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Turkey’s third-largest city, Izmir, offers a gateway to the country’s picture-perfect North Aegean coastline. The city’s modern architecture rubs shoulders with ancient ruins, built up around the impossibly blue Bay of Izmir. Sailing boats bob in the harbour, and the vibrant waterfront is lined with bustling seaside cafes, bars and restaurants. Take a stroll along the promenade to breathe in the sea breeze and admire the sunset, before venturing out to get a taste of the lively nightlife scene. The city’s bazaars and shopping malls rival those of larger Istanbul, yet there’s a warm, welcoming atmosphere here that feels more like a small town.

Sun-dappled beaches and historic museums dot this ancient city, which has stood as a strategic port for thousands of years. Once part of ancient Greece and known as Smyrna, Izmir’s heritage reflects the multiple cultures who have called it home over the years. Izmir holidays in 2020 provide the perfect base for exploring nearby attractions like the ancient city of Ephesus, as well as the white sandy Aegean beaches up and down the coast.