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Environs of Izmir (Smyrna)

Balçova, on the road to Çeşme, is one of Turkey's largest thermal spas, with excellent facilities for guests.

Çamaltı, 15 km west of Karşıyaka, 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 flamingos and pelicans.

The Yamanlar Çamlığı, a pine forest near the lovely Karagöl Lake, 40 km northeast of Karşıyaka, is a popular picnic spot that also provides restaurants and a swimming pool.

A Hittite bas-relief is carved into the rock at Kemalpaşa (20 km from İzmir) which lies in the Karabel Pass.

On the highest point above İzmir, Belkahve overlooks the Gulf of İzmir and is a relaxing spot to enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee. A favourite haunt of Atatürk's, it is now the site of the largest statue in his honour.

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), Alaşehir (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 Çeşme Peninsula, lapped by the waters of the Aegean Sea, lies west of İzmir. The name 'Çeşme', 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 unspoiled bays you can swim in absolute peace. Visitors will find excellent holiday accommodations, restaurants, sports and entertainment facilities.

A 14th century Genoese fortress, restored and enlarged by the Ottomans in the 16th century, dominates the small port of Çeşme, 80 km from İzmir. Today the town is a popular holiday ' resort with excellent accommodations and restaurants. The 16th century caravanserai near the fortress, built by Süleyman the Magnificent, has been converted into a hotel, while the 19th century Church of Hagios Haralambos has been restored as the Emir Çaka 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 are 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. Çeşme hosts an annual International Song Contest in the summer. Also, weekly ferry lines run from Çeşme to Venice. ·· The very popular holiday centre of Ilıca boasts an excellent white, sandy beach, and the outstanding facilities of the Altın Yunus Marina and Holiday Complex. The bay here is ideal for water sports, especially windsurfing and sailing. The thermal baths around Ilıca are very popular; the best being located on Şifne Bay; Paça Limanı has a campsite which offers campers comfortable facilities. In Ilıca Bay, the colorful International Çakabey Optimist Yacht race is held every year in July.

Ildiri, a quiet seaside village 20 km northeast of Çeşme, 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 northeast of the Çeşme Peninsula which can be reached by yacht or car.

The natural surroundings offer relaxation while the bay is ideal for water sports. In Dalyan, a fishing village built on a sheltered deep water inlet just north of Çeşme, some of the region's best fish restaurants border the quay of the lively marina. Tourists are attracted by the variety of Çiftlik's accommodations, 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 Altınkum Plaj (Golden Beach).

Windmills, some of which have been converted into attractive restaurants, dot the hill above Alaçatı, a delightful and typical Aegean town. Alaçatı lies to the south inland from Ilıca and the coast; a couple of kilometres 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 Güvendik hill afford a marvellous view of the bay and its islands.

The prosperous little fishing village of Çeşmealtı is notable for its simple yet excellent fish restaurants.

As you drive along the panoramic Karaburun Peninsula coast road you pass several peaceful bays and quaint fishing villages: Balıklıova, Mordoğan and Karaburun. At Karaburun, pleasant hotels, tea gardens and fish restaurants sit between the beautiful mountain backdrop and the clear, clean water. From Manastır Mountain, you can enjoy an unforgettable view of the Karaburun coast, the Foça coastline opposite, and the entrance to the Gulf of İzmir.

On the southern side of the Çeşme Peninsula, near the town of Seferihisar, is the small picturesque marina of Sığacık. 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 Teos as well as the lovely Akkum beach.

Gümüldür 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.


Source: T.C. Ministry of Tourism
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