Izmir: The Center of It All
photo by -Patxi Izkue-

Many questioned me when I explained that I was moving to Izmir. The automatic, almost robotic response was, and still is sometimes “Why not Istanbul?” Of course, Istanbul is a city unparalleled in history, architecture, and food. It’s a globalized city, as you will see from the explosion of capitalistic shopping centers and eatery chains. In many ways, Istanbul does have it all. But I would argue that Izmir has an edge over Istanbul in terms of living and lifestyle, due to its location and environment, which still makes it the pearl of the Aegean.

The positive aspects about the environment is that it is located right on an Aegean bay, is warm 8 months out of the year, and is situated between the beach and the forest. Living in Izmir also has much less traffic as compared to Istanbul, thus giving you a wide range of options in terms of travel excursions.

A few suggestions are:

Cesme/Alacati

About a 50-minute ride from the center of Izmir, you can take either a public transportation bus or car and be in one of the most beautiful places in all of Turkey. In the summertime, these villages turned summer resort towns are packed with tourists from both Turkey and abroad. During off seasons, its absolutely serene, with a beautiful scenic view of the Greek island of Chios. The cool climate and beachfront location make it a perfect getaway.

Chios/Sakiz Adasi

If you want to kncok out two countries in one go, take a ferry boat ride over to the Greek Island of Chios (Sakiz Adasi in Turkish). There, you can get ride off at the main port and spend a day either traveling around the local area or taking a rent-a-car and experience some of the distinct Chian culture. This can range from visiting the old monastery of Agia Moni or trekking through the rustic village of Pirgi, which boasts incredibly unique architecture which spans hundreds of years. Just make sure you bring your passport!

Kusadasi

One of the most beautiful beach resort towns, this gem of the Aegean has garnered more attention over the last several years, bringing in loads of tourists from both Turkey and abroad. Aside from the explosion of tourists, there still are beaches and establishments which still retain some sort of local feel.

Selçuk-Ephesus-Sirince

One of the best places to visit in Turkey by far. It encapsulates Roman, Greek, and Ottoman history all in one go, including one of the most popular religious sites in all of Christianity, the House of the Virgin Mary. With a short drive away, take a few hours in the late afternoon to Sirince, the old Greek village which is now known for its rustic wine production.

Foça

Originally an old Greek sea village, this rustic getaway still holds many symbols of the past, including the old Greek homes and the remnants of a few churches and monasteries. Although bittersweet, you can still catch a glimpse of the old days by walking amongst the ruins of a past not too distant, yet almost forgotten.

To put things into perspective, all of these places are under a one-hour casual drive away (aside from the boat to Chios). Now, of course living in Izmir is like living anywhere else, as life becomes mostly a work-home existence, while only getting to see just a few things on the weekends if you’re lucky. Also, when it comes to jobs and a career, Istanbul can be easier depending on your field. But give Izmir a chance. You’ll be surprised with what you can make of it.

The positive aspects about the environment is that it is located right on an Aegean bay, is warm 8 months out of the year, and is situated between the beach and the forest.  Living in Izmir also has much less traffic as compared to Istanbul, thus giving you a wide range of options in terms of travel excursions.

A few suggestions are:

<strong>Cesme/Alacati</strong>

About a 50-minute ride from the center of Izmir, you can take either a public transportation bus or car and be in one of the most beautiful places in all of Turkey.  In the summertime, these villages turned summer resort towns are packed with tourists from both Turkey and abroad.  During off seasons, its absolutely serene, with a beautiful scenic view of the Greek island of Chios.  The cool climate and beachfront location make it a perfect getaway.

<strong>Chios/Sakiz Adasi</strong>

If you want to kncok out two countries in one go, take a ferry boat ride over to the Greek Island of Chios (Sakiz Adasi in Turkish).  There, you can get ride off at the main port and spend a day either traveling around the local area or taking a rent-a-car and experience some of the distinct Chian culture.  This can range from visiting the old monastery of Agia Moni or trekking through the rustic village of Pirgi, which boasts incredibly unique architecture which spans hundreds of years.  Just make sure you bring your passport!

<strong>Kusadasi</strong>

One of the most beautiful beach resort towns, this gem of the Aegean has garnered more attention over the last several years, bringing in loads of tourists from both Turkey and abroad.  Aside from the explosion of tourists, there still are beaches and establishments which still retain some sort of local feel.

<strong>Selçuk-Ephesus-Sirince</strong>

One of the best places to visit in Turkey by far.  It encapsulates Roman, Greek, and Ottoman history all in one go, including one of the most popular religious sites in all of Christianity, the House of the Virgin Mary.  With a short drive away, take a few hours in the late afternoon to Sirince, the old Greek village which is now known for its rustic wine production.

<strong>Foça</strong>

Originally an old Greek sea village, this rustic getaway still holds many symbols of the past, including the old Greek homes and the remnants of a few churches and monasteries.  Although bittersweet, you can still catch a glimpse of the old days by walking amongst the ruins of a past not too distant, yet almost forgotten.

To put things into perspective, all of these places are under a one-hour casual drive away (aside from the boat to Chios).  Now, of course living in Izmir is like living anywhere else, as life becomes mostly a work-home existence, while only getting to see just a few things on the weekends if you’re lucky.  Also, when it comes to jobs and a career, Istanbul <em>can</em> be easier depending on your field.  But give Izmir a chance.  You’ll be surprised with what you can make of it.

Meet the author


A former producer for MTV Networks and Nickelodeon, I'm a freelance writer, producer, and videographer under my company, Crescent Street Films, LLC. (www.csfilms.org).  By utilizing my strengths in the entertainment industry, I write and produce in order to build a transglobal film and internet community.  As a child, I watched films and listened to music from all over the world, and have a deep love of the Mediterranean and the East.  I hope you enjoy the words I write, as I share my diverse influences with viewers, building bridges of understanding and peace.