Attractions Nearby Izmir, Day Trips and Excursions

(Izmir, Turkey)

Picture showing Ankara's Ataturk MausoleumAll around the Izmir Province and Turkey's Aegean coastline are some wonderful attractions, often being highly suitable for day trips. The attractions of Manisa are especially close to Izmir and just a matter of minutes away, as are those of Bodrum, where history and beaches are on offer.

Antalya is a little further away from Izmir, although still within easy reach, and lies to the south-east, where it remains the largest Turkish city on the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. Excursions are also possible to the cities of both Ankara and Istanbul, although these attractions are really just that bit too far to make day trips practicable and really deserve a short break.

Image of central Ankara


Relatively close to Izmir and to the north-east, Ankara is the proud Turkish capital and the country's second-biggest city. Lying within the very heart of Central Anatolia, the city of Ankara boasts a thriving tourism industry, with many quality attractions to lure visitors each year. The most popular of these attractions include the Temple of Augustus and Rome, the Ankara Citadel (Hisar), Aquapark Club Watercity, the Ataturk Forest Farm and Zoo and the very famous Lion's Den Mosque (Aslanhane Camii). The International Ankara Music Festival each April is another highlight.

Waterfront picture of Antalya


Antalya's old quarter of Kaleici is where the majority of historical attractions and mosques are sited, being accessed through the ancient Hadrianus Gate, which dates from Roman times. If you are interested in archaeological artefacts, then a visit to the Antalya Museum will be in order. If you have the time, take a stroll around the vibrant yacht harbour or the neighbouring Karaalioglu Park, and watch the busy fishermen. Scenic cruises along the coastline are particularly popular with day trippers and visiting tourists.

View of Bodrum's beautiful waterfront


Located directly to the south of Izmir, the town of Bodrum stands on Turkey's Aegean coast and has become a leading tourist destination. Known for being the actual site of the ancient Turkish city of Halikarnassus, which was completely destroyed during the Middle Ages by severe earthquakes, the Bodrum of today is steeped in history and home to a reasonable beachfront. However, the number one attraction in Bodrum is the medieval Castle of St. Peter, which was constructed more than 600 years ago and rather dominates the town. The castle houses the award-winning Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, which also deserves a visit.

Cesme coastal photo


Around a 30-minute drive from Izmir and also connected by regular buses, the attractions of Cesme tend to be based around its beautiful coastline. Both kiteboarding and windsurfing are extremely popular in Cesme during the sunny summer months. Daily ferries to the Greek island of Chios are available in Cesme is you are looking for something a little different, with this extensive journey lasting just over an hour.

Photo of Istanbul's famous Hagia Sofia


As one of Turkey's most visited cities, Istanbul is known across the world and really does warrant an excursion from Izmir, being situated to the north and well linked by public transport. Istanbul's attractions are almost endless and so many people choose to stay here for at least a couple of days, so that they can see some of the main sights and get a taster of life in this enormous Turkish city. In fact, you could easily spend an entire holiday exploring the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, which is amongst the biggest covered marketplaces on the planet. The Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) basilica is one attraction not to miss, as is the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Cami) and the Topkapi Palace.

Manisa panorama


A large and popular city to the north-east of Izmir, Manisa was historically referred to as 'Magnesia' and stands within the Aegean region of Turkey. Manisa is very much presided over by Mount Spil (Mount Sipylus), which provides a dramatic backdrop and is just over 1,500 metres / 4,920 feet in height. Apart from the recreational activities presented around Mount Spil, the attractions within Manisa tend to be architecture, with the 16th-century Sultan Mosque being hard to miss. In you are visiting Manisa during September, then you may well be able to join in the fun at the annual Vintage Festival, which celebrates the harvest of the surrounding vineyards.

Image of Ephesus ruins

Selcuk / Ephesus

The city of Selcuk is a fair journey away, by either bus or train, and is situated directly south of Izmir, where it has become an appealing excursion, since it is surrounded by so many enticing attractions. From Selcuk, it is possible to visit the old city of Ephesus (where the house of the Virgin Mary awaits), the picture-postcard village of Sirince, the Temple of Artemis (Artemision) and Pamucak Beach. Also near to Selcuk are the archaeological attractions of Dydima, Miletus and Priene. Within the city itself is a historic aqueduct, a Byzantine citadel and a museum filled with artefacts from Ephesus.

Picture taken in nearby Tire


Around an hour away from Izmir and sited some 80 km / 50 miles to the south-east, the Aegean town of Tire stands at the very base of the Aydin mountains and features a number of worthy attractions. Tire actually boasts the largest town market in the whole of Turkey, which takes place each Tuesday. The Old Quarter of Tire is full of interest, while the cuisine is not to be missed, with the city's delicious kebabs and meatballs being something of a local delicacy.