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Izmir City is said to be the gateway to the Aegean coast. It is the largest port in Turkey and the third largest city with a five thousand year history. The region boasts a wealth of glorious beaches, guaranteed summer sunshine, picturesque fishing harbours, traditional whitewashed villages draped in vibrant blossoms, and evidence of the region’s ancient history is everywhere. Izmir attracts many holiday makers each year.
The Izmir region on the Aegean coast is a very popular holiday destination with a season lasting from April to October. Hot summer sun and warm clear waters draw beach enthusiasts by the thousands. Izmir is famous for the quality of its beaches and provides extensive water sporting opportunities. Those interested in the ancient past will find plenty of sites to explore. Turkey has managed to retain its traditional appeal even in the most popular tourist resorts enabling visitors to experience the authentic atmosphere of the Turkish life while enjoying the modern conveniences and facilities that holiday makers have grown to expect.
Izmir appears to offer a holiday that would appeal to most people. Families with small children and sun worshippers will find many resorts with long stretches of fine sand safe shallow water. Active holidaymakers will discover wide ranging sporting opportunities to satisfy their needs. Those interested in the ancient world will find many opportunities for exploration. Those who enjoy holiday shopping will find their needs are more than satisfied. An Izmir holiday has something for everyone.
The holiday season lasts from early spring until late autumn when the temperature range is from 20 to mid 30 degrees, summer being the most popular time. The mild winter make it an ideal place for hikers and those wishing to visit the ancient sites away from the heat of the summer.
Much of the city of Izmir was destroyed by fire in 1922 during the liberation of the city from the Greeks. It is still possible to find old houses, mosques and churches hidden away in narrow cobbled streets. Palm trees line the long promenades and boulevards and there are flowers everywhere. Tourist attractions in the city include the Clock Tower in Konak Square and the Kultur Park. A cable railway runs from Izmir to the mountains which give spectacular views over the Aegean. The coastline of Izmir has long stretches of sandy beaches and craggy rocks with secluded coves. The sea is warm and crystal clear, perfect for swimming and water sports. There are many traditional fishing villages clustered around small harbours. The area is covered with pine forests and olive groves interspersed with small whitewashed villages where the pace of life has not changed over the years.
In the city the shop prices are fixed but in the smaller shops, bazaars and markets. There are numerous shops, bazaars and markets where haggling for goods is the norm. A visit to the steaming Turkish baths is a popular attraction especially after a hard night of drinking and dancing.
It is said that Turkey, as far as culture is concerned, is the richest country in the Mediterranean. With its history spreading over five millennia it has a wealth of ancient ruins and buildings within its shores.
The nightlife in Izmir is varied and offers entertainment to suit most tastes. The provision of bars and clubs is good. Many hotels provide entertainment that is open to the public, often with floor shows that include belly dancers. There are many quiet waterfront taverns and restaurants where a more mellow evening can be enjoyed.
Izmir provides ample opportunities for retail therapy. Shops, roadside stalls, bazaars and markets are usually selling their goods until late in the evening. Many shops don’t close until midnight. The shop keepers and stall holders have a very proactive approach to selling and you will be offered many ‘bargains’. Be aware that bartering is expected and that the original price is almost always inflated. There are many outlets for leather goods, carpets and gold and silver jewellery. Don’t forget to buy the blue glass beads to protect you from the evil eye!
In Izmir there are numerous places to satisfy the appetite ranging from pavement cafes to restaurants offering international cuisine.
Traditional Turkish food is very tasty and includes stuffed peppers and vine leaves, kebabs and of course feta cheese, olive and tomato salads. Rice dishes are also popular.
The national drink of Turkey is raki which is aniseed flavoured. Drink only bottled water.
Turkish people, although friendly, are more formal than the British and behaviour follows certain rules. Certain things are considered rude such as sitting with the sole of the foot facing someone, or pointing at a person with a finger.
When visiting mosques shoes should be removed and clothing should be modest. Women are expected to cover their hair.
Coffee houses remain part of Turkish culture and are found in even the smallest villages. They are mostly frequented by older men.
The best time to pick up a bargain holiday to Izmir in Turkey is in the off-peak season including April, May and October. Stay outside the busy Summer holiday period and you’ll be able to pick up a better deal while not losing out on much sunshine at all.
Izmir itself offers plenty of holiday attractions, from it’s beautiful beaches and peaceful fishing harbours to it’s picturesque whitewashed towns and ancient ruins.
During the summer temperatures are generally between 20 and 30 degrees, and although the temperature will drop towards the end of the season, it’s still a perfect opportunity to visit the ancient ruins which could normally be too stressful due to the mid-summer heat.
Izmir has a nightlife to suit all tastes. There are traditional belly dancing shows along with quiet waterfront taverns and restaurants.
If it’s a cheap holiday to Izmir that you’re looking for, keep a look out for deals in April, May and October.