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Introducing İzmir

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.