A great mix of modern Mediterranean and traditional Turkey in Izmir
3000 years of great history and many interesting old legends are today just a small part of Izmir, the third largest Turkish city, that in recent years become a modern port and a vivid capital of western part of the country. If you want to discover the Aegean Region and its long and stunning coastline, there you have absolutely set your base in Izmir and start exploring the diversity of wonderful Turkey!
- Location: near the Mediterranean sea, western part of Anatolia, Turkey
- Population: 2,847,691 (2014)
- Official languages: Turkish
- Currency: Turkish lira (TRY)
- Airport: The Adnan Menderes International Airport (ADB), 18 km southwest of the city
- Weather: Mediterranean climate with long and hot summers and average temperatures 30-36 °C. Winters are rainy and usually mild with average temperature 10-16 °C.
- Sunshine hours: 2,863 hours of sunshine per year
Izmir and Aegean Region – amazing coastline with rich history
Western Turkey has many treasures – from world best preserved archaeological sites to unspoiled coastline with wonderful beaches and clean blue sea. There is tourist season almost all year round, so you do not to think, when to go, just book a hotel, rent a car and start exploring all the wonders that are waiting for you!
Driving in Izmir:
- Suitable for tourists: Yes, but not without GPS, map and good insurance policy.
- Problematic areas: Izmir has some shady areas that are not safe at night, so avoid the south side of train tracks and the streets around the main port.
- Age limits: 17 (18-21 to rent a car.)
- International Driving Permit: Yes
- Additional papers: Full insurance policy and your ID
- Additional requirements: First aid kit and two warnings triangles
- Children in the car: Children has to be at least 12 years old to seat on the front seat.
- Drink & drive: maximum BAC = 0.05 % (0.00 % for young drivers)
- Driving side of the road: right
- Lights: You do not need to use headlights during the day, but do not forget to turn them on at night even that a majority of Turkish drivers does not do that. This is one of the reasons, why it is not advisable to drive during the night.
- General speed limits: 120 on motorways, 90 on main roads and 50 on urban areas.
- Parking suggestions: You can find payable car park quite easily for such a big city. Many hotels and other accommodation offer parking that is not only free, but also absolutely safe.
- Traffic control cameras: Do not speed! Fines can be expensive and there are many cameras on highways and other roads.
- Paying tolls: It is not possible to pay highway and bridge tolls in Turkey by your credit card or cash. The toll is collected electronically via special chip-sticker that is mounted in the windscreen and provides information about the distance travelled. (Ask your rent a car company for more information.)
Traveling in Izmir
- Main sights: Izmir is famous for its clock tower that is located on the Konak Square, the centre of the city. You can taste traditional Turkish tea, or try a water pipe in one of the small streets of Alsancak or visit the old castle Kadifekale that offers a great view. Izmir has also many beaches, waterfront promenade with palm trees for evening walking and many more. There is a Wildlife park that offer a great experience for families and children. Every tourist, who visit Izmir, has to buy something on the big baazar, take a boat trip and enjoy in lively city’s nightlife.
- 5 top road trips:
- Cesme is known for its clear blue sea and peaceful beaches. It is located about half an hour west from Izmir.
- Ephesus with its ancient temples, agoras, great theatre and the temple of Artemis, one of the ancient Seven World Wonders it is worth a road trip. There is also an archaeological museum.
- Pergamon is another ancient city where many temples and other architecture and ruins can be seen.
- Pamukkale, Unesco World Heritage Site, lies 20 km or less than 3 hours from Izmir. You will be surely impressed by its woderful terraced polls and unique geothermal springs that are really something special.
- Bodrum is facing Greek island of Kos and it is located around 3 hours south from Izmir. It is known for its vibrant nightlife, discos and parties. One of the most vivid Turkish cities.
- Best time to visit: From April to September or early October when rainy days are rare. There is almost no rain from June to August, but the temperatures can rise as high as 40 °C and it gets sticky hot.