Known in Turkish as "Beautiful Izmir", the city lies at the head of a long and narrow gulf furrowed by ships and yachts. The climate is mild, and in the summer the constant and refreshing sea breezes temper the sun's heat. Behind the palm-lined promenades and avenues which follow the shoreline, the city, in horizontal terraces, gently ascends the slopes of the surrounding mountains. A cosmopolitan and lively city, galleries, theaters and cultural events give Izmir its special vibrancy. The original settlement was established in the third millennium B.C. and represented the most advanced culture in western Anatolia at that time. Over the years this thriving city and the surrounding area had come under the suzerainty of the Hittites, Ionians, Lydians, Persians, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans.
Levent Marina provides an excellent place to begin a yachting adventure. Sailing in and around the beautiful Gulf of Izmir will prepare voyagers for the wonderful sites that lie ahead. At Urla Iskelesi, the small islands that dot the coast will certainly charm you. Beautiful beaches and excellent moorings with swimming, snorkeling and diving are all available in the area.
From Urla Iskelesi sail on to the Karaburun Peninsula. At Karaburun, pleasant hotels, tea gardens and fish restaurants sit between the beautiful mountain backdrop and the clear, clean water. Voyage out of the Gulf of Izmir around the Karaburun Peninsula to the Çesme Peninsula, a spit of land lapped by the waters of the Aegean Sea. Çesme (pronounced Chesh-meh), meaning 'fountain', derives its name from the many sources of water found in the area. A 14th century Genoese fortress, restored and enlarged by the Ottomans in the 16th century, dominates the small port of Çesme. Around Çesme, the large Altin Yunus Setur Marina complex and the berthing places of Ilica and Dalyan are all noted for their safety. In town, the 16th-century caravanserai built by Süleyman the Magnificent near the fortress, has been converted into a hotel. Excellent shopping - the finest quality carpets, leather goods, as well as souvenir items - is available. At night, a lively, fun atmosphere pervades, especially in the restaurants, cafes, bars and discos along the promenade. In July, Çesme's International Song Contest attracts world famous performers who add glamor and excitement to the town. The thermal baths in the area, along with the natural springs found right off the coast and which mix with the sea water in Ilica Bay, provide soothing relaxation.
Southeast of Çesme, beautiful bays offer splendid scenery and tranquil night moorings in complete safety from the winds and waves. Soon you will arrive at Sigacik, where a picturesque marina rests beneath fortifications that date from the Genoese period. From here, the antique site of Teos, noted for its Temple of Dionysus, the god of wine, is conveniently close. It is also an excellent area in which to sample some of Turkey's superb wines.
The Kusadasi Gulf opens to the south and southeast with some of the most enticing beaches, bays and coves on the Aegean coast.