Whether it’s the time-warp streets of Ephesus, the ‘I want to buy it all’ factor of the Grand Bazaar, or the sandy beaches, holidays to Izmir can’t fail to impress.
The list of reasons to visit this corner of Turkey is a long one, but there’s one must-see that tends to come out tops. Ephesus – one of the best-preserved ancient cities on earth – is the big draw in this neck of the woods, and no wonder. All marble temples and amphitheatres, it gave Rome a run for its money in its heyday. Not only that, but the remains of the Temple of Artemis – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – are just down the road.
Not far from Ephesus is the beach resort of Kusadasi. It fuses old and new – look one way and it’s all trendy bars and restaurants, and turn in the other direction for narrow streets lined with sugar-cube houses. There’s also a souk here – the aptly named Grand Bazaar. Over 1,000 stalls compete for space, and traders peddle spices, rugs and Aladdin-style lamps.
Further along the coast you’ve got the port city of Izmir. This place is more of a modern fairytale – having burnt down after the War of Independence a century ago, it reinvented itself as a cosmopolitan hub. There’s a sleek harbour, a waterside park and a pier built by none other than Monsieur Eiffel – the man behind Paris’ iconic iron lady.
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Seferihisar is a peaceful district on the west coast of Turkey. There are two neighbourhoods to watch out for – Sigacik port, with its historical port and supermodern marina, and inland Seferihisar town. The rest of the countryside is a patchwork of tangerine trees, olive groves and vine-stuffed greenhouses. History runs deep here, so you can expect hills and beaches to be spritzed with millennia-old ruins.
Kusadasi used to be a fishing village but it’s caught on fast. Set on Turkey’s west coast, the place now has holiday resort written all over it, with buzzing bars and a good-looking marina lined with cafés, restaurants and shops. The old town’s still around, but you’ve got modern shops jostling with traditional bazaars along the cobbled streets. Some things don’t change, though – like the selection of beaches.
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