All at once ancient and startlingly modern, holidays in Izmir take you on a journey through Turkey's past. This seaside city is known as the “Pearl of Turkey” and you can enjoy cultured city adventures in this glimmering destination or make a beeline for one of the nearby beach resorts...
Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey and it sits on the western coastline, where the land meets the dazzling blues of the Aegean Sea. Once known as Smyrna, the city has scars of civilisation from thousands of years ago. It has been under Persian, Roman and Ottoman rule, though a 1922 fire engulfed many historical treasures of Izmir and left priceless artefacts in piles of ash. The devastation, however, paved the way for a new and modern Izmir. Today the city astonishes with pristine public squares, contemporary centres of culture and a pleasant seafront promenade that is dotted with green spaces, trees and cafés, at which you can enjoy a cool drink and savour the views of sea, sand, city and the soaring mountains that surround Izmir.
There are many excellent hotels in Izmir, with styles and prices to suit every kind of visitor. It's easy to combine a city and relaxing sunshine break here as there are plenty of lovely beaches within easy reach and public transportation is good. You could stay in the city and take day trips to the beach. Hiring a car is good value in Turkey and there are a number of great destinations within an hour's drive. The gorgeous architecture and prime windsurfing beaches of Alacati are to the west, as is nearby Cesme, where alluring aquamarine seas wash across the sands. You can catch a ferry here for a visit to the lovely Greek island of Chios.
It also takes only an hour to drive to the ancient city of Ephesus - one of Turkey's star attractions. Founded by the Greeks but driven to prosperity by the mighty Roman Empire, the city is famed as the home of the one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Temple of Artemis.
There are plenty of ways to fill your days here and you can find cheap holidays to Izmir with TravelSupermarket. Simply use the search tool and we will compare prices on Izmir holidays for you. All you need to do is find a great deal and then pack your bags. What kind of clothing will you need for your holiday? Read on to see our handy weather guide for Izmir.
Mild in winter and hot in summer, holidays to Izmir are popular throughout the year...
With long bouts of sunshine and average daytime temperatures reaching past 30C between June and September, it's wise to book a hotel with air-conditioned rooms if you plan to visit during summer. In July and August night-time temperatures rarely drop below 20C so you'll only need light layers during these hot months. Spring and autumn are pleasantly warm, while many visitors opt to see the sights of Izmir in winter, when the mercury rarely drops below a daytime average of 14C. While it's not sunbathing weather, it's an agreeable temperature in which to put on a few layers and visit the main attractions minus the big crowds.
Izmir is home to a busy and varied calendar of events...
International Izmir Festival; June-July: There's a wonderful vibe at this cultural extravaganza, which welcomes performers from the worlds of music, ballet, opera and theatre. There is plenty going on at various venues during the welcoming festival.
The Izmir International Fair; September: This 10-day tradeshow doesn't hold much allure for holidaymakers, but you should be aware of its presence if you plan to visit in early September as the city will be extra busy.
Balkan Folk Dance Festival; dates vary: Usually held late in the year, troupes of folk dancers from around the Balkan region descend upon Izmir for this lively event. You can see traditional dancing and much more around the city.
Whatever kind of holiday you are hoping for, there is something worth seeing and doing in this lively city by the sea...
Grown-up families: The sprawling remains of the castle of Kadifekale crown a hill in Izmir. Even if you are not interested in the history of the place, the views of the city and its coastline are terrific.
Romance: See the sights of Izmir's Kordon (the seafront promenade) by fayton - a horse-drawn carriage that trundles around the streets and lets you drink in the views at a very leisurely pace.
Relaxing: When the pace of the city becomes too much, pack up a beach bag and head for the sands nearby. If you're not hiring a car, catch a bus to seaside hotspots such as Urla and Cesme.
Free and cheap: See the famous clock tower of Konak Square and admire the architecture all around this huge public space.
Shopping: Catch a ferry across the water to Karsiyaka, part of the city of Izmir and home to many excellent shopping opportunities. You can find great bargains on jewellery, ceramics and brightly-coloured trinkets, such as those famous evil eye charms, which are meant to help ward off misfortune.