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

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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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Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

TURKEY: Day trip to Tire’s Tuesday Market

Tire’s market has been around for more than 600 years, and up to 30 thousand people visit every. More than 1700 sellers display their goods from nearby villages, including fresh produce, herbs, flowers, cheeses, and oils. The handmade textiles produced by Tire’s village ladies are also beautiful.

90 kilometers away from Izmir (just 60 from Kusadasi), Tire holds a farmers market held in the downtown area every Tuesday. This market carries the distinction of being one of Turkey’s largest outdoor market and it’s fame brings day tours like our to see what there is to offer. Alongside the local vegetables and fruits, visitors can find clothes, houseware, blankets/sheets, and even electronics. Farmers come from several villages nearby selling their products.

Different than other farmers market you would also see:

  • Handmade goods such as scarves and tablecloths
  • Dainty jewellery made from Point Lace
  • Beledi Weaving
  • Felt Makers and clothing products that use a blend of silk and felt.
  • Handmade saddle for horses and donkeys. (Probably we are the last generation who would see this) 

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market

If time, visit the Tire Museum:

While we did not visit, the Tire Museum founded in 1935 is said to be well curated and informative. Two halls display earthware, coins, and other artifacts from 3500 BC and 1100 AD as well as jewelry, carpets, clothing, war items and other everyday wear from Ottoman times.  If time allows, visit the museum for a quick look through to learn more about the history of Tire. The museum is open every day except Monday from 8:30-5:30 (closed for lunch between 12:30-1:30).

Lunch at Kaplan Restaurant:

Like most cities in Turkey, Tire boasts about it’s special ‘Kofte’ (meat patty made of beef and lamb). After our time at Tire Market, our IWAI group traveled up to the top of the mountain to eat at a well-known local restaurant, Kaplan Hill Restaurant. The meal started with mezes, appetizers which included their well-know greens, some cooked with garlic then chilled. Another carrot based meze stood out as my favorite. For the main course, we enjoyed the area’s famous Tire Kofte. If you prefer not to eat meat, as for their local dish of greens and eggs, served hot. Dessert in Tire uses a special Lor Cheese (soft, uncured cheese like Ricotta) topped with black mulberry jam.

 

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market Kaplan Restaurant

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market Kaplan Restaurant

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market Kaplan Restaurant

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market Kaplan Restaurant

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market Kaplan Restaurant

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market Kaplan Restaurant

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market Kaplan Restaurant

Catie FunkTravels Turkey Tire Tuesday Market IWAI Izmir

 

In short, the Tuesday Market gives an excellent guide for Turkish shopping, culture, and history.

How to travel to Tire Market:  

Tire is also accessible by train from Izmir Basmane Train Station. It takes 1.5 hours for the train to go to Tire from Izmir through several villages and towns.

 

Questions for you:

Have you been to Tire, Turkey?

Have you visit the Tire Tuesday Market (Salı Pazarı)?

If, so what did you like about it? What did you buy?

 

 

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