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With a population of over 4 million people, Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey. Yet despite the number of citizens and the round-the-clock activity, the harbour metropolis on the West Turkish Aegean has its own unique charm that visitors find hard to resist.

The best place to feel the Mediterranean/oriental rhythm of this bustling city is in the narrow alleyways of the Kemeralti bazaar. This lively shopping district is where locals come to stock up on food, leather goods, shoes and clothing, craftwork and jewellery.

For a quieter experience, enjoy a pleasant stroll along the landscaped harbour promenade, and perhaps call in at one of the numerous restaurants with sea views for some culinary pampering. And don't miss out on an excursion to lofty heights: courtesy of the 51-metre "Asansör": the best views of the harbour city are to be had from this elevator tower in the Karatas district of the city, which has a lookout platform and café.

Two particular sights away from the city are well worth a visit: Ephesus, with the famous Library of Celsus and Temple of Artemis, lies about 80 km to the south, and is one of the most frequently visited sites of the Ancient World. And Çeşme, some 60 km west of Izmir on the peninsula that bears the same name, is also worth a visit. This is a wonderful spot for swimming – and to experience the popular nightlife at the end of the day.

City Facts

  • Location

    Third largest city in Turkey and capital of the Province of Izmir

  • Population

    About 4.1 million

  • Size

    About 7340 km²

  • Public transport

    Well-developed bus system, metro line, two suburban railway lines.

  • Climate

    Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and windy, generally wet winters.

  • Best time to visit

    The weather from spring to autumn is generally pleasant for travelling; summers are very hot.

  • Good to know

    When visiting a Turkish bath (hammam), you must wear a towel around you. The same applies when visiting a hotel sauna.

  • Nice to know

    As in other Muslim countries, the left hand is also considered unclean in Turkey. Be particularly aware of this when eating with your hands.

  • Airport

    Adnan-Menderes; about 18 km south of the city.

  • Bus

    The Shuttle bus (Havaş) goes to the city centre every 30 to 60 minutes; depending on the traffic, the journey takes about 60 minutes. The public bus lines 200 and 202 also go to the city centre.

  • Railway

    The station is outside the Domestic Terminal, and there is a train about every 15 minutes.

  • Taxi

    The taxi rank is outside the Terminal; depending on the traffic, the journey takes about 30 minutes.