Izmir area holidays hit you with a triple whammy of ancient ruins, Blue Flag beaches and modern city living.

Mix-and-match town

Izmir’s put in the hard yards to reinvent itself over the years, and the result’s a city that flits between historic and modern themes. Konak Square’s a bit of a throwback, with a century-old clocktower, the Yali Mosque and an opera house dotted around it. Crowds of people flock here for photos, and there’s a bit of overspill from the whopping Kemeralti market around the corner. The waterfront promenade’s like hitting fast forward, as contemporary restaurants and swish apartment buildings line its sides.

Blue Flag favourite

Ask anyone what Kusadasi’s best known for, and the resounding response involves a big scoop of sand that’s tickled by the Aegean Sea. It’s by no means the region’s largest city, but holds its own with eight different Blue Flag beaches, plus a marina that gets the same accreditation. Families give this place full marks – that’s mostly down to its friendly bars and bumper crop of restaurants. And any daytime hours that aren’t spent sunbathing are gobbled up by the hectic marketplaces dotted around the place.

Old-school sightseeing

You can toss the history books to one side when you’re in these parts, as plenty of it’s still in decent nick today. Alexander the Great had a hand in Izmir’s early years, but it’s the ancient city of Ephesus that grabs the headlines. It’s not far from Kusadasi and Izmir International Airport, and lines up one of the biggest and best-preserved archaeological sites in Turkey. Poke around the place, and you’ll see the remnants of the Library of Celsus, the Gate of Augustus and a huge amphitheatre.

At a Glance

  • Stroll around Konak Square
  • Sprawl out on a Blue Flag beach
  • Explore ancient ruins

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