Are you looking for things to do in Izmir in winter? Read on to find out the best all-weather attractions in this Turkish city.
Turkey’s third-largest city positioned on the coastline of the Aegean Sea, Izmir has natural beauty, warm weather and ancient history.
It’s one of the oldest cities in Turkey, dating back all the way to 11th century BC. But that doesn’t mean it’s not modern; the centre is dynamic and cosmopolitan, with a decidedly European feel to it, even though this city is kind of in Europe and Asia.
Even when the weather is cooler, there’s still so much to enjoy in Izmir, and it can be a great winter city break. Here’s our full list!
Weather in Izmir in winter
Let’s take a look at the winter weather conditions in Izmir, so you can pack your bags accordingly!
The weather in Izmir usually isn’t too cold.
The highest winter average temperature is 16°C/ 61°F and the lowest average temperature is 4°C/ 39°F.
January is the coldest month of the year in Izmir, with an average low temperature of 4°C/ 39°F and a high of 12°C/ 54°F, while December is the rainiest month in the city.
If you are planning to visit Izmir in winter, you should bring your raincoat with you because the weather can be windy, wet, and partly cloudy.
But don’t worry about snow – although there are plenty of snowy places in Turkey, Izmir isn’t one of them.
Although Izmir gets a lot of rain in winter, there are also frequent mild, sunny days where you can take long walks outside or even enjoy lunch al fresco!
On either side of winter, it is definitely quite a sunny destination!
Things to do in Izmir in Winter
Having a Breakfast with Boyoz and Eggs
Before you start roaming around the city, why not have a classic breakfast like the people of Izmir?
Locals often start the day with boyoz, eggs, and a coffee.
The name “Boyoz” comes from the Spanish word “bollos,” which means “small loaves”. They are a small fresh pastries that are really tasty!
You can find the best boyoz at a bakery called Alsancak Dostlar Fırını in Alsancak.
Take a tour of Alsancak and Konack Square
Alsancak the best location to explore the nightlife, shopping and social side of Izmir.
You’ll find Izmir’s most popular coffee shops, restaurants, and pubs here.
You can even spend a whole day visiting museums located in Alsancak, like the Ataturk Museum which is all about the founding father of Turkey.
You can also see more historical settlements by walking along the shoreline to Konak Square, which is the site of one of the oldest settlements in Izmir.
Visit the authentic Kemeraltı, one of the oldest bazaars in Turkey
Kemeraltı is a district famous for its bazaars, similar to Eminönü in Istanbul.
Before getting to this historical bazaar, which dates back to the Roman Period, you’ll see the historical clock tower at Atatürk Square in Konak.
Don’t forget to take a selfie in front of this beautiful Ottoman-made clock tower!
After you walk a bit longer, you will reach the Kemeraltı Bazaar.
Here, you’ll find gifts and souvenirs at reasonable prices, historical restaurants to dine at, and special Turkish coffee made on embers.
Enjoy the lovely city view of Izmir from Kadifekale
Kadifekale is a hilltop castle built by Alexander the Great in the 3rd century BC.
You can reach it by bus from Kemeraltı or Konak if you don’t want to walk.
The castle offers one of the most beautiful views in the city, especially at sunset.
Don’t stay in Kadifekale late at night, as the historic castle is located in a rather sketchy neighbourhood of Izmir. It’s fine in the day, but can be a little dangerous at night!
Have a cup of tea on the terrace of the Historical Elevator and visit Dario Moreno Street
The Historical Elevator Tower is another place where you can enjoy a magnificent city view.
Built in 1907, the elevator tower links two main streets, Halil Rıfat Pasha and Nihatbey.
You can have a cup of Turkish chai while admiring the magnificent panoramic city view on the terrace.
The door at the lower entrance of the elevator opens to Dario Moreno Street.
In addition to the house of the Italian-Turkish guitarist Dario Moreno, who lived here and gave his name to the street, there are many gorgeous Greek houses on this street – perfect to photograph!
Attend international festivals in Izmir in the winter
Although the city oozes with history, there is also a huge amount of modern cultural events to enjoy in Izmir.
