Explore Izmir with ’s Travel Guides to find the best hotels, flights, holiday packages and more!
Izmir is one of Turkey’s undiscovered gems, a liberal, multicultural city that dates back to ancient times. It’s lucky enough to sit on the Bay of Izmir on Turkey’s west coast, a beautiful stretch of the coastline that benefits from pretty blue seas and a warm and sunny climate.
Book a hire car in Izmir and you’re free to enjoy the city, or to stretch out in either direction on that divine coastline. About three hours south is Bodrum, beloved of holidaymakers, thanks to its world-beating beaches, trendy restaurants and clubs. Drive four hours north and you’ll arrive in Bursa, the ancient Ottoman capital and the historical hub of the area (it’s also near to Mt Uludağ, Turkey’s best ski spot). Or, if you head east for another for hours, you’ll get to Afyonkarahisar, a sleepy town that sits below a giant hilltop castle. Whichever direction you head in, you’ll find another side of Turkey to explore.
Most visitors will fly into Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport, to the city’s south. Book your rental car in advance and you’ll be in the city in about 20 minutes, when traffic is good.
Book a hire car in Izmir and you’ll be able to choose from a range of trusted and reliable providers. Look out for brands like Alamo, Hertz and Europcar, as well as providers local to the region, like GSR Cars.
Izmir’s focal point is the beautiful seafront promenade, or kordon. This is where the locals go to relax and meet their friends, sitting out in the cafes and bars and soaking up the early evening sunshine, or hopping on a bike and following the cycle paths to other parts of the city. There are also some great museums here, including the Arkas Art Centre, which is regularly refreshed with temporary exhibits from local and international artists.
It’s not all contemporary art, either. Izmir is an old city, and you can explore its past at the Agora ruins. These are the remnants of the ancient city of Smyrna, which was destroyed by an earthquake around 400 BC. Archaeologists have opened up much of the ruins to the public and guided tours are available.
Turkey drives on the right-hand side of the road, and all passengers must wear a seatbelt at all times. Be aware that you will have to pay a toll to use some motorways, although the signs should make it clear when it’s necessary. You’re required to keep your headlights on at all times, although you should keep them dipped in daytime. Some Turkish drivers may ignore this rule, though – it’s not uncommon to see people driving at night with their lights off, so make sure to be alert.
Feeling inspired to visit Izmir or Turkey for yourself? Start with this Izmir city guide, and use the Expedia search tool to find the best deals on flights and hotels and to research the most popular attractions.
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