İzmir

Izmir, the city which is home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World...

"I am 8,500 years old..." says the city of Homer...

The legendary female warriors, the Amazons, founded İzmir, or Smyrna as it was called in Ancient Times, according to one story. Alternatively, according to another tale, the Lelegs established it. The city is located on the Aegean Coast in the west of Turkey, and the city is the biggest and most important settlement in the Aegean Region. İzmir, which has managed to modernize whilst preserving its archaeological and historical assets, is an important trade centre, because of its port. The diversity of activities and resources that İzmir is able to provide makes it a very attractive area for tourism. It boasts both spas with healing thermal waters, and the deep blue sea with beaches displaying the safety symbol of the blue flag.

İzmir resonates with the water and the wind. Benefiting from the breeze from the Aegean Sea, İzmir enjoys a well-deserved reputation due to sights and ruins such as Bergama (Pergamon), Çeşme, Foça, Kemalpaşa, Selçuk, Tire and Urla, which are outstanding in terms of the richness of their natural and historical assets.

It offers visitors many options for a unique holiday experience. Its geographical location means that İzmir enjoys a Mediterranean climate plus natural beauty, a rich cultural and historical heritage, beaches, thermal waters and spas. In addition, it boasts a rich cuisine, featuring grapes, figs, olives, citrus fruits and seafood, as well as the legacies left by civilizations over thousands of years.

The city, known as "Beautiful İzmir" in Turkey, is located at the start of a long and narrow gulf, decorated with yachts, passenger ships and gulf steamers. It has a warm climate and the cooling sea breeze in the summer takes away the burning heat of the sun. İzmir, which enjoys a special cultural and historical identity, is the third largest city in Turkey. Its port, located inside the gulf, is the second largest in Turkey. As a lively and cosmopolitan city, it occupies a significant place in Turkey's cultural life with the International Arts Festival and International Fair.

The whole of the coastal road is enchanting. The districts of Alsancak and Karşıyaka are areas offering great opportunities to meet the locals in the many restaurants, cafes and along walking paths.

Cesme is a charming convergence of healing mineral springs, excellent beaches, crystal clear waters and sun, making it a perfect spot for those on vacation. It is located 94 km west of Izmir, on the very tip of the peninsula that bears its name. It was called as the 'little harbor' by sailors, but in the course of time, the area became known as Cesme (Fountain) due to the increasing number of fountains with ice - cold waters.

Visitors can enjoy unspoiled bays, excellent holiday accommodation, restaurants, and sports and entertainment facilities. Thermal baths offer a healthy break from the rigors of modern life.Excellent shopping is available, with a good selection of carpets, leather goods and souvenirs. At night, a lively atmosphere pervades, especially in the restaurants, cafes, bars and discos along the promenade. Çeşme hosts many national and international meetings and conventions throughout the year.

The Mediterranean climate is dominant in Cesme. It is quite hot and exposed to the winds blowing from the north.

Kuşadası is one of Turkey's largest and most cosmopolitan resorts and a stopping off point for the big cruise-liners. It is a good all round resort, offering great beaches, excellent shopping and some serious nightlife. Kuşadası literally means 'Bird Island' and takes its name from the tiny islet known as Güvercin Adası or Pigeon Island, which is attached to the mainland by a causeway and boasts a 14th century Genoese fort. There are a number of sandy beaches in the area. Kadınlar Plajı or 'Ladies Beach' is central but can get crowded so it is wiser in high season to head a little further out of the centre where the beaches are just as sandy but offer more space. Kaleiçi is the old centre of the town and is a popular shopping and entertainment area. The Ottoman Kervansaray or traveler's inn is now in private hands but is an impressive building and a landmark in the town centre. Today's travelers can find comfort in a full range of accommodation in all categories and of all sizes.

Kuşadası's setting also makes it a good base for those wanting to visit Ephesus which is only approximately 30 minutes' drive away.

It is also surrounded by some of Turkey's most beautiful national park including the Kalamaki National Park, which lies on the Dilek Peninsula, approx. 30 kms to the south. Dense pine trees cover the mountains which plunge dramatically down to beaches and crystal-clear sea. Some of Turkey's rarest wild animals can be found here including the Anatolian cheetah and wild horses. Sundays are often busy with local visitors. Another stunning spot in the vicinity is Lake Bafa which is approx, 80 kms south east of Kuşadası.