ephesus , Selçuk or Bergama .
Izmir Places to Visit
Start exploring the city with a pleasant tour at Konak Square , the meeting point of the people of Izmir. Close to many places to visit on foot. The square, the heart of Izmir, is always lively and crowded. Izmir Clock Tower , the symbol of the city, located right in the middle of the square , was built in 1901 by the Sultan II of Izmir. It was built as a gift to Abdülhamid on the 25th anniversary of his accession to the throne. The clock of the 25-meter-tall tower with 4 fountains is the name of the German Emperor II. Wilhelm’s gift.
The clock has been working non-stop since the date of its manufacture. One of the beautiful mosques of Izmir, Konak Yali Mosque , with its octagonal architecture dating from the 18th century, located in the square, is another star of the square with its eye-catching Kütahya tiles. At the beginning of the slope leading to the Variant from the square, there are 2 beautiful museums that you should see.
2. İzmir Archeology and Ethnography Museum
The Archaeological Museum and the Ethnography Museum , which are located against the Gulf and take you on a journey to the ancient times of history, are located in Konak, within the Bahribaba Park overlooking the Gulf, in a very easy place in terms of accessibility. The Ethnographic Museum was founded in 1831 for the plague in St. It was founded as Rock Hospital. Later, he hosted orphaned Christian children. Visit the rooms describing the animation depicting the first pharmacy of Izmir and the making of the evil eye bead.
Artifacts excavated in ancient Aegean sites such as Bayraklı (Smyrna), Ephesus, Bergama, Milet, Klazomenai, Teos and Iasos shed light on the history of Western Anatolia at the İzmir Archeology Museum. Along with the ‘Bronze Running Athlete Statue’, the ‘Bronze Demeter Statue’ is one of the most interesting works of the museum. The marble ‘Androklos Statue’ dated to the Roman Period is thought to belong to Androklos, the founder of Ephesus.
3. Kemeraltı Bazaar
Kemeraltı , the heart of İzmir, known as the “jewel of the Mediterranean” by Western travelers two centuries ago , is one of the first places to come to mind when it comes to places to visit in İzmir. This is a district that keeps the old city texture alive with the historical, cultural and architectural elements of the city, inns, baths, mosques and old Izmir houses.
In the past, the streets between Şadırvanaltı Mosque and Havra Street were covered, hence the name Kemeraltı. Tucked between signs and other buildings, there are many inns worth seeing in the area. Many are in derelict condition.
The oldest and still standing hotel in İzmir, Yeni Şükran , the National Library where the memory of the city is hidden, the State and Opera Ballet , where art lovers meet , are in the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar. One of the important historical places of Kemeraltı , Kizlaragasi Inn is a treasure in itself. Go upstairs and browse the antique shops, second-hand booksellers, record stores and other shops.
Sipping a cup of coffee cooked on the sand in the courtyard of the inn after a long and pleasant stroll is a classic of Izmir travel. See the Kizlaragasi Inn, the adjacent Hisar Mosque and wander around Hisaronu. At the end of Kemeraltı, visit the Synagogue Street and move on to the Agora.
The ancient name of Izmir is Smyrna . In the 4th century BC, during the reign of Alexander the Great, the city was moved from ancient Smyrna to the northern slope of Kadifekale. In ancient times, Agora was the place where the bazaar, the market place, political meeting and shopping areas.
The Agora, whose existence under the ground was only discovered in 1927, was unearthed as a result of the interest of some marble columns that had been standing half-open for centuries and the excavation started. The ruins seen today belong to the Roman Agora, which was rebuilt with the support of Emperor Marcus Aurelius after the 178 AD earthquake.
Important artifacts unearthed from the ancient region are exhibited at the Izmir Archeology Museum. It is open to visitors between 08:00-17:00 every day. All it takes is 20 minutes of your time to visit. From Agora, proceed to Kadifekale. Although it takes half an hour to walk from Agora to Kadifekale, you better take a taxi.
Overlooking Izmir from the hill, this is the place where Alexander the Great is said to be sleeping under a tree somewhere. Located on a hill overlooking the bay in the center of Izmir, Kadifekale was founded in the 4th century BC by General Lysimachos by order of Alexander the Great. According to the legend, two Nemesis (protective spirits) that Alexander the Great saw in his dream asked him to establish the new city of Izmir (Smyrna) on the slopes of the hill where he slept.
Re-established on Pagos Hill, Smyrna reached the level to compete with the largest cities of its time, Ephesus and Alexandria. Even though Kadifekale is confined to a very narrow area with slums today, it still has not lost anything of its splendor.
Although the castle is surrounded by modern settlements today, the Hellenistic and Roman fortifications can be seen. Inside the castle, there is a large cistern with arches and remains of a mosque from the Byzantine Period. Don’t forget to have a cup of tea at the coffeehouse with a view of Izmir Bay at the entrance of Kadifekale. Pass from Kadifekale to Basmane.
6. Church of St. Voukolos
One of the first bishops of Symrna, St. St. Vukolos Church , which was built in the name of Boukolos (Saint Vukolos, St. Ayavukla), is a work of the period when the population of the Greek part was dense. The building, which continued its mission until 1922, was abandoned for years after its congregation left İzmir. It was converted into the Asar-ı Atika Museum in 1924 at Atatürk’s request, that is, the archeology museum of the time.
The museum function changed in the future and served as an opera study hall by the Ministry of Culture. The church, which was in ruins for many years, was finally restored and put into service at the end of 2010. Today, the church is used as a multi-purpose cultural hall. See the Press Museum belonging to the Izmir Journalists Association in the building just across the church .
7. Radio and Democracy Museum
When you go 5 minutes from Aya Vukla Church to Basmane Station, you will see the Radio and Democracy Museum belonging to Konak Municipality . An interesting museum that you can see without taking too much of your time. It is among the 16 best museums in Europe in the category of political and historical museums.
