Welcome to the captivating city of Izmir, where history, culture, and the allure of the Aegean Sea converge to create an unforgettable tourist experience. This vibrant metropolis on Turkey's western coast offers a treasure trove of activities and attractions for travelers seeking both adventure and relaxation. From exploring ancient ruins to savoring culinary delights, you may enjoy a plethora of things to do in Izmir during your vacation in this historic city. Join us on a journey through the authentic Turkish culture in this coastal gem, where your adventure begins.

Best Things to Do in Izmir: Here’s Your Ultimate To-Do List in Izmir

Best things to do in Izmir

Izmir, often referred to as the "Pearl of the Aegean," beckons with a blend of tradition and modernity that's bound to enchant any traveler. With its beautiful coastal landscapes, bustling bazaars, and a rich history that dates back millennia, this dynamic city invites you to embark on a journey of discovery and leisure. Whether you're drawn to the sun-drenched beaches, the fascinating archaeological sites, or the vibrant local culture, you are promised a diverse range of things to do in Izmir on your visit.

Here are a few things that you should not miss while being in this city:

  • Explore Ancient Ephesus
  • Indulge in Culinary Delights
  • Discover the Izmir Clock Tower
  • Relax on Kordon Promenade
  • Take a Cruise Tour
  • Shop at Kemeraltı Bazaar
  • Hike on Different Trails
  • Visit the Izmir Archaeological Museum
  • Relax on the Beaches
  • Experience Local Festivals

1. Explore Ancient Ephesus: Step into the Past Where History Lives

Explore Ancient Ephesus

The ancient city of Ephesus is an open-air museum that offers a captivating glimpse into the past which is among the top things to do in Turkey on vacation. As you wander through its well-preserved streets, you'll encounter iconic structures like the Library of Celsus and the grand Theater, transporting you to the heyday of this ancient metropolis. Ephesus is a place where history comes to life, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

Address: Atatürk, Uğur Mumcu Sevgi Yolu, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey

Timings: 8 am to 6:30 pm

Famous for: Archeological Site, UNESCO Heritage Site

Main Attractions: Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre, Temple of Artemis (Seven Wonders of the World), House of the Virgin Mary

Nearby Attractions: Izmir Clock Tower, Izmir Teleferik, Asansor Izmir, Izmir Museum, Izmir Clock Tower, Konak Square

2. Indulge in Culinary Delights: A Culinary Adventure Awaits

Indulge in Culinary Delights

Izmir things to do includes tasting the Turkish cuisine as the city is a culinary paradise for food lovers. From savoring succulent kebabs to enjoying freshly caught seafood, the city's local eateries and seaside restaurants offer an array of tantalizing Turkish flavors. Immerse yourself in the aromatic spices, rich dishes, and delightful desserts that make Turkish cuisine a culinary adventure.

Famous Restaurants in Izmir:

  • Tavaci Recep Usta Alsancak- Ataturk Cd. No: 364 Alsancak, Izmir 35220
  • Kordon Yengec Restaurant- Alsancak, Atatürk Cd. 314/A, 35220 Konak/İzmir
  • Deniz Restaurant- Kültür, İzmir Palas Oteli, Atatürk Cd. No: 188/B, 35220 Konak/İzmir
  • La Cigale- Fransız Kültür Merkezi, Kültür, Cumhuriyet Blv No:152, 35220 Konak/İzmir
  • Sakiz Alsancak- Akdeniz, Atatürk Cd. No:158/A, 35210 Konak/İzmir

Famous Cuisines and Dishes in Izmir: Baklava, Döner kebap, Lahmacun, Dolma, Meze, Börek, Menemen, Pilav

Suggested Read: Turkey Travel Guide: Lose Yourself in the Beauty of this Country

3. Discover the Izmir Clock Tower: Ascend the Timeless Beauty

Discover the Izmir Clock Tower

Walking around and climbing up the Izmir Clock Tower also known as Izmir Saat Kulesi in Turkish, is among the top things to do in Izmir. The tower is standing proudly in Konak Square. It is not just a striking visual landmark but also a historic symbol of the city. This clock tower is a testament to Izmir's rich history and a great starting point for your exploration. The tower is made in octagonal structure constructed with marble and stone with a bell on the 4th floor. Climb to the top for a panoramic view of the bustling cityscape and the Aegean Sea. This tower is especially famous as one of the most charming places to visit in Izmir among the photographers who come here to click tempting pictures of the landscape.

