Izmir travel guide

Izmir Tourism | Izmir Guide

You're Going to Love Izmir

The port city of Izmir is a hub for commerce and travel, and the mix of cultures and the Mediterranean climate makes the waterfront the main spot for activities. Check out the various cafes and restaurants that line the port, along with the many inland bazaars and local street markets.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Izmir

1. Izmir International Fair

Every year, the Izmir International Fair attracts tourists, merchants, and import-export businessmen and women. Enjoy the host of musical and cultural events that run alongside this commercial fair.

2. Vibrant Nightlife

Izmir's nightlife teems with global citizens at spots like Kıbrıs Şehitleri Caddesi in Alsancak or Öküz Lounge and Bar in Karsiyaka.

3. Water Tours and Cruises

See the city by boat! Tours like Gaziemir Dalis Merkezi have snorkeling and shallow-sea diving activities included.

4. Feast on Turkish Delights

Sample Kumru, a traditional sandwich made with Turkish sausage, grilled cheese, and tomatoes from street vendors.

5. Beautiful Bazaars and Local Markets

Head to Konak Square, where you can catch the Kemeraltı Bazaar, great for negotiating the price of souvenirs. Visit Tire on Tuesdays for Turkey's biggest open town market.

What to do in Izmir

1. İzmir Arkeoloji Müzesi: In-Depth Aegean History

Turkey's ancient past makes it the perfect place to explore some of the most unique artifacts from the Gulf of Izmir. The Archaeological Museum contains many statues, busts, and urban tools dating back to the Bronze age as well as the Greek and Roman eras. Located in the heart of the city center in the Konak district, it's easy to visit other notable sites in the area, including the Izmir Museum of Arts and Sculptures and the Ethnography Museum.

2. Kemeralti Çarşisi: Shop 'Till You Drop

Get your friends a souvenir that is authentically Turkish at the Kemeralti Bazaar. The long shopping street was first created in the 16th century, though much of the market was destroyed by the Great Fire of Smyrna in 1922. Today, the market is once again the heart of commerce in the city center, where visitors can buy everything from carpets to tea sets to colorful scarves. The Kemeralti area in which the bazaar is located is also home to the densest concentration of Jewish landmarks in all of Turkey, making it a popular pilgrimage destination.

3. Agora Open Air Museum: A Greek-Inspired Past

Before the Ottomans came to rule, Izmir was a thriving Greek city bustling with commerce. In ancient times, Izmir's center was a large marketplace, or "agora", where travelers and locals alike could gather, trade, and socialize. Today you can see the ruins of those past trading days dating to the Hellinistic, Roman, Byzantium, and Ottoman periods. Many of the artifacts excavated at the Agora Open Air Museum site are now on display at the Izmir Archeology Museum and the History and Arts Museum. The Agora Open Air Museum is currently undergoing reservations so that in future years it can be turned into an Archeology and History Park.

4. Izmir Ethnography Museum: The Heart of Culture

The Izmir Ethnography Museum is housed in a beautiful 18th-century stone building which was once a former hospital. These days the museum aims to capture the essence of the Aegean people and their rich history, showcasing many items excavated from the nearby Open Air ruins. Here you can find examples of clothing and pottery from the Seljuk time period as well as recreated depictions of the first Turkish pharmacy of the İzmir Province. Alongside the artifacts there are many informational placards describing the arts, crafts, and customs of the Izmir region. Plus, the museum is free to enter.

5. Saat Kulesi: The Perfect Time for a Photo Op

One of the most iconic monuments in Izmir, the Clock Tower is located right on the waterfront in the center of Konak square. The Clock Tower was given as a gift from German Emperor Wilhelm II at the turn of the 20th century and was created in the elaborate Ottoman architecture style prominent in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Clock is now a popular meeting point for locals within the city and serves as the setting for many outdoor markets and cultural celebrations.

Agora Open Air MuseumAgora Open Air Museum;
Saat KulesiSaat Kulesi;

1. İzmir Arkeoloji Müzesi: In-Depth Aegean History

Turkey's ancient past makes it the perfect place to explore some of the most unique artifacts from the Gulf of Izmir. The Archaeological Museum contains many statues, busts, and urban tools dating back to the Bronze age as well as the Greek and Roman eras. Located in the heart of the city center in the Konak district, it's easy to visit other notable sites in the area, including the Izmir Museum of Arts and Sculptures and the Ethnography Museum.

2. Kemeralti Çarşisi: Shop 'Till You Drop

Get your friends a souvenir that is authentically Turkish at the Kemeralti Bazaar. The long shopping street was first created in the 16th century, though much of the market was destroyed by the Great Fire of Smyrna in 1922. Today, the market is once again the heart of commerce in the city center, where visitors can buy everything from carpets to tea sets to colorful scarves. The Kemeralti area in which the bazaar is located is also home to the densest concentration of Jewish landmarks in all of Turkey, making it a popular pilgrimage destination.

3. Agora Open Air Museum: A Greek-Inspired Past

Before the Ottomans came to rule, Izmir was a thriving Greek city bustling with commerce. In ancient times, Izmir's center was a large marketplace, or "agora", where travelers and locals alike could gather, trade, and socialize. Today you can see the ruins of those past trading days dating to the Hellinistic, Roman, Byzantium, and Ottoman periods. Many of the artifacts excavated at the Agora Open Air Museum site are now on display at the Izmir Archeology Museum and the History and Arts Museum. The Agora Open Air Museum is currently undergoing reservations so that in future years it can be turned into an Archeology and History Park.

4. Izmir Ethnography Museum: The Heart of Culture

The Izmir Ethnography Museum is housed in a beautiful 18th-century stone building which was once a former hospital. These days the museum aims to capture the essence of the Aegean people and their rich history, showcasing many items excavated from the nearby Open Air ruins. Here you can find examples of clothing and pottery from the Seljuk time period as well as recreated depictions of the first Turkish pharmacy of the İzmir Province. Alongside the artifacts there are many informational placards describing the arts, crafts, and customs of the Izmir region. Plus, the museum is free to enter.

5. Saat Kulesi: The Perfect Time for a Photo Op

One of the most iconic monuments in Izmir, the Clock Tower is located right on the waterfront in the center of Konak square. The Clock Tower was given as a gift from German Emperor Wilhelm II at the turn of the 20th century and was created in the elaborate Ottoman architecture style prominent in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Clock is now a popular meeting point for locals within the city and serves as the setting for many outdoor markets and cultural celebrations.

Agora Open Air MuseumAgora Open Air Museum;
Saat KulesiSaat Kulesi;

Top activities & attractions in Izmir

Where to Eat in Izmir

Dine on classic Turkish cuisine for ₺30 - ₺80 at Meşhur Tavacı Recep Usta in Alsancak, where roasted meat and desserts like Baklava are favorites.

When to visit Izmir

Izmir in November
Estimated hotel price
$40
1 night at 3-star hotel
Izmir in November
Estimated hotel price
$40
1 night at 3-star hotel

Izmir experiences a classic Mediterranean climate: hot and sticky in the summers with windy and rainy winters. During the summer months, heat can be searing, but the evenings are cooled with a sea breeze known as "meltem".

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Izmir

Plane

10 miles south of the city center is the Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB), that connects Izmir to Istanbul and Ankara for international flights. To get to the city center, you can use the airport shuttle HAVAŞ for ₺10 or public buses for ₺4.70.

Train

Traveling to Izmir by train, you'll arrive at either the Basmane Station or Alsancak. From Basmane, you can connect with the subway to get into town.

Car

Izmir's waterfront location means you must rely on ferry service, which docks at Alsancak Ferry Terminal, 1.2 miles north of the city. The ferry connects Izmir to Istanbul and even Venice.

Bus

The main bus station or the "otogar", is 3.7 miles from the center. Buses from Istanbul have a journey time of 9 hours (including a ferry trip).

Airports near Izmir

Airlines serving Izmir

Lufthansa
Good (1,371 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,074 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (357 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (662 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (367 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (304 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Good (154 reviews)
LOT
Good (257 reviews)
ITA Airways
Good (36 reviews)
easyJet
Good (338 reviews)
Aegean Airlines
Excellent (114 reviews)
Aer Lingus
Good (303 reviews)
Pegasus Airlines
Good (172 reviews)
Malaysia Airlines
Good (24 reviews)
Eurowings
Good (54 reviews)
Royal Air Maroc
Good (89 reviews)
Oman Air
Good (2 reviews)
Air Serbia
Good (30 reviews)
Asiana Airlines
Excellent (54 reviews)
Royal Jordanian
Good (117 reviews)
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Where to stay in Izmir

Shantihome in Alsancak is where you can get a single room for a decent price. Hotel Yaman is a good mid-range option, while Mövenpick offers a more upscale experience.

Popular neighborhoods in Izmir

Karsiyaka - located on the other side of the Gulf of Izmir, this district is home to Izmir's shopping streets with beautiful waterfront views of neighboring cities and a vibrant and colorful nightlife.

Alsancak - Alsancak's charm is in its small streets and Ottoman-era bars and houses.

Konak - this district is at the heart of Izmir, and is home to the Izmir Clock Tower, Konak Yali Mosque, and Kemeraltı Bazaar.

Where to stay in popular areas of Izmir

Most booked hotels in Izmir

Key Hotel - Boutique Class
Excellent (9.3, 485 reviews)
$129+
Wyndham Grand Izmir Ozdilek
Excellent (8.8, 1479 reviews)
$91+
Renaissance Izmir Hotel
Excellent (8.8, 1064 reviews)
$120+
Swissotel Buyuk Efes Izmir
Excellent (8.8, 1034 reviews)
$102+
Shantihome Hostel
Excellent (8.5, 271 reviews)
$17+
Hotel Balca
Excellent (8.2, 173 reviews)
$37+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Izmir

Public Transportation

Fares for Izmir's train line cost ₺2.4 for adults and ₺1.35 for students. There are two travel cards, which cover bus, subway, İzban rail, and ferry trips. These are rechargeable at stations, piers, and shops, with a ₺7 initial deposit.

Taxi

Taxis are reliable and fares start with a flat rate of ₺3 and ₺1.86 for each mile thereafter.

Car

You can rent cars in Izmir using Elite Car rental services for ₺72 a day and visit other port cities and beaches along the Aegean such as Çeşme and Tire.

Car rental agencies in Izmir

Avis

Avis

Payless

Payless
Find car rentals in Izmir

The Cost of Living in Izmir

Shopping Streets

Besides Karsiyaka's pedestrian shopping, check out the Forum mall in Bornova or Konak Pier, a small mall with a cinema and clothing stores.

Groceries and Other

Living in Izmir is comparable to other Turkish cities. You can get a quart of milk for ₺2.66 and ₺5.20 for a dozen eggs.

Cheap meal
$4.31
A pair of jeans
$43.13
Single public transport ticket
$0.69
Cappuccino
$2.00