Located in Basmane district, the museum has 6 galleries where radios are exhibited and there is an interactive section in the middle. See the episodes where the psychology of the dark and oppressive coup years is reflected. You can listen to the sound recordings of important political or artistic actors of that period in the sections separated by periods.
In addition, there are information boards describing the general political atmospheres and important radio events in the world and important visuals from that period. You can take a lunch break at Adil Müftüoğlu Uğur Restaurant, which has been in service since 1955, close to the road you walk from the museum to İzmir Hilton.
8. St. Polycarp Church
In the past, Izmir was a city where different communities and religions lived side by side and in harmony. Although the colorful cultural mosaic of İzmir seems to have come to an end today, there is something left behind. One of them is St. St. Polycarp, dedicated to the patron saint of Izmir, St. Polycarp . Polycarp Church . It was built in 1625 with the permission of the Ottoman Emperor Sultan Suleiman and the will of the King of France, Louis the 13th.
St. Paul of Tarsus, who played a key role in the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire at that time, St. Polycarp, one of his first students, was burned to death in the Roman Stadium on the outskirts of Kadifekale on the grounds that he spread Christianity in Izmir.
This tragic end is not forgotten for centuries and the saint’s name is kept alive by giving it to the church. This oldest Catholic church in Izmir is open to visitors between 15:00-17:00 every day except Sunday. Ring the bell as the door is usually closed, but usually only for groups. After the church visit, walk to the Passport Ferry Terminal and then to Cumhuriyet Square.
9. Passport Pier and Republic Square
Passport Ferry Port , one of the landmarks of Izmir , is one of the most beautiful places where you can take a break by the sea. It is a ritual to drink tea, coffee and hookah, play backgammon with the view of Izmir Bay, at the Passport dock between Konak Pier and Cumhuriyet Square.
Passport Ferry Port, one of the oldest customs buildings in Izmir, is used for passenger transportation in the gulf today. The pier, where ferry services are made to Alsancak, Göztepe, Konak, Bostanlı and Karşıyaka, is also one of the places where the sunset is most beautiful in İzmir.
Cumhuriyet Square is an important square for İzmir where official ceremonies are held. I can say that it corresponds to Istanbul’s Taksim Square. This place was planned during the rebuilding of İzmir after the fire of 1922. A significant part of İzmir was destroyed in the fire, and around 20-25 thousand buildings were burned. Atatürk Monument and Square, the work of the Italian sculptor Canunica, is one of the most important symbols of the re-establishment of the century-old city.
10. Izmir Cord Length
Kordon , the coastline that starts from Cumhuriyet Square and extends to İzmir Port , is one of the most enjoyable places where entertainment and cultural activities are concentrated. As the smell of iodine and the sea permeates your bones, you see young people sitting on the grass overlooking the deep blue Izmir Bay, and people of Izmir walking around on their bicycles. This is the place where I enjoy visiting İzmir the most in all four seasons.
Summer evenings are another beautiful place in İzmir, where summer and winter are mixed together. Get ready for one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see by spreading out on the grass in Kordon, which has been the subject of poetry and songs. Kordon, one of the best places to keep the Izmir spirit alive, is a wonderful place for dinner.
There are many restaurants serving delightful tables along the Kordon. It is essential to meet the Aegean’s olive oil and seafood dishes. People of Izmir love nightlife, so it can be difficult to find a good place in the evenings. Atatürk Museum in Gündoğdu Square and Arkas Art Center in Kordon are important places you should see.
11. Cyprus Martyrs Street
Located in the rear parallel of Alsancak , Kordon, Kıbrıs Şehitleri Street is one of the most lively areas of the city. It is often compared to Istiklal Street in Istanbul. The side streets extending to the right and left of this street have undergone a rapid change in the last 10 years. You can find all kinds of places here.
A wide variety of venues are lined up along these streets, from new generation cafes to restaurants and shopping stores, to bars that host Izmir’s vibrant nightlife. After the sun sets and a good dinner in Kordon, dive into these lively side streets of the city. Among the thematic boutique museums of Konak Municipality, Mask Museum and Joy and Caricature Museum are places close to Kordon that might interest you.
Tans Coffee , located on Kıbrıs Şehitleri Caddesi in Alsancak, is a place where you can take a break for quality coffee.
12. Izmir Historical Elevator
The Historical Elevator , a place where peace embodies in İzmir, is located in Karataş, a district where Jews lived intensely in the 1900s. The elevator was built in 1907 to easily climb the 58-meter level difference between the two streets. Previously, 155-step stairs were used to reach Halil Rıfat Pasha district. Businessman Nesim Levi had the elevator built to facilitate transportation.
There are two elevators in the tower; The left one was powered by steam and the right one was powered by electricity. With the restoration in 1985, both elevators were turned into electrical operation. This is one of the places where you can watch İzmir’s most beautiful bay view.
It has an indescribable atmosphere, especially at sunsets. A place frequented by romantics in the evening. Stop by for dinner or even for a coffee. View over the bay from the railings of the Historic Elevator.
Dario Moreno Street , which lies right in front of İzmir Elevator , is one of the cutest streets in İzmir. The house where musician and actor Dario Moreno lived for a while, whose tragic life started from the sea-smelling streets of Izmir and extended to the city of Cannes in France and on the big screen, was renovated and brought to the city as the Dario Moreno Art Center.
13. İzmir Wildlife Park
Among the few zoos in Europe, Izmir Natural Life Park is one of the places you should see to satisfy your longing for nature and animals. Opened in 2008 in Çiğli Sasalı, the park is home to 130 species and 1500 wild animals in a 425 thousand square meter green area.