Чешме / Cesme

The Aegean coast of Turkey hides many charming corners that have become the sets of popular TV series in the country. One such heavenly place is the resort town of Cesme! If you are looking for all inclusive vacations, this isn’t your place… Boutique hotels predominate here, giving the resort the necessary bohemian vibe.

Where is located and how to get there

Cesme is situated around a small bay at the tip of the Urla Peninsula, located 85 km west of Izmir. The distance is covered in less than an hour on the connecting them highway. If you are traveling by car, this will certainly be your final route. For parking, you can use one of the paid parking lots around the port or try the small free space HERE, where we left our car for a few hours without any problems.

See car rental options in Turkey

Izmir also has its own airport, which can be your starting point when traveling from central Europe. From there you can use a rental car to explore the area or a direct bus to Cesme. Keep in mind that Izmir has a population of over 4 million and the traffic in and around it is terrible…

See places to stay in Cesme


To the marina (Cesme Marina)

We start our walk from the marina (Cesme Marina)! The area is perfect for aimless wandering and admiring the views of the luxury yachts, with the castle in the background. Admittedly, cruising around yachts would never be part of my plans for visiting any place, but Cesme’s port is beautifully designed to make even the most demanding visitors feel comfortable. Enters prestigious rankings among the best yacht harbors in the Aegean Sea and wins numerous awards with its ecological projects!

A place for shopping or coffee

Although Cesme is a typical summer destination, spring is also a good season to visit. Most of the establishments were making preparations to welcome the coming influx of tourists and hadn’t yet opened, but there were still a few open where one could sit for a fragrant cappuccino and a delicious dessert near the water. Mado Cafe, part of the popular Turkish chain, is just such a place. The stone houses have been turned into luxury shops, housing designer brands. This is the reason why the port is among the main shopping locations of the city.

More about Cesme

The first records of life in the area date back to the 7th century BC, when emigrants from Crete founded the ancient Greek city of Erythrai in Asia Minor. Its remains can be visited and are located 25 km from Cesme. Its current name comes from the Persian language and means spring/fountain, presumably because of the mineral springs in the area and subsequently because of the many Ottoman fountains.

Various nations occupied the mouth-watering lands around the Aegean Sea over the years until the Turks arrived at the end of the 11th century. The great heyday of the city was during the Middle Ages, when in the 14th century it became a major port and controlled the export and import of products between Western Europe and Asia. Subsequently, the influence of Izmir became more and more noticeable and the commercial center moved there. Today, Cesme attracts attention with the beautiful beaches nearby and is a favorite vacation spot for many rich Turks!

💡 In the summer of 1770, the bay around Cesme was the scene of one of the most memorable naval battles in history. The Russian squadron, commanded by Admiral Grigoriy Sviridov, burns the Turkish fleet, who was twice as much! This victory ranks among the most glorious in Russian history.

Around the coast

At the end of the port, a veritable green oasis appears, filling the space between the fortress and the coast. A wonderful area called “sun terrace” (Güneşlenme Terası) was also built there. The project is fully funded by the municipality and offers free access to comfortable wooden chairs served by a small cafe. An ideal place to relax, where you can enjoy beautiful sea views and in the afternoon the setting sun.

The approximately 1 km long coastal promenade starts from here, which is a very pleasant place for a walk. From the very beginning, the spacious central square, which houses the town hall and several other ancient buildings, makes an impression. In the evening, this is the liveliest place in Cesme!

A few tourist boats offer a tour around the bay, and the moored fishing boats add color and additional spirit. The promenade ends around a small sandy beach, and in its last section you can find a real abundance of restaurants. On the way back to the center, we are accompanied by a wonderful view, with the castle dominating everything else and the huge wind generators in the background… They are an invariable part of most landscapes in the area of Cesme, popular for its winds!

The Medieval Castle (Cesme Kalesi)

In fact, the wind accompanied us throughout our walk around the city, but it didn’t for a moment stop us from climbing the walls of the medieval castle (Cesme Kalesi). The fortress was built in the early 16th century by the Ottomans, who used existing Genoese fortifications from the 14th century as a basis. An entrance fee is required for the visit and as part of the premises house archaeological museum expositions. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the whole visit to Cesme is the dizzying views that are revealed from the highest part of the castle! At the back you can see some of the houses in the area still bearing Greek marks, and at the front is the bay with the marina, which when viewed from above is even more impressive!

Caribbean vibes on Ilika Beach (Ilıca Plajı)

Although we were still far from the summer season, we decided to visit the most famous beach in the area – Ilika (Ilıca Plajı). Turquoise waters caress the fine sand along the nearly 2 km long strip to give it its extravagant Caribbean look. An interesting fact is that a thermal spring gushing directly from the seabed warms the water and keeps it at a pleasant temperature all year round.

Let’s have a sandwich kumru

The Izmir area is popular with its sandwich “kumru“. This street food specialty is a fluffy sesame bun filled with local salami, tomato, pickles and melted cheese. Оf course, the filling can vary as desired! Erol Kumrucu is one of the places where you can try it in peace and with a beautiful view of the water. I admit I was skeptical, but the taste exceeded my expectations!