Izmir Travel & Photography Guide

Σμύρνη, Smyrna, Esmirna

Izmir Travel Photography Guide

A short and concise guide about Izmir. I’m working as a Professional Photographer in Izmir and around. Now I will share my experiences and photos with you. I hope it goes well. For more information, you can contact me by e-mail.

General Information Izmir Travel & Photography Guide

Thessaloniki… It was the Jerusalem of Balkans before 1912. In Turkish times, Thessaloniki’s (Salonca) Jewish element was the most dominant. Very little remains of that colorful and cosmopolitan history in Thessaloniki.

Unfortunately, there are not many preserved old buildings in Thessaloniki. What remains are structures that survived the great fire of 1917 and, in a rather skewed way, urbanization. The most famous of these is the White Tower.

My first impressions of Izmir : Relaxed, but also Noisy and Fun


Language: Turkish
Population: 1 million people
Currency: Lira
Visa and Entry: Turkish Visa is required for some non-EU countries. Passport control is smooth.

  • Izmir has more than 3,000 years of recorded urban history.
  • City’s name a reference to the name of an Amazon called Smyrna said to have seduced Theseus, leading him to name the city in her honor.
  • Architectural structure 7-8 story reinforced concrete apartments in main quarters. Very few old buildings. Slums in suburbs.
  • The Greek settlement in Old Smyrna is attested by the presence of pottery dating from about 1000 BC onwards. The most ancient ruins preserved to our times date back to 725–700 BC.
  • Smyrna achieved the identity of a city-state. About a thousand people lived inside the city walls, with others living in nearby villages.
  • Alexander the Great, re-founded the city at a new location beyond the Meles River around 340 BC.
  • The Turks first captured Smyrna under the Seljuk commander Çaka Bey in 1076.
  • Izmir’s remarkable growth began in the late 16th century when cotton, fig and other products of the region brought French, English, Dutch and Venetian traders here.
  • The first railway lines to be built within the present-day territory of Turkey went from Izmir. Izmir – Aydin railway was started in 1856 and finished in 1867.
  • According to the 1893 Ottoman census, 79,000 was Turkish, with 53,000 Greeks, 15,000 Jews, 6,800 Armenians, and 54,000 foreign nationals.
  • Prior to the World War I, Izmir hosted more Greeks than Athens, the capital of Greece.
  • On 15 May 1919, the Greek Army landed in Smyrna, but the Greek expedition towards central Anatolia was disastrous for both that country and for the local Greeks of Anatolia. By September 1922 the Greek army had been defeated and was in full retreat, the last Greek soldiers leaving Smyrna on 8 September 1922.
  • In 2020, the city was damaged by the Aegean Sea earthquake and tsunami.

Best Places for Photography in Izmir – Izmir Travel & Photography Guide

  1. Enjoy Turkey’s Most Open City – If you are in Istanbul, do not think that Istanbul is the most liberal city of Turkey. Because it is not true. Izmir is known as Turkey’s most proudly liberal city and while it’s also its 3rd largest city. You may shoot some street photos and portraits. It is a good opportunity to pose opposing lifestyles. Conservative and liberal lifestyles. People really seem to enjoy living here and there’s much less tension here compared to Istanbul.

Izmir Kordon Shore
  1. Kordon – It’s an icon of the city and what really makes Izmir special. I can’t imagine Izmir without its Kordon, the long seaside promenade always full of life. Stretching 6 km from Alasancak down to Konak Square, it passes by popular spots like Republic Square (Cumhuriyet Meydani) and Konak Pier. The whole way, though, you’ll pass through plenty of life and interest. You will also walk by bicycle paths, gyms, benches, cafes, bars, fishermen, and the endless view of the Aegean Sea. . Strolling promenades with your camera, while feeling the cool sea breeze is enjoyable.
  2. Explore Jewish History of Izmir – Until 1920s Ikicesmelik and Karatas were important Jewish Quarters if Izmir. In that period 7% of the city’s population was Jews. Today, Karatas is a popular district with its great synagogue, historical elevator and Dario Moreno Street, which takes its name from a famous Jewish musician from Izmir. It offers photographic frames with its cute cafes on the street, the old Jewish hospital, the magnificent view of Izmir Bay from the top of the historical elevator.
  3. Foca –  Foca, also known as Eski Foca (Old Foca), is a lovely seaside town on the Aegean coast, located less than 70 kilometers northwest of Izmir. Nowadays, it is very easy to reach with the suburban system called “izban”. Foca harbors great history, beautiful stone houses, spectacular boats and an impressive geographical setup. It allows you to walk the coastline past a medieval castle & cybele altar and arrive at the heart of the town. The town is V-shaped, meaning you get to witness beautiful buildings and restaurants and the bustling atmosphere from either side of the shoreline. Foca also has 6 small islands that dot the shoreline making for spectacular views and great boat excursions. Sirens’ Rocks mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. Also, town boasts six Blue Flag beaches that, although are not smack dab in the center, are close by and easily accessible. Ingiliz Burnu, which is located on the coast heading towards Mersinaki happens to be the best spot to watch the sunset.
  4. Alacati – Alacati is a small town just a hop and skip away from Izmir on the west coast of Turkey. The charming town is a hidden gem that most foreign people haven’t heard of, and the majority of first-time visitors leave Alacati off their Turkey itinerary. Its strong winds make it an ideal spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing. The boutique hotels in Alacati are beautifully furnished and cosy, with hoteliers, usually escapees from big city life, friendly and hospitable. Food in Alacati is also a delight. Alacati has fresh seafood, deliciously grilled, stewed, or served chilled in olive oil. In April, there is the Herb Festival, which brings to the fore many fresh herbs that grow locally and are used in dishes special to the area. Then there are ice cream, cookies and coffee, all flavoured with mastic and all with a unique taste. Alacati is a photographic paradise with its historical mills, stylish, cute and colorful cafes and wonderful beaches.
  5. Ephesus – One of Turkey’s top tourist attractions, Ephesus is the most important and best preserved ancient city. It is an outstanding universal value of the world for all time, and its history dates back to 6000 BC. Ephesus generously offers magnificent photographs with its huge Roman Amphitheater, harbor street, ancient brothel and amazing Celsus Library.

