The Central and Southern Aegean Coast: Places to Explore


  • Bodrum and the Bodrum Peninsula

    Bodrum, known as Halicarnassus in antiquity, is one of Turkey's leading resorts. The modern town stretches along the shores of two crescent-shaped bays and has for years been the favorite haunt of the Turkish... Read more

  • Çeşme

    Çeşme, originally a local beach getaway for İzmirians, has now also become a popular summer destination for Istanbul's elite. Despite rapid development, much of the town retains its provincial feel, even... Read more

  • Ephesus Archaeological Site

    Ephesus (Efes in Turkish), the showpiece of Aegean archaeology, is probably the most evocative ancient city in the eastern Mediterranean, and one of the grandest reconstructed ancient sites in the world... Read more

  • İzmir

    Izmir may not have immediate appeal, but if you take a few days to explore, you'll come to appreciate the diverse architecture, fascinating ruins, and interesting museums that give this coastal Turkish... Read more

  • Kuşadası

    Kuşadası long ago lost its local charm to invasive, sterile buildings and overpopulation, and the huge yacht marina, the largest in the region, has only exacerbated the situation. Kuşadası is also a port... Read more

  • Lake Bafa

    The lake is relatively small and undeveloped, especially away from the main road. For a change of pace, rent a boat (which will cost you around $45 round-trip) to go across the lake, or drive the rough... Read more

  • Milas

    Milas is one of the underrated stops on the way to Bodrum: it's usually just visited for its airport, the largest in the region, but the town is rich in history and charm and worth an afternoon, if not... Read more

  • Pamukkale (Hierapolis)

    Pamukkale (pronounced pam-uck-al-lay) first appears as an enormous, chalky white cliff rising 330 feet from the plains. Mineral-rich volcanic spring water cascades over basins and natural terraces, crystallizing... Read more

  • Priene, Miletus and Didyma

    These three towns make up part of Ancient Ionia. They're all within 40 km (25 mi) of each another, and if you get an early enough start, you can visit them all in one day. If you have more time, and want... Read more

  • Selçuk

    Selçuk, the closest city to the archaelogical site of Ephesus, lies beneath an ancient fortress and is unfortunately, often overlooked. The former farming town has interesting sights of its own to offer—St... Read more

  • Şirince

    Şirince, one of Turkey's wealthiest villages, is another worthwhile excursion from Selçuk. Its picturesque cluster of two-story houses is set on a lush hill; the rows of houses create a long string of... Read more