A modern city with plenty of historic attractions, Izmir is the cosmopolitan port and commercial centre on Turkey’s Aegean coast. Although it is a large business-like city, it has plenty to offer visitors. Those who holiday in Izmir will enjoy the ambience of its seafront palm-fringed promenade around the bay, the colourful bazaar, waterfront restaurants,more
Slowly Getting Better For Tourists in Izmir - D. Date of travel: Oct 2010
English-speaking tourists and tourists in general are slowly getting a better deal in Izmir. The city has a double-decker tourist bus that plies the city sights now, there are new boutique hotels in the Basmane area that look pleasant (at least from the outside, good for attending conferences at the nearby convention hall), and the city is making an effort to plant seasonal flowers throughout the city to spruce it up. They have even cleaned up the area around the ancient Agora ruins on the hill near the covered bazaar area, Cankaya. The ruins have a long history that reflects the deep history of the area, a nice sight to wander around to imagine ancient life. I hear that efforts have been or will be made to make the castle overlooking the downtown more presentable to tourists. Several challenges remain. The city is not set up for foreign guests to the extent that it might. Dual or multi-language signs are still not that present, making navigation a challenge sometimes. The covered bazaar is very interesting, but for guests to navigate the inner stores exposes you to getting lost - no help from the shop owners who must assume you know the way out of the complex labyrinth, as if they are unaware of the daunting navigation skills needed. A tour of ancient synagogues would be a highlight if the authorities knew how to develop the projects - closed buildings, no signage doesn't help. There is a general under-appreciation for what tourists like; architecture in Izmir has been totally neglected in city planning, the city has no awareness to bring out the individual character of the city, civic building projects can easily be spruced up or built to look like something unique, making the city more attractive. There is a mixed-use shopping/government office and underground pedestrian arcade in central Konak, housing a department store, that has been totally neglected, with the sea air having deteriorated the surfaces of the huge building. This alone gives the city a bad name as visitors go by on the seaside road, which is still spectacular going toward the road to Cesme. Really, get your act together Izmir Municipality, put some money, sometime, somehow into fixing or building a new building. Dreary, dirty grey facades don't cut it anywhere in that important of a building. Also, the government souvenir store near the Movenpick Hotel has no English signs, and no effort has gone into it. If you didn't know what it was, you would walk right by. The store staff is not welcoming to foreign tourists. Amazing. That's enough for now, time to go to see a movie at the great shopping center called the Agora in the Bolcova district. A good place to relax in familiar western surroundings.
Beautiful city - Phillip Wegner. Date of travel: Jun 2007
Izmir is a really beautiful city, with thousands of years of history. It is a great holiday base, being close to the beach resorts of Kusadası, Cesme and others. Izmir's old town has narrow winding streets and interesting bazaars. Check out Kemer Alti for some interesting shopping. There are many interesting things to do in Izmir, for instance you can take the elevator (Asansor) to the top of a hill for panoramic views of the city. The city has a large park called Fuar, a good place to chill out with many bars, restaurants and kebab stalls. Of course there are also loads of mosques you can visit, just remember to observe local courtesies. Interesting excursions from Izmir include: Kusadasis, a beach resort town which gets packed with tourists in the summer. Usadasi is a smaller beach resort south east of Izmir which has less holiday makers. Bergama is a ancient city in the mountains 70 miles west of Izmir which has wonderful old castle. Selcuk is a village south east of Izmire which has a nice market and museum. The town of Ephesus is also nearby - this was one of the great Roman cities and still has lots of old Roman sights. Definately worth going here. Near Ephesus is the House of Maria, where the mother of Jesus is said to have spent the last years of her life. Izmir is really worth a visit on holiday, there is lots to do and you will see some of the "real" Turkey rather than the tourist version you get at the main beach resorts. The locals are very friendly, helpful and speak good English.