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With its location by the Aegean, Izmir has a lot of different day trips that include everything from a day at the beach to some seriously historically significant sights. Here are some of the best trips that are only a one- or two-hour drive away.
Çeşme is one of Turkey’s most popular summer destinations, especially for young people, who fill up the beach clubs and bars between June and August. You’ll find lovely rental summer homes and beach clubs that host beach parties on a daily basis. For a more laid-back atmosphere, head inland to nearby Alaçati, with its signature stone houses and narrow streets as well as a pretty well-known windsurfing and kitesurfing scene.
A small town in the Izmir province, Urla is known in Turkey for its excellent wines and a day trip to a vineyard is an excellent choice for wine lovers. With a wine-making history going back to 4000 BC, Urla’s namesake vineyard is open to visitors, where they can learn all about Urla wines and taste the different varieties straight from the barrels. The winery also has its own onsite hotel, where guests can extend their stay and join in harvesting grapes and pruning as well as trekking or biking around the beautiful landscape and seaside.
Urla Şarapçilik, Kuşçular Mahallesi, 8028 Sok. No:12, Urla, Turkey, +90 232 759 0111
One of the most idyllic hidden villages in Turkey, Şirince’s rows of historic Greek homes, narrow cobblestone streets, and friendly locals are cause for much undeterred joy. Make sure to check out Nişanyan Hotel—the owner has been restoring the old Şirince village homes since discovering them in the ’90s. Additionally, the food at Nişanyan, prepared with local ingredients (including produce from its own garden) is one of the best gastronomic experiences you can have in Izmir.
Nişanyan Hotel: Şirince Mahallesi, Şirince Köyü İç Yolu, Şirince, Turkey, +90 232 898 3208
Probably one of the most popular side trips from Izmir, the ancient city of Ephesus is quite the historic spectacle to behold. Built in the 10th century BC, the ancient Greek city is known for the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, as well as the remarkably well-preserved Library of Celsus. You can easily access this very popular destination by taking a direct bus from Izmir’s Basmane Square.
Another essential historical sight to behold in the Izmir province, Pergamon was also an ancient Greek city, and its remains continue to impress visitors from all around the world today. Most striking is the Theater of Pergamon, which overlooks a beautiful view from its hillside perch. The site’s other impressive remain is the Great Altar of Pergamon, but you’ll have to travel to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin to make its acquaintance.