Saturday, May 2, 2015

Day Trip to Ilica Beach

The beaches around Izmir are definitely a well known summer attraction.  We managed to get there before the crowds and enjoy the gorgeous waters.

How to get there:
The buses that go to Alaçatı, Ilıca, & Çeşme leave from Fahretin Altay, which you can get to via bus, metro, or ferry.  We tend to use the metro as it is more frequent and direct.  If using the metro, Fahretin Altay is the last stop, get off and follow the signs toward the "pazar yeri" (a crowd of people will also likely be going this direction).  When you come up to street level, you will see a large parking lot area to your right.  Towards the left of that area there will be a set of stairs leading down to where the buses and dolmuş leave.  The buses to Çeşme and the beaches are the large "Çeşme Sayahat" ones at the very end of the lot.

To get to Ilica, get off at the Ilica Otogar/Migros.  They should announce this stop on the bus.  From there, it is an easy walk to the beaches.  There are several small entrances to the beaches, and a large row of them just past the Sheraton Hotel.

Map showing buses in Fahrettin Altay
(click for larger version)

Map showing Ilica bus station to beaches
(click for larger version)

If you are returning same day, go inside the building at the Otogar stop before you walk to the beaches.  There is a Cesme Sayahat counter inside the building and to the left.  If you talk to the guy at the counter, you can get the times of the return buses and he will reserve you a seat.  You will still pay the fare on the bus, but this helps to ensure you get a seat at the time you want and that you get seats together.  


The bus costs 13TL per seat per way.  Small children who can fit on your lap ride free.

There are free public beaches as well as paid areas that allow you rent chairs and umbrellas.

Changing rooms, showers, and toilets are available for 2,50 TL.




Friday, February 6, 2015

A Day Trip to Ephesus

The ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus are located just outside of Selçuk, Turkey.  While there are a number of tours that will take you to Ephesus, they are by no means necessary as the town is very easy to access from İzmir.  The ruins themselves are very impressive and well worth the visit if you are in the area.

Getting There:

You can take a train directly to Selçuk for only 5TL per adult (children are 3,5TL).  The trains leave from the Basmanı Gar, which you can get to easily by bus or metro.  The trains are comfortable and take about an hour and 30 minutes to get to Selçuk.

Once in Selçuk, you can either take a taxi or dolmuş to the ruins of Ephesus.  In my experience, the taxis in the area were quick to take advantage of tourists.  They will probably charge 20-30TL for the trip, so while they are an option, I do not recommend it.  The dolmuş buses leave from the Selçuk bus station, which is an easy walk from the train station.  They cost 2,5TL per person and drop off at the entrance of the ruins.


Be aware that the price to enter the ruins is a bit much.  As of this fall, it was 30TL per person, though young children were free.  Audio guides and access to extra areas were available for an additional fee.

A Day Trip to Eski Foça

If you're looking for an easy day trip from Izmir, Eski Foça (also known as Phocaea) is a good alternative.  It is a small but quaint town with clean, clear waters and ancient Greek roots.  It is known for the local population of the endangered Mediterranean Monk Seals.  Other attractions include a local castle, old windmills, boat tours, and a small public beach.

Getting There:

You can get to Eski Foça from Izmir entirely via public transportation.  It takes about an hour and 20 minutes to get there.

To get there, take the IZBAN metro line in the Aliaği direction (NOTE: watch the trains that come in and do not get on a metro that says "Menemen" - you need to go one stop further than Menemen).  Get off at the Hatundere stop and exit the metro, the 744 bus to Foça will normally be waiting right in front of the platform.  The combined fare for the metro and bus is 4TL one way.

There is also a dolmuş that runs directly from İzmir to Foça, but unfortunately I do not know the prices, times, or locations for this.


The bus/metro cost 4TL combined.

The public beach is free, and there a number of other beach clubs in the area

There are also a variety of boat tours that leave from the area, but I do not have pricing information on these.