As well as its historical heritage, Izmir is a rich city in terms of festivals and cultural events.
There are options to attend famous festivals ranging from the Izmir European Jazz Festival in March to the Izmir International Short Film Festival in November.
Leave yourself to the healing hot waters in hot springs
The Çeşme Hot Springs are located about 70 kilometres from Izmir, and are the perfect place to go to on a chilly wintery day in Izmir.
Instantly relaxing, these hot springs will warm you up and you’ll leave feeling completely refreshed!
Camp at Gölcük Lake
With its beautiful habitat and view, Gölcük Lake is one of the best places in Izmir for nature lovers.
This lake is popular during the summer months, but it has a certain beauty in winter, not least because there are far fewer tourists.
You’ll be mesmerized by the incredible view of the lake, which you’ll see after passing through roads covered with forests full of pines, plane trees, and poplars.
Snowboarding and skiing at Bozdag
There’s not much snow in Izmir city centre; winters are usually quite mild.
But, even when it’s warm in the city, there’s snow not too far away! Bozdag is located only an hour and a half from the coastal city.
Most people visit Bozdag on an overnight or weekend trip from Izmir, as there is plenty of accommodation and dining facilities available.
Visit the historical villages of Izmir
There are lots of cute historic small villages you can visit in wintertime in Izmir, including the following:
- The classic Ottoman village of Birgi
- Foca, which has stunning nature
- Sıgacık which has friendly people
- Sirince with old Greek houses and good wine
- Bergama with a few ancient sites
Go back in time at the almighty Ephuses
We’ve saved the best until last! The ancient city of Ephesus is the perfect day trip from Izmir. Located about 45 minutes away, it dates back to the 10th century BC (although it was constructed on the site of an Arzawan city!).
The city was part of the Ionian League, which was a confederation of Greek city-states. It was then part of the Roman republic.
The most famous spot is the Temple of Artemis, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Plus, explore a huge theatre with over 24,000 spectators and the Library of Celsus.
The ruins are an incredible destination, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and are a must-visit if you’re in this part of Turkey.
You can book tours to Ephuses on Get Your Guide. Click here to read more!
Day trip to Pamukkale
Situated just inland from Izmir, Pamukkale is famous for its mineral-rich pools that spill down the hillside in terraces. In the winter, Pamukkale is a lot quieter, and while it can be quite cold inland (with the chance of even seeing some snow!), you can still take a dip in the hot springs.
Plus, most Pamukkale tours include a stop in the ancient Greek city of Hierapolis, dating back to the 2nd century BC.
You can book Pamukkale tours on Get Your Guide. Click here to read more!
How to get to Izmir in winter
The most popular way to get to Izmir is by air; there are plenty of connections from all over Europe, with direct flights to Izmir from 68 destinations in 35 countries.
There’s no direct train from Istanbul to Izmir, but you can take a train to Ankara and change here.
Alternatively, the bus from Istanbul to Izmir takes around seven hours.
How to get around Izmir in winter
When you arrive in Izmir, the best way to get to the centre from the airport is the Izban train. It’s cheap and really easy to use!
If you are only going to spend time in the city centre, you don’t need a car; almost everywhere is within walking distance and there’s plenty of public transport.
But if you are going to the villages and taking other day trips from Izmir, you might want to rent a car.
Where to stay in Izmir in winter
Mitte Port Hotel Konak Izmir has comfy rooms, some of which can accommodate a family, and a terrace. There’s also a restaurant which offers a buffet breakfast. Click here for more information.
L’Agora Old Town Hotel & Bazaar is located in a historic building, with rooms retaining some of their traditional features while still boasting all of the mod-cons you’ll need for a comfy stay. Click here to read more.
Swissotel Buyuk Efes Izmir is a luxurious place to stay in the city, with comfortable rooms, two swimming pools (may be closed in the winter) and a swanky bar. Read more by clicking here.
Last tips for seeing Izmir in winter
It might not be beach weather in Izmir in winter, but there’s still so much to do in this Turkish city.
There are fewer tourists, but more of a local atmosphere, and you’ll enjoy cheaper prices.
Plus, the weather can be sunny, especially at the start or end of winter!