Izmir is the third largest city in Türkiye (Turkey) and is probably the most liberal, forward-thinking in the country. Although the city dates back to the 6th Century BC much has been destroyed in wars and fires in the early 20th Century. But Izmir looks forward, not back.  A comprehensive transport system allows visitors to visit almost the whole of the city without need of a car. Its ferries, crossing and zig-zagging along the Gulf provide an excellent way to getting around and the trams skirt along the coast. Not forgetting the gleaming shopping centres that rival Istanbul. A little rough at the edges, Izmir provides a real testament to modern Türkiye.


Izmir Transport Map

Note – The map only contains a small number of bus lines in Izmir due to the need for simplicity.

Weather in Izmir

Izmir temperature rainfall monthly weather
Monthly average temperature and rainfall in Izmir
Rainy days and sunny hours in Izmir
İzmir, TR
4:45 pm, June 18, 2022
clear sky
Wind: 26 Km/h
Pressure: 1007 mb
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 05:47
Sunset: 20:38

Like most of Türkiye (new English name for Turkey) the summers can be excruciatingly hot and dry with relaxing by the beach the only tolerable activity. The mornings and late afternoons are usually somewhat cooler so best to plan activities around these times. The spring and autumn seasons are generally the best for visiting Izmir and winters can often be cold and damp. But good transport connections and international standard retail offerings mean that you will always have something to do when traveling around Izmir.

Getting to Izmir

Travel times by bus to/from Izmir

DestinationTimeDaily Frequency
Istanbul6.5-9 hours100+
Ankara7 - 8 hours40
Bursa3.5 - 5 hours80
Denizli (for Pamukkale)3.5 - 5 hours100+
Antalya7-9 hours30
Gaziantep13-18 hours25 (nightly)
Nevşehir (for Cappadocia)11-12 hours9

The bus station (otogar) in Izmir is located around 7 ½ kilometres east of the centre of town. Unfortunately the station is rather ugly and run down and not the best introduction to the city. Signage can be somewhat confusing although some is in English. The bus stops can be found in the lower ground floor and a smart card (required) can be purchased at a small convenience store about 30 metres left of the stops. Here they sell smart cards costing 20 lira (November 2021) which already includes some top up for a few trips. They also have some information written down about the card in various languages that might help further.

Where to buy Izmir smart card bus terminal otogar
Where to buy Izmir smart card
302 bus Izmir stop otogar terminal
Bus stops at terminal

The most popular bus to take is the number 302 which passes through Basmane Gar railway station eventually terminating in Konak, the main commercial centre of the city. It usually takes between 30-40 minutes to get to the centre of town and frequency is around every 15 minutes.

Plane and train

Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport is an international airport although almost all the flights are domestic. However, there are direct flights to Germany and Iran. From Izmir there are regular flights to Istanbul as well as other cities throughout Türkiye. The airport can be reached conveniently by using the Izban suburban rail network connecting to Hilal station on the metro line and Alsancak station on the Konak tram line. Frequency is normally every 12 minutes. There are also several bus routes into town with the 204 linking the airport to the main bus station.

COVID-19 testing is available in Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport, in the international terminal arrival floor.

Izmir is also connected by train although this is mostly limited to connections from Izmir Basmane to Denizli, the town serving the Pamukkale area. This train runs four times daily and takes around 4 ½ hours. The line has a stop at Selçuk, just two kilometres from the ancient city of Ephesus.

Getting around Izmir by public transport

There are a wide range of public transport options in Izmir that can get you to almost every part of the city. In fact, it is rated as the most efficient in terms of usage per track in the whole of Türkiye, even surpassing Istanbul. The Izmir Metro does the heavy lifting and is the most heavily used metro in the country per kilometre. According to Rail Turkey the metro carried 101 million passengers in 2019 on 20 kilometres of track.

There is a suburban rail system called İZBAN takes you further out into the suburbs and beyond, including the airport. It is the busiest commuter rail line in the country. For most visitors the two tram lines are likely to be the most popular as a significant proportion of the lines runs along the coastline on both sides of the Izmir Gulf including ferry terminals and a few good quality shopping centres.


Except for a rainy winter’s day, the regular ferries under the moniker İzdeniz (Deniz means Mediterranean in Turkish) are the most fun way to travel around. Most cross the Izmir Gulf but they also link terminals on the same side of the coast. Prices are similar to other means of public transport. There are over 200 scheduled sailings every day. There is mostly indoor seating plus some outdoor areas which can be busy during peak times and weekends during good weather. The best service to take to enjoy the experience is between Bostanlı and Üçkuyular, the most westerly connection. This is usually less busy and takes a little longer.

