Places To Visit In Izmir

In this post you will discover 25 places to visit in Izmir, a city rich in greenery and blue seas, that has been a favorite place in Western Anatolia since its beginning. It’s known for its many ancient cities and historical background. The streets, shaded by palm trees, have beautifully designed houses. Izmir is like an outdoor museum, with seafood restaurants, cafes, places serving Aegean cuisine along its 629 kilometers of coastline, and ruins and monuments inland that tell the stories of past civilizations.

Izmir enjoys sunny weather throughout the year. Summers are warm, and winters are mild. The city and its districts like Bergama, Çeşme, Foça, Kemalpaşa, Selçuk, Seferihisar, Karaburun, Tire, and Urla are significant in history, not just in Western Turkey but across the Aegean region. Known for its beautiful shades of blue, Izmir is a popular holiday spot in Turkey, with beaches perfect for all kinds of water sports.

1. Kadifekale Castle

Places To Visit In Izmir Kadifekale Castle

Kadifekale, a historical site built on Pagos Mountain in 334 BC at the request of Macedonian King Alexander the Great, is shrouded in legend. It is said that Alexander the Great once fell asleep under a plane tree while hunting on Pagos Mountain.

In the 4th century BC, Ancient Smyrna was reconstructed on Pagos Mountain, which rises 186 meters above sea level. While the east and south walls of the castle have been completely destroyed, the north and west walls, along with five towers, still stand. These towers reach heights of 25-30 meters. Inside the castle, visitors can find the ruins of a large arched cistern and a mosque dating back to the Byzantine period.

Kadifekale, 5271. Sk. 9-11, 35270 Konak/İzmir

2. Historical Elevator Building

Historical Elevator Building Izmir

Located between Mithatpaşa Street and Nihat Bey Street at a higher altitude, Tahiri Asansör Elevator is an elevator tower that hosts two elevators. It was built in 1907 to facilitate transportation between neighborhoods due to the 50-meter difference between the streets.

The elevator tower has 3 floors. During the First World War, the lower floor of the elevator was used as a casino, the middle floor was used as a photography hall, and the upper floor was used as a cinema. The elevator, which has been standing for 105 years, currently serves as a cafe, bar and restaurant. Attracting tourists with its unique view, Elevator offers its visitors a unique view of Izmir.

 Turgut Reis, Şht. Nihatbey Cd. 76/A, 35000 Konak/İzmir

3. Kordon

Kordon Izmir

Kordon, known for its beauty that has inspired many songs, is a must-visit spot in Izmir. It’s a symbol of the city, a place where both locals and visitors come to meet the Aegean Sea, watch the sunset, or relax on the grass during spring and summer. Once famous for its Levantine houses with marble stairs and unique Izmir mansions, Kordon still houses many architectural works that hold traces of the past. It’s also home to a variety of luxury restaurants, bars, cafes, and pubs.

Alsancak, Atatürk Cd. 314 B, 35220 Konak/İzmir

4. Izmir Archeology Museum

Izmir Archeology Museum

The Izmir Archeology Museum, first opened in the Aya Vukla (Gözlü) Church in 1927 to display artifacts found in local archaeological digs, now welcomes visitors in its modern building located in Bahribaba Park in Konak. As one of Turkey’s earliest museums, it showcases a history spanning 8500 years from the Izmir region. It’s a must-visit museum in the city, covering 5,000 square meters. The museum displays artifacts unearthed from various parts of the city, particularly from Bayraklı (Smyrna), Ephesus, and Bergama. A notable exhibit is the marble “Androklos Statue” from the Roman period, depicting Androklos, the founder of Ephesus.

Konak Mahallesi, Bahri Baba Parkı, Halil Rıfat Paşa Cd. No:4, 35260 Konak/İzmir |

5. İzmir Birds Paradise

 İzmir Birds Paradise

The Bird Sanctuary at Çamaltı Saltworks in Çiğli covers a large area of 8 thousand hectares. It is home to more than 270 kinds of birds, including rare ones like pelicans, pygmy cormorants, and black storks. It’s a great place for people who love nature and photography. The salt pans here, part of the Gediz Delta, produce a lot of salt, about 600 thousand tons every year, making it the biggest sea salt producer in Turkey. The Bird Sanctuary, visited by around 50 thousand birds each year, is important for bird migration and also has historical significance. Visitors can enjoy a center for guests, towers to watch birds, binoculars, and bikes for touring.

