What to see in Izmir in a day

İzmir, one of the oldest cities in the Mediterranean region, was formerly known as Smyrna in classical antiquity, named after the legendary Amazon who established it. Unfortunately, a huge fire in 1922 destroyed three-quarters of the city, including many significant historic buildings. Presently, İzmir ranks as the third-largest city in Turkey, with a population of over 4 million. The city's landscape showcases a harmonious blend of contemporary architecture and ancient remnants, where a vibrant city centre coexists with traces of Greek and Roman history. İzmir serves as an ideal starting point for exploring the ancient ruins of Pergamon, located approximately 110 kilometres to the north, as well as Ephesus, situated about 80 kilometres south of İzmir. Feel free to explore my recommendations for noteworthy attractions in İzmir.37 asansor izmir thesanetravel.com20230413 110056

Clock Tower

The Izmir Clock Tower is widely recognised as a prominent symbol of the city and has become a popular subject for photography. Erected in 1901, this charming clock tower was constructed to honour the 25th anniversary of Ottoman Sultan Abduhamit II's ascension to the throne. The clock itself was a generous gift to Abduhamit II from Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. Standing at a height of 25 metres, the tower features four floors and an octagonal design. The platform is constructed with white marble, while the remaining structures consist of cut stone. The columns are adorned with motifs inspired by North Africa. The tower's exterior facade showcases reliefs and four clocks with a diameter of 74 centimetres. Although the tower has suffered damage from earthquakes, it has been meticulously restored and the clock continues to function to this day.11 clock izmir thesanetravel.comP1310361

Kemeralti, a historical bazaar district

Kemeralti is a recommended destination for those seeking genuine souvenirs during their trip. Established in the 17th century, this bazaar boasts original characteristics and a diverse range of shops. 14 bazaar izmir thesanetravel.comP1310441Visitors can explore jewellers, drapers, shoemakers and stores specialising in products such as leather, olives and cheese. 15 bazaar izmir thesanetravel.comP131045917 bazaar izmir thesanetravel.comP131048316 bazaar izmir thesanetravel.comP1310466The buildings at Kemeralti exude an ambience from a bygone era, with distinct 19th-century doorways and roof tiles. The Kemeraltı Bazaar, which dates back 2,400 years, is one of the world's oldest bazaars and encompasses numerous historical sites. The bazaar comprises around 2,000 registered buildings and stands as a symbol of religious tolerance, with churches, synagogues and mosques coexisting harmoniously, including the notable Hisar Mosque, the largest in the Kemeralti area. Before exploring, visitors can savour a cup of Turkish coffee while admiring the mosque's view.21 hisar izmir thesanetravel.comP1310502 The image captures me alongside my local guide, Necmiye, displaying captivating reflections in her sunglasses.19 bazaar izmir thesanetravel.com20230413 131828

Before or after visiting the Kemeralti market, find a statue of Mustafa Ayrıközü, a well-known figure in Kemeralti and nicknamed "Benzinci Kör Hafiz," (Gas Operator Blind Hafız). He had been earning a living at the entrance of the Kemeralti Bazaar for approximately six decades. Initially, he filled lighters with gasoline, later switching to gas.12 bazaar izmir thesanetravel.comP1310430

Address: next to Milli Kütüphane Cd. No: 17

Hisar Mosque

'Whoever goes in there will be safe'. Hisar Mosque features a gold leaf inscription above its door, taken from the Surah Ali Imran, welcoming visitors. Its name is derived from the former fortress near the port of Izmir. Constructed in the late 16th century, the mosque showcases a prominent dome situated on eight elephants alongside a minaret with a single balcony. Additional architectural elements include three large domes on the sides, three smaller domes at the rear and seven small domes in the last congregation area. The courtyard boasts a rococo-style fountain cooled with snow and a marble fountain embedded in the wall. Among Izmir mosques, Hisar Mosque is renowned for its ornate stucco decorations. These intricate designs featuring curved branches, leaves, flowers, bunches of grapes and star motifs can be observed on the wall surfaces, altar, arches, inside the dome, windows and capitals.23 hisar izmir thesanetravel.com20230413 12434923 hisar izmir thesanetravel.com20230413 124652

Address: Konak, 904. Sk. No:52

Dario Moreno Street

The street located below Asansor is called Dario Moreno Street, named in honour of Dario Moreno, a well-known singer and actor. Dario Moreno, a Jewish-Turkish artist, gained popularity in France during the 1950s and 1960s. To commemorate Dario Moreno's 100th birthday, a mural titled 'Izmir loves Dario' was painted on the street named after him. Additionally, the house where Dario Moreno resided with his family has been converted into a small museum.26 dario izmir thesanetravel.comP131038325 dario izmir thesanetravel.comP1310377 Dario Moreno Street serves as a pathway to Asansor. Are you prepared to ascend?


The prime spot from where to admire the sights of Izmir can be found atop Asansor. This historical elevator serves as a vital link between two distinct neighbourhoods within the city. Originally constructed in 1907 to assist locals in reaching higher districts on the hill, it functioned as a privately owned elevator until the municipality of Izmir took ownership in the 1980s. Standing at a height of 50 metres, the elevator comprises two cabins, each capable of accommodating up to six individuals.30 asansor izmir thesanetravel.com20230413 10575035 asansor izmir thesanetravel.comP1310394 At the summit, visitors can also treat themselves to a snack or drink either in a café or restaurant.37 asansor izmir thesanetravel.com20230413 11005638 asansor izmir thesanetravel.comP131040439 asansor izmir thesanetravel.comP1310408


The ferry service available at Konak Pier allows for convenient transportation to Bostanli Pier.40 ferry izmir thesanetravel.comP131051842 ferry izmir thesanetravel.comP1310522Enjoy your journey while soaking in the awesome views along the way. 43 ferry izmir thesanetravel.comP131053044 ferry izmir thesanetravel.comP1310531The Bostanli Coast boasts a pleasant green area with a cycling and walking path along the coastline, which is well-known for its scenic sunset views. 45 ferry izmir thesanetravel.comP1310549Additionally, visitors can enjoy panoramic vistas of central Izmir from this location. Adjacent to the seaside, one can find a variety of eateries, cafes, bars and nightclubs.


