The Cesme peninsular is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt areas on the Turkish coast. Popular with Turkish holidaymakers for its great beaches, cool summer breezes and relaxed atmosphere, Cesme has hardly been discovered by European tourists.
The town of Cesme is built around a medieval Genoese Castle overlooking a large yacht marina and the old town square. Cesme’s main street is lined with shops, cafes and a large art gallery in an old Greek Orthodox church. The waterside fish restaurants are crowded on summer evenings with diners enjoying the fantastic fresh seafood.
Cesme has many great beaches with soft white sand and sparkling, turquoise water. The most famous is the stunning beach at Ilica, though there are quieter stretches beyond the village of Ciftlikkoy, on the Cesme peninsular’s south west coast. Kitesurfing is banned from June-September on Ilica beach but it’s a great place for some beach time. Elsewhere on the Cesme peninsular there are beach-clubs with great music, water sports and cafes.
Cesme is famous for its hot thermal springs, which are said to cure many ailments, aside from being a great way to relax your muscles after a hard day kiting. Several hotels in the Cesme area have luxury spas offering treatments or you can soak in the hot water and have a traditional massage at the baths in Sifne.
For culture-vultures, the remains of the ancient hilltop city of Erythrai, inhabited since the Bronze Age, can be explored 22 km south east of Cesme. Wander around the scattered ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine ruins and scramble up to the acropolis for a great view.
Izmir is a large modern city with a very, very long past. Established by ancient Greeks and visited by Alexander the Great, there are some interesting ancient sites to explore…and some great shopping in the huge Kemeralti Bazaar.
Efesus and the Virgin Mary’s house
The sprawling ruins of the ancient city of Efesus are one of the top tourist attractions in Turkey and can easily be visited on a day-trip from Cesme. Nearby, the Chapel of the Virgin Mary is built on the site where Mary is supposed to have lived following Christ’s crucifixion.
Greek island of Chios
Ferries cross from Cesme to the Greek island of Chios. The crossing takes about 45 minutes, so it’s possible to visit for a weekend or even a day-trip.
- Unspoilt countryside
- Great beaches
- Hot springs
- Day trips to Efesus, Izmir or Chios
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