Tuzla, No:, Kuş Cenneti Yolu No:11, 35620 Çiğli/İzmir

6. Ephesus Ancient City

Places To Visit In Izmir Ephesus Ancient City

Ephesus Ancient City, located in the Selçuk District, has a history dating back to 6,000 years ago. It is a part of the World Heritage List and consists of four main areas: Çukuriçi Mound, Ayasuluk Hill (which includes Selçuk Castle, St. John Basilica, İsa Bey Bath, İsa Bey Mosque, Artemision), the Ancient City of Ephesus itself, and the House of Virgin Mary. Ephesus has been continuously inhabited for about 9,000 years, from prehistoric times through the Hellenistic, Roman, Eastern Roman, Turkish Principalities, and Ottoman periods. It has always been an important port and a center for culture and commerce.

The Celsus Library, built between 110 – 135 AD, is one of Ephesus’ most significant buildings. It functioned as a public library for the people of Ephesus. The library also contains the sarcophagus of Celsus, its founder. On the library’s exterior lower floor, there are four female statues symbolizing Sophia (wisdom), Arete (virtue), Ennoia (thought), and Episteme (knowledge). The original statues are now housed in the Vienna Museum.

 Acarlar, Efes Harabeleri, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir

7. Çeşme Peninsula

Çeşme Peninsula

The Çeşme peninsula, with its sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters, is a favorite destination for beachgoers, surfers, and yacht enthusiasts each summer. Along the Aegean coast of Izmir, there’s a 629 km stretch, out of which 101 kilometers are natural beaches. Izmir boasts 52 beaches that are part of the Blue Flag Program, ensuring high standards of water quality, environmental management, and safety. The area between Çeşme and Kuşadası is especially popular for yacht tourism. The Seferihisar-Teos Marina, located to the south of the town of Alaçatı, with its series of small bays, is a haven for those who love yachting and surfing.

8. Seferihisar – Sığacık


Seferihisar, one of Turkey’s first “cittaslow” cities, is a perfect blend of nature and city life. Located within walking distance of the well-preserved ancient Greco-Roman city of Teos and the still surviving medieval port-fortress Sığacık, Seferihisar offers its visitors a variety of activities in a historical environment…

Seferihisar, Düzce, Seferihisar/İzmir, Türkiye

9. Allianoi Ancient Spa City

Allianoi Ancient Spa City

Allianoi, the world’s largest surviving ancient thermal spring, was established 18 kilometers northeast of Pergamum after the Hellenistic Age (2nd century BC). Known for significant progress over the centuries, Allianoi is revered as the birthplace of “Asclepius, the God of Health.” To honor Asclepius’ memory, ancient people built health centers bearing his name, and Allianoi is one of these. Known for its healing sulfur water springs, which emerge at 45 degrees Celsius, Allianoi stands as one of the four largest health centers in the world with this feature.

Paşaköy, 35700 Bergama/İzmir, Türkiye

10. Foça

Places To Visit In Izmir Foça

Foça, situated at the site of the Ancient City of Phocaea, is believed to have been founded by the same people who established the city of Marseille in France, Attalia in Corsica, and Ampurias in Catalonia. Around 600 BC, the inhabitants of Foça adorned their buildings, temples, and ships with wooden cockerel statues. According to a legend, one such statue is still hidden somewhere in the town.


11. Çeşme


Çeşme is a favorite summer spot, especially for people from Izmir. It has historic sites like a castle from the 1500s and an old inn. The town is next to white sandy beaches, with nicely built houses, big hotels, and restaurants that serve great seafood and Turkish food.