Izmir ferry
Izmirim smart card
Izmir smart card
Izmir top up machine transport
Top up machine
Izmir transport map
Izmir transport map

Although the mass transit options are widespread, there are still a number of locations that can still only be reached by bus. The bus to the main bus terminal is one as mentioned above. The other is to the cable car station and nearby shopping centres. A very good map giving the bus lines as well as mass transit options can be found at this website of eshot the coodinating body for public transport in Izmir.

For all transport services the Izmirim smart card is used. These can be easily purchased and topped up from the vending machines located in metro stations and also many tram stations as well as retail kiosks. As in all Turkish cities that use smart cards your HES code must be registered before you are able to use it. This is a straightforward process using the following the Izmirkart website.

Konak tram line

This 12.8-kilometre line, opened in 2018, is the most popular for visitors to Izmir as it mostly hugs the southern coast typically within 500 metres of shoreline. It also connects with the edges of the downtown area including many hotels. The line uses stations, not stops, so you swipe your smart card at the barriers at the entrance. You do not have to use your card when exiting as the fare is a flat rate.

Fahrettin Altay station

The western terminal station is slightly inland and is a magnet for visitors due to the presence of İstinyePark İzmir mall. This is one of the preeminent shopping centres in Izmir if not the country – right next to the station. Opened in 2007 it has an aesthetically pleasing interior design and a wide range of shops and food & beverage outlets. A new hotel Hyatt Regency Izmir Istinye Park is expected to open its doors in 2022. The station is also a stone’s throw from the Izmir Metro terminal station of the same name.

Fahrettin Altay station
Istinye Park mall shoppinng centre Izmir
Istinye Park shopping centre
Istinye Park Izmir mall retail
Exterior Istinye Park
Istinye Park mall Izmir Turkey shopping mall retail
Istinye Park shopping centre

Üçkuyular İskele station

The tram turns towards the coast for the second stop. This station connects with the  Üçkuyular ferry terminal which has regular sailings to Bostanlı İskelesi ferry terminal on the northern side of the Izmir Gulf. This could be part of a (long) day trip using both tram lines to circle the coastal area of Izmir.

Üçkuyular tram station Izmir
Üçkuyular tram station
View of Izmir from near station
Üçkuyular ferry Izmir
Üçkuyular ferry

About 10 minutes’ stroll from the station heading north you will reach Ormanı park (also goes by the name Engelliler Park). This marks the beginning of a wonderful four-kilometre gem of a walk taking in some of the nicest natural landscape in the province. The park is like a small forest and can be very peaceful during weekdays. There are some restaurants and BBQ pits. The park extends over the stunning Çakalburnu lagoon, a protected area due to its importance as a feeding and breeding ground for migratory birds, especially in winter.

Osmai park izmir
BBQ pits at Ormanı park
Osmani park izmir
Ormanı park
Engelliler Parkı izmir
Lion at Ormanı park
Çakalburnu lagoon izmir
Çakalburnu lagoon
Çakalburnu lagoon

You can carry on walking along the coastal area of the park until you reach a red bridge that crosses the narrow inlet. Walk further west and you will come across the interesting Levent Marina mostly catering to fishing boats. Here you can find cheap balik ekmek (fish sandwich) eateries on some of the boats. A great way to stop for lunch and a rest. It may be the best option for this experience in Turkey now that they are banned in Istanbul.

bridge Çakalburnu lagoon
Bridge crossing Çakalburnu lagoon
View of park from bridge
View of park from bridge
Balik Ekmek (fish sandwich) eatery
Levent Marina izmir
Levent Marina

At the end of the marina area is a small naval museum and the Wyndham Grand Izmir Ozdilek hotel as well as an Özdilek hypermarket. From here you can walk further west but more advisable is to walk back or take a bus to return to Üçkuyular İskele station. If you still have energy and the weather not too hot, then you could walk three kilometres south to Mustafa Kemal Sahil road where a number of malls are located and then another similar distance slightly uphill to the cable car station.  

