Unforgettable Travel Company

Also known as the ancient city of Smyrna, Izmir is a fascinating and popular city in Turkey. With a long-standing, rich history and unique heritage, Izmir has developed over thousands of years to become the modern and thriving settlement that it is today. 

Now, it is the third-largest city in Turkey and is home to the country’s second-biggest port. Full of life,  it’s no wonder that the city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey, with visitors flocking from all over the world to experience its wonders firsthand. 

Situated on the western coast of Turkey overlooking the Aegean Sea, there are multiple reasons why travelers looking to indulge in the best places to visit in Turkey should be adding Izmir to the top of their lists. For one, the city’s rich cultural heritage has stood the test of time, with the remains of ancient empires, including the Greeks, Romans, and Ottomans, still being visible throughout its streets today. 

Equally, the atmosphere of Izmir is unbeatable. Its bustling bazaars are vibrant and lively and this same energy can be found throughout the city’s charming cobblestone streets. Here, residents and tourists roam and intermingle, captivated by the magical atmosphere found even in the most ordinary of locations throughout the city. 

Whilst we could easily talk on and on about the many splendors and attractions that this city has to offer, our experts here at Unforgettable Travel have instead listed the top 10 things to do in Izmir for your next trip. From world-renowned sites to breathtaking natural marvels, visitors will be in awe of the wealth of opportunity that this city has to offer. 

So, whether you consider yourself to be a foodie traveler, a history buff, or a culture vulture, get ready to discover exactly what Izmir is all about whilst vacationing in Turkey.

Kemeralti Bazaar Edited 1
Shopping in mall edited

Things to Do in Izmir at Night

Much like many of Turkey’s vibrant cities, Izmir doesn’t lose its flair when the sun sets. Its sites and attractions still thrive come nightfall, meaning you can experience its culture and beautiful Turkish sights at all hours of the day. We’ve recommended a couple of our favorite things to do in Izmir at night below. 

Meander Through Kemeralti Bazaar

The historic marketplace of Kemeralti Bazaar is situated in the heart of Izmir. Selling everything from jewelry to spices, souvenirs, and clothing, it’s a bustling center in the city offering visitors an unfiltered glimpse into the market scene of Turkey. 

Wander through its labyrinth of narrow alleyways and streets, in which stalls and shops are lined with goods galore. And at night, the destination is even more enchanting, with its colorful lights illuminating the streets and residents and tourists meandering in search of a deal. This is, undoubtedly, one of the best things to do in Izmir city.

Shop at Forum Bornova

Open from morning to night, Forum Bornova is a popular shopping mall in Izmir city. Whilst vacationing in Turkey, if you’re looking to indulge in some retail therapy, this is the place to go. with a host of entertainment options, eateries, and shopping on offer, it’s a popular destination in Izmir where everyone can mooch around at their leisure when in need a break from sightseeing. 

And at night, Forum Bornova has a lively atmosphere where live musical performances are often held and visitors often indulge in great facilities such as the on-site cinema to watch a movie to round off the day.

KulturPark edited
Archaeological site of Smyrna edited

Fun Things to Do in Izmir

When it comes to fun things to do in Izmir, travelers are spoilt for choice. With its host of natural, historical, and cultural attractions, it’s no wonder there’s something to entertain members of all groups. Looking for something exciting to experience whilst visiting Izmir? We’ve highlighted some of our favorites: 

Play On the Attractions at Culture Park 

A vast green space and recreational area in the center of Izmir, Culture Park is the ideal location to take a break away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Spread across 435,000 square meters, the park is home to a lake, a grand amphitheater, which hosts events and concerts, and numerous gardens. 

But best of all, one of the most popular Izmir attractions located here is the amusement park. Featuring roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, and other thrilling attractions, it’s the perfect place for children, and adults, to let off some steam and get their adrenaline pumping. 

Discover Agora Archaeological site of Smyrna

For those who would consider themselves to be a history buff, the Agora Archaeological Site of Smyrna is well worth a visit. Dating back to the Hellenistic period, this historic site is the ruins of a once great city.

Home to the remains of a temple, and ruins of a marketplace, amongst other relics, this archaeological site acts as a portal in time to observe what once was in Izmir. Visitors can easily spend a whole day uncovering the nooks and crannies of this ancient settlement, which is why we rate it as one of the most fun things to do in Izmir.

Izmir Wildlife Park edited
Kadifekale edited

Things to Do in Izmir with Family

Turkey is a family-friendly destination that attracts multigenerational groups from all over the world year after year. Thanks to its affordability, diverse landscapes, and plentiful interesting sights and attractions, the country manages to keep every age group entertained. And the city of Izmir is no exception. 

Roam Izmir Wildlife Park

Nestled in 425,000 square meters of greenspace, Izmir Wildlife Park was founded in 2008 and is home to over 1000 animals in the heart of Izmir. It’s a haven for wildlife lovers looking to see some of the animal kingdom’s most renowned creatures up close. 

From elephants to zebras, lions, and more, visitors can roam through the park and explore each enclosure at their leisure during a day out. And with picnic areas, a restaurant, and a large play area on site, this is one of our recommended things to do in Izmir with family amongst nature. 

Soak in the Views From The Velvet Castle

Situated on the top of Mount Pagos, Kadifekale, translating to ‘The Velvet Castle’, is a magnificent fortress with an unbeatable vantage point overlooking the city.

Dating back to the Byzantine Era, visitors are free to explore the ruins of this once-great stronghold built into the mountainside. Offering sensational views of Izmir and the Aegean Sea, it’s worth a visit just to see the wide open stretch of Turkish landscape, and spot the sights and scenes of the city from above, making for an idyllic family day out.

Ephesus edited
Turkish coins edited

Things to Do in Izmir in Winter

Whilst many envisage Turkey to be in its prime in the summertime when its beautiful coastal hotspots and inland landscapes are drenched in sunshine, the country still offers much to do during the winter season. And Izmir in particular, thanks to its wealth of attractions and splendid sights, has much to be discovered at this time of year. 

Tour Ephesus

Located roughly an hour from Izmir, Ephesus is an ancient Greek port city that acted as one of the most significant centers of commercial trade in the Mediterranean’s history. It was abandoned in the 15th century, but still remains well preserved, with unique sites including the Great Theatre, Library of Celsus, and the Temple of Artemis.

A bus can be conveniently taken from the center of Izmir direct to this UNESCO World Heritage Site and is relatively inexpensive. Winter is an ideal time to visit Ephesus, when there are fewer crowds and the climate is mild, as it is a more comfortable time of year to discover the beautiful site and therefore appreciate it in all of its glory. 

Uncover Ancient Relics in the Archaeological Museum

Another must-see attraction for history buffs who are planning to visit Izmir is the city’s Archaeological Museum. Established in 1924, the museum is home to a selection of intriguing ancient artifacts, including mosaics, pottery, coins, and sculptures.

During the colder winter season, the museum offers a sheltered spot to spend days learning about the rich history of Izmir without having to worry about the weather conditions. 

A highlight of the museum is Alexander’s Sarcophagus, an amazing tomb that writes the history of Alexander the Great’s death. So, for all those looking for a detailed insight into the timeline of Izmir and beyond, this is one of the many attractions in Izmir that is ideal to experience during winter.

Konak Square edited
Historical elevator edite

Free Things to Do in Izmir

For anyone looking to stretch their budget further during their next trip to Izmir, the city is not short of things to do and sights to see that don’t cost a dime in order to have a memorable experience. And we’ve rounded up a few that we feel are more than worthy of checking out.

Visit Konak Square and The Clock Tower

A hive of activity in the center of Izmir, Konak Square is a thriving public space that is one of the most visited, and active, areas of the city. 

One of the most iconic features of the square is its clock tower. Built in 1901, this beautiful structure features German, Ottoman, and French architectural details, making it a truly one-of-a-kind landmark. You’ll find shops, stalls, and eateries lining the borders of the square, acting as the perfect pitstop to recharge after a day of Izmir sightseeing. It’s even possible to climb the clock tower whilst here in order to gain a new breathtaking vantage point over the city.

Ride The Izmir Historical Elevator

A truly unique and memorable experience, the Izmir Historical Elevator dates back to the early 1900s when a Jewish businessman took the initiative to build an elevator that adjoined the lower part of the city to its hilltop. 

The elevator is now one of the best ways to work your way up the city’s hillside landscape. And since it’s the tallest structure in the lower area of town, it offers exceptional views over the city, the bay, and Izmir port. 

This is arguably one of the most historically significant sites in town that won’t cost you anything to experience, which is why we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

Ready to Start Planning?

We know that vacations can be a lot to plan and that sometimes it’s best to leave the experts to it. This is why you can get in touch with a member of our knowledgeable team here at Unforgettable Travel who will work with you to build your ultimate Turkey vacation.

You may be interested in