Although I did not personally visit Agora, you may find it interesting to explore. Unearthed in the Namazgah district of Izmir during excavations conducted from 1932 to 1941, this site spans an area of 120 x 80 m and offers significant insights into the Roman period of Izmir. Apart from serving as a marketplace, the agora also housed public institutions and the Temple of Zeus. It is accessible to the public from 9:00-12:00 and 13:00-18:00, with the statues discovered there being displayed at the Izmir Archaeological Museum.

Things worth observing while in Izmir

Locals in Izmir show signs of affection towards Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. He appears to enjoy greater popularity in Izmir compared to other regions in the country due to his victory in the Greek-Turkish war and his role in reclaiming Izmir for Turkey in 1922.51 ataturk izmir thesanetravel.comP131042150 ataturk izmir thesanetravel.comP1310412

When making your way to Asansor, notice several painted stairs leading uphill.53 stairs izmir thesanetravel.comP131037254 stairs izmir thesanetravel.comP1310400

In Izmir, locals show great responsibility towards stray cats and dogs. You have the opportunity to contribute by using this street machine to provide them with food.56 dogs izmir thesanetravel.com20230413 104931 At the Kemeralti market, you have the opportunity to purchase a cat figurine from Izmir as a souvenir.57 cats izmir thesanetravel.comP1310487

How to get to Izmir

The most straightforward way to travel from Istanbul to Izmir is by taking a flight that lasts approximately one hour and ten minutes. The plane will land at Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport, named after a former Turkish prime minister and situated in the Geziemir borough of Izmir, approximately 18 kilometres south of the city centre. An easy and convenient way to get to the city from the airport is by using the airport shuttle bus. The Havas bus departs from the second lane outside the arrivals terminal and makes several stops on its way to the Izmir city centre, taking around an hour for the entire journey. There is a metro station inside the airport that you can reach by exiting the arrivals terminal and following the signs. Once you arrive at the metro station, buy an Izmir card from the ticket booth before boarding. 60 practical izmir thesanetravel.com20230412 210544The Izmir card can be pre-loaded with various amounts of money, with 2d–3 rides being a suitable initial amount. Additionally, the card can also be used for city buses. The metro offers modern and clean carriages with air conditioning, although it can sometimes be crowded. If your destination is the Basmane area, you will have to disembark at Kemer station and then take a city bus to Basmane, which typically takes about 5–10 minutes. After exiting the metro station, you can cross the road to find the bus stop on the right-hand side. Alternatively, you can opt for the train, which takes approximately 24 minutes to reach the main Basmane train station. However, it is worth noting that there are only a limited number of train departures each day.

Travelling around Izmir

You can purchase Izmir cards and tickets at Konak and Karsıyaka Ferry Terminals, as well as at the central stations of the subway system, such as Konak, Fahrettin Altay, Bornova, Halkapınar and Sirinyer. Additionally, during office hours, you can obtain a card and add funds to it, including any necessary changes, using the charging machines at each station. This service is available until the last service of the day.61 practical izmir thesanetravel.com20230413 115242

Travelling from Izmir

Izmir offers a variety of train connections. Basmane train station, situated east of the city centre, operates intercity trains to destinations such as Balıkesir, Konya, Isparta, Eskisehir, Ankara and Bandırma. 62 gare izmir thesanetravel.comP131056666 practical izmir thesanetravel.comP1310572The train services are available in the following directions: Selcuk (for Ephesus & Sirince), Aydin, Denizli (for Pamukkale) and Isparta to the south; Manisa, Balikesir, Bandirma, Kutahya, Eskisehir and Ankara to the north; and Usak, Afyon and Konya to the east. 

Like it? Pin it!


What did you think? Have you been to Izmir? I would love to hear from you, so please add your comment below.

  • Published by Anita on February 16, 2024
  • Author: Anita Sane

    Anita 03 18

    About the author
    Anita is a part-time traveller, passionate photographer and a retired career woman from Latvia, 
    travelling mostly solo for more than 15 years. She is a skilled travel planner who plans and executes her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her on FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter and Bloglovin.


    Izmir looks wonderful - I have to go there one day. Love it!
    Such a beautiful place. Your day trip itinerary will make for such a fun day in Izmir. Love it!
    Türkiye is one of my favorite countries and Izmir is very high on my list for some time now. I hope I'll be able to make it there as soon as possible!
    We definitely need to plan to head back to Türkiye and see more of the great spots like Izmir. It certainly looks like a spot we could wander to discover the town sights. And fun to discover street art too. It sure looked like it was worth a trip up to see the view from the top. Good to know it is well connected by trains.

    1000 Characters left

    Related Articles

    How to visit Pamukkale and Hierapolis by public transport

    Top things to do in Antalya

    Self-guided walking tour of three Golden Horn neighbourhoods of Istanbul

    Free Joomla templates by Ltheme