Address: Konak Square, Izmir

Timings: Anytime

Famous for: Symbol of the City, Photograhy

Architect: Raymond Charles Péré

Architectural styles: Ottoman architecture, Neoclassical architecture

Main Attractions: The Clock Tower

Nearby Attractions: Kizlaragasi Hani, Izmir Teleferik, Asansor Izmir, Izmir Museum, Konak Square, Izmir Wildlife Park, Hisar Camii, Agora Open Air Museum

Suggested Read: Best Beaches in Fethiye, Turkey: Find Your Beachside Bliss in Fethiye's Coastal Paradise

4. Relax on Kordon Promenade: Relax and Unwind on Kordon

 Relax on Kordon Promenade

The Kordon Promenade is a picturesque waterfront where you can unwind and appreciate the beauty of the Aegean Sea. Take a leisurely stroll along this charming stretch, enjoy the sea breeze, and perhaps stop at one of the nearby cafes to sip on Turkish tea or coffee while soaking in the serene atmosphere. If nothing of the above captivate you, stop by and enjoy this one of the top places to visit in Turkey from horse-drawn carriage. You can see the other tourist attractions of Izmir like the Atatürk Museum, Arkas Art Centre, and the Zübeyde Hanım Museum Ship. You can also enjoy impromptu live concerts and music shows during the weekends.

Address: Alsancak, Kıbrıs Şehitleri Caddesi, 1479. Sk. A D: No:10, 35220 Konak/İzmir, Turkey

Timings: 7 am to 8 pm

Famous for: Cafes, Horse-drawn carriage

Nearby Attractions: Izmir Ataturk Museum, Izmir Museum of History & Art, Hisar Camii, Arkas Sanat Merkezi, Saint Polycarp Church, Kemeralti Market

Suggested Read: New Year 2024 in Turkey: For A Full Night Of Fun To Bring In A New Beginning

5. Take a Cruise Tour: Discover Beauty on the Waves

 Take a Cruise Tour

Izmir, Turkey, is a city known for its rich history and culture, offering stunning views and azure waters and one may surely get an array of things to do in Izmir. Couples often plan their honeymoon in Turkey due to its beautiful beaches and historical sites. Izmir's coastal location beckons you to explore the sparkling waters of the Aegean Sea. Hop on a cruise tour to experience the coastal beauty, discover hidden coves, swim in crystal-clear waters, and bask in the sun as you cruise along the breathtaking coastline. The city features bazaars, cobblestone streets, architectural monuments, popular restaurants, and an open-air theatre that visitors can explore. Other notable sites include the Virgin Mary House, St. John Church, and Ancient Ephesus. This one of the fun-filling things to do in Izmir with family allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region and enjoy the tranquil seascape.

Location: Izmir Cruise Port

Timings: 9 AM onwards

Attractions: Temple of Artemis, sea view, sunset view, mountain views, gorgeous breakfast and dinners at cruise

Suggested Read: Places to Visit in Kusadasi: Unforgettable Moments by the Turquoise Waters

6. Shop at Kemeraltı Bazaar: Shop the Heart of Izmir

Shop at Kemeraltı Bazaar

When it comes to shopping in Turkey, Kemeraltı Bazaar is one of the best destinations to explore. It is a bustling market in the heart of Izmir, where the vibrant energy of the city comes to life. Here, you can shop for a wide range of items, from spices and textiles to traditional Turkish crafts. You can buy carpets, clothes, handicrafts, jewellery, rugs, leather items, antique stores, musical instruments, souvenir shops, and more from this bustling market. It's the perfect place to find unique souvenirs. Among the best things to do in Izmir Turkey, is to immerse yourself in local culture and indulge in a bit of retail therapy while exploring the heart of Izmir.

Address: Konak, Anafartalar Cd

Timings: 8 am to 7 pm

Famous for: Handicrafts, spices, textiles, musical instruments, and souvenir shops

Main Attractions: Hisar Camii, Kemeralti Market, Izmir Clock Tower, Agora Open Air Museum, Izmir Wildlife Park, Konak Square, Saint Polycarp Church

Suggested Read: Top Places To Visit In Antalya For All The History Lovers

7. Hike on Different Trails: Let’s Get on Nature’s Bounty

Hike on Different Trails

Nature enthusiasts will be captivated by Izmir, a pristine natural area offering a network of well-marked hiking trails, undoubtedly one of the most stimulating things to do in Izmir. Teos Ancient City- Sigacik Teos Marina- Camcaz Beach is the easiest hiking path, whereas Karagol Nature Park path, Odemis Golcuk Plateau- Golcuk Lake Trail, and Yeni Foca- Kobeyl Trail are some of the moderate trails. Izmir also has various higher-level paths for professional and frequent hikers, including Balcova Termal-Behzat Tepe, Kiziluzum-Nif Mountain Summit, and others. It is now up to hikers to decide which path to take. Trekking these trails is among one of the most enthralling things to do in Izmir that you through diverse landscapes, from lush forests to serene beaches. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, including native flora and fauna, and take in the breathtaking panoramic views of the unspoiled natural surroundings.

