Izmir has been a key Aegean port since ancient times, when it was the Greek city of Smyrna. This is the birthplace of Homer! Today, a weekend in Izmir lets you easily combine visits to important archaeological sites with beaches and bazaars. And of course, don't forget to enjoy some great seafood during package holidays in Izmir — after all, you're right on the coast.
What to Know About Visiting Izmir
International flights to Izmir arrive at Izmir Adnan Menderes International Airport, from which the transfer time is roughly 45 minutes, if you are staying in the city centre. There are numerous flights from London and from Manchester to choose from when you're looking at flight and hotel combos for Izmir.
British nationals are able to obtain a tourist visa either when entering Turkey or online beforehand. The visa will grant you a 90-day stay with multiple entries. The city is three hours ahead of the UK, and the local currency is the Turkish Lira.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Izmir?
Depending on the time of year, city breaks in Izmir can range from hot to temperate. Summer daytime average temperatures can reach 34°C, but winter is typically mild, with days reaching highs of 12°C or 13°C. Spring and fall are generally quite pleasant.
The city plays host to a number of festivals throughout the year. Jazz enthusiasts might want to plan a weekend in Izmir during the first half of March, when the Izmir European Jazz Festival takes place. Usually held in June, the International Izmir Festival consists of a wide range of both classical and contemporary music, ballet, theatre, and opera performances.
What Is There to Do in Izmir?
Head to one of the beaches that line the Aegean coast, just outside the city centre, during your package holidays in Izmir.
If you are looking for adventure, join a scuba diving expedition or hike the trails at Karagol Mesire Alani. Shopping is a must, and you have a few options:
Kemeralti: The grand bazaar is a must, with vendors offering spices, flavoured tobacco, chinaware, and other artisanal goods.
Konak Pier: Pick up a traditional Turkish carpet, antiques, tea, or jewellery at this famous flea market.
Forum Mall and Agora Shopping Centre: These two upscale shopping malls are perfect if you're looking to shop for international brands.
Alsancak is the city’s nightlife hub, especially Gazi Kadinlar Street and 1448 Sokak, which are full of bars and pubs.
The bars at Kordon (the waterfront) are superb when the weather is right.
For a different experience, listen to live Turkish music at Ehlem Türkü Evi Café in Konak and watch the locals sing and dance.
What to Visit in Izmir
Saat Kulesi (Clock Tower): This elegant monument on Konak square, built in 1901, is the symbol of the city and is a good starting point from which to explore during your city break in Izmir.
Izmir Museum of History and Art: This museum offers a variety of exhibitions, including some really interesting artefacts, with great descriptions in English and Turkish.
Kadifekale: Head up the hill to check out the remains of the city's ancient castle.
Agora: Built at the end of the 4th century BC, the ancient Agora was ruined in an earthquake in AD 178, but rebuilt under the reign of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Turkey’s ‘Pearl of the Aegean’ has plenty to offer. Here are just a few dishes to consider as you plan city breaks in Izmir:
Meze: This form of Turkish tapas is very popular and is best enjoyed with the alcoholic beverage 'rak?' and friends.
Seafood: The Aegean has a lot of tasty seafood to offer. Calamari and grilled octopus are highly recommended.
Gözleme: This is slightly grilled, flaky dough with various fillings, like lamb, potatoes, or cheese.
?ambali: ?ambal? is a classic dessert. It consists of baked semolina, yoghurt, and sugar, and is topped with sugar and almonds.
What Should I Bring Home From Izmir?
Turkish Delight: This well-loved confection comes in a variety of flavours, such as rose, nuts, cinnamon, or lemon.
Nazar Boncugu (The Evil Eye): Used to ward off bad luck, this symbol adorns jewellery, textiles, and home decor.
Baklava: This dessert of phyllo pastry filled with a sweet blend of nuts and sticky syrup tends to be an addictive lure for many.
Traditional Turkish carpets: These handmade pieces of art often take months or even years to be completed, and are the perfect souvenir if your budget and luggage allow it.
Explore other destinations
Planning on flying to Turkey? If a city break in Izmir doesn't quite convince you, why not explore other exciting cities in Turkey ? Check out our amazing flight and hotel packages for your next holiday adventure!