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28 August 2006

The Aegean Region

Click on any of the photos or links to enlarge. (Note by Izmir Blogger)

The Aegean region has some of the most beautiful coastline in Turkey. The beaches are spectacular (however, a little too stony for my liking, some of the ones in Çesme at least) and the high end beaches are made of wood flooring and big fluffy cushions (also I can only speak for Çesme here too). (Real beaches with crystal sugar sand are what I want!!) Putting this aside there is something for everyone in this area.
Places of interest in this region are
Urla, Çesmealti (for fish restaurants), Balikliova, Mordogan and Karaburun (for peaceful bays and quaint fishing villages). Karaburun faces the Foça coastline at the entrance to the Gulf of Izmir. On the southern side of the peninsula is the town of Seferihisar and the small and picturesque marina of Sigacik. Nearby is the Temple of Dionysus at Teos and beautiful Akkum beach. Gumuldur also has beautiful beaches, restaurants and hotels and close to these scenic areas Ahmetbeyli there is the Apollon Temple and remnants of the colossal statue of Apollo.

Çesme and Ilica resorts

The
Çesme Peninsula, is to the West of Izmir. You can catch one of many buses from Uçkuyollar to this location as well as other locations on the peninsula (about every half hour in summer).
The word
Çesme, means tap or fountain, this name comes from the many sources of water around the area. It is one of the Izmirians’ favourite holiday spots. If peace and quiet or liveliness is what you are after and a great selection of man made and natural unspoilt beaches as well as superb restaurants, then this is the place to be.
Çesme has a large 14th century Genoese fortress right in the middle of town and at one end of the main strip is a large marina and port for the ships to Chios, at the other end, a small but beautiful beach with clear water for swimming. Many of Çesme’s best beaches lie elsewhere and not in Çesme’s centre itself. Çesme has many shops, bars and clubs as well as boat trips for taking you to secluded bays and beaches around this beautiful coastline.
Ciftlikkoy
has to have the best sandy beach in my opinion and fairly quiet compared to some of the others. It is called Pirlanta Plaj just outside of the town to the southwest, and unlike some of the beaches in Çesme (very stony) will not slash your precious toes on entering the sea. Also a little further on you can find equally beautiful sandy beaches, if not occasionally a little windy sometimes, Altinkum Plaj and Kum Beach.
Approximately 5km away from Çesme are the popular beaches of
Ilica (see below).

Ilica dolphin fountain

Ilica main street - come here for Kumru

View of the other side of Ilica - Sheraton

View of Ilica bay


Ilica has a long white sandy beach (the longest beach in the area) and the excellent facilities of the Altin Yunus and the Sheraton Hotel are not far away (to use the facilities of the big hotels remember, big bucks will be needed)
Altin Yunus Hotel Sheraton Hotel Ilica

The recently renovated Ilica Hotel and Spa has thermal waters, the thermal baths around Ilica are very popular, also one of the better areas for this is at Sifne Bay, Pasa Limani. (Ilica as well as Alaçati are also famous for Kumru, explained easily as a cross between a MacDonalds and a Hot Dog, containing a mix of salami, cheese, pickles, tomatoes and peppers). Dalyan is an active fishing village and has some of the region's best fish restaurants, for an enjoyable meal with or without raki (the Turkish specialty aniseed drink).

Dining in Ilica and Alaçati
There are many fantastic and interesting small and niche restaurants and cafés in Ilica and in Alaçati areas. The first one to mention (because of the scenic view) is a café within the Alaçati Surf Club (below) that serves general food and nick nacks.
Alaçati Surf Club

Whilst you are eating you can enjoy watching the windsurfing professionals and novices surfing through the shallow water of this picture perfect bay. Another place to mention is the Kumru Keyfi in Ilica, not because it is the best restaurant but because it is an old favourite of Izmirians as well as Turks from other locations. This place makes ‘Kumru’ (the favourite fast food in this area) and they are made at breakneck speed because the first one is usually followed by a second.

Other places to mention are listed below (click here to view all of the pictures below on one page alternatively you can view them one by one from the links below):

* An old mysterious castle I found
* Ayiyorgi Bay (secret of the locals)
* Alaçati’s Tropicano restaurant
* Port Hotel Alaçati
* Port Hotel + private housing
* Seaside Beach Club
* Miko’s Siesta Café
* Antika Café Restaurant
* Alacaat Restaurant
* One of the many restaurants
* Begonville Café/Restaurant
* Sisarka Restaurant
* Alaçati Home (for beautiful furniture)
* Artura Gallery (for surreal paintings & leather art pieces)
* Feslegin butik hotel
* Bedri Baykam
* Most famous Tuval
* Keyfi Bar Tuval
* Beautiful local hanging baskets
* Alaçati street scene
* A nice shop for all your presents for family members
* OEV Hotel (another Butik Hotel)
* The original tea house for ogling men
* One of only 2 places I know of for Mexican food Picante
* Very nice place but couldn’t find the name.
* Alaçati Café Bar (Also good for watching football)
* A beautiful jewellery store “KS Toke”
* Another very colourful restaurant - maybe Kyo
* Al la Carte Restaurant
* Sailor’s Hotel & Orta Kahve Café
* Gizem Café (Tasty Coffee served here)
* Kose Café – Also meaning corner Café
* Rasim Babanin Cicek Bahcesi
* Guverte and Sabanci Kumru Café
* Alaçati famous old 3 Greek windmills
* Sardunaki Café Restaurant & Bar


Markets
On Thursdays there is a market in Ilica, on Saturday there is a market in the Alaçati area and on Sunday in Çesme yet another market. They both sell fruit and vegetables (cheaper than the big supermarkets) as well as an assortment of clothes and other household items (also cheaper than the big stores).

Wireless Internet Connections
There are a few places that offer wireless ADSL service in Ilica, these are the Ilica Hotel and Spa, Altın Yunus and the Lord Hotel. They offer the connection but are encrypted connections (meaning you need a code of some sorts) so, you may not be able to use them. I was told that at Altın Yunus, if you have a laptop you can use their connection. They also said it would just pick up the connection and I would be able to connect. However, this was not the case when I tried. If you sit and have a coffee at these hotels maybe then they will allow you to use them without charge.

There is a Internet café in Altin Yunus which charges
3 YTL/hour and an Internet café in Alaçati that charges 1.50 YTL/hour. The Internet café in Altin Yunus is faster and has far less screaming kids playing Doom 3 and shouting about Hepsi or some other Turkish band. The vital thing for me about the Altin Yunus Internet café is they do not restrict access to Java and other strangely coded sites whereas in Alaçati I only managed to send one hotmail and view 3 or 4 sites in one hour. Not good enough!

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