Daily Mail UK: Six things must do in Turkey’s Izmir
Sunday, 20. May 2012, 19:22
On a wide bay under a range of high hills halfway down Turkey’s west coast is a big city with a long history. Izmir is one of the fastest-growing cruise-ship ports of call on the Aegean and an excellent base for trips to nearby Ephesus and Pergamon.
Gareth Huw Davies spent some lazy days browsing the
boulevards, walking the elegant seafront, riding a century-old cliff-face
elevator and visiting some of the most extensive Roman ruins outside Pompeii...
1.Catch of the Day
Izmir is an ideal base, if you don’t require a sandy beach
and resort facilities. The airport, served by UK budget airlines, is only ten
miles from the city centre. Izmir can be crowd-free even in the first week of
August, when historic sites such as Ephesus and Pergamon are awash with
2. Go Greek
Alexander the Great started building the city and the
Romans finished the job, so it’s worth a visit to the Roman and Greek remains
at the Agora. Go early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat, and walk
among the colonnades and remnants of once-mighty gates.
3. Book a guide
Most people who visit Izmir by cruise ship are whisked off
to the big attractions by coach, at £40 a head or more. I recommend taking a
personal guide instead. If you are with three or more people, you save serious
money. My guide gave me a tour of Izmir, breaking for an excellent (£20 for
two) lunch in the market.
4. Square deal
The spacious Konak Square, with a 1901 clock tower as its
central feature, is the spiritual heart of the city and, arguably, of modern
Turkey – the fight for independence after partition in the wake of the First
World War began here.
5. Roman roaming
Ephesus is a fabulous place, with the largest collection
of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. It is the closest thing to Pompeii
as a place of buried marvels still to be excavated – only an estimated 15 to 20
per cent has been unearthed.
6. Retreat to the olive grove
Tours to Ephesus often add the village of Sirince, about
five miles away in hills smothered with olive groves and vineyards. A number of
the mainly 19th Century houses have become boutique hotels. Local people make wine and olive oil and grow
tasty peaches. I stayed at the Nisanyan boutique hotel where, from the terrace
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