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Best things to do in Izmir

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Turkey  /  Turkish Aegean Coast  /  Izmir Province  /  Izmir

Top 15 things to do in Izmir

1. Kemeralti Market

For centuries Kemeralti Market was one of the city's most important commercial hubs, and this historical bazaar still preserves its original purpose. Join the locals in browsing for everything from fresh fruit, vegetables, and seafood, to clothes, toys, and household items. Take a break from shopping at one of numerous cafes and eateries. While some sellers at the bazaar have fixed prices for their goods, you can often haggle and get a significant discount.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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2. Meryemana (The Virgin Mary's House), Selcuk

Thought to be the house of Mary, the mother of Jesus, until her death, the ancient ruins of Meryemana (The Virgin Mary's House) is now a shrine for Catholics. Travelers on a pilgrimage often make the small stone house a stopping point. Inside the chapel is an altar beside a large statue of the Virgin Mary. As you look to your right you will see the smaller room where Mary is thought to have slept. Outside the shrine is a beautiful fountain, which many believe has spiritual healing powers. Before you go, it is traditional to leave a prayer in the "wishing wall."
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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3. Ancient City of Ephesus, Selcuk

See the ruins of the Greek Ancient City of Ephesus, home to the famous Temple of Artemis, named one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This city was built in the 10th century BCE by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists and came under Roman rule in 129 BCE, when it flourished as one of the largest cities in the Empire. Explore this ancient archeological site entirely on foot, marvel at the spectacular facade of its library, and enjoy the proximity to other tourist attractions.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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4. Saat Kulesi (Clock Tower)

View the Ottoman-style tower that has come to represent the city at Saat Kulesi (Clock Tower). Built in 1901 to mark the 25th anniversary of Abdülhamid II's reign, the 25 m (85 ft) high tower was then gifted to the city by the German Emperor, Wilhelm II. Notice the Moorish themes of the iron-and-lead structure, and the four fountains that are aligned around the base. The town's prominent landmark rises from one of the main pedestrian spaces, Konak Square, so check out the surrounding shops or stop to feed the pigeons here.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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5. Kordonboyu

Known as one of the best parts of the city to dine, Kordonboyu also offers grassy areas, long jogging paths, and tranquility away from the bustling city. Located adjacent to the sea, this neighborhood features wide open views and fresh sea air. Grab some traditional stuffed mussels from one of the street vendors, or opt for a meal at an upscale restaurant with a wide variety of foods, particularly fish. You can also take one of the scenic horse-drawn carriage rides, which have operated here for over a century.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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6. Izmir Wild Life Park

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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7. Ephesus Museum, Selcuk

See an archeological treasure recovered from one of the largest urban centers of ancient Asia Minor, including the famous statue of Artemis, at Ephesus Museum. Through more than 50,000 pieces, the museum tells the story of the city from Mycenaean and classical Greek times to Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods. See the great selection of vases, statues, mosaics, and other artifacts at the archaeological section of the museum, and learn about the daily life in Byzantine and Ottoman Ephesus in the ethnological exhibits. The museum provides thorough information about exhibits in both Turkish and English.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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8. Tarihi Asansor

Reach the upper levels of the community for expansive views of the city, the bay, and the surrounding landscape with Tarihi Asansor. The original elevator was built in 1907 and transported people and goods to the upper quarters of the city, allowing them to bypass the steep cliffs. It has since been replaced by a modern elevator, but the structure remains the same. Take it up for some great photo opportunities, or sit down for a drink and a bite to eat at the outdoor restaurant located at the elevator's exit--one of the city's fanciest. There is no charge to visit this site. Bring a jacket, as it can get fairly breezy on top.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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10. Public Latrine, Selcuk

Built around the 1st century CE, Public Latrine featured upscale facilities, including three marble benches with seats and mosaic floors, where wealthy citizens could visit when nature called. Considered modern for the period, the site used advanced plumbing systems and provided a small pool as well. As toilet paper was not available then, users of the latrine would clean themselves with a moist sponge on a stick. Today you can see the well-preserved remains of this restroom and its 36 toilets, all positioned one next to another in perfect linear fashion.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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12. Aqua Fantasy- Aquapark Hotel & SPA, Selcuk

Surrounded by blue sea waters and pine forested hills, features several outdoor pools, water games, and more than 30 slides. Feel the adrenaline rush by whizzing down a black hole, crazy raft, or space bowl. Rest in the lagoon area, or cruise along the lazy river. Seven restaurants and 11 bars at the adjacent hotel offer refreshments like fruit, vegetables, and olives. Note that the water in the pools can be a bit cold. Be aware of height restrictions: children shorter than 1.2 m (4 ft) are not allowed on most rides.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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14. Temple of Apollo, Didim

Walk in the shadow of imposing columns at Temple of Apollo, one of the most important sanctuaries of the ancient world. The temple sits at the site of ancient Didyma, which was, next to Delphi, the largest center of the cult of Apollo. After the destruction of the original temple in the 5th century BCE, a grand project of reconstruction was started, but never finished. Giant columns and elaborate stone reliefs allow you to imagine the magnitude of the envisioned temple. The ruins lie in the town center surrounded by a good selection of cafes and restaurants. If you're visiting on a hot day make sure to bring adequate sun protection.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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15. Arkas Art Center

Suggested duration: 1 hour
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