Local hero: Check
Pedestrian friendly seaside: Check
Old historical centre: "uhh..."
Not so fast on that one. I said the city is modern but there is still hope for finding a trendy and very charming café or tea house in Izmir and that's in Alsancak, the older part of the city that is currently being totally restored back to it's old charm. Actually, it really reminds me of something off of a Greek island and the new restaurants and bars planned to move in should be just the thing this city needs.
Spare a day or two to visit Izmir on your Balkan tour or if you're on your way further down the coast. Here are a few "must-have" experiences that every Izmir visitor should have:
- Jog/walk/run/loiter along the city's waterfront
- Take in the views of the Kadifekale castle (yes that's right Izmir has a castle)
- Shop at the bazaar where you'll find everything from colourful songbirds, wedding dresses, spices, grilled meats, dried fruits and glass lanterns
- Sip a Turkish coffee after an inevitably exhausting shopping trip
- Soak in the local luxuries at a hamam, for a few extra Euro you can get a massage as well
- Dine like the divine at waterfront restaurant or a small family-run place near the bazaar
[I'm convinced black and white photography can make any city look good, these all come from Ronn ashore on flickr]