Apart from being a beach vacation place, people also visit Çeşme for spa treatments. There are many hotels in the area. Some of these hotels use the area’s natural mineral water for their thermal springs. Ilıca is famous for its hot springs and its white sandy beach. The water in Ilıca has helpful minerals like sodium chloride, magnesium sulfate, and calcium bicarbonate. Ilıca Thermal Springs offer hot pools, baths, underwater massages, and different types of therapy.


12. Alaçatı


Alaçatı, about an hour’s drive from Izmir, has become one of Turkey’s most popular summer spots recently. It’s known for its unspoiled beaches and authentic Aegean charm. With its distinctive stone houses and cobblestone streets, Alaçatı is a great place for a day trip. Visitors can enjoy sightseeing, shopping, and tasting local foods. The town is also known for culinary events, especially the Alaçatı Herb Festival in April, which showcases the area’s rich variety of plants. Alaçatı is a key destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing due to its windy conditions. The town, adorned with windmills, some turned into cafes, is a typical example of an Aegean town.


13. Acropolis of Pergamon-Bergama

 Acropolis Of Pergamon-Bergama

The Ancient City of Pergamum, about an hour from Izmir, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014. Even though it was destroyed and rebuilt many times due to its important location, Pergamum has always been a significant historical place. Its most successful time was in the 2nd century BC when it was the capital of the Pergamum Kingdom, after being ruled by Persians and then taken over by Alexander the Great. The city was known for its big library, beautiful sculptures, and as a center for health, culture, and art. At the bottom of Pergamum’s hill, there’s Asklepion, a healing center built in the 4th century BC in honor of Asclepius, the God of Healing. It was one of the most important healing centers in Western Anatolia because of its special architecture and treatment methods.


14. Ayasuluk Castle

Ayasuluk Castle

Ayasuluk Castle is situated on Ayasuluk Hill in Selçuk, which is the first place where Ephesus was settled. The castle is also well-known for its view over Selçuk. The exact time of its construction is not clear. The walls that can be seen today are from the Byzantine era, the period of the Aydınoğulları dynasty, and the Ottoman era. These walls, made of stone, brick, and plaster, are supported by 15 towers. Inside the castle, there are streets paved with stone, variously sized cisterns, a mosque, and the remains of a church at the highest point.


15. Şirince Village

Şirince Village

Şirince, located in the Selçuk district of Izmir, is one of Turkey’s most famous villages. The village, about 10 km from Selçuk and 83 km from Izmir, is named for its beautiful nature, streets, houses, and people. Şirince is especially known for its wine and stone villas and is well-regarded beyond Turkey’s borders. Many of the 19th-century houses have been carefully restored by their owners and are now used as small guesthouses, restaurants, cafes, or shops. The village also keeps its cultural character alive by offering education in themes like mathematics, art, and theater. A notable attraction in Şirince is the market in the village center, where you can find a variety of products like soap, olive oil, and handicrafts made by local women.


16. Ödemiş

Places To Visit In Izmir Ödemiş

Ödemiş, located southeast of Izmir, lies in a fertile valley between the Bozdağ mountains to the north and the Aydın mountains to the south. It is watered by the Küçük Menderes River. The district offers various types of tourism, from religious visits to highland and eco-tourism. Ödemiş has historical artifacts from different periods, including the Hittite, Phrygian, Lydian, Persian, Roman, and Byzantine eras. Known for its traditional and friendly atmosphere, the Aegean district of Ödemiş is famous for its local handicrafts, renowned meatballs, and vibrant bazaars.


17. Birgi


Birgi, known for its rich culture and natural beauty, is situated just 9 km away from its central area. Recognized as a hub for cultural and religious tourism, Birgi is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List. The town hosts ruins from various civilizations, including tombs, madrasahs, mosques, fountains, baths, libraries, masjids, and residences that showcase the architectural and cultural styles of the Anatolian Principalities and the Ottoman Empire period. Additionally, Birgi still has houses that date back to the 18th century and later. The town provides a unique example of traditional housing styles from the 18th century.