Boat at Levent Marina
Wyndham hotel statue
Statue and hotel
Naval museum ship

A.a.s.s.m – Güzelyalı – Göztepe – Üçkuyular – Sadıkbey – Köprü – Karantina – Karataş stations

The next stretch of line passes along the coast so in most weather it can be enjoyable. None of the stations has anything of particular interest nearby and it is mostly a residential area with a range of restaurants scattered throughout. It really is a matter of whatever takes your fancy and hop off if you see anything interesting. Confusingly Güzelyalı station is the stop for Göztepe ferry terminal despite Göztepe being the next station. The ferry terminal only has limited sailings although the area has many restaurants and cafes.

Güzelyalı tram restaurants Izmir
Güzelyalı restaurants
Göztepe tram Izmir
Göztepe tram station
Karataş tram station

Konak İskele station

Konak district is the main commercial and administrative centre of the city and Konak Square, where the station is located is the at its very heart. The area also serves as the city’s main transport hub with connections to the Konak metro station, the busy Konak İskelesi ferry terminal and a number of small local bus terminals. The surrounding area is vibrant during weekdays with so many offices located around and at weekends where locals gather to walk along the promenade.

Konak Tram station Izmir
Konak İskele station
Konak Square
Konak Square and Clock Tower
Metro and bridge

Around 500 metres walk along the seafront is Konak Pier mall. This building was designed by Gustave Eiffel, architect of the famous tower in France. It served as an iconic customs house in the first half of the twentieth century and later as a fish market. In line with other industrial redevelopments in many cities, the building was repurposed as a shopping mall in 2003. It is well worth a visit and is mostly popular for its outdoor food and beverage outlets on both sides of the pier.

Konak Pier shopping mall Izmir
Konak Peir AVM shopping mall centre

Gazi Bulvarı – Kültürpark – Hocazade Camii – Atatürk Spor Salonu – Alsancak Gar stations

The tram turns inland and Gazi Bulvarı is the closest tram station to the historical area of the city to the immediate south. It is also around 700 metres to Basmane railway station. The budget Piano hotel is close by. Kültürpark station is named after the adjacent park. The Izmir International Fair is held here every year. This urban park is rather developed with many activities rather than a peaceful place. It is still worth a stroll if you are staying in this part of town.

Gazi Bulvarı tram Izmir
Gazi Bulvarı tram staton
Kültürpark tram1
Izmir Kültürpark
Street near Kültürpark

Alsancak Gar is the most northerly stop and is close to the busy Izmir port. The Alsancak railway station is the second oldest in Türkiye and is used for events. The existing station is the hub for the regional IZBAN network. If you are coming from the airport this would be the only connection with the tram line. Alsancak İskelesi ferry terminal is about 10 minutes’ walk from the station and the area is brimming with many food & beverage options. It is a popular hang-out for nearby university students. The ibis Hotel Izmir is less than 200 metres from the station.  Alsancak Gündoğdu park is further south along the coast and is well worth a stroll with some nice monuments.

Gar railway station izmir Alsancak
Alsancak railway station
streets Izmir Alsancak Gar
Walking area in Alsancak
Alsancak Gündoğdu park Izmir Alsancak
Alsancak Gündoğdu park

Atatürk Spor Salonu – Havagazı – Üniversite – Halkapınar stations

The rest of the stations are of little interest with the line passing near the port and then terminating at Halkapınar which also provides another connection to the metro.

Karşıyaka tram line

This line lies on the northern side of the Izmir Gulf and was opened in 2017. The tram line derives its name from Karşıyaka district which embraces all the tram stations on this route. It consists of 14 stations and is 8.7 kilometres in length. In similar fashion to its southern sibling, much of line hugs the coast making for a pleasant trip. While you can take buses between north and south coasts, the far more pleasurable way is to use the regular ferries.

Overall, nothing beats the Izmir trams in Türkiye for their access to the coastline. Even when the tram journeys inland you will have two great retail options. We shall begin at the eastern most station as this is where you are most likely to begin if you wish to cover all stations. However, the next station is where the ferry docks.

Alaybey – Karşıyaka İskele – Nikah Sarayı – Yunuslar stations

The station Alaybey is the terminal station and is close to the port. It also the beginning of the long promenade that stretches along the coast starting with the pleasant Muammer Aksoy park. The tram just runs on a single track until reaching the next station Karşıyaka İskele which is one of two main ferry terminals on the northern side of the gulf. This is the main commercial centre of the district and can be rather busy with the usual fun, frenetic activity you find by busy ferry terminals in Türkiye.

