Things to do in Izmir

Things to do in Izmir

Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, is located on the Aegean coast and boasts a rich cultural heritage, beautiful beaches, and delicious cuisine. It is a city that has something for everyone, from history buffs to beach lovers to foodies. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best things to do in Izmir and why you should visit this charming city.

Historical Sites

Izmir is a city steeped in history, and there are numerous historical sites to explore. One of the most popular sites is the Ancient City of Ephesus, which is located approximately an hour’s drive from the city. This ancient city was once a major port city in the Roman Empire and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city features impressive ruins, including the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Visitors can explore the well-preserved ruins, including the amphitheater, the library of Celsus, and the terraced houses.

Another must-visit historical site in Izmir is the Kadifekale Castle, also known as the Velvet Castle. This castle was built during the reign of Alexander the Great and offers splendid views of the city and the Aegean Sea. The castle walls and towers have been restored in recent years, and visitors can explore them while taking in the breathtaking views of the city and the sea.

The Agora Open Air Museum is another popular historical site in Izmir. The museum features the ruins of an ancient Roman marketplace, which was once the commercial heart of the city. Visitors can see the remains of the marketplace, including the ancient colonnades and fountains.


Izmir is renowned for its peaceful beaches, and there are plenty to choose from. One of the most popular beaches is Cesme Alacati, which is located about an hour’s drive from the city. This beach offers crystal clear waters, white sand, and plenty of water sports activities, such as windsurfing and kiteboarding. It’s also home to many beach clubs, bars, and restaurants.

Another great beach option is Karsiyaka Beach, which is located in the city center. This beach offers stunning views of the city’s skyline and is an excellent spot for a picnic or a relaxing day in the sun. Visitors can rent umbrellas and sun loungers and enjoy a refreshing swim in the sea.

For those looking for a more secluded beach experience, Pamucak Beach is a great option. Located about 20 minutes from the city, this beach offers pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters. Visitors can enjoy a quiet day in the sun, away from the crowds.

Food and Drink

Izmir is a food lover’s paradise, with plenty of local delicacies to try. One of the must-try dishes is the famous Turkish breakfast, which typically includes a variety of bread, cheese, olives, and eggs. One of the best places to try Turkish breakfast is the Kemeralti Bazaar, which is a bustling market in the city center. The market offers a wide range of local specialties, including fresh produce, spices, and sweets.

Another popular local delicacy is the Izmir kofte, a spicy meatball made with lamb or beef. This dish is typically served with bulgur pilaf and grilled vegetables and can be found at many local restaurants.

Izmir is also known for its street food, including the well-known “midye dolma,” a stuffed mussel dish. This dish is typically filled with rice, herbs, and spices and is a popular snack in the city’s streets and markets. Visitors can find this delicious snack at many street food vendors throughout the city.


Izmir has a great nightlife scene, with plenty of bars, clubs, and live music venues to choose from. One of the most popular areas for nightlife is Alsancak, which is a lively district filled with bars and clubs. Visitors can enjoy live music, dancing, and delicious cocktails at venues like Hayal Kahvesi and Studio Live Music.

Another great option for nightlife is Karsiyaka, which is located on the other side of the bay from Alsancak. This district offers a more laid-back atmosphere, with a variety of bars and cafes where visitors can enjoy a drink and take in the views of the city.


Izmir is a great city for shopping, with several markets and shopping centers to choose from. One of the most popular markets is the Kemeralti Bazaar, which is a historic market that dates back to the Ottoman era. The market features numerous shops selling everything from spices and sweets to jewelry and textiles. Visitors can wander through the narrow streets and alleys, taking in the sights and sounds of this bustling market.

Another popular market is the Alsancak Bazaar, which is located in the city center and features numerous stalls selling local handicrafts, textiles, and souvenirs. Visitors can find unique gifts and souvenirs to bring back home, such as hand-painted ceramics, Turkish carpets, and handmade jewelry.

For those looking for a more modern shopping experience, there are several shopping centers in Izmir, including the Konak Pier Shopping Center and the Forum Bornova Shopping Center. These centers offer a range of shops, restaurants, and cafes, as well as a cinema and a bowling alley.


Izmir is home to numerous museums, which offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture. One of the most popular museums is the Izmir Archaeological Museum, which features artifacts from ancient times, including pottery, jewelry, and sculptures. Visitors can learn about the city’s ancient past and see some of the most important artifacts from this period.

The Ethnography Museum is another must-visit museum in Izmir, which showcases the region’s traditional costumes, textiles, and handicrafts. Visitors can learn about the city’s cultural heritage and traditions through the exhibits on display.

Parks and Gardens

Izmir is home to several parks and gardens, which are great for a relaxing day out. One of the most popular parks is the Kulturpark, which is located in the city center and features a beautiful garden, an amusement park, and several cultural institutions. Visitors can enjoy a picnic in the garden or take a ride on one of the amusement park rides.

The Balcova Thermal Park is another great option, which features several thermal pools and a charming natural setting. Visitors can relax in the pools and enjoy the nice scenery, while also taking advantage of the park’s many amenities, including a spa and a restaurant.

All in all, Izmir is a city with a rich history, relaxing beaches, delicious cuisine, and an amazing culture. Whether you’re interested in history, food, or nightlife, there is something for everyone in Izmir. We hope this guide has inspired you to explore this beautiful city and experience all that it has to offer.

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