What to See & Do in İzmir, Turkey

Last Updated on May 1, 2024

An Izmir Guide: What to See & Do

Izmir is one of the major tourist destinations ranked just beside Antalya, Istanbul, Muğla, and Ankara. Due to its central location in the Aegean region and well-developed infrastructure, it is famed as a major hub for travelers who want to experience the warm Aegean climate and snow-white beaches in the region along Çeşme, Aydın, and Muğla, which are known as the paradise of restful beach holidays. 

However, there is more to do in Izmir than merely using it as a base to visit the popular spots of Ephesus or Çeşme. There are many historic sites to visit in this magnificent city. You can also enjoy staying at five-star hotels, restaurants, bars, and cafes. There are even restaurants that recently earned a Michelin star rating.

Top Sights in Izmir

Izmir is a historically and culturally rich area with many ancient structures left by ancient civilizations from Ionians, Lydians, Persians, Hellenes, Greeks, Romans, and Ottomans. If you ever get the chance, take the chance to glimpse at the breathing history and visualize these ancient metropolises.

In the City Center

Agora (Agora Ören Yeri)

Agora is the name given to commercial areas in the ancient Greek & Roman times. Agora Ören Yeri in Izmir was one of the biggest Agoras in the Roman Empire. Located in the Konak district of Izmir, the remains of this amazing structure are now exhibited as an open museum, inviting visitors to witness the region's history. 

Izmir Clock Tower

Located in the famous Konak Square next to the beautiful Gulf of Izmir, this ancient clock tower has become Izmir's symbol and is visited by many daily.

Kadifekale (Castle)

Built per Alexander the Great's order in 334 BC, this castle is another historical site you can visit in the Konak district of Izmir. It is the perfect place to have a panoramic view over Izmir.

Izmir Historical Asansor

Built in 1907, the historical elevator is the other spot where you can see the city and the Gulf of Izmir from the sky. Also, you can always fancy a drink or meal against the magnificent view of Izmir at the top.

Kızlarağası Hanı (Kemeraltı Bazaar)

Another spot just at walking distance to Konak Square is the Kemeraltı Bazaar, where you can visit the ancient Kızlarağası Hanı, built in the 18th century as a trading spot for merchants. It is the best place to get gifts from Turkey for your loved ones.


Karşıyaka is a popular district in Izmir. You can get to Karşıyaka easily with any public transportation method you prefer. However, we recommend using a ferry to cross along the Gulf of Izmir and witness the amazing scenery. Here, you can shop at many traditional and modern shops in the popular market district of Karşıyaka, as well as enjoy the cafes and restaurants along the coastline.

Just Outside the City Center

Çeşme Peninsula

Just an hour's drive from Izmir, the Çeşme Peninsula is among the most popular tourist destinations in the Aegean region. The area is popular with blue flag beaches, white snow sands, and warm water. 


The Ancient City of Ephesus is reminiscent of a Roman port city, which is reserved better than most zones around the world. Walking through this ancient settlement feels as if walking through an open museum. Many old structures are left in the area, such as The Library of Celsus, The Church of the Virgin Mary, The Big Theater, Hillside Houses, and The Temple of Artemis.

Bergama (Pergamum)

Bergama is another historic site where you can glimpse ancient remains of the Roman Empire. The site is built on a hillside, so you must take a cable car (or taxi if you are not a fan of heights) to reach the ruins, promising an amazing view of the city and its remains.


Dikili is a coastal town located outside Izmir, yet it is worth visiting. You will be surprised by this magnificent town's tortoise waters and golden white beaches. 

Top Experiences

Izmir is a very versatile city where you can find all Turkey has to offer. There are blue flag beaches, five-star resorts and hotels, unique establishments, nightlife, and everything expected of a modern city. The top popular activities to do when visiting Izmir include:

  1. Visiting many historical structures and buildings left by many civilizations over the course of history. 
  2. Enjoying a relaxing seaside holiday at the blue flag beaches of Çeşme, Ilıca, and Dikili.
  3. Shopping and getting lost in the Karşıyaka district and ancient Kemeraltı Bazaar of Izmir. 
  4. Walking along the shores at Konak, Karşıyaka, and Kordon, witnessing the amazing scenery of the Gulf of the Izmir. 
  5. Experiencing the lively nightlife of the warm Aegean climate going from one pub to another. 
  6. Enjoying local flavors and meals famous around the world. 

Discover the Pearl of the Aegean

The Aegean region has been a major hub for many civilizations throughout history, leaving its mark on the area, and Izmir is a popular destination for travelers visiting Turkey, full of history and cultural appeals. 

Today, Izmir is a well-developed city and a major destination for visitors worldwide, with many attractions and adventures. Remember to enjoy your time in this amazing city and experience everything it offers!

- by Can Turan

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