The port city of Izmir is Turkey’s third largest, and is a lively seaside location with plenty to do. With over 3,500 years of recorded history, there are plenty of noteworthy landmarks, including some of the most impressive Roman ruins outside Pompeii, as well as an abundance of cultural hotspots.
Izmir is a good place to go if you find the hustle and bustle of Istanbul and Ankara a little much. It’s a very laidback city in spite of its size and is pretty welcoming of visitors. The climate, meanwhile, is pretty enticing too. Warm weather is almost guaranteed, even during the tail end of winter!
Fuel efficient and great for driving round the often busy, city centre and rural roads.
Konak Square is the jewel of Izmir’s city centre and is where Turkeys fight for independence began. The early 20th century clock tower is also considered the spiritual heart of the city and is a short walk from the seaside promenade. Head to Ephesus for an impressive collection of Roman ruins, unrivalled in the eastern Mediterranean. Try and get there early to avoid getting hot and bothered as it gets very busy during peak times.
Located in the olive grove and vineyard spattered hills is the village of Sirince. You can visit for the day and take in its beauty, or opt to stay in one of its boutique hotels. Don’t forget to take some of the local produce away with you, which includes wine, olive oil and peaches.
For some lovely fresh seafood at a great place, head down to the seafront promenade in the evening, where the catch of the day is barbecued and served up in fresh, homemade crusty bread. No trip to Turkey is complete without a kebab. For the very best, head to the award winning Mehmet and Ali Baba Kebab House which is in the Selcuk district.
Some locals drive pretty fast compared to most places, so be aware of this and try and avoid night time driving around rural areas, where there tends to be potholes and roaming animals.
Road signage is relatively good in and around the city, just be aware you need to carry your driving licence, car documents and insurance papers which are often requested by Police at control points.
Public transport in Izmir is pretty comprehensive, so you might need to wait behind buses at times during heavy traffic.
Adnan Menderes International Airport is situated 16km south of the city centre and takes regular flights from Turkey and other European cities.
The airport is connected to the D550, which goes directly northwards towards Izmir city centre and many of its suburbs.