You can walk along Karşıyaka Sahil on the coast park to reach the next station. The next stop Nikah Sarayı is where you will find the Atatürk monument with a small museum inside. At Yunuslar there is the Dolphin statue. If the weather is amenable, it is worth walking along the promenade and then hop on the tram for a couple of stops.

Alaybey tram Izmir
Tram leaving Alaybey station
Ataturk statue
Karşıyaka Sahil Parkı
Karşıyaka Sahil park

Bostanlı İskele – Çarşı – Vilayet Evi – Selçuk Yaşar stations

The other main ferry terminal on the northern side is Bostanlı, easily reached by the station of the same name. This is also a busy area especially during peak weekday and weekends with plenty of restaurants. Close by is a small harbour and with great views during sunsets. The tram carries on along close to the coast where locals walk along during the evening during the hot summer months and during days at weekends when the weather cools.

At Selçuk Yaşar the tram begins to turn inland and around 10 minutes walk will take you to the small, rustic harbour of Şemsos. This is mostly for fishing boats which again provides for good photogenic views. It is possible to reach the most southern of the retail centres at Ege Park by walking another 12 minutes along a large apartment complex. Or alternatively you can walk to the next tram station.

Bostanlı harbour Izmir
Bostanlı at sunset
Near Vilayet Evi
Selçuk Yaşar Izmir
Near Selçuk Yaşar
Şemsos harbour
Bostanci harbour Izmir
Bostanlı harbour

Atakent – Bilim Müzesi – M.K.A. Spor Salonu – Mavişehir – Çevre Yolu – Ataşehir stations

The tram now heads northwards towards an interesting area that contains three retail centres. The M.K.A Spor Salonu station is located between the two best ones although you could go further in a semi-circle to the last station at Ataşehir. Here you could work your way south through the three shopping centres as seen on the map above. If you end at the terminal station, then Hilltown Karşıyaka shopping mall is directly opposite. It is an agreeable retail experience with 62,000 sqm construction area including an outdoor and indoor section. The food court is large and there are the usual food & beverage options to take a break.

Hilltown shopping Izmir

Outside the mall to the south is a large open area which leads to M.K.A. Spor Salonu station. Crossing this will take you to MaviBahçe Shopping Mall, which from the outside can be rather deceiving. The mall, opened in 2015, has an area of 162,000 sqm. The centrepiece is a large piazza for people to gather and the buildings surround this in a rectangular fashion. Given its innovative design it is very popular with visitors and locals alike with significant space set aside for family-based entertainment options.

Piazza at MaviBahçe shopping mall
MaviBahçe shopping mall Izmir
Interior MaviBahçe
MaviBahçe shopping mall

The last retail option is Ege Park which was opened in 1999. At 18,000 sqm it is much smaller than its illustrious neighbours and the design is of an older generation of retail centres. Nevertheless, during weekends it can provide respite from the throngs that gather at the other two malls and still contains enough F&B options to keep you refreshed. There are some small coffee shops located on the outside especially at the southern entrance.

Ege Park izmir
Exterior Ege Park
Ege park Izmir
Ege Park
M.K.A. Spor Salonu station Izmir
M.K.A. Spor Salonu station

Izmir Metro

The metro was opened in the year 2000 to cope with the growing demand for public transport in the city and it has been a success in terms of passenger numbers. For the visitor the metro often runs somewhat in parallel with the Konak tram line. But it is useful for reaching the higher-elevation areas above the coastal strip and going further east of the city. However much of the line is underground and the tram offers a far better experience.

Fahrettin Altay –  Poligon – Göztepe – İzmirspor stations

The terminal station is also where the Konak tram begins its route. Please see the tram information above.  The line then travels underground the İnönü main road area which is around a kilometre from the coast. The area is mostly residential and İnönü has a wide range of restaurants, cafes and shops. 

Poligon metro izmir
Poligon metro station
Göztepe metro Izmir
Göztepe metro station
From Göztepe to the coast

Üçyol – Konak – Çankaya – Basmane stations

The next few stations are situated in the main centre of Izmir so it is likely you will use at least one of these stations if staying in the centre of town. Üçyol is a good place to exit as the station is in the hillsides above the coastal strip. You can walk along the streets in this neighbourhood and work your way down back to the bottom. Konak is the main commercial centre of Izmir with information provided above. Çankaya station is in the heart of the historical area of the city while Basmane is the main railway station serving intercity trains. The area has a multi-ethnic flavour with many decent budget hotels located close by.

