Modern Izmir is Turkey's third-largest city and, at first sight, may seem a little disorientating and unlovable. Scratch the surface, however, and you'll uncover Izmir's ancient gems: the ruins of Alexander the Great's Castle, remains of the ancient agora (bazaar) and, just outside the city, archeological sites that, in Greek and Roman times, ranked among the world's greatest cities.
Day 1: Izmir Sights
Wander through the wonderfully conserved ancient agora, once a bustling Roman bazaar. From here, visit Alexander the Great's Kadifekale castle, which overlooks the agora from atop a hill and has views over the entire city. Put it all together on a visit to the neighboring Archaeological and Ethnographic museums to see the best preserved antