Last weekend we were in İzmir, “the pearl of Aegean” as they say, with only 3 days to spend. We wanted to make the best of it so we asked our Smyrnian friends about all the best things to do.
1Start the day with Boyoz.
Boyoz goes best with boiled pink eggs and tea.
2Stroll through the streets filled with beautiful stone houses.
Don’t forget to post lots of photos while you’re at it!
More Tips from Locals: Top 19 things to do in Istanbul.
3See the Roman artifacts at the Agora.
Agoras happen to be the ancient centers of administration and commerce. In other words, the ancient hearts of the city.
4Visit the Kemeraltı market and the Kızlarağası Hanı.
Kemeraltı market happens to be the center of commerce in the Ottoman times. It is still an active marketplace with merchandise ranging from gold jewellery to cheap toys and food.
5And have a cup of “Dibek Kahvesi” while you’re at it.
You might want to buy some to take home, too.
6Do see the Konak square and the İzmir Clock Tower.
Isn’t it interesting that clocks were at public squares back in the day? This clock tower, one of the most popular icons of the city, was built in 1901 in honor of the 25th year of Sultan Abdulhamid II’s accession to the throne.
7Do take the elevator:
Not as grandoise as Monaco, but this historic elevator connects two districts of Izmir that are way too hard to travel otherwise. And the view from the top is refreshing!
8Walk along the Kordon, or ride the buggy in style. Better yet, ride a public bike!
In fact, that’s how we went to see the “elevator.” Took us a fun 15 mins!
9Have lunch at one of the many artisan restaurants of the city.
10Ride the ferry to Karşıyaka and feed the seagulls!
All you need to do is to buy one simit (or gevrek, as they say in İzmir) and start throwing.
11Visit the 8000 year old city of Ephesus.
The ancient city of Ephesus is only an hour from the city and there are day tour operators that’ll take you there for a cheap price.
I met a traveller from an antique land / Who said: 'Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand / Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown / And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command / Tell that its sculptor well those passions read / Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things / The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. / And on the pedestal these words appear — / "My name is #Ozymandias, king of kings: / Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" / Nothing beside remains. Round the decay / Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare / The lone and level sands stretch far away.' ~ Percy B. Shelley. #Ephesus #izmir #smyrna #history #ancient
12Visit the nearby House of Virgin Mary and make a wish on the wishing wall.
A popular place of pilgrimage for many Christians, the house was discovered in the 19th cc after the reported visions of a Roman Catholic Nun.
13Visit the cute Aegean village of Şirince while you’re at it.
It’s only 15 minutes from Ephesus. The region is known for some great wine and authentic boutique hotels.
14Party in Alsancak.
Though İzmir is a rather laid-back city, and our friends from İzmir told us this is where they go to party.
15If you have the time, spend a few days in Çeşme.
Only one hour from the city, Çeşme is where the İzmir people go in the summer to swim and party. But more on this later!