Enjoying a hammam—or Turkish bath—is a must-do while in Izmir. This millennia-old practice developed from ancient Greek, Roman, and Middle Eastern bathing rituals and uses steam and massage to cleanse and revitalize the body. Whether it’s in a deluxe hotel spa or traditional bathhouse, here’s how to get the most from a hammam in Izmir.
What is a hammam?
A hammam is a steam bath ritual that traditionally takes place in a public bathhouse. Historically, these feature marble interiors, high domes, and cold, warm, and hot rooms through which bathers progress to cleanse, detox, and relax.
While the hammam experience varies across spas and bathhouses, most have separate areas or bathing times for men and women, and bathers can choose to wear their swimsuits or not.
Most, however, generally start by changing into a body cloth called a pestemal. Bathers then enter a steam-filled hot room, where marble seats ring a gobektasi—a heated, raised marble platform. After time to relax and build up a sweat to open the pores and release toxins, bathers then lie on the gobektasi for a massage and scrub. An attendant of the same sex as the bather soaks them in warm water, lathers them in soap, and performs a massage and a vigorous exfoliating body scrub that’s designed to remove dead skin and leave the bather feeling tingly fresh.
After rinsing, bathers can relax in the cold room before departing when they wish. Most leave feeling wonderfully relaxed and clean, with soft, smooth, and healthily glowing skin—sensations that can last for several days.
- Seize the opportunity to experience an authentic Turkish hammam while in Izmir.
- Choose a classic hammam at one of Izmir’s bathhouses or a more modern ritual at a hotel spa.
- Combine your hammam with a village or food tour to experience a fuller range of Turkish culture.
- Some hammam packages offer extras such as oil massages for the ultimate experience.
- Got for total relaxation with a hammam experience that includes hotel pickup and drop-off.
- Most hammam experiences offer a choice of times to fit your schedule.
- Book a hammam at the start of your stay to feel refreshed while away or later to feel great for your return.