Posted 14 July 2012 - 04:20 PM
I am flying ( 5 people ) to Izmir in a few weeks, will be there over night, then down to resort near Menderes, questions;
> Is it best to get a taxi from airport to my Hotel in central Izmir?
> Being in Izmir overnight, whats best thing to see and do in one day?
> Where are the best markets/ Bazzars?
> What is the best way to get from Izmir to Menderes (ie Taxi / Car hire [ are the roads easy to drive])?
Posted 14 July 2012 - 05:18 PM
There will be plenty of taxi's at the airport. Or maybe you can arrange a transfer with your hotel.
I will have to leave the rest of your questions to someone else.
Hope you have a great time in Turkey,
Posted 15 July 2012 - 06:16 PM
You probably already have this info, but the Havaş (hah vahsh) bus runs from the airport to the Swissotel in the heart of Izmir. Most of the best hotels are in this area, so your hotel will probably be close by. I don't remember the cost of the Havaş bus, but it's a lot cheaper than a taxi.
Is it best to get a taxi from airport to my Hotel in central Izmir?
One thing about Izmir is that it has two "city centers." The Konak district is the official city center, where all of the government buildings are. It is also where the Archaeological and Ethnographic museums are, as well as a spacious park and the main bazaar area, called "Kemeraltı" (keh mehr ahl tuh). There is an old clock tower there which is worth taking a look at. From the clock tower in Konak square, look inland and you'll see a pedestrianized street that goes back into Kemeraltı. It's a real labyrinth, making it easy to get lost. It's also very noisy, with everybody competing for your attention, but for shopping it's the place to be. It goes all the way up to the street across from the ancient agora. See my proposed itinerary for how to combine this with the Agora and other sites.
Being in Izmir overnight, whats best thing to see and do in one day?
To explain where Konak is, if you were to take the Havaş bus to the Swissotel, you'd be able to see the waterfront and Cumhurriyet Meydannı (joom hurry et mey dah nuh), or Ataturk Square, which has a statue of Ataturk on a horse. Facing the water, if you go left, you'll be headed to Konak. If you go right, you'll be headed into the heart of Alsancak.
Alsancak is the "other" city center. It's more interesting, more upscale, and has better restaurants and cafes. There is a section of Alsancak called "Punta" (poon tah) which survived the fires which leveled Izmir in the 1920s, so there are a lot of old Greek apartment buildings, a lot of them converted to restaurants and cafes. You might find that a stroll through there is enjoyable, if you find the Ege Palas hotel, the area is north of there (to the right as you're facing the waterfront) and inland by two streets. There is also a main pedestrianized street, called Kıbrıs Şehitleri (ker brersh sheh heet leh ree) in there, which is lined with shops and restaurants. You can also find this street by having a taxi to take you to the Sevinç Pastanesi (seh veench pah stah neh see), a pastry shop which is on the corner of Talatpaşa Bulvarı (tah laht pah shah bool vah ruh) and Kıbrış Şehitleri. You'll know Punta because of it's distinct architecture, often covered with vines, and the enclosed balconies. Lots of great little restaurants along these streets to have lunch. Also along the waterfront is an enjoyable place to relax and watch people go by. But for bargain shopping, go to Kemeraltı.
If you're into Archaeology, go to the Archaeological Museum in Konak. The Archaeological museum is up a steep street, running inland from the Konak open-air bus terminal. It's the main terminal for Izmir city buses. The street goes up the hill and winds to the left, the archaeological museum is on that street after it curves left. You'll see an enclosed area full of statues, that's the outdoor portion of it. There is also an ethnographic museum next to the archaeological museum, mostly stuff from ottoman times, like uniforms, old books, a display of an old pharmacy, costumes, stuff like that. I find the archaeological museum is more interesting, and you won't be missing much if you skip the ethnographic museum.
Izmir has one main archaeological site, the ancient Agora. It dates from the second century BC, but most everyting there was built under the reign of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius after an earthquake in AD 178 destroyed it. There is a collonade of 14 Corinthian columns on the west side, and the second-largest basilica in the Roman world. The lower floors of this are well-preserved, and you can still see traces of frescos on the walls. The Agora isn't easy to find, but on the main streets you may see signs pointing to it. A taxi driver can take you to it. There is an entrance fee. You can see everything in about an hour. The Agora is also across the street from another entrance into Kemeraltı. So it would be an ideal thing to combine with shopping.
There is an ancient fortress overlooking Izmir, called Kadifekale (kah dee feh kah leh), meaning "velvet castle." This can also be skipped if you only have a day. But if you want to see it, take a taxi, it is a strenuous walk, all uphill of course. It's mostly walls, but provides an excellent view of the city. It sits on the ancient Mount Pagos, the fortress was built under Alexander the Great's instructions to his generals who succeeded him, because of a dream he had which was corroborated by the Oracle at Claros, an ancient site some distance from Izmir. It's free and always open, but don't go after dark, since it is reportedly not a good place to be at night. Kids will pester you for money and try to put pebbles in your pocket, probably practice for future careers as pickpockets!
Kemeraltı is the best place for shopping, please see above. If you go to the ancient Agora, see that for an hour, you can then walk across the main street in front of the Agora (be careful!), and enter the Kemeraltı district there, on a pedestrianized street between the buildings. You can walk through to the other side and emerge in Konak. When you get lost, if you want to get directions so you can come out of Kemeraltı in Konak, ask someone for directions to the Saat Kulesi (sah aht koo leh see), or clock tower. If you want to get back out the way you came, ask for the Antik Agora (ancient agora).
Where are the best markets/ Bazzars?
Menderes is an Airport near Izmir, I have never heard of any city or town called Menderes. Are you thinking of Marmaris?
What is the best way to get from Izmir to Menderes (ie Taxi / Car hire [ are the roads easy to drive])?
Finally, a proposed Itinerary: The above doesn't really follow a path so it's kind of confusing... let me lay it out in a more efficient path. I am not sure which of these things interests you, but you could conceivably have a nice day seeing the Agora, then walking through Kemeraltı and emerging at Konak square where the clock tower is, then turning left immediately after you emerge from Kemeraltı and walking to the Konak bus terminal, then going left up the (rather steep) hill to the Archaeological museum, then coming back down and either seeing Kadifekale (you can see it from there) having a walking along the coast (go out to the waterfront and turn right), passing Cumhurriyet Meydani and the Ataturk-on-the-horse statue, and continuing along the pedestrianized promenade, to have a nice meal or a few drinks to end the day. Then just stroll around Alsancak or Punta at your leisure.
If you want to see some photos of all of these places to help you plan your day, check out the Izmir photo gallery:
There is also a city bus tour, using open-topped buses which cruise around Izmir, but I don't think it actually stops to let you get out and explore on foot. I can't seem to find any info on how to get on one of these buses, but you could check with your hotel for that information. If you take the city tour bus, I hope you'll post info about how to book it and how your experience was.
Posted 16 July 2012 - 11:46 AM
You can also get the bus from Konak bus station and a bus from there will take you directly to Menderes. The bus journey is about 45 minutes. There isnt much to do in Menderes by the way. What are you planning on doing there.
Edited by samanthaozkara, 16 July 2012 - 11:48 AM.