Once home to Greeks, Armenians, Jews and Levantines, Izmir is a historic city that welcomes travellers with an eclectic cultural experience. Despite its ancient ruins, colourful bazaars and quaint Aegean seafront location, it's still relatively off the beaten track. This means that Turkey's third biggest city feels relatively unexplored. Here, you can discover the undiscovered, from hidden courtyards to local cafés selling traditional Turkish coffee.
Hostels in Izmir are all within a 10-minute drive from the city centre. You can stay in modern accommodation with open-plan apartments, satellite TV and air con, or in one of the city’s historic houses where rustic interiors create an authentic feel. You'll also find Izmir hostels with tranquil green spaces and terraces, as well as free Wi-Fi. Travelling solo? Choose an Izmir hostel with a common room and organised events like walking tours and pub crawls to help you meet other travellers.
There are three main areas to check out during your stay in Izmir. The first is the area just behind the seafront where you’ll find the Kemeraltı Bazaar and many of the city’s attractions. It’s also where you’ll discover lots of budget-friendly restaurants. To the north of the city is Alsancak, which is known for its art gallery as well as its nightlife. Perfect for a day trip, Alaçatı is a bougainvillea-clad village with sandy beaches, and is a 30-minute drive from Izmir.
Konak Square is a bustling hub that's home to the iconic Izmir Clock Tower. Kemeraltı Bazaar, which sells everything from local spices to Turkish ceramics, is a five-minute walk from here: you can lose yourself in the market’s winding streets. There are small tea gardens, hidden churches and an impressive caravanserai (a historic traveller’s inn). Up above the city’s market maze is the 1907 Asansör (lift) which takes you to the higher parts of the city and its cliffside restaurants. You can also explore Agora, Izmir’s ancient ruins which date back to the 4th century BC.
Basmane railway station is in the city centre and connects up to Konak Square and other areas by the metro. Alsancak train station (in the north of the city) is where trains come in from elsewhere in Turkey such as Ankara and Istanbul. Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport is a 20-minute drive from the city centre. From the airport, hop on the Havaş bus to reach the city centre. You can get around the city on the metro, bus and public ferry.