PLACES OUTSIDE IZMIR
Balcova, on the road to Cesme, is one of Turkey's largest thermal spas, with excellent facilities for guests.
Camalti, 15 km west of Karsiyaka, is an area of coastal marshes and salt fields that is preserved as an important bird sanctuary - the Izmir Bird Paradise. Enthusiasts can spot many species, including flamingoes and pelicans The Yamanlar Camligi, a pine forest near the lovely KaragoI Lake 40 km northeast of Karsiyaka, is a popular picnic spot that also provides restaurants and a swimming pool.
A Hittite bas-relief is carved into the rock at Kemalpasa (20 km from Izmir) which lies in the Karabel Pass. On the highest point above Izmir, Belkahve overlooks the Gulf of Izmir and is a relaxing spot to enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee. A favourite haunt of Ataturk's, it is now the site of the largest statue in his honor.
The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse, mentioned by St. John in the Book of Revelations, formed separate and distinct communities, and are all found in Turkey : Izmir (Smyrna), Efes (Ephesus), Eskihisar (Laodicea), Alasehir (Philadelphia), Sart (Sardis), Akhisar (Thyatira), and Bergama (Pergamum). Tours of one to four days can be arranged to see several or all of the churches.
The Cesme Peninsula, lapped by the waters of the Aegean Sea, lies west of Izmir. The name 'Cesme', meaning fountain, refers to the many springs found in the area during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is one of Turkey's most beautiful stretches - surrounded by clear blue sea, with landscapes of cultivated fields of aniseed, sesame and artichokes dotted with fig and gum trees. In the unspoilt bays you can swim in absolute peace. Visitors will find excellent holiday accommodation, restaurants and sports and entertainment facilities.
A 14th-century Genoese fortress, restored and enlarged by the Ottomans in the 16th century, dominates the small port of Cesme, 80 km from Izmir. Today the town is a popular holiday resort with excellent accommodation and restaurants. The 16th-century caravanserai near the fortress, built by Suleyman the Magnificent, has been converted into a hotel, while the 19th-century Church of Hagios Haralambos has been restored as the Emir Caka art gallery. Thermal baths offer a health-oriented escape from modern life. Excellent shopping - the finest quality carpets, leather goods, as well as souvenir items - is available. At night a lively, fun atmosphere pervades, especially in the restaurants, cafes, bars and discos along the promenade: Yachts can be hired to explore the Peninsula's splendid coastline. Cesme hosts an annual International Song Contest in the summer. Also, weekly ferry lines run from Cesme to Venice.
The very popular holiday centre of Ilica boasts an excellent white, sandy beach, and the outstanding facilities of the Altin Yunus Marina and Holiday Complex, The bay here is ideal for water sports, especially windsurfing and sailing. The thermal baths around Ilica are very popular; the best being located on Sifne Bay; Pasa Limani has a camp site which offers campers comfortable facilities. In Ilica Bay, the colourful International Cakabey Optimist Yacht race is held every year in July.
Ildiri, a quiet seaside village 20 km northeast of Cesme, was ancient Erythrai, Those who climb up to the Acropolis at dusk are rewarded with beautiful views as the sun sinks over the bay and islands. Nearby Gerence Gulf is a pristine inlet on the northeast of the Cesme Peninsula which can be reached by yacht or car. The natural surroundings offer relaxation while the bay is ideal for water sports. ln Dalyan, a fishing village built on a sheltered deep water inlet just north of Cesme, some of the region's best fish restaurants border the quay of the lively marina.
Tourists are attracted by the variety of accommodation facilities, and by a long, sandy beach (Pirlanta Plaj), just outside of town to the southwest. Camping facilities are available to the south, and nearby stretches one of the area's best beaches, the Altinkum Plaj (Golden Beach).
Windmills, some of which have been converted into attractive restaurants, dot the hill above Alacati, a delightful and typical Aegean town. Alacati lies to the south inland from Ilica and the coast; a couple of kilometers to the south is a good beach. Many lovely bays, accessible only by yacht, are to be found along the coast southeast of the town and ensure peaceful and relaxing anchorage in this popular sailing region.
Known in ancient times as Clazomenae, Urla Iskelesi offers a marina as well as plentiful accommodation in all price ranges. Restaurants on the top of Guvendik hill afford a marvellous view of the bay and its islands.
The prosperous little fishing village of Cesmealti is notable for its simple yet excellent fish restaurants As you drive along the panoramic Karaburun Reninsula coast road you pass several peaceful bays and quaint fishing villages : Balikliova, Mordogan and Karaburun. At Karaburun, pleasant hotels, tea gardens and fish restaurants sit between the beautiful mountain back drop and the clear, clean water. From Manastir Mountain, you can enjoy an unforgettable view of the Karaburun coast, the Foca coastline opposite, and the entrance to the Gulf of Izmir.
On the southern side of the Cesme Peninsula, near the town of Seferihisar, is the small picturesque marina of Sigacik. This important yachting centre is surrounded by fortifications dating from the Genoese period and is a good point from which to visit the Temple of Dionysus at the antique site of Tees as well as the lovely Akkum beach.
Gumuldur has excellent tourist facilities - beautiful beaches , restaurants and hotels. Near Ahmetbeyli (Claros) to the east, stands the Apollo Temple and the remains of the colossal statue of Apollo; here you can also enjoy a good fish meal or a swim at the town's wide beach. A winding panoramic coastal road leads from Ahmetbeyli south to Pamucak beach.