What you Need to Know – Izmir Travel and Photography Guide

Weather in Izmir

In July, the hottest month, the average air temperature is 25 degrees. In January, the coldest month, this figure drops to 6 degrees. The rainiest month is November. In August, the sea water temperature reaches 26 degrees.

Click Here for Izmir Weather Forecast


Thessaloniki Places to Stay:

Airbnb is a good choice for renting a house in the center of Izmir. Also, Izmir offers quite a few options for airbnb. If you want to stay in downtown, Alsancak is the favourite place to stay. The average hotel price per night for 2 people in Izmir is around 50 euros. The average price in 4-star hotels is 80 euros/night and 5-star-hotels is 110 euros/night. Hostel prices are between €10 and €20 per night for one person.


Rent a Car in Izmir

Izmir Car Rental: There are offices of international companies such as Avance, Avis & Budget, Hertz & Thrifty and Sixth in Izmir Airport’s arrivals ground floor. The roads are comfortable for driving. The city center is 20 kilometers from the airport. It is possible to reach the city by car in 30 minutes. Cesme is 85 km and trip takes 50 min. Foca is 88km from airport, Ephesus is 64km.

Just as this time you can visit around Izmir, Kusadasi is only 80 km and journey takes about 1hour. Pamukkale is 225km and 3 hrs by car. If you like long trips by car, Bodrum is 220km, Marmaris is 245km, Istanbul is 500km it is around 5 hours via motorway.

Izmir Flights

Companies operating domestic flights (Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, Antalya, Diyarbakir, Van, Antep, Agri, Trabzon, Urfa, Mus, Elazig, Kayseri, Kars, Hatay, Samsun, Konya, Malatya) in Turkey are Pegasus, Sun Express and Turkish Airlines. Also, airport provides international flights. There are direct flights to Izmir from Germany (Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Berlin, Stuttgart, Munchen, Hannover, Dortmund, Bremen, Cologne, Hamburg, Nuremberg), Denmark (Copenhagen), The Netherlands (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven), France (Paris), Switzerland (Basel, Zurich), Cyprus (Nicosia), Iran (Tehran), Ukraine (Kiew), Azerbaijan (Baku), Greece (Athens), Belgium (Brussels), Russia (Moscow), Poland (Warsaw), United Kingdom (London), Austria (Vienna), Sweden (Stockholm), Ireland (Dublin), Belarus (Minsk), Jordan (Amman)


Bus and Train Service from Izmir Airport

Bus service runs every 30 minutes. The journey to the city center takes about 70 minutes. Single fare of bus is €2. Tickets can be purchased on board the service.

There is also train system from Airport to Downtown. Izban journey takes 1 hour and 15 min.



Cost of Living in Izmir

Restaurants : Meal in an inexpensive restaurant is €5. A Mc Donald’s menu is €3. Meal for two in a mid-range restaurant is €15. Cappucino is €1, Cola (330) is €0,4 and water (0,33) is €0,20

Transportation : One way public transport is €0,3. 1 liter gasoline is €1,50 and taxi starts from €1,50.

Markets : 0,5 liter bottle domestic beer is €1,40. 0,33 liter imported beer is €2. A pack of Marlboro cigarette is €2. Mid-range bottle of wine is €7.

Turkish Cuisine – Izmir Travel & Photography Guide

Izmir does not offer good tastes in terms of Turkish cuisine. The most famous and traditional flavor is Kumru. Kumru, a kind of fast food sandwich, contains sausage, tomato and cheese.

Boyoz, is a traditional Jewish pastry. It may good for breakfast.

Lokma, decadent, and sugar-packed dessert is usually made with a mixture of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt, which is deep-fried and then bathed in syrup or honey. The origin of lokma fritters is ancient but often debated. It is presumed that they first appeared in Turkey.

Tips – Izmir Travel & Photography Guide

  • Two days are enough time for a general city visit. But, if you prefer to taste various delicious foods and see the nightlife, you can stay three days.
  • Watch out for the unbearable heat in summer.
  • There are bus and train services from the airport to the city center. You have to buy tickets from the kiosk.
  • Local people do not spend the summer months in Izmir. Instead they go to the very nearby sea houses. If you come to Izmir on summer, don’t stay in downtown and explore around.

Other Travel Guides :

Athens Istanbul – Budapest London –  Podgorica PragueSkopjeTbilisiThessaloniki Best Cities for Street Photography  – How to always find cheep flights

Kivanc Turkalp Photography © 2016-2021


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