Why go to Izmir?
Take an excursion to nearby Ephesus, a well-preserved ancient city
Sellers in the Kemeralti Bazaar can be quite aggressive
Izmir itself is worth a visit, but incredible adventures await on day trips to nearby historical sites
Izmir Cruise Port Facilities?
Duty-free shops, cafes, a post box, stamps for sale and other facilities are located inside the cruise terminal, and the chamber of commerce provides free maps of the city and surrounding area. An Internet cafe is close to the terminal on the way into town. The terminal is pretty dreary, but future passengers can expect to see big changes because of plans to redevelop the port, with new berths and infrastructure (no starting or completion date has been confirmed). When the upgrades are complete, the port will have the capacity to handle two million passengers per year.
Good to Know?
In Kemeralti Bazaar prepare for a large number of "salesmen." This is certainly not as bad as some places (like Cairo), but you'll face an incessant wave of requests to buy jeans and designer knockoffs. It also gets quite crowded, so be aware of your wallet.
On Foot: While initial impressions are not exactly picturesque, and Izmir is not a compact and walkable city like Odessa, Ukraine, passengers can stroll to some of the main tourist areas such as Konak Square, which is also the main entry spot into the Kemeralti Bazaar.
By Taxi: Most cruise travelers will be taking full-day tours to either Ephesus or Pergamum. Those wishing to get around on their own, either to the bazaar or other city monuments like the Agora ancient marketplace, will find yellow metered taxis outside the cruise terminal. A word of advice: Taxi drivers will repeatedly offer tours during the short drive en route to your intended destination. Firmly stating "no" a few times should do the trick. If you do decide to embark on a sightseeing tour by taxi, the cost should be clearly negotiated before setting off. Few drivers will speak fluent English and will be unable to provide a commentary.
By Public Transport: Buses are of limited use to non-Turkish speaking visitors. However, local buses run from the port exit to the bus terminal at Konak. A better bet for cruise passengers is the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tour, which leaves from the port and takes in 17 stops around the city including Konak, the Agora and Archaeology and Ethnography Museums. The full tour takes one hour, with a headphone commentary in five languages. The open-top buses run from the port every half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The currency is the Turkish Lira and ATM's abound. For current currency-conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. Some shops and restaurants will also accept euros and U.S. dollars, and all major credit cards are accepted.
Where You're Docked?
You'll end up at Alcansak, a rather industrial-looking pier area, which is a five-minute walk from the shops and restaurants in the neighborhood of the same name and 20 minutes along the waterfront to Konak Square in the center of town. Shore excursion buses are a short walk away, but if you're lucky, the port authority may let buses in to pick you up right at the ship when there's only one ship in port.