Top attractions in Izmir
Izmir's top must-see sights
As Turkey's western pearl, Izmir is a thriving Aegean port city with a rich cultural heritage. It boasts ancient architecture, natural beauty, and is also an hour's drive to the spectacular ruins of Ephesus. If you fancy a cruise this is a favorite stop.
1. İzmir Alsancak Terminal
It's Turkey's second oldest train station and hub for tourists with a taste for adventure. If you want to visit Turkey's many historic landmarks, then this is a central stop.
This turn-of-the-century elevator is one of Izmir's must-see attractions. With stunning city views, a quick ride to the top will take you to an excellent traditional restaurant.
3. Mount Yamanlar
Just a short journey outside of Izmir is this spectacular rocky expanse. Picnic on the banks of its beautiful lake Karagöl or climb to the ancient tomb of Tantalus on its mount.
4. Izmir Clock Tower (Saat Kulesi)
At the heart of Konak Square is a beautiful architectural masterpiece. With a classic Ottoman design, the clock tower is one of Turkey's jewels and a picture-perfect tourist spot.
5. St. Polycarp Church
Make a pilgrimage to Izmir's oldest church, famous as one of only seven holy buildings mentioned in the Bible. Plan in advance, as it is only open to tourists on special days.
6. Kemeralti Bazaar
Packed with hidden gems, Izmir's ancient market is a must-see for adventurous tourists. It's particularly good for leather, clothing, and jewelry - perfect for holiday bargains.
7. Mount Sipylus
At the edge of the ancient site of Manisa is this towering, natural beauty. Reached via Izmir's winding mountain roads, visit its base where the famous Weeping Rock of Niobe sits.
Planning Your Visit
When should you visit?
Blessed with a Mediterranean climate, Izmir is hot and dry in the summer and mild in the winter. Its tourist attractions are open year-round, so the perfect time to visit is completely up to you.
Where should you stay in Izmir?
Whatever your budget, there are plenty of sleek, modern hotels and cozy traditional guesthouses in Izmir. For a combination of the two, The Key Hotel comes highly recommended. This reimagined 1950s bank boasts high-tech rooms with stunning sea views. Or, for a touch of luxury, check into the Swissôtel Büyük Efes in the city's center with wonderful spa facilities.
Good to know
- Turkish Lira (₺)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+02:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- To enjoy some great sightseeing weather with fewer tourists, plan your visit for spring or fall.
Other Sightseeing Options in Izmir
Want to discover all there is to do in Izmir? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Izmir
'A personalized 'History Channel' experience' It's a great time to see these historical sites at extremely affordable prices. Through historical references and myths, Emre explained the religious and trading significance of the cities to Anatolia and the whole region. Okan drove us smoothly between tour sites and our hotels in the vehicle's air-conditioned comfort. The team gave us a gift that included hand-sanitiser and more than enough masks for the whole trip, which we are using several days after the trip . Other bonuses include a night at the stunning Kusadasi beach, a trip to the world heritage Pamukkale, white limestone terraces and thermal pools, and enjoyed some tasty meals at little restaurants along the way. There's also an opportunity to get some great carpet, pottery and leather bargains at this time as local shops are keen for business. A great trip for singles and couples - might be a struggle with young kids.
Very informative and Pleasant Ephesus Tour!
Upon arrival we were pleasantly greeted right outside the port by Ahu, our tour guide to Ephesus. We were driven in a private vehicle to Ephesus and were given a thorough tour of Ephesus and the Terrace Houses. It was great to be able to see everything that Ephesus offered along with getting an overall descriptive narrative through Ahu. Ahu was not only a tour guide but she was very easy to speak to and made the tour fun for all of us. She even took us to a runway show which featured leather jackets. They were pricey so we didn’t buy anything but the experience was fun. I could have done without the rug shop but how the rugs were made may interest some. Overall, we had a great experience with Ahu and if we ever visit Turkey again we would be sure to look her up!
Ephesus is a place you must see if you are interested in roman ruins of history. It's amazing that so much is still intact in such a concentrated area. There is excavation still ongoing so there will be more to see as time goes on. The romans were amazing engineers. My tour turned out to be simply perfect. My guide (Mr. Riza) was a treasure trove of information. He has a great deal of knowledge of the culture and history of Ephesus and the entire region. The tour started out amazing and got better as the day went on. it felt as though I was walking backward through time. So many things to see. My driver (Mr. Burak) was right on time waiting for us at each spot. Great driver. Thank you both for a tour I will never forget.
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our private tour. We were in complete control of our day and how long we spent at each site. St John's Basilica was under renovation so we only visited from outside but we were taken to a muesuem nearby instead. Our guide Ahu was extremely knowledgeable and provided detailed historical and religious explanations at each site. As this was a private tour we utilised the option of making additional stops (within the duration of the tour) and choosing any drop off point at the end of the tour en route our pick up hotel. Highly recommend this tour!
The tour in itself was awesome. An Christian Pilgrim should have this on their to do list. This is an under valued experience. This turned into a private tour, which I was told it was not going to be. The Thermal Hotel and the Resort Hotel were excellent accommodations. I wanted an option to stay in a cheaper hotel the first two nights. The business hotel was the low light of the tour.