Izmir, Turkey Travel Guide

We sent Yodeler Sezgi Olgaç to the Hilton Izmir to experience all this amazing Turkish coastal town has to offer and to make some beautiful photos. Hilton Izmir offers spectacular views of Izmir Bay and is local close to the historic Old Town, as well as shopping, cultural and entertainment attractions. The charming coastal town Izmir is filled with exceptional food, culture and endless activities. But don’t take our word for it, explore Izmir, Turkey through Sezgi’s beautiful photography and insightful tips.

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Name? Sezgi Olgaç

Occupation? Freelance photographer, copywriter, jazz vocalist

Preoccupation? Lately, I’m mostly spending my time exploring my country and the world, chasing new places & moments to photograph.

Where do you live? I live in Istanbul.

How long have you lived there? I’ve been living in Istanbul for 20 years.

Can you sum up Izmir? Izmir is Turkey’s third largest metropolis, a charming city on the west coast of Turkey which always protects its unique character. It’s a portal to some of the most charming Aegean vacation spots such as Çeşme, Alaçatı, Urla and Foça. It’s also very rich in history since it hosted countless civilizations as the ancient city called Smyrna.

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What is the best thing about Izmir? It’s laid-back atmosphere, kind and friendly people and the state of feeling summer even in the middle of winter.

What is a perfect day in Izmir? For me, getting lost in the alleys of Izmir and soaking up the atmosphere of the city is enough to make your day a perfect one. Simply take a walk in Kordon, a popular seaside promenade which is a fascinating spot to soak the city’s genuine atmosphere. There you will see people taking walks with friends, riding bicycles and street vendors selling everything from gevrek (special Izmir “simit”, Turkey’s take on bagel) to boyoz (a kind of pastry indigenous to Izmir). Kordon is the epitome of Izmir’s vitality.

What are the people like in Izmir? Izmir is a place where many people pursue different lifestyles in peace & harmony. You can spot women in mini dresses and skirts as well as the religious ones in head scarves and also people enjoying their drinks outside. Regardless of their lifestyle, people of Izmir are very polite & friendly.

If Izmir was a person who would it be? Frida Kahlo. A beautiful, spirited, unique person who speaks to your soul. Once you meet Izmir, you will always want to visit again.

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Tell us about your experience staying at Hilton Izmir: Hilton Izmir has been the tallest building in the city, so staying in a room on the 23rd floor offering a fascinating view overlooking Izmir Bay was an amazing experience. Izmir’s cityscape and skyline are fascinating both at sunrise and sunset. The hotel staff was very polite and helpful. They did their best to make my stay a very memorable one.

What did you love Hilton Izmir? I really enjoyed staying on the executive 23rd floor. Apart from the fascinating bay view, the room was very well maintained and comfortable. The hotel is located in the heart of the city and in a walking distance to major attractions like Kordon, Clock Tower or the Kemeraltı Bazaar. Since I spent a lot of time exploring the city, hotel’s convenient location helped me a lot. I must add that the excellent breakfast of the hotel made me start my day in the best way.

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If your best friend was visiting Izmir what would you suggest they do? I’d suggest waking up at sunrise and taking a walk along Kordon early in the morning. Then heading over to Konak Square and visiting the most photographed icon in the city – the Clock Tower – is a must.

After taking a nice picture of the tower, then it’s time to smell the flavours of old city in Kemeraltı Bazaar. After enjoying a traditional lunch, Izmir’s traditional dessert ‘şambali’ or a cup of Turkish coffee, on the way, Kızlarağası Han & Hisar Mosque should not be missed.

The Basmane area is usually overlooked but it’s a maze of tiny streets full of colorful houses and memories of Old Izmir. In the afternoon, I would get lost in the back streets of Alsancak, full of colorful cafes and vintage shops.

At sunset time, I would make sure to be around Kordon or on the ferry to/from Bostanlı where one could enjoy the Aegean sea views having a glass of tea and gevrek like a true Izmir local. Night time is the official time for having fish & traditional Turkish drink “rakı.” The best way to end the day is to visit one of the bars & night clubs in Alsancak area.





Best place to eat:

Delinin Sofrası for a more modern take on Aegean “meze” & fish or Deniz Restaurant for a traditional seafood experience.

Best place to drink:

Hip for cocktails, La Puerta for beer.

Best place to shop:

Historic Kemeraltı Bazaar. Packed with all kinds of budget-friendly tiny shops, a stroll in Kemeraltı is also one of the top attractions of the city.

Best activity:

Outdoor: A stroll along Kordon and taking the ferry from Pasaport Pier to Bostanlı Pier.

Indoor: Spending time in colorful, eclectic cafés in Alsancak such as Münire, Junker or No. 42.

Best park:

Kültürpark (Culture Park), a park in the center of the city.

Local tip:

Don’t forget to explore the back streets of Basmane and discover historic buildings such as Cihan Palas, Saint Vukolos Church and Manisa Akhisar Otel. Also, check out Büyük Kardiçalı Han in Kemeraltı.

Best place to stay:

Hilton Izmir