Country: Turkey
Currency: Lira (TLR)
Peak Season: July-September
Shoulder Season: April-May, October
Median Temperature: 17.50 C / 63.5 F
Main Languages: Turkish, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Metro, bus, taxi, boat
Recommended Duration of Stay: 3 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $120.00/day
Tourist Passes: Kent Kart
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Izmir is Turkeyís third largest city and is a venue to a number of historical landmarks (many being Greek) and tourist attractions (beaches, sea cruises, bazaars, museums). The city played a pivotal role in many ancient wars, involving occupancies from a triumvirate of daunting civilizations: Greeks, Romans, and Ottoman Turks. At present, the city is usually a major Turkish circuit itinerary, alongside Istanbul, Ankara and Antalya. Aside from tourism, Izmir also plays a significant role in the countryís economy with its agricultural, industrial, and handicraft exports. From its very inception, Izmir has been the center for commerce and international trade.

Clear skies, fair weather, nostalgic neighborhoods, a tapestry of divergent cultures, and a bustling metropolis are what make Izmir an essential itinerary. Many tourists attest that the even street food tops the quality of major European cities due to the rich soil and freshly picked produce. Spices are abundant as well, making the cuisine tastier than ever. Relative to other Turkish cities, Izmir has more substance over style. The locals are refined people, many having studied in reputable universities and capitalizing on Izmirís popularity as a hotbed for trade exhibitions.

Packing List

  • Walking shoes, seasonal clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen, sunglasses and hats to easily brave the heat; Izmir will entail a lot of walking and beach bashing, so keep yourself sun-proof
  • An ample amount of pocket money, since credit cards are not wholly honored here unlike in Istanbul; foreign currency is preferred by merchants due to the high inflation rates
  • A reliable camera with lots of batteries and storage and a laptop are essential; free WiFi connectivity is offered in most hotels
  • A sizeable number of Tupperware and luggage bags to store those spices, carpets and tapestries, which are priced slightly lower than in most Turkish regions
  • A handy travel guide and a street map for easy reference; a GPS device could come in handy, but remember that Izmir is more of a resort town instead of an adventure getaway, so pack light

Things to Do

  • Enjoying the white, sandy (or otherwise pebbly) beaches and turquoise waters at summertime; beach types range from family-friendly ones to those intended for intense water sports
  • Spotting your favorite handicraft at Kizlaragasi Han Bazaar; famous for its variety of artisan wares and tapestry, the bazaar will delight anyone looking for cheap-yet-eclectic furniture and accessories
  • Taking snapshots of the Agora ruins which, during the stint of Alexander the Great and Marcus Aurelius, served as an assembly/demonstration area, and finally a marketplace prior to its destruction
  • Visiting Saint Polycarp Church, the oldest Christian place of worship in the city, undergoing numerous restorations for three centuries and displaying brilliant iconographies inside the nave
  • Strolling around the promenade of two-mile Ataturk Caddesi (Kordon), which overlooks the Gulf of Izmir; you might also want to take a yacht cruise to get a different glimpse of the city

DON'T

  • Evoke your wealth or display interest on merchandise/food you wonít actually buy, or else be pestered by persistent salesmen for minutes
  • Shell out too much cash eating inside restaurants; Izmir produce are some of the best-grown in the world, and itís nifty to buy from snack stalls or just munch on fruits to keep yourself hydrated
  • Break any Islamic tradition or ordinance; while Izmir is keen one getting tourists and may look lenient, authorities still keep a close eye on any unscrupulous activity
  • Talk politics, religion, or anything condescending to the locals or insinuate anything harsh about what youíve experienced in Turkey; keep those to yourself
  • Lowball any merchants here; the price they set is usually fair and can be haggled down to a few liras; ask for a discount courteously and avoid exchange of words with anyone, even jokingly