A labyrinthine bazaar stretching from Konak Sq through to the ancient Agora, Kemeraltı dates back to the 17th century and is home to shops, eateries, artisans' workshops, mosques, coffeehouses, tea gardens and synagogues. Spending a day exploring its crowded and colourful streets, historic places of worship, hidden courtyards and grand caravanserais reveals the real İzmir. Highlights include the cafes between the Hisar Mosque and the Kızlarağası Han, which serve the city's famous fincanda pişen Türk kahvesi (Turkish coffee boiled in the cup).
The bazaar's main drag is Anafartalar Caddesi – use this and the historic Hisar, Şadırvan and Kestanepazarı Mosques as navigational aids. You're bound to get lost – even locals do – but losing your way and coming across unexpected treasures is part of the bazaar's attraction. Look out for the Kızlarağası Hanı, built in 1744, an Ottoman bedesten (warehouse) and kervansaray (caravanserai) similar to the İç (Inner) Bedesten in İstanbul's famous Grand Bazaar. Other highlights include the produce market in Havra (Synagogue) Sokak within the city's historic Jewish enclave. To spend a food-focused day within and around the bazaar, consider signing up for the Only in İzmir guided culinary walk operated by the well-regarded Culinary Backstreets outfit.
Note that it is not safe to wander through Kemeraltı at night, particularly in the area around Havra Sokağı.