Turkey
Jul 2023
1 month

Izmir

The best city in Europe that you've never heard of?

[Local Time}
{Temperature}
°C ·
[Description}

Turkey's third-largest city and a vibrant coastal metropolis.

Located on the Aegean coast at the head of the Gulf of Izmir, the city has long been a vital centre of trade and commerce. Founded as the Greek city of Smyrna, the city boasts remnants of its Hellenic heritage alongside modern skyscrapers.

Verdict:
Highly recommended

Would confidently recommend Izmir as a destination for anyone seeking a unique European city-style experience. Enough to keep entertained for a weekend city break if already in Turkey.

🌎
Verdict:
Highly recommended

Would confidently recommend Izmir as a destination for anyone seeking a unique European city-style experience. Enough to keep entertained for a weekend city break if already in Turkey.

Verdict:
Highly recommended

Would confidently recommend Izmir as a destination for anyone seeking a unique European city-style experience. Enough to keep entertained for a weekend city break if already in Turkey.

👎
Verdict:
Highly recommended

Would confidently recommend Izmir as a destination for anyone seeking a unique European city-style experience. Enough to keep entertained for a weekend city break if already in Turkey.

🛫
Turkish Lira (TRY)
4.3 Million
💰 Great value
🥇 Top rated

Summary

I visited Izmir briefly for a week in 2022 and when it came to picking out destinations for the next summer it was top of the list.

Accommodation
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

One of the better Turkish cities for Airbnbs, if booking in advance you shouldn't have a problem finding a good value apartment. Double check for A/C in summer months as it can be surprisingly uncommon in some older buildings.

info
New legislation
Recent changes introduced by the Turkish government has made short-term rentals for under 100 days more restricted. Keep an eye on Reddit threads for up-to-date assessments of how the new legislation is impacting short-term rentals in practice.
Places to work
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Izmir has a solid selection of coworking options, with the majority of them towards the Bayraklı area. The area is easily accessible using public transport from either Alsancak or Karşıyaka.

Value
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Out of anywhere i have visited in the country I believe Izmir represents some of the best value. The quality of the infrastructure is high and there is great quality food and drink available at comparatively great prices to the rest of Europe. Don't expect too many bargains if heading to Çeşme or Alaçatı.

info
The yen is currently at a 34-year low
While this is undoubtedly a negative for the Japanese, it makes for an exceptionally good time to visit Japan from abroad. Although this trend is unlikely to reverse significantly in the short term, it's still worth checking before visiting.
Read more
View the cost of living
open_in_new
Working hours
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Turkey adheres to GMT+2 in summer, reverting to GMT+3 in winter due to the absence of daylight saving time practices.

The promenade on both the Konak and Karşıyaka sides of the city make for ideal destinations for runs.
The promenade on both the Konak and Karşıyaka sides of the city make for ideal destinations for runs.
View from the Plaza Cubes coworking space looking towards the East of the city.
View from the Plaza Cubes coworking space looking towards the East of the city.

Where to stay

Izmir is a massive city and whilst it is well connected by public transport, I'd suggest being close to one of these hubs.

Would avoid
Recommended
Bostanlı
I stayed here for 6 weeks and loved every minute of it. Great transport connections with the ferry and Izban and incredible sunsets from the pier. Loads of great local and international food.
Would avoid
Recommended
Alsancak
The busiest area of Izmir and the commercial hub. A great area to stay but somewhere I struggled to find good apartments in. Easy to access all other parts of the city.
Would avoid
Recommended
Bornova
Situated away from the seafront, the area is still a lively destination with a glut of dining and nightlife options. Closer to the main coworking spaces available in Bayraklı.

Where to work

Originn Coworking
Top Choice
☕️ Good Coffee
📍 Top Location
🥗 On Site Cafe
🧍Community Focused
⭐️ Quality Fit Out
🌳 Outdoor Space

Situated in Bornova, a five minute walk from the Sanayi Izban station, Originn is a large, industrial feeling coworking space with a range of options for hot desking, fixed desk and private offices.

Desks are large, wifi is strong and there is an on site cafe serving coffees throughout the day as well as on site kitchen with a rotating daily menu. Most importantly during summer, the A/C keeps it pleasantly cool. If it does get too hot, there is an area for taking a nap also, which I did make occasional use of.

There aren't a lot of places to take calls in private, but the space is so large and open, it was never a problem. The surrounding area is something of an industrial estate, but there is a supermarket within 5 minutes walk as well as more options for food and coffee.

Even if you are staying on the other side of town in Bostanlı, I would say it's the best option in town and worth heading over for.

Remote work visa

No remote work visa
Remote work visa available
Remote work visa coming soon
If staying for a prolonged period, you may want to consider a dedicated visa for this destination.
This country is actively working on a visa support for remote workers.
Check your government website for details of how to obtain a tourist visa.
View full details
To the best of my knowledge this information was correct as of 27th April 2024. If you notice something has changed drop me a message and I'll update it!

Citizen Remote is a great source of up to date knowledge for everything to do with remote work visas.

Safety

Off-work

Visit Ephesus Ancient City

Impressive archaeological site with monumental ruins of Roman & Greek temples. Little shade on a hot day, so come prepared. Reachable by train from the centre of Izmir.,

Learn more
Explore Alaçatı & Çeşme

Out of these two, I much preferred Alaçatı which provides an abundance of eating and drinking options, with white sand beaches a 10 minute drive away. Both are easily accessible from the centre of Izmir with regular buses departing from the central bus station & Fahrettin Altay.

Visit the Historical Elevator

Some of the best views from the city can be had from this historic viewpoint, with a selection of lively bars and restaurants at it's base. Ideal to visit at sunset.

Day trip to Foça

A perfect day trip from the centre of Izmir, Foça provides a more relaxed destination to unwind, with numerous beach clubs dotted alongside it's coastside. Voodo Beach was worth a day spent under the shade of an umbrella.

Grab some shade in the Kültürpark

Situated just a moments walk from the hub of Alsancak, the park provides an ideal shaded retreat unwind in with an amusement park and Jazz club.

Visit Ephesus Ancient City

Impressive archaeological site with monumental ruins of Roman & Greek temples. Little shade on a hot day, so come prepared. Reachable by train from the centre of Izmir.,

Explore Alaçatı & Çeşme

Out of these two, I much preferred Alaçatı which provides an abundance of eating and drinking options, with white sand beaches a 10 minute drive away. Both are easily accessible from the centre of Izmir with regular buses departing from the central bus station & Fahrettin Altay.

Visit the Historical Elevator

Some of the best views from the city can be had from this historic viewpoint, with a selection of lively bars and restaurants at it's base. Ideal to visit at sunset.

Day trip to Foça

A perfect day trip from the centre of Izmir, Foça provides a more relaxed destination to unwind, with numerous beach clubs dotted alongside it's coastside. Voodo Beach was worth a day spent under the shade of an umbrella.

Duration & season

Even with temperatures getting up to 35 degrees on a couple of days, the heat never felt too severe when in the city, the caveat being that is only the case if where you are working from and where you are staying has A/C. Mornings were the perfect temperature for a run and the evenings go late into the night with people eating and drinking outdoors.

With over 300 days of sunshine a year, similar to Athens you are likely to always get some clear skies in the city. May would probably be the perfect balance between being able to make the most of the beaches and outdoors, without it being too scolding.

Food & drink

Balçova Terapi Ormanı
·
Walk
In the south west of the city and easily accessible via the metro or ferry, the Balçova forest has numerous hiking routes amongst dense woodland.
Izmir Hills
·
Walk
The hills to the north of Karşıyaka are more baron than those in Balcova but provide great views towards Foça from the top.
Bostanli Loop
·
Run
The whole area from Mavişehir to Alaybey on the north coast of the city provides a perfect uninterrupted running route through numerous parks and ferry docks.
Çeşme Beach Loop
·
Walk
On the southern coastline between Çeşme and Alaçatı are a number of secluded beachfronts and more lively beach clubs. Tough one in the heat.

People

There's not much of a remote work community in the city however I did spot a couple of Facebook expat groups which appear to exist. Izmir draws in people throughout the country with a good mix of locals and others.

Izmir is known to be one of, if not the most liberal city in Turkey and in areas like Bostanlı and Alsancak, there's little to suggest that you may in a country with such strong Islamic ties. Local people are friendly with English generally spoken well in most cafes and bars especially by the younger generations.

The city itself is not much of a tourist destination, but you are likely to see people passing through en route to vacations in the hotspots of Çeşme and Alaçatı.

Exercise

Balçova Terapi Ormanı
In the south west of the city and easily accessible via the metro or ferry, the Balçova forest has numerous hiking routes amongst dense woodland.
keyboard_arrow_down
Izmir Hills
The hills to the north of Karşıyaka are more baron than those in Balcova but provide great views towards Foça from the top.
keyboard_arrow_down
Bostanli Loop
The whole area from Mavişehir to Alaybey on the north coast of the city provides a perfect uninterrupted running route through numerous parks and ferry docks.
keyboard_arrow_down
Çeşme Beach Loop
On the southern coastline between Çeşme and Alaçatı are a number of secluded beachfronts and more lively beach clubs. Tough one in the heat.
keyboard_arrow_down
Balçova Terapi Ormanı
In the south west of the city and easily accessible via the metro or ferry, the Balçova forest has numerous hiking routes amongst dense woodland.
Izmir Hills
The hills to the north of Karşıyaka are more baron than those in Balcova but provide great views towards Foça from the top.
Bostanli Loop
The whole area from Mavişehir to Alaybey on the north coast of the city provides a perfect uninterrupted running route through numerous parks and ferry docks.
Çeşme Beach Loop
On the southern coastline between Çeşme and Alaçatı are a number of secluded beachfronts and more lively beach clubs. Tough one in the heat.

Verdict

Positives
  • A less stressful alternative to Istanbul.The size of Izmir makes it infinitely more manageable, whilst maintaining the feel and ambience of a big city.
  • Amazing sunsets.The rolling hills and water that border the cities edges provide incredible sunsets on a nightly basis.
  • Activity continues late into the night.It's not uncommon for coffee shops to remain open until 23:00 or later in the summer months. The city feels safe to walk around deep into the night.
  • Not a huge tourist destination.Neighbouring beachside towns like Çeşme pull in tourists from all over Turkey and the rest of the world, but the city of Izmir feels remarkably immune from any of the trappings that come with it.
  • Great nature on your doorstep.You don't have to travel far to get out of the city.
  • Perfect summer weather.Of the 6 weeks I spent there, there were 3 overcast days.
Negatives
  • No beaches immediately in the city. If You'll have to drive to leave the city itself to get to the nearest beaches, however these are reachable within an hour.
  • The city itself isn't particularly great for a holiday.Whilst I loved working from there, I'm not sure exactly what you would do on a city break. Sufficient for two or three days.
Tips
Planning a trip?
I loved everything about this trip to Japan. I've put together some thoughts on my entire stay in the country, which may come in handy if you are planning a visit soon.
Beaches at Alaçatı & Çeşme are easily reachable from Izmir, around an hours drive from the city centre.
Great food is not hard to find across Turkey but I found some of the best Tavuk Şiş was to be found in the city.
If there's any data missing that you would like to see in these articles please leave some feedback and I'll aim to add it in.