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things to do and see in izmir turkey

Top 15 Things to Do and See in Izmir, Turkey

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From bustling bazaars to ancient attractions and shimmering Aegean Sea, Izmir has a lot to do and see. 2–3 days is plenty to explore the highlights of Izmir city, after which you will be ready to experience what the province of Izmir has to offer. I have compiled a list of best things to see and do in Izmir to add to your itinerary and make the most of your visit to Izmir, Turkey’s third city.izmirizmir asansör

1. Konak Square

Any list of things to do and see in Izmir must include Konak Square, which is one of the main highlights of the city. This is a nice and lively place to walk around and wonder life. On weekends Konak Square teems with life when locals go out for a walk.

Konak Mahallesi | 35250 Konak, Izmir 

2. Izmir Clock Tower

The symbol of Izmir and one of the city’s major landmarks is Konak Clock Tower, a beautiful marble tower standing 25 m in height in the middle of Konak Square.

Izmir Clock Tower | 35250 Konak, Izmir izmir clock tower

3. Yali Mosque  

The octagonal, 18th century Yali Mosque (Konak Mosque) is a lovely little mosque and a haven of peace located in the bustling heart of Izmir next to the Governor’s Mansion at Konak Square. Colourful tiles around the exterior windows and the thin minaret add extra elegance to the building.

Yali Mosque | 35250 Konak, Izmir izmir yali mosque

4. Shop like a local at Kemeralti Bazaar

Izmir’s Kemeralti bazaar is a crazy district full of hustle and bustle, colour, noise and odour. The bazaar spills into a labyrinth of narrow lanes and tiny passageways and is home to thousands of small local shops, artisans’ workshops, tea gardens, coffee houses, inexpensive eateries as well as hidden mosques, synagogues and so much more. Shopping at Kemeralti Bazaar is one of the most authentic experiences you can have in Izmir and a definitive must-see in Turkey’s third city! Read more: Shopping Like a Local at Kemeralti Bazaar

Kemeralti bazaar | 35250 Konak, Izmir izmir kemeralti bazaar

5. Hisar Mosque

Hisar Mosque (Hisarönü Mosque) is a historical mosque surrounded by the bustling shopping streets of Izmir’s Kemeralti bazaar. The interior and dome ceiling of Izmir’s largest mosque that dates from 1597 is beautifully decorated with simple blue and gold motifs.

Hisar Mosque | 35250 Konak, Izmir izmir hisar mosque

6. Take in sweeping coastal views at Asansör

Asansör (Turkish word for a lift) is a historical tower with a cafe, restaurant and a viewing platform that provides sweeping ocean views in the neighbourhood of Karatas south of Konak. Originally Asansör was built in 1907 to ease access from the lower town to the upper town. Inside the tower there are two lifts that carry people up to the top to enjoy wonderful views of Izmir’s coastline.

Asansör | Sht. Nihatbey Cd. 76/A, 03500 Konak, Izmir izmir asansörizmir asansör

7. Discover Kadifekale Castle

Kadifekale Castle was built for the ancient Greek city of Smyrna. The location was strategic on top of Kadifekale hill with great views of the harbour and city. Today there is not much to see on the site apart from the castle gates, walls and some ruins but the view of the Gulf of Izmir and the city is spectacular. Read more: Hiking to Kadifekale Castle through the Slums of Izmir

Kadifekale Castle | izmir kadifekaleizmir kadifekale

8. Explore Agora Open Air Museum

Another attraction in Izmir that should not be missed is Agora Open Air Museum, which features remains of an ancient Greek and Roman market place and city centre. Today Agora is surrounded by hillside residential areas, busy bazaar streets, car parks and commercial buildings, but back in time this place was an important stop on the Silk Road. On the ground level there is an eye-catching colonnade and a gate that have been reconstructed.  The archways and vaulted chambers in the basement of this 2000-year-old marketplace are even more exciting to discover. The site can be accessed from the south side where the ticket office is located. I was a little bit disappointed with this site as I had seen so many other more imposing archaeological sites in Turkey.

Agora Open Air Museum | Tarık Sarı Sk. No:29, 35140 Konak, Izmir izmir agoraizmir agora

9. Walk along the Kordon

One of the best things to do in Izmir is to take a walk on the long seafront promenade, Kordon, enjoying the sunshine and watching locals do their thing. The iconic Kordon stretches southbound from the bohemian Alsancak neighbourhood all the way to Konak Pier and Konak Square and further down south along the coast. Kordon is also a perfect place to ride a bike by the waterside, have a picnic on the grass, watch picture-perfect sunsets and hang out at one of the many coffee shops, bars and restaurants that line the promenade. izmir kordon turkey

10. Atatürk Monument  

In Turkey there are statues and monuments dedicated to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, everywhere and I mean literally everywhere. And Izmir is no exception. Here one of the many Atatürk monuments can be found at Republic Square (Cumhuriyet Meydani) along the Kordon, Izmir’s seafront promenade. The monument depicts equestrian Atatürk in the Turkish War of Independence.

Atatürk Monument | Sht. Fethi Bey Cd. 122 D, 35210 Konak, Izmir izmir atatürk monument

11. Tree of the Republic Statue

This tall statue at the centre of Gündoğdu Square commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. Located within one of Izmir’s most well-known parks, it is a popular meeting point for people as well as a stage for parties, political rallies and demonstrations.

Tree of the Republic | izmir tree of republic statue

12. Church of St Polycarp

This Catholic church was built in the early 17th century and is today the oldest Christian house of worship still in use in Izmir.

Church of St Polycarp | Necati Bey Bulvarı 2, Izmir

13. Konak Pier

Built in 1890 this pier served as a customs point until the mid-20th century. Recently Konak Pier was converted into a shopping centre and today houses abundant shops, restaurants, cafes and cinemas together with amazing views over the sea and city.

Konak Pier | Izmir izmir konak pier

14. Enjoy greenery at Culture Park

Kültürpark is a vast inner-city park and the lungs of Izmir. This leafy green space is a perfect place to escape the summer heat, take a quiet stroll, do some exercise and enjoy crazy rides at the small fun fair.

Kültürpark | Izmir izmir kültürparkizmir kültürpark

15. Go on a sunset boat trip from Pasaport to Karsiyaka

Take a short ferry trip across Izmir bay from Pasaport to Karsiyaka at sunset and enjoy fantastic views of Izmir’s city skyline. izmir sunset

More Turkey posts you may like:

How to Get 10% off Your Next Hotel Stay with Booking.com

Picture-perfect Postcards from Turkey

Guide to Izmir – Turkey’s Third City with a Mediterranean Twist

Colourful Photo Tour of Izmir

Swimming in the Turquoise Sea of thermal Springs in Ilica

14 Ways How to Discover Cesme’s Charms

Falling in Love with Alacati – Turkey’s Best Kept Seaside Secret

Kusadasi Travel Guide: What to See and Do in Kusadasi

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Author: Piia | Ticket to Adventures

Captivating travel stories from around the world, near and far, by an experienced traveller and adventurer.

8 thoughts on “Top 15 Things to Do and See in Izmir, Turkey

  1. Many beautiful suggestions! I would love to do the sunset boat trip with my SO. Turkey is on our lists and that sounds like such a romantic activity to do! 🙂

    Like

  2. Really interesting blog post and great pictures as well. Thanks for sharing

    Like

  3. The thought of Turkish sunshine and warmth is very appealing at present during this spell of sub-zero temperatures!

    Like

  4. Such awesome pictures! I want to go so bad!

    Like

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