It is fun, sun and adventure all the way on a private tour of Izmir, the third largest city in Turkey. A city with an incredible history that is ready to greet tourists with every shade of blue waters, sunny skies for 300 days of the year and golden sandy beaches.
More importantly, the 8,500-year history and archaeological sites all add to this cities uniqueness.
Izmir was originally founded by the Greeks before being taken over by the Romans. Next came Alexandra the Great and then finally it became part of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.
Some of the archaeological sites relating to these eras include The Roman Agora of Smyrna (Izmir was known as Smyrna in ancient years) which is now an open-air museum and Kadifekale Castle which is on a hilltop in the centre of Izmir city.
This city is very lucky to have the Aegean sea along one side and then to be surrounded by hills and mountains on all the other sides. These mountains offer a fantastic backdrop to Izmir. Read More...
Take a City Tour of Izmir and Visit Many Fascinating Places Such as Kemeralti Market
One of the more popular mountains to take a sightseeing tour of is Mount Yamanlar. From the summit, there are beautiful views of the Gulf of Izmir and a crater lake called “Karagöl”.
It is definitely recommended to take a city tour of Izmir and one of the more entertaining places to see is Kemeralti Market.
This market or Bazaar began during 1650-1670 and has grown ever since. It is full of small shops and markets that seem everything from food, spices, traditional souvenirs, clothes and all variations of utensils.
The nightlife in Izmir is NOT boring, that is for sure. The fabulous cafes, restaurants and bars along the seafront or in the city offer great entertainment all night long that includes live music or traditional Turkish nights with belly dancers!
Top 10 Things to Do in
The Roman Agora of Smyrna
Should you go on a guided tour of The Roman Agora of Smyrna, you will be amazed at the history found here. See its basilica, well-protected buildings, historic murals and a 2,000-year-old water trench. There is evidence found here that Muslims, Jews and Christians all lived here together in peace. During excavations, graffiti was found on the basilica that shows the first ever crossword in the world.
Kadifekale Castle can be seen on a sightseeing tour or if you are more energetic on a guided hiking trail. Situated on the hilltop in the centre of the city, this castle dates back to Roman times. Explore the watchtowers, plain interior, see the remains of a 14th-century Ottoman mosque, public baths relics and much more. There is a bazaar located within the fortress walls and a fantastic view of the city below.
Visit Izmir’s heart and soul on a city tour to Kemeralti Market. This is a bazaar that is like a labyrinth with all the little street and lanes that run off it. Dating back to an era during the 17th century, it has mosques, coffeehouses, tea gardens, eateries and many shops selling everything. Explore the grand caravansaries and historic places of worship that include not just Mosques but a synagogue too.
Izmir Museum of History and Art
Take a guided tour to the Izmir Museum of History and Art. This museum was only established n 2004 and is located with the Kulturpark. There are three separate buildings with each one specialising in different works of art such as stone, ceramics, precious artefacts and more. All the artefacts that you see on display are items that were found in Izmir city or from the immediate surroundings.
St. Polycarp Church
Visit the oldest church in Izmir on a sightseeing tour of St. Polycarp Church. It is said to represent ancient Smyrna’s (Izmir) role as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. The story of St. Polycarp is that he became Bishop of Smyrna after John the Apostle converted him. At the age of 86, the Romans tried to burn him at stake but, the flames would not touch him, so they had to stab him. The interior decor is impressive.
Why not take a very enjoyable sightseeing tour to Alacati, which is a very quaint town close to Izmir and on the Çesme peninsula. There are some surfers from all over the world that would put it as the third best surfing town. It has lovely old picturesque stone houses that have held on to all of their charm along the backstreets. Enjoy the boutiques, trendy cafes, traditional restaurants and watch the stunning sunset seen.
On a city tour of Izmir, you will be brought to see the most iconic attraction, the Clock Tower which was built in 1901 as a gift to the then Sultan Abdulhamid 25th year. The marble which is both green and pink was brought from Marseilles upon instruction from the architect M. Raymond Pere. The clocks on the outer faces were gifts from the German Emperor Wilhelm the 2nd. See the Clock Tower at night when it is lit up magnificently.
Fountains and Wells Tour
One interesting tour to take in Izmir is the specialised one that brings you to see Fountains and Wells. There are many fountains and wells found in the city that represent the magnificence of the Ottoman Era architecture. It also represents the importance of water and cleanliness to the Turkish Islamic culture. The Donertas Well is one of the most important and people who come to Hatuniye Mosque spin a rock for luck.
A trip to Izmir would hardly be complete without a guided tour of a mosque and one of the largest found in the city is the Hisar Mosque. This mosque dates back to 1597 and is situated in the Kemeralti Market. The inside is ornately decorated very ‘izmirli’ with lots of blue and gold motifs all over the domed ceiling. At the bottom of the women ’s gallery, there are roses and grapes carved all along.
Along the seafront in Izmir is the now iconic Kordon which is more or less the promenade. The grass area all along the Kordon allows you to sit and watch the world go by or take in the amazing Turkish sunsets. There is also the best variety of cafes, restaurants and bars to keep you fed and entertained. It can be a very lively area at night time with many bars and restaurants hosting live entertainment.
Travel Tips for Izmir
Best Time To Visit
Believe it or not, Izmir is a city that can be enjoyed anytime throughout the year. If you are really interested in sightseeing tours to such places like archaeological sites then from Mid March through to October and early November is the best times. The intense sun is not beating down on your head as much. It is also cheaper these months and the winter months. Flights and accommodation prices increase during June to August.
During peak season, the average amount of money needed per day for 3-star food, accommodation and excursions per person is around $260.00. It is a lot less during the off season. This is just a guideline, there are cheaper or more expensive hotels and restaurants, so how much you want to spend will all depend on your budget. To get around the city, the public transport is very cheap, and taxis are not very expensive either.
Know Before Visiting
Research the destination you wish to travel to thoroughly. Check if you require a visa to enter Turkey, these are easily attained online.Turkey has two major religious holidays during the year, and many places are closed. However as tourism is crucial here, most tourist attractions remain open they are just extra busy. Dress appropriately when going on private tours to a mosque. Only drink bottled water and always check the cap is sealed.
The weeks of July and August are the hottest in Turkey with temperatures rising above 33 degrees Celsius and virtually no rain. June and September have temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius, April, May and October’s temperatures average from 22-27 degrees Celsius. January, February and December are always the coldest months with temperatures around 14 degrees Celsius and a good bit of rain.