Elegant and pretty Çeşme is a seaside town on the Aegean coast, 85 kilometers west of İzmir. “Çeşme” means “fountain” in Persian, undoubtedly due to the multitude of Ottoman fountains found around the town and surrounds.

Sunny Çeşme is popular with holidaymakers for its lovely beaches with their views over the Aegean to the Greek Island of Chios, its colourful houses that line the town cente, its top spas and a new marina that’s attracting sailors from all over the world.


LOCATION

Çeşme is 85 km west of İzmir, an hour’s drive from the airport which connects Turkey’s third largest city with Europe, the Middle East and destinations around Turkey. The small Çeşme peninsula is compact enough to travel around efficiently, but nonetheless full of attractions. The most popular residential areas in around Çeşme and Çeşme town cente, Alaçatı, Dalyan, Paşalimanı, Ilıca, Altınyunus and rural Ovacık.


POPULATION

The Çeşme peninsula is home to around 40,000 people. The economy is fuelled by tourism – especially the many cruise ships that visit the area each summer – and fishing. During peak season the population swells to almost 500,000 as Çeşme becomes Izmir’s holiday backyard as well as foreign visitors mainly from northern Europe, who flock to the area.


CLIMATE

Çeşme’s climate is drier and cooler than most holiday destinations found elsewhere around Turkey, providing a good alternative for those who dislike the searing heat. During summer the average high temperature is around 33 degrees – a few degrees cooler than the southern resort towns. Cooler months see the temperature dial hovering around the 13 degree mark, and most of the rainfall occurs during this time.

THINGS TO DO IN ÇEŞME

Windsurfing and kiteboarding: The steady sea breezes off the peninsula mean that windsurfing and kiteboarding in Çeşme is considered some of the best in Europe. Alaçatı in particular is known as one of the best spots in the Mediterranean for wind-surfing.



Sailing and cruising: Explore the many islands, survey the emerald coastline, go seal and dolphin watching and discover what keeps sailors returning to the peninsula time and time again.

Beaches: The many beaches on the peninsula cater to everyone from toddlers to water-sport daredevils. White sands and steady sunny days mean a trip to the beach is on everyone’s itinerary.

Çeşme Castle: The 500-year-old castle in Çeşme’s center is also home to a museum. It’s a fantastic place to while away a few hours.

Old Town: The beautiful historic center of Çeşme is filled with old Ottoman residences, Greek houses, ancient fountains and traditional cafes and shops.

Aqua Toy City: This fantastic waterfront waterpark is every kid’s dream – and parents are catered for too, with sun-loungers and decent food.

Thermal spas and mud baths: The area is rightly famous for its spas. Healing thermal water and soothing mud baths are offered at the many spa locations around the peninsula.


Alaçatı

Alaçatı is a sleepy town that is just beginning to wake up. Once famous solely for its perfect windsurfing conditions – with 330 breezy days each year – and visited only by lovers of water sports, Alaçatı has suddenly been discovered by tourists and home buyers alike. Its laid back, villagesque charm is complemented by the raft of fashion stores, galleries and swanky restaurants that now appear on its streets.

Alaçatı was founded in 1850 when Greek workers came to the area to drain the marshes. When the work finished, the workers stayed on, working the vineyards and producing wine for export and domestic use. This industry has remained a mainstay of the area.

Alaçatı has a sandy, shallow bay located a little way from the town center. The shores of this once sleepy Greek village are now famous worldwide, and have the impressive title of the third best place on the globe to wind and kite surf. It was these water sport fanatics that first discovered Alaçatı and then later, helped turn the town into a Turkish tourism mainstay.


Ilıca

Ilıca’s long, golden sandy beach attracts a fair proportion of the visitors who flock to Çeşme each year. The town – five kilometers from Çeşme at the western tip of Turkey – began as a wealthy Turkish retreat at the end of the 19th century. Today it’s a very popular holiday spot, drawing people from all over the world. Part of Ilıca’s draw is the local thermal springs, which are thought to have healing properties – thermal springs combine with the salty seawater to create a warm, silky bath that is a balm for everything from rheumatism to asthma.