Turkish Aegean region
The Aegean region is one of the seven regions found in Turkey. It is situated in the western part of Turkey. The Aegean Sea is to this region’s west, Marmara region is to the North, The Mediterranean region is to the South and Southeast and the Central Anatolia regions are located to the East. The region includes 8 provinces and over nine million people.
The Aegean region is similar to the Mediterranean region in climate but there are differences in the landscape. Unlike the more typical parallel mountains found along the Med, Aegean mountains often cut directly into the sea. This of course causes differences in landscape and beaches. The perpendicular mountain ranges create coastline bays and coves as opposed to the exposed Mediterranean coastline. The Aegean is superb for keen sailors and boaters, whereas the Mediterranean is ideal for beach combers.
The Aegean Coast is breathtaking as well as rich in Agriculture and history. You can adventure through many ancient ruins that are decaying remnants of history telling of the region’s past while also enjoying modern amenities.
Highlights of some of the cities in the region:
Afyon is the center of Turkey’s legal opium trade. There are many historic buildings and you’ll want to definitely enjoy the world famous clotted cream served at most of the pastry shops in town. An inaccessible and imposing citadel overlooks this city and dates back to the Byzantine Era. There are also historical rock face carvings north of the city.
Alacati is a charming untouched located west of Izmir and near Cesme. This city is only known to few visitors and has not seen many foreign travelers. The travelers that do know about this quaint city are often avid wind surfers as Alacati offers some of the best coastal winds in Europe.
Aphrodisias is between the cities Pamukkale and Ephesus. Translated this city means the city of Aphrodite, the roman goddess of love. This city holds some of Turkey’s most interesting ruins.
Assos (Behramkale) is a wonderful seaside village. This small town faces the island of Lesvos, known worldwide as the hilltop home of the Temple to Athena. This area is a vacationer’s paradise and perfect place to relax and take in the local history and beautiful climate.
Surrounded by groves of olive trees, Ayvalik is a popular North Aegean seaside resort that is also a common vacation choice for locals who take ferries out to the Greek island Lesvos from here. This city boasts many waterside open air restaurants and would be a very romantic getaway with its many small streets filled with shops, beach walk and the isolated feel created by the surrounding groves.
Bodrum is divided by crusader castle. This beautiful resort town has become a favorite yachting port due to its energetic night life. The nightlife often hosts Europe’s trendiest and wealthiest vacationers. Property for sale in Bodrum Peninsula is one of the most desirable of all real estate in Turkey.
Ephesus is one of the best preserved ancient cities in Turkey. This is definitely the first stop on any history buffs tour. This city will transport you back in time, giving you the feel of what it was like to live 2000 years ago. There are also two famous religious stories from this city. It is widely believed that St. Paul wrote his gospel here. You can visit the reconstructed house of the Virgin Mary on the south mountaintop of Ephesus, the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent the last days of her life here.
Fethiye is a charming town on the borders of the Aegean and the Mediterranean. It enjoys characteristics of both regions such as rugged coastline and bays & coves toward the west and in marina town Gocek as well as lovely long beaches in Calis and Oludeniz, where the Blue Lagoon is located. Fethiye is certainly one of the jewels of the Aegean. With its culture, friendly locals, amazing scenery and affordable property for sale in Fethiye, the town offers so much to visitors and expats alike.
Izmir is Turkey’s third largest city. This mostly modern city is the capital of the Aegean region and has a population of 3 million. Its history dates back 5,000 years and it was the birthplace of the famous Homer. Now a modern city, it is the major port and transportation hub for the region. It boasts great restaurants and is usually the starting city for a lot of vacationers to this region because it has a large airport near and a supporting bus terminal, making it a perfect “jumping off” point for regional travelers.
Troy is a very famous ancient city which was thought fictional until 1863. The ruins and walls of Troy still stand and you can visit on your own or take a guided tour. Yes, there is a wooden horse, but it is obviously not the real one.
Turkey’s Aegean Coast is backed by fertile valleys and hills that hold quaint villages and large olive tree groves. It’s not surprising this region is one of the main supporters of Turkey’s olive oil export industry. Warm and moist ocean air is trapped near the coast by the mountains, creating a natural green house that olive trees love.
Pamukkale has beautiful thermal springs. This site seems to be a magical oasis forgotten by time with its amazing white petrified basins. The spring’s thermal waters contain calcareous salts that run off the plateaus edge and create monumental stalactite formations. These springs have been in use since the Roman Empire and were esteemed for their healing waters.
The Aegean Coast has a favourable climate all year round. The spring brings sunshine and comfortable warm weather. It also brings with it the lush green beauty this region offers. Sunny hot summers bring travellers for boating and water sports on the blue waters.
The hot summers are the prelude to the mild temperate fall and pleasant winters that have light rain showers. This steady inviting climate beckons travellers to visit throughout the year. Summer and spring are the best times to visit this region if you are looking to do beach or water activities because of the warm bright weather and clear skies.
Spring and Fall are a perfect time for exploring the inner terrain because the mild yet comfortable weather will be warm enough to enjoy, yet cool enough to take long hikes through ruins or hillside terrain.
The winter here is mild and is a perfect area to holiday when the tourist areas are not as active and crowded and the cooler weather makes exploring a brisk pleasurable experience. Winter is a perfect time to stay if you want to enjoy warmer weather not found in much of Europe during winter months. The towns and resorts are less crowded so the winter months also bring visitors ready to enjoy an array of winter festivals and celebrations in a more tranquil environment.
Things to do:
Two of the region’s cities, Alacati and Bitez, are well known and visited for their awesome windsurfing. With the long coast line it is easy to find some place to swim.
Visit the city of Ilica and enjoy their natural hot springs that erupt from the sea floor into the rocky pools. This is a perfect place to relax and bask in the natural beauty around.
Check out Izmir’s International fair in August. It is an international amusement and industry show. You can take a horse drawn carriage ride through the promenade and then spend the rest of your night exploring the bars around the pier.
The seaside village of Ildiri, northeast of Cesme, gives you a unique opportunity at dusk to climb up to the Acropolis and admire the romantic scene of the sun slipping slowly over the lapping water and distant islands. The area is also full of exciting water sports to enjoy all year, including diving and particularly sailing.
There are many bays and coves in this region so any avid boater or yachter will enjoy traveling around this region’s water ways.
Kusadasi is one of Turkey's premier resorts with its amazing beaches that overlook crystal blue water. The nights are just as exciting when the sun goes down this city is still in full swing with its pulsating night life.
The Aegean region’s hills and mountains create the perfect backdrop for hikers. Whether you prefer shorter day hikes or overnight adventures, you’re sure to find a memorable spot.
This region also hosts a variety of diverse festivals. For example, in the month of May the region holds the International festival of culture and tourism and January finds the camel wrestling festival in Selcuk.
Where to stay:
Turkey’s Aegean region has a plethora of furnished apartments for rent to travellers. Most of the apartments are in modern resort buildings furnished with lavish amenities and located either on or near the beach. Most rentals also come with access to a swimming pool and other amenities.
You can also find many global hotel branded properties in the major cities, but more adventurous travellers may instead opt for renting a room at an inn in one of the many tiny villages found throughout the region. Regional residents are wonderful hosts as well as often doubling as available tour guides.
Regardless of your vacation desires, every traveller can find exactly what they want in Turkey’s Aegean region. You can be as busy or sedate as you want, surrounded by the sounds of the sea or mountain views.
But, don’t tell too many people about your Aegean holiday in Turkey. We’ll call it our little secret.