Although it has a dramatic setting around a bay backed by mountains, most of İzmir is modern, which makes it a hard city in which to fall in love at first sight. Give it a chance and you may find Turkey’s third-largest city growing on you.
İzmir owes a huge debt to the late, much-lamented mayor, Ahmet Piriştina, who saved it from potentially disastrous plans to run a motorway along the seafront and gave large parts of the centre back to the locals by overseeing pedestrianisation schemes. Nowadays the sea-facing Kordon is a great place for jogging, cycling, walking the dog and just plain lounging about, while the northern district of Alsancak is being steadily restored, its lovely old houses reminiscent of the Greek island of Chios, metamorphosing into inviting restaurants and bars.
With a day to spare, you can take in the few antiquities and museums, loiter in cafés along the waterfront, and enjoy the sweeping views from Kadifekale castle. The labyrinthine bazaar also remains a colourful area to get lost in.
İzmir destination guides
Izmir Shore Excursion: Private Tour to Ephesus, House of Virgin Mary and Temple of Artemis
When your cruise ship arrives in Izmir, make the most of your time with this private shore excursion to Ephesus, where you'll see some of most famous sights in Turkey. With your private tour guide, walk around the ancient city, a former center of the ancient world and one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the eastern Mediterranean.
Izmir Shore Excursion: Day Trip to Ephesus and House of Virgin Mary
When you're in port in Izmir, don’t miss exploring the ancient ruins of Ephesus, the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean. This Turkey shore excursion also includes a visit to the House of the Virgin Mary, where Mary spent her final days.