The beautiful Aegean city of Izmir, Türkiye, has been recognized as one of Lonely Planet’s top cities for travel in 2024. Featured in the 19th edition of the renowned travel guide’s ‘Best in Travel 2024’, Izmir has earned its spot for its ancient cities, stunning beaches, landscapes, and unique culinary culture.
Izmir: A Blend of Delicious Flavors, Culture, and Seaside Living
Lonely Planet highlights Izmir’s coastal location as a significant advantage. The city offers a magnificent mix of history and contemporary culture, delicious and healthy Aegean cuisine, and a high quality of life. Attractions such as the historical bazaar, cultural and art venues, vineyard trails, beautiful beaches, and ancient ruins make Izmir a must-visit destination. The guide also emphasizes the annual international Izmir festival, held in summer, featuring concerts and dance performances in significant locations like the Smyrna Agora. Visitors are encouraged to taste local wines in Urla.
Izmir: A Relaxed Experience for Tourists
Despite being Türkiye’s third-largest city, Izmir maintains a laid-back atmosphere. It attracts millions of tourists annually, partly due to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of ancient Ephesus. Izmir boasts nearly two kilometers of beautiful coastline stretching to the lively Kemeralti bazaar. Its location and easy access to charming coastal towns and beaches further enhance its popularity. The west coast of Izmir is dotted with attractive villages and famous coastal settlements from Foca to Urla and from Karaburun to the Cesme peninsula.
Izmir and its surroundings, drawing heavily from the Aegean culinary traditions, offer an array of Aegean flavors, fresh seafood, and rich mezes. In Urla, known for vineyards and Turkish wines, visitors can indulge in farm-to-table dining experiences. The heart of Cesme peninsula, Alacati, serves Aegean herbs and seafood. In 2024, Izmir will be included in the Türkiye Michelin Guide, further solidifying its status as a rich culinary destination.
Izmir is renowned for its ancient cities, especially Pergamon and Selçuk. Pergamon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hosts the second-largest ancient library, while Selçuk is home to the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the ancient city of Ephesus, also a UNESCO site, along with significant ancient residences like the Basilica of St. John and the House of the Virgin Mary. Sirince, set on a green hillside, was recently included in the UN’s World Tourism Organization’s list of the world’s best tourism villages for 2023.
Ideal for cyclists, Izmir boasts bike trails and Bicycle Friendly certified hotels. It is the first city in Türkiye to be included on the EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route.
Source: Helsinki Times