How to Spend a Weekend in Urla, Izmir’s Idyllic Town Retreat

Urla | © Yağmur Aydın / WikiCommons
Urla | © Yağmur Aydın / WikiCommons

Located about a half-hour drive from Izmir’s city center, Urla has managed to remain under the radar in terms of visitors. That’s why its beautiful pier, peaceful pastures, and excellent restaurants are a true discovery. Culture Trip rounded up the top experiences for a perfect weekend in Urla.

Visit Urla Winery

Urla is known for its wine, and its namesake vineyard produces some of Turkey’s best wines. Working to revitalize local grapes that have been part of the peninsula for thousands of years, Urla Şarapçılık produces around 200,000 liters of boutique wines annually. Apart from well-known international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, Urla also works with Turkish grapes such as Boğazkere and Bornova Misket. For the real wine enthusiasts, the vineyard also offers a small boutique hotel where guests can stay on the property and take part in grape harvesting and pruning, as well as enjoy the beautiful landscape on foot, bike, or horse.

Eat dinner at Yengeç

One of Urla’s best restaurants sits on the city’s beautiful pier where colorful fishermen’s boats bop up and down with the tide. At Yengeç, you’ll find a huge variety of excellent meze such as sea bass with asparagus, purslane with yogurt, ink fish salad, vongole with wine, and calamari with honey, just to name a few. Choose a few meze to share, and make sure to drink a few glasses of rakı. Reservations required.

Stroll down Urla Sanat Sokağı

Every Sunday, Zafer Caddesi (Zafer Street) turns into an open-air market where stalls sell design objects, antiques, and handmade goods. Once you’re done checking out the market, make sure to stroll around the neighborhood with its historic stone houses and lovely little shops and cafés.

Eat katmer at Ege’nin Lale Katmercisi

Katmer is a traditional Turkish flaky pastry that’s buttery and delicious and usually filled with feta cheese, parsley, or minced meat. Urla just happens to be famous for its katmer, and Ege’nin Meşhur Lale Katmercisi is one of the best places to get an excellent taste of this delicious dish. At the small no-frills café with plenty of outside seating, order katmer and a glass of cold ayran (a yogurt drink).

Katmerin şakası yok! Delicious!

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Take a boat trip

Urla has 12 islands off its coast, and the best way to see them is to take a boat trip from the pier. One of the best tours comes from Ebruli Tur, where you’ll get to see all the islands, take a dip in the beautiful water, and listen to archaeologist Ahmet Uhri talk about Urla’s ancient Greek city of Klazomenai. Be sure to make your reservations ahead of time.

Urla Sunset | © Yağmur Aydın

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