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Çeşme, Aegean Turkey

Last Updated on November 26, 2023

Çeşme is a pleasant, popular resort town with pristine beaches, sun, and the beautiful Aegean Sea. It is the main town of the Çeşme Peninsula. 

Where is Çeşme?

Çeşme is 85 km (53 miles) due west of Izmir and is the port for ferries to Chios, a nearby Greek island. It is one of the true gems in Izmir because it has many places to discover with its fascinating sandy beaches, lively nightlife, and historical sites such as Çeşme Castle.

Popular Sights 

Çeşme has many popular places, from natural wonders to historical sites. For example,

Çeşme Castle is one of the most famous historical places of Çeşme, dating back to 1508, during the time of the Ottoman Empire. You can also see some typical Ottoman cottages nearby. 

There are also ancient churches in Çeşme. Ayios Haralambos Kilisesi is a unique church within Çeşme. It is an Orthodox church dating back to 1832, dedicated to St. Haralambos.

For a traditional and authentic trip, you can visit Germiyan Village, just 24 kilometers (14 miles) from the center of Çeşme. The architecture of houses still carries its Ottoman and Greek influence due to efforts made to preserve its naturality. Germiyan Village is known for a specific term called "slow food," which contrasts with  "fast food" culture. Slow-food culture aims to make people eat food with organic and healthy ingredients.

For a smaller, cozier, and less crowded version of Çeşme, you can make a short trip to nearby Alaçatı. However, there is a reason behind it being less crowded because it has higher prices in contrast to Çeşme.

Beaches in Çeşme, Turkey

There are good beaches in the south of Çeşme and nearby Ilıca. These top-quality blue flag beaches are easily reachable by minibus (dolmuş). Moreover, Çeşme has crystal clear sea water free of pollution.

It is important to mention that most of the beaches in Çeşme are shallow, just like Ilıca's, so you do not need to worry about whether it becomes deep suddenly. The sea is always pure and crystal clear without rocks. There is even a place called Altınkum Plajı (Goldensand Beach) due to its soft golden sand.

Lodging

If you'd like to stay in Çeşme, the town has ample hotels in all price ranges, so you have plenty of choices when picking a hotel. There are all kinds of cozy, boutique, modern, and luxury hotels.

Transportation

Getting to Çeşme is easy from most major cities in Turkey, with major highways and roads connecting the peninsula to the rest of the country. Also, public transportation is also convenient with frequent routes to Çeşme. 

Also transportation within the Çeşme Peninsula (Ilıca, Alaçatı and Çeşme towns) is simple, as there are minibusses operating between each town.

Distances & Travel Times

Izmir is 90 km (55.92 mi) to Çeşme and takes 1 hour.

Alaçatı is 11 km (6.84 mi) to Çeşme and only takes 17 minutes.

Ilıca is 5 km (3.11 mi) to Çeşme and only takes 12 minutes.

Istanbul is 579 km (359.77 mi) to Çeşme and takes 6 hours.

Kuşadası is 176 km (109.55 mi) to Çeşme and takes 2 hours.

Cuisine

One of the things known about Çeşme is its food. Many five-star restaurants offer top-quality food for visitors around the world. Drinks and wine are also a popular choice for visitors in Çeşme.

You can see plenty of elegant yachts if you are close to or at Çeşme Marina. Some of them serve as a fish restaurant! There are also a few pleasant waterfront restaurants and many more restaurants of all types along the old main street inland.

For those who want to try a traditional taste, you can always go for a boyoz. It is a dough-like snack made from flour, salt, and oil. You will also see street vendors who sell midye dolma (stuffed mussels). And, if you ever crave something sweet, you can eat lokma (loukoumades). They might look crispy on the outside, but they are very soft and sweet!

Top Experiences

The main square has many restaurants, cafes, clubs, tea houses, and nice sunset views of the Aegean Sea. Çeşme's small fortress, now nicely restored as a local museum, looms over the square and provides a historical and architectural presence.

When it comes to restaurants, you have many choices. Çeşme is known for Çeşme Kumrusu (Çeşme Sandwich), mostly filled with vegetables and cheese. You can also see many seafood restaurants.

Çeşme is famous for its hot springs to treat ailments such as rheumatism, stomach and digestive problems, eczema, and more. There are two of the most known hot springs in Ilıca and Şifne. 

In addition, Çeşme is renowned as one of the best windsurfing resorts in the world. There are surf festivals that take place every year. Similarly, some local festivals always take place in Çeşme, and they might be worth checking out! You can also join daily boat trips, including discovering hidden coves and crossing to the Greek island of Sakız Adası (Chios). 

Tips for Visitors in Çeşme

If you ever need help, Çeşme's Tourism Information Office is between the south tower of the fortress and the sea, very near the dock for the Ertürk Line ferries between Çeşme and Chios, Greece. They will be happy to help you with any concerns you have. 

Sunday is market day in Çeşme. If you're a day too early, head for the even nicer Saturday market in Alaçatı. Many of the shopkeepers know English, and they are friendly. You can also visit traditional markets and souvenir shops to buy and keep some goods to remember your unforgettable Çeşme trip.

Visit Çeşme, the Pearl of the Aegean Region

Çeşme is a popular place in Turkey. It is near Izmir, so many tourists who visit Izmir also prefer to visit Çeşme. There are five-star hotels and restaurants ready to serve dishes worldwide. 

Çeşme is always lively, bustling with people. There are festivals and many historical structures to see and photograph. Book your holiday to Turkey today to enjoy the beauty of Çeşme!

—by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Can Turan

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