1 – Sit on the Grass at Alsancak “Kordon”
Izmir’s coastline boardwalk is known as the “Kordon.” Alsancak is one of the finest spots along the whole coast, perfect to watch people as they promenade past and as you relax along the grass. The cafes lining the whole strip are all around you and you can even pick up a cup of tea from one of these cafes to go and relax in the grass as you drink it. Izmir is a more relaxed city than the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, and relaxing along the seaside is one of the pleasures afforded its residents. Gather some friends and look out over the Aegean and people passing by and really just enjoy the atmosphere of this great city.
2 – Eating Boyoz for Breakfast
Boyoz is a Turkish pastry that you’ll pretty much find exclusively in Izmir. While it’s possible but difficult to find in, say, Istanbul – in Izmir it’s everywhere and one of the most popular and common breakfast pastries.
It comes originally from Sephardic Jewish bakers who spoke Ladino, an Ottoman language spoken by its Jewish population that is very close to Spanish. It’s this etymology from the Spanish word “bollos” meaning bun. Every bakery or cafe in Izmir will have Boyoz and you can taste its crispy exterior and chewy interior when you visit the city.
3 – Eat Kumru at least once
Kumru is a local Izmir sandwich that’s typically made on a sesame bun with tomatoes, pickles, peppers, and Izmir tulum cheese. Ketchup, mayonnaise, sausage, salami, and kaşar cheese are then cooked into it (and Sayas cheese as well) so that it’s a full sandwich with loads of flavor. It is not necessarily a light snack, but it certainly is delicious!
It takes its name, which literally means “collared dove” from the shape of the bun which resembles that of a dove.
4 – Getting on a Ferry
The primary ports from which ferries depart are Bostanlı, Üçkuyular, Konak and Karşıyaka. The ferries go between each other all day long and are used for commutes and just to get around different areas of the city. This makes the ferries one of the best ways to admire the Gulf upon which Izmir sits and enjoy the beautiful Aegean Sea.
5 – Take a Walk along the Coast at Karşıyaka
This is the best spot in Izmir to watch the sunset. There’s almost always a nice cool breeze, so in the summer it’s truly pleasant and the whole district feels like a resort. There are palaces and mansions all around Karşıyaka and an evening here is the most relaxing and enjoyable way to wind the day down in
6 – Going to Nearby Holiday Areas such as Foça, Urla, Alaçatı and Çeşme
Where do the people of Izmir go on vacation? Close to home, of course! There are great places for water sports with luxury and boutique hotels to have the holiday of your dreams within driving distance of your home.
7 – A Bike Tour between Bostanlı & Sasalı
This is a flat course that stretches out over 18 kilometers. There are plenty of places to rent bicycles and the bike paths start Bostanlı Pier and stretch all the way to the nature park in Sasalı.
8 – Walk around Izmir’s Bird Paradise
After Sasalı, just keep biking along to the Bird Paradise of Izmir. Pelicans, flamingos, kingfishers, and many other birds are local to Izmir and are protected in these wetlands. Each year around 50,000 birds stop here along their migration patters.
9 – Selfies at Izmir’s Clock Tower and Coffee at Kızlarağası Hanı’s Dibek Coffee
This is essentially a ritual at this point. If you visit Izmir, you take a photo at the clock tower. And the Kızlarağası Han in the Konak district is a wonderful place to shop in a han built back in 1774, with some of the best Turkish coffee you’ll ever try. The coffee beans are ground with their own mixture of carobs, terebinth, cocoa, zahter, coffee cream and sahlep for a flavor unlike anything else.
10 – Enjoying the View from a Historic Elevator
The elevator tower between Mithatpaşa street and Şehit Nihatbey was built in 1907 and was built to make the trip between the two much easier than the 155 steps it takes otherwise. The elevator is in working order and the upper floor features a cafeteria where you can sip a cup of tea and look out over the balcony and admire the view of the whole, fascinating city.