18. Pitane


Pitane is located on the north shore of Çandarlı Bay, in the south of Dikili district. Although it is not known exactly when the Ancient City of Pitane was founded, it is estimated that the history of the city dates back to the Hellenistic period. Today, there are no excavation sites or ruins where you can see the traces of the ancient city. What makes the region worth seeing is Çandarlı Castle.

Çandarlı, 35980 Dikili/İzmir, Türkiye

19. Natural Park Doğal Yaşam

Natural Park Doğal Yaşam

The park, where countless different species roam freely in their natural habitats, is the largest wildlife park in Europe. The park is home to 1048 animals of 128 species, from mammals to birds and reptiles, and endangered species such as the Asian elephant. The Wildlife Park, which is a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), attracts great attention, especially from children.


20. Kültürpark


Kültürpark is a peaceful place where you can get some fresh air, listen to the birds, touch the pines with its carefully grown trees and vegetation... There are 9,500 trees brought from all over the world, from America to Siberia, from Europe to the Far East, within the park.


21. Kemeraltı Bazaar

Places To Visit In Izmir Kemeraltı Bazaar

At the historic Kemeraltı Bazaar, you can find products made by skilled artisans from Izmir, blending the past with the present. These items might transport you back in time, letting you experience history, or they might reflect modern-day life.

A must-visit is the Kızlarağası Inn, situated in Halim Ağa Bazaar in Kemeraltı. It’s known for its Ottoman-style architecture and is one of the city’s most popular inns. The inn has shops that sell ceramics, wooden and glass souvenirs, local handicrafts, evil eye beads, silver jewelry, and antique items.

If you’re looking to take a souvenir back from your trip, evil eye beads from Izmir are a great choice. These colorful and attractive glass art pieces are not only decorative but have also been used for various purposes throughout history.


22. Karagöl Nature Park

Karagöl Nature Park

Karagöl Nature Park, situated on Yamanlar Mountain in the Karşıyaka District, offers a perfect escape from the city. Surrounded by the bounty of nature and the splendid views of Izmir Bay, Karagöl invites you to a beautiful natural paradise. Here, you can enjoy a picnic while watching ducks swim gracefully in Karagöl, and explore the beauty of Yamanlar Mountain.


23. Agamemnon Thermal Springs ( Balçova Thermal Springs)

Balçova Thermal Springs

The “Agamemnon Thermal Springs,” mentioned in the legends of Homer and the writings of the geographer Strabo, have been a center for healing from ancient times to today. These thermal springs, where Alexander the Great’s wounded soldiers were treated, were very popular in their time. Today, this area is known as “Balçova Thermal Springs.” It offers thermal waters, mud baths, and a source of drinking water. Balçova Thermal Springs also provide accommodation and are considered beneficial for health treatments. The therapeutic waters of Balçova Thermal Springs are rich in sodium chloride, also known as salt.

Vali Hüseyin Öğütcen Caddesi  No: 2 35330, Balçova, Izmir |

24. Karaburun


Karaburun, known for its natural beauty, medicinal herbs, traditions, and peaceful life philosophy, stands out as a key tourism destination in Izmir. The district is 100 km from the city center and is easily accessible via the Çeşme highway. Karaburun, also known as Mimas, is truly a unique place. It’s not just its thousands of years of history that make it a must-visit spot, but also its clean sea and beaches. Despite having beautiful bays, clear waters, and natural beaches, Karaburun remains a serene location. It has lovely beaches where you can enjoy the sea.


25. Urla


Urla is a picturesque coastal town located about 38 km from the center of Izmir. Archaeological excavations at Limantepe Mound in Urla İskele have revealed that the area dates back to 4000 years ago. The Ancient City of Klazomenai, one of the 12 Ionian cities on the southern coast of the Gulf of Izmir, was strategically important for controlling maritime traffic in the gulf and the surrounding small islands. Today’s Urla is also notable for its olive oil production. Archaeologists have discovered remains of an olive press dating back to the 6th century BC. They found charred olive seeds, terracotta containers used for separating oil from water in olives, and small hand mortars or grinding stones for crushing olive grains. Urla is also famous for its wine production, both in ancient times and today. The local vineyards produce some of Turkey’s finest wines.