Travel: 48 hours in Izmir, Turkey

Robin McKelvie spends a weekend in Izmir, Turkey
Smyrna, an ancient city in IzmirSmyrna, an ancient city in Izmir
Smyrna, an ancient city in Izmir

Friday, midday

Check into the Key Hotel, (doubles from £120, a slick design option just back from the 50km wide bay that fronts the city. Push the boat out and arrive in their 1970 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow.


Pop up the Asansor (Mithatpasa Caddesi) – an early 20th century elevator – where a café awaits with Turkish coffee, Efes beer and sweeping views of this city of four million inhabitants.


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Izmir’s Agora dates back to the days when it was the major Roman city of Smyrna. The legacy includes well preserved baths, a shop-lined street and a mosaic-floored parliament, with more treasures being unearthed in the ongoing archaeological dig.


Seafood is the star in Izmir so tuck into a rich bounty of white fish and shellfish at Deniz Restaurant ( You can choose your own lobster.

Saturday, 10am

Lose yourself in the intoxicating bustle of the Kemeralti Bazaar, a dreamy contrast to the towering skyscrapers of modern Izmir. Then slip to nearby Konak Square, home of the symbol of Izmir, the Konak Clocktower.


The Kordon is Izmir’s buzzing coastal strip. The Passport Café and Bar (Ataturk Caddesi 140) is one of the myriad cafes where the locals recline with Turkish coffee for a light lunch.


Turkey’s third largest city is dominated by its lifeblood water. Take a ferry from Konak Pier across to Karsiyaka and appreciate the city’s dramatic setting surrounded by mountains and sea.


Izmir’s French Cultural Institute is home to Cigale (, a relaxed café with a shady courtyard.


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Altin Kapi ( offers delicious traditional grilled meat dishes with tables outside.

Sunday, 9am

A string of beaches lie within half an hour of Izmir so take a bus or hire a car and explore them. As well as clean seas and sand they sport myriad restaurants and cafes. ■

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• Turkish Airlines ( fly from Edinburgh to Izmir with a connection in Istanbul, with return fares from £266. Lonely Planet Turkey has a strong section on Istanbul. Tourist information

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