Üçyol view Izmir
View near Üçyol
Üçyol view
Konak metro station
Basmane metro station

Hilal – Halkapınar – Stadyum – Sanayi stations

The metro now heads mostly overground in a north-easterly direction but apart from connections with other modes of transport may not be of too much interest. Hilal connects with the IZBAN service to the airport while Halkapınar is close to the terminal station of the Konak line of the same name. The station is also closest to İzmir Ataturk Stadium, the main sporting venue in the city, despite the next station being named Stadyum. At this station there are some good views of the urban landscape while Sanayi is in a sparsely populated area but close to an interesting residential development.

Cityscape view from Stadyum
Stadyum metro station Izmir
Stadyum metro station
Sanayi residential Izmir
Residential development near Sanayi

Bölge – Bornova – Üniversitesi – Ege – Evka 3 stations

The last stretch of Izmir Metro mainly services the vast university area dominated by Ege University with around 65,000 students. The other main university is Dokuz Eylül which has around 75,000 students but the faculties are spread out around the city. Therefore, Izmir is noted for its young population and more liberal lifestyle. The area is therefore teeming with a plethora of bars and restaurants especially immediately north of Bornova station. South of the station is Forum Bornova outdoor shopping mall although this is a 20-minute walk without shade. Ege station is located right in the university grounds and the line terminates at Evka 3 which is not noteworthy.

Bornova streets
Street in Bornova
Bornova entertainment
Bornova entertainment area
EVKA-3 metro station

Historical area of Izmir

Although Izmir is a thoroughly modern city there is a large area where a more traditional pace of life takes place. This area is noted for its bustling market streets, especially the Kemeralti Market.  These are fascinating to wander around and soak up the atmosphere over a çay (tea) or a cheap and delicious fish lunch. There are also several tourist attractions but the must go place is the Agora of Smyrna (old name for Izmir) also known as Agora Open Air Museum. The agora was the main commercial and social hub of communities in ancient times and was originally built in the Hellenistic period in the 4th century BC. After suffering from an earthquake in 178 AD it then underwent reconstruction under the Romans. Much of the site is from this later period. Excavation works began in 1933 and continue to this day.

Izmir market traditional
Busy market in Izmir
Traditional market
Cheap fish meal in the market

The site is a mix of existing structures and a vast array of large lose objects laid out in a large open area and gives a good feel of life during the Roma period. Due to its advantageous geography as a port location Izmir has always been of strategic importance and so settlement and fortifications were common. For those with a passing interest in the period an hour or so would suffice.

Agora open air museum
Izmir open air museum agora
Agora open air museum
Artifacts at Agora

Izmir Teleferik (cable car) and nearby retail strip

Many cities in Türkiye have a cable car that allows for great views below and Izmir is no exception. Although it is worth a visit it did not match other cable car offerings around the country and the views are often obscured. There are plenty of food and beverage options and during the week it is rather quiet. It is also difficult to find with very poor signage and even though the entrance fees are reasonable (20 lira November 2021) you cannot pay by cash. They only accept the Izmir smart card or credit card. It is quite difficult to reach with only the number 969 bus stopping at the entrance. This bus runs every ten minutes and starts from near İstinyePark İzmir (see map).

teleferik cable car izmir
Izmir cable car
Izmir cable car teleferik
View from summit
Area around cable car summit

One option after visiting the cable car is to head north and downhill around 1.3 km towards a number of shopping centres. There are a total of five malls spread out along 1.5 km and they vary in terms of size and quality. Izmir Agora Mall is the largest and most interesting although Ege Park Balçova contains the Ramada Encore by Wyndham Izmir. The others are Balçova KipaOne, Asmacati shopping mall and Palmiye mall.

One surprising and disappointing aspect of this retail strip is that none are connected with each other. This entails a walk from one mall to the other and currently the need to show your HES code each time you enter each mall.  Rather than one great retail experience there are five mediocre ones instead. Overall, there are many options for having lunch or a drink and do some shopping after the cable car exertions. There are regular buses heading back to town or especially to the metro/tram stations at Fahrettin Altay.

Ege and Kipa malls
Asmacati shopping mall Izmir
Asmacati shopping mall
Agora shopping mall
Turkish Rug Mosaic - Jaleh - $350.00

The Jaleh Turkish rug mosaic features a bold geometric design in red blue and green gold black and white. A unique diagonal border completes this rectangular area rug mosaic ready to use as a tabletop insert or to brighten your homes flooring. It comes in 4 stock sizes or have it commissioned to your specifications.