Hiking Trails: Teos Ancient City- Sigacik Teos Marina- Camcaz Beach, Karagol Nature Park path, Odemis Golcuk Plateau- Golcuk Lake Trail, Yeni Foca- Kobeyl Trail

Timings: 6 am to 5 pm

Famous for: Natural scenery, city view, and deep blue sea from the top of the mountain, camping, and more

Suggested Read: Cappadocia Travel Guide: The Embodiment of a Fairytale Land

8. Visit the Izmir Archaeological Museum: Journey Through Historical Treasures

Visit the Izmir Archaeological Museum

For a deeper understanding of the region's history and culture, a visit to the Izmir Archaeological Museum is a must. The museum boasts an extensive collection of artifacts, sculptures, and historical relics that provide valuable insights into the area's rich past. Most of these artifacts are found from the excavations of the Aegean Region especially Bayraklı (Smyrna), Ephesus, Bergama, Milet, Klazomenai. One may also witness the artifacts from the Prehistoric Ages and the Byzantine period if you are looking for fun things to do in Izmir.  It's a fascinating journey through time and an opportunity to appreciate the cultural heritage of Izmir.

Address: Halil Rıfat Paşa Caddesi, No: 4 Bahri Baba Parkı İçi, Konak

Timings: 8:30 am to 5 pm

Famous for: Bronze Running Athlete Statue' and 'Bronze Demeter Statue, Treasury Room, coins and gold and silver ornaments from Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic periods

Suggested Read: Things To Do In Istanbul, Turkey For All The History And Architecture Lovers

9. Relax on the Beaches: Where Sun, Sand, and Sea Meet

Relax on the Beaches

Izmir is blessed with a variety of stunning beaches, each with its own unique charm and nerve pumping things to do in Izmir. Whether you choose Cesme, known for its crystal-clear waters and windsurfing opportunities, Alacati, a picturesque coastal town with cozy beaches, or Pamucak Beach for a day of pure relaxation, you'll find a beach to suit your every mood. During your honeymoon in Turkey, if you have chosen Izmir as your destination, don’t miss on these stunning beaches to create cherished memories.

Top 5 Beaches in Izmir: Altınkum Beach, Dikili & Kalem Island, Pamucak Beach, Ilıca Beach, Yoncakoy Beach

Activities at the Beaches: Wind surfing, swimming, sunbathing, parasailing, and jet skiing

Suggested Read: Culture and Festivals in Turkey: Where Memories are Made and Never Forgotten

10. Experience Local Festivals: Join the Vibrant Turkish Cultures

Experience Local Festivals

Throughout the year, Izmir holds a number of cultural and music events, providing an opportunity to immerse yourself in one of the greatest things to do in Izmir at night, the city's thriving arts and entertainment scene. Plan your visit around events like the International Izmir Festival, Izmir International Fair, the Izmir European Jazz Festival, and Grape Harvest Festival, where you can enjoy live music, art exhibitions, and cultural performances. These festivals celebrate the creative spirit and cultural diversity of Izmir, allowing you to experience the city like a local and join in the festivities that define the region's character.

Famous Festivals in Izmir: International Izmir Festival, Izmir International Fair, the Izmir European Jazz Festival and Grape Harvest Festival

Suggested Read: Best Things to Do in Ankara: Relish a Fun-Filled Turkish Vacation

In this Turkish gem one can experience a plethora of things to do in Izmir from a unique blend of history, natural beauty, to the contemporary living. From the ancient ruins of Ephesus to the bustling markets of Kemeraltı, Izmir has a way of captivating the hearts of travelers. Whether you're drawn to the rich cultural tapestry, the picturesque coastal landscapes, or the delectable cuisine, Izmir is a destination that promises memories to last a lifetime. So, set your course for this enchanting city on the Aegean coast and uncover the countless wonders it has in store for you. Get yourself one of the best Turkey tour packages as your Turkish adventure awaits!


Q1. What is Izmir famous for?

Izmir is famous for its rich history, stunning coastline, and vibrant culture. It's renowned for its ancient ruins, bustling bazaars, and warm hospitality.

Q2. When is the best time to visit Izmir?

The best time to visit Izmir is during the spring and autumn when the weather is mild, and the tourist crowds are thinner.

Q3. How do I get to Izmir from the airport?

Adnan Menderes Airport is the main airport serving Izmir. You can reach the city center by taking a taxi, shuttle, or public transportation.

Q4. What are the top historical sites to visit in Izmir?

Some of the top historical sites in Izmir include Ephesus, the House of the Virgin Mary, the Izmir Clock Tower, and the ancient Agora.

Q5. What are some traditional Turkish dishes to try in Izmir?

Traditional Turkish dishes to try including kebabs, mezze, baklava, Turkish delight, and the famous Turkish tea and coffee.

Q6. Are there family-friendly activities in Izmir?

Yes, Izmir offers a range of family-friendly activities, including visits to the beach, the Izmir Zoo, and exploring ancient ruins suitable for all ages.

Q7. What are the popular festivals and events in Izmir?

Izmir hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, including the International Izmir Festival, Izmir International Fair, and the Izmir European Jazz Festival.

Q8. What are the best things to do in Izmir?

Izmir offers a plethora of activities to enjoy during your stay. A few of them are:

  • Indulge in Culinary Delights
  • Explore Ancient Ephesus
  • Discover the Izmir Clock Tower
  • Relax on Kordon Promenade
  • Take a Boat Tour