Located in Turkey, Izmir has fast become the country’s newest and best place to go. None of the hustle and bustle of Istanbul and with more beaches than Bodrum, Izmir is a fantastic region to visit. While there’s tonnes to do here, Izmir’s location benefits those who might want to spread their wings. There are plenty of places within reaching distance you can visit for the day, and some of them are simply must-sees – here’s why.
You can reach Pamukkale by car and its well-worth the drive. This a spectacular natural site and it entirely unique. What you’re seeing are petrified lime cascades, thermal springs, plunging mountain sides, stalactites and cataracts. The lime cascades are startlingly white and the whole place feels like a dream world. The site is very old and the warm water from thermal springs has been used since Roman times on account of its healing and therapeutic powers.
Driving a little further from Pamukkale you’ll reach Hierapolis, a Roman city. This city is rather special because it not located on earth or rock but on solid layers of limestone. This limestone has been formed by years and years of limestone water flowing over the plateau.
Hierapolis is packed full of fantastic things to see. It name means ‘sacred city’ and it contains a vast number of temples. Also here are:
Temple of Apollo
One of the best preserved ancient towns, tourists travel far and wide to see the stunning remains of Ephesus. Although founded and found by the Ancient Greeks, this ancient city has an important role in early Christianity too. It appears in the book of Revelations.
It is at Ephesus where you’ll find the Temple of Artemis, a brilliantly preserved monument to the goddess of hunting, wilderness, childbirth and virginity. The temple is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and will see why. Staggering in its beauty and ginormous, you can go right into the temple to look around.
Ephesus is full of other monuments, statues and temples. As it was a town there’s all sorts of remains here, like an old brothel, the Library of Celsus and also the Great Theatre. The House of the Virgin Mary is also here and it was authenticated by Pope Paul VI in 1967.
Located in Izmir region, you can reach Bergama by bus from Izmir city centre. Bergama is the perfect day out for tired feet as its close enough to home but offers a really unique experience. Known for its carpet production today (which are great to see in the markets), the city used to be known for its cotton and gold and it was the ancient Greek and Roman cultural centre of Pergamon. There is plenty to see here; the ruins of the ancient city lie to the north and the notable ruins are:
Sanctuary of Asclepius
Temple of healing