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BLOG Cesme and Alacati Guide: Exploring the Izmir Peninsula of Turkey

22 November 2020 / Travel


Cesme and Alacati Guide

To relax on breath-taking beaches fronting the Aegean-sea, consider checking out Cesme and Alacati on the Izmir peninsula. These picturesque towns sitting 8 kilometres apart make up one of the Aegean’s most popular tourist destinations, especially for Turkish retirees from the big cities. Relaxing is an understatement.

Both operate around a laid-back lifestyle theme that especially comes alive in summer with alfresco dining, after swimming in the calm sea waters. This stretch of coastline and two seaside resorts are nothing short of spectacular. Some travellers visit for a day-trip excursion, but we recommend at least a weekend stay to soak up the cosmopolitan and traditional delights. So, let’s look at the best things to do and what to expect when arriving.

Cesme and Alacati Guide

Getting Here

Perhaps the best aspect is getting here, which is quickly done because the distance to nearby Izmir international airport is 100 kilometres, or an hour’s drive away. Operating flights from around the world, all year round, it is an award-winning travel hub. To drive from other places in Turkey, get onto the D300 highway leading onto the peninsula. Otherwise, the central otogar in the city centre (main bus station) operates frequent and cheap buses, then catch a connecting minibus. Cesme is also an official point of entry for yachts sailing here into Turkey, and in summer, a ferry operates in both directions to Chios Greek Island.

Where to Stay?

This largely depends on your budget. Alacati transformed itself from a crumbling, old village into an upmarket destination; hence boutique family hotels command a higher price per night. Cesme is slightly lower in price and is closer to the region’s best beach. For couples, both offer romantic hotels, and are devoid of a party town atmosphere, so if a stroll around on a peaceful evening is your idea of fun, both suit. Sites like Airbnb frequently advertise self-catering villas and apartments for utmost privacy.

Best of Time to Visit

Turkey’s primary tourism season runs from May to October, and this is when both towns come alive. Also classed as the beach season, this is even more so when Turks take their annual holidays, usually during August or September. Hot temperatures during July to September often reach the mid-40s, so this isn’t a good time to explore ancient ruins or archaeological sites. Instead, if getting active is for your aim, visit from March to June, or October to December. January and February, the coldest and wettest months are the worst for sightseeing. Because of the lack of tourists, some hotels and business shut up for winter.

Claims to Fame for Alacati

Alacati features many old stone cottages lining the cobbled streets. Most stem from when it was a Greek village and when fully restored to their former glory are quite stunning on the eye. The town also does a roaring trade thanks to its windsurfing excellence. Beginners should head to any beach club schools to be a pro in next to no time. If you are already a whizz on the windsurfing board, keep an eye out for the annual windsurfing festival that makes the resort lively. Otherwise, in March, everyone gathers for the herb festival. Grown locally, restaurants often make recipes featuring these herbs to show people how much they add to culinary experiences.

Nightlife and Dining Out

Both resorts keep a refined atmosphere after dark. The nightlife mainly revolves around the street side and rooftop terrace restaurants overlooking the Aegean. What to expect is a healthy choice of what to eat. We recommend doing as the Turks do and going local. In summer, this often means sharing Turkish mezes (appetisers) with the table of friends, before tucking into freshly cooked fish and salad. To be typically Turkish, accompany it with a glass of raki, Turkey’s national alcoholic drink. Sitting near to Urla, a wine hub featuring wineries and vineyards, local restaurants also sell regional wine, so you can take your tastebuds on a whirlwind tour of what wine western Turkey offers.

Other Things to Do

One reason we love Turkey is in peak tourism months, all along the Mediterranean and Aegean coast, is the daily ferries’ run to the Greek Islands. These make for great excursions, to experience two cultures and cuisines within one day. From Cesme, the ferry runs to Chios, that is famous for its UNESCO World heritage Nea Moni monastery.

Meanwhile, Cesme, which means “fountain”, features a stunning fortress that is the town’s primary landmark. Sources differs as to who first constructed it, but during the 15th-century Ottoman reign, extensive fortification and restoration took place. Relax in the harbour cafes, and then end your day on Ilica beach, the best on the peninsula.

Both towns belong to the Turkish riviera and are proud about their state-of-the-art marinas. Hence, we recommend a day yachting, or even overnight on a traditional Turkish gulet boat. Departure times happen around mid-morning, to make the most of the mid-day sun, and overnight cruises often include meals and drinks. With the private hire, you set your itineraries, while the daily cruises usually stick to bays and coves along the long stretch of coastline.

Further Reading

Izmir Peninsula: Both holiday resorts belong to the Izmir peninsula that covers a large section of the western coast. It includes other smaller resorts, many monuments, places to go, and of course, the main city centre, Turkey’s third-largest metropolis and an excellent insight into cosmopolitan Turkey. As well as the old town, within walking distance, many other tourist attractions open all year-round.

What is Izmir Famous For? There is a lot more to Izmir than relaxation and enjoyment. In this article, we look at significant claims to fame like the ancient ruins of Ephesus to enhance your visit, and help you decide where to go.

About Us: We are Turkey Homes, a property and investment lifestyle agent with offices all around the country, including Izmir. Get in touch if you want to invest in Cesme and Alacati, for either a holiday home or permanent living. Also follow us on Facebook to stay updated with informative articles about destinations in Turkey.

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