Asansor Izmir Turkey

IZMIR: Exploring Izmir’s Asansor or Elevator

Izmir has more going for it than meets the eye.  Most sites are affordable or FREE. So, after you have spent all your money in Istanbul, pop on down to Izmir and enjoy the cheaper side of traveling in Turkey!

One of the best FREE tourist outings is Izmir’s first asansör or elevator! The Historical “Asansor” is a Turkish word taken from the French word “ascenseur.”

Built in 1907 by Nesim Levi Bayraklıoğlu, the historical building was crafted in order to make a connection from the lower level of Karatas to the upper hillside. Nesim built this elevator for the elderly, pregnant, and disabled people to get up to the top street without difficulty.

Years later, it was given to the Izmir Municipality to Izmir citizens.

Asansor Izmir Turkey

Asansor Izmir Turkey

 

What is there to do: 

The elevator is not only functional but beautifully architected as well. From the top, visitors can see panoramic views of Izmir. Large metal standing binocular provide a closer view of buildings and sites for only one Turkish Lira.

At the top, there is a wonderful cafe-restaurant where you can enjoy a meal or just a drink. Along the upper streets, one can see historical houses and decorated stairs.

 

Asansor Izmir Turkey

Asansor Izmir Turkey

Asansor Izmir Turkey

Asansor Izmir Turkey

Asansor Izmir Turkey

Asansor Izmir Turkey

Asansor Izmir Turkey

 

How much does it cost:

Actually, it’s free! There are two cabins each for 13 people and through the small windows seeing outside is possible. You may just have to wait in line on a busy day.

How to get there:

The elevator is located in İzmir’s Karataş quarter, within the boundaries of the metropolitan district of Konak. You can access by boat, tram, bus, or taxi depending on where you are coming from. I like using the İzmir Büyükşehir Belediyesi free App for figuring out transportation.

From Karşıyaka area, take any boat towards Konak Ferry Port and then you can take the tramway or walk. On a nice day, definitely take the 20ish minute walk to the elevator! The closer you get to the elevator is surrounded by narrow old streets lined with cafes primed to sit and enjoy. If walking is not an option, hop on the tramway at the Konak Iskele stop and take it one stop to the Karataş tramway – map here.

From Alsancak, take the tramway to the Karataş stop and walk from there.

Asansor Izmir Turkey

screenshot from Google Maps

Asansor Izmir Turkey

Screenshot from the Tramway website.

Asansor Izmir Turkey

Asansor Izmir Turkey

Asansor Izmir Turkey

Make sure to stop by the rainbow-colored stairs for a photo shoot. You will definitely look like a local if you do!

Asansor Izmir Turkey

 

Is it worth the trip:

Well, we think so! On a good, clear day, visitors can see all of Izmir. Another area to visit for views of Izmir is Kadifekale just up from the Agora. (Both I plan to write about soon!)

This was one of the highlights of our beautiful city of Izmir and great for seeing the views. We highly recommend it!

Asansor Izmir Turkey

Asansor Izmir Turkey

 

Now to you:

Have you been here before?

Would you consider this worth visiting in Izmir?

Any other tips for people who want to visit? Comment below and share them with us!

IZMIR: 5 Day Trips from Izmir, Turkey

Note: This article was originally guest-posted for Yabangee.

Izmir offers plenty of local sites within the city of four million people, but it is also known for its access to easy day trips nearby. If you have time, plan a few excursions outside Izmir. A longer trip inland to Ankara, Cappadocia, or the Black Sea can be tempting but don’t miss the coastal towns along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.

Here are some of the best day trips you can take from Izmir:

FunkTravels Eski Foca

Şirince
Little exceeds a well-prepared Turkish breakfast. Şirince, once a Greek village of a mere 600 inhabitants situated north of Ephesus, is famous for its mesmerizing white houses and red-orange clay rooftops. If you are not there in time for breakfast, visit shops known for local fruit wine. Entry is free and you are treated to many free glasses of wine.

Ephesus (a.k.a. Efes)
Ephesus boasts of its 3000-year-old Greek city ruins. Most famous is one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, the Temple of Artemis. The area seduces history lovers with its flavorful tales. Entry is 40 Lira (and an extra 15 lira for the newly excavated covered hillside homes) but if you are interested in history, Ephesus is a must see.  If you have time, trek out to the home of Mary, mother of Jesus, renown and highly visited by Catholic tourists.

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Go North to Eski Foça
Northwest of Izmir along the Aegean coastline, Eski Foça is named for the now endangered Mediterranean monk seals which also are the town’s mascot.  Several local companies offer boat tours that will take passengers closer to the island of the seals for approximately 50 TL which includes lunch. Otherwise, enjoy a meal by the seaside lined with renovated historical, yet charming, Ottoman-Greek houses. While all Turkish food is delicious, the meze, or appetizers, and fish are the best options to get in Foça.

Visit a Greek Island
Lesvos, Chios, and Samos, the closest Greek islands from Izmir, ascend from the sea disrupting the majestic view of Aegean Sea from Turkey. With the right visa, start early for a day trip (or stay overnight) by catching a bus to the ferry port and hopping over to the island of your choice. Chios is the most popular among travelers and is easy to access via a visit to Çeşme. Alongside its rich history, including adventures with Saracen pirates, and the Turks during the Greek Revolution, Chios also claims to be the birthplace of the poet Homer. Enjoy local wine, explore the ruined Byzantine village of Anavatos, and relax in the shade of a cafe or park. (Rhodes is a little out of the way, but well worth a visit!)

Cool off at the Beach!
While it’s not possible to swim in the bay in Izmir, beaches line the coast both north and south of the city center. Çeşme comes in an easy first with its pure white sand and crystal clear water, but it also draws a crowd to the much-enjoyed shopping district and nightlight. Take one of the many private buses from your neighborhood or a dolmuş to Çeşme center from the Izmir Otogar.

I would love to hear from you! Comment below or on the video answering one of the following questions:

  1. Have you visited Izmir?
  2. Did you take any day trip? If so, where did you go?

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IZMIR: 5 Things to do in Izmir, Turkey

Note: This article was originally guest-posted for Yabangee.

Having lived in Izmir for over a year, I can say that I truly love the expat life here. Many people ask what the city is like and if it is worth visiting. And my answer? YES!

Istanbul or Cappadocia fare better in terms of tourism, but Izmir has things to do that are true to Turkish culture without having to fight the crowds. Also, the people of this lovely city are known for their friendliness and open-mindedness towards foreigners. If visitors are looking for the culture and experience of meeting with locals to truly understand what makes Turkey so wonderful, Izmir is your go-to location.

Here are just a few of the things you can do in Izmir.

Izmir Chronicles: Izmir is Worth Visiting (Part I)

Visit Izmir Clock Tower
Konak is home to one of the most distinctive landmarks in the city, the Clock Tower. Built in 1901, the white marble tower and North African style patterns on the columns marks the 25th year of Ottoman sultan Abdulhamid II’s reign. Additionally, Konak’s established touristic center of Izmir offers historical mosques and many small streets with cafes, restaurants, and bars.

Shop ’til You Drop at Kemeraltı Market
Kemeraltı is the little ‘Grand’ Bazaar of Izmir. Anyone who has been to the noisy, maze of stalls in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul will prefer this one after a quiet, calm visit! Still a massive maze of stalls, find traditional Turkish gifts and more for a cost much less than Istanbul. Kemeraltı is also full of great, inexpensive restaurants. On a hot day, enjoy a fresh squeezed juice for around $1 in the nearby juice stalls.

Ride the Asansör
Asansör, which literally means elevator, was the first elevator built in 1907 to help people travel between the top of the cliff to the seaside. Just a 20 minutes stroll from Konak square, reserve a table for a sunset dinner at the top of the Asansör. The delightfully classy Italian cafe not only provides one of the best views in Izmir, but the prices are very reasonable as well.

Stroll the streets of Kadifekale
Kadifekale, or Velvet Castle, built by Alexander the Great into the Izmir hillside provides panoramic views across the city both towards the seaside and the land. Travel by taxi up the monstrous hill to the historic site to have more energy to explore the old walks and towers. Requiring less of the imagination than the ruins of Smyrna, visitors can see the layout of the castle while enjoying a bit of shopping in the shade of the tall trees. Walk back down the long hill or take a taxi again if you prefer.

Photo by Catie Funk

Be a Local and Drink a Beer by the Shore
Whether you are in Alsancak or Karşıyaka, this is Izmir! Gençler, or young people, can be found sitting along the seaside enjoying the breeze at the end of a hard work day. Friends and families picnic or drink a beer while others enjoy a walk or bike ride. Free concerts provide entertainment throughout the year.

Izmir’s gems are easily overlooked. However, once visitors engage in the history of this coastal city, visitors discover places and activities not offered anywhere else in Turkey. Its secrets lie with the locals and give visitors the best experience of Izmir. While exploring the areas of Izmir, don’t forget a mid-morning snack on a gevrek or two, a traditionally brewed coffee in a small cafe, and a peaceful stroll along the Kordon.

I would love to hear from you! Comment below or on the video answering one of the following questions:

1. Have you been to Izmir?
2. What sites did you see?
3. What did you find interesting?

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FunkTravels Eski Foca

TURKEY: A Day Trip to Eski Foça – Lookbook

Northwest of Izmir along the Aegean coastline, Eski Foça is named for the now endangered Mediterranean monk seals which also are the town’s mascot.  

Like Alaçatı or Urla, Foça is an easy day trip from Izmir. We visited Foça for the first time with Turkish friends. This last summer we enjoyed a day boating with friends off the coastline near there. (Make sure to check out our video from our long day of boating!)

Several local companies offer boat tours that will take passengers closer to the island of the seals for approximately 50 Turkish Liras which includes lunch. While our recent tour was a private one, it was no less fun! 

Most people go to Foça for the day mostly to walk along the u-shaped bay area crowded with fishing boats.  The town is known for it’s clear, cold waters that can be enjoyed in the town near all the restaurants.

Another well-known past-time is choosing a water-front restaurant among the renovated historical, yet charming, Ottoman-Greek houses. While all Turkish food is delicious, the meze, or appetizers, and fish are the best options to get in Foca.

One of these days I will update this post with all the things to do in Foça, but for now, enjoy our lookbook and picture yourself in this town on a beautiful, sunny day!

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

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FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

FunkTravels Eski Foca

We want to hear from you!

Did you enjoy this Lookbook of Foça?

Have you been to Foça, Turkey?

What did you love when you traveled to Foça?

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Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

IZMIR: Izmir’s Largest Outdoor Market: Karşıyaka Bostanlı Pazar

Ever curious about what a local market looks like for us in Izmir, Turkey? Look no further than the Bostanlı Pazar!

In this article, I cover: 

How large is the Bostanlı Pazar?
What should you bring to the Bostanlı Pazar?
What should you be aware of before you go to the Bostanlı Pazar?

Here we go!

Depending on one’s love of crowds, the weekly outdoor market of Bostanlı Pazar competes for one of the best or one of the worst parts of Turkey. The empty covered parking in a matter of hours is filled to the brim with a surprisingly organized array of stands that sell fruit, vegetables, nuts, clothes and household items. The sellers can be heard in the distant calling out for buyers and sharing how scrumptious their products taste.

The Bostanlı Pazar, established in Karşıyaka’s (literally “the other side”) Bostanlı neighborhood, exceeds the normal neighborhood bazaar by being the largest market in Izmir. Not overly touristy, sights and sounds of daily life in Turkey engulf visitors as they enter the market. But unlike other smaller markets, tourists can still find more traditional Turkish items for sale such as Turkish towels and antique dishes. In addition, local vendors with shops downtown bring their rugs, purses and handcrafted jewelry to the market.

However, the experience is not for everyone. The market can be loud and very busy, especially in the afternoon and evening. Exploring the market in the morning will allow for a more relaxed experience. While the items are a bargain, quality items are rare. Bargain vendors sell clothes with minor defects, such as dresses/shirts with small holes in them or t-shirts with a slight offset in the print.

Time:

This famous Bostanlı Pazar is only open on Wednesdays.

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

How to get there:

The Bostanlı Pazar attracts visitors from all over the city. After taking a bus or ferry to the Bostanlı Iskelesi, the market is an easy 10 minutes walk. Several buses also travel from Karşıyaka and Bostanlı by the Bostanlı Pazar on their way to Mavişehir. Otherwise, for around 10 lira you can grab a taxi for a quick drop off right by the entrance.

Traveling by car presents a slight difficulty because the parking is difficult and hard to come by the later it gets in the day. The 6 lane seaside road between the Bostanlı Pazar and the coast becomes 4 lanes as visitors start parking in the side lanes. There is a small parking lot to the east of the market but it is usually packed with the seller’s vehicles.

What to bring:

  • Cash: Some vendors that sell higher priced items like rugs may have a credit card payment option. However, cash will usually get you a discount since there is no fee required for the payment.
  • Rolling cart: For larger purchases or hungry eyes, bring a rolling cart to make the trip home easier to manage! The kilos of fruits and vegetables quickly add up!
  • Camera: If you are touring the markets on vacation, bring your camera to take pictures! After checking the locals’ approval for a photo, you may find the seller calling you over to their stands to pose for a shot!

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

What to eat:

Of course, the vendors always offer up samples of their food but make sure to leave room for the gözleme stands outside of the covered Bostanlı Pazar.  Gözleme is like a Turkish quesadilla except not as much cheese and thiner dough (see video below!) With several stands to choose from, order a potato, spinach, cheese or eggplant stuffed gözleme and drink an ayran  (salty yogurt drink) and relax with your meal in the provided chairs and tables.

How to navigate the market:

If coming for the experience and not for a weeks supply of food, start the tour from the west side where the clothing and household items are sold. The middle section is full of vegetables and fruits that are in season, nuts, pickles and fresh herbs. The last section on the far east is reserved for cheese, olives, and seafood. Many varieties of cheese from different parts of Turkey can be found in these cheese stalls. Come hungry as vendors are eager to let you sample their products.

What to buy:

Some of the items that you see are priced about the same as what you would get from a local market, but other items, such as shawls and women and children’s clothing, can be found at ridiculously cheap prices (as low as 5 TL or less). Make sure to try the dried fruit and nuts (“kuruyemiş”).

 

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

Visiting with the family:

The market spans a large area and even regular visitors find themselves lost among the ever-changing stalls. While it is possible to come with young children, it can be difficult. The crowds are tricky to navigate and they can easily get lost. Children who grow tired of shopping can enjoy the seaside park across the street.

A final note:

If you really want to experience a market in Izmir and you miss the Wednesday market in Bostanlı, there are other markets in nearby Karşıyaka on Sunday (only food) and Tuesday (only clothes and household items).

Note: This article was originally guest-posted for Yabangee.

 

I would love to hear from you! Comment below or on the video answering one of the following questions:

1. Have you been to this market – the “Bostanlı Pazar“?
2. What tips do you have?
3. What did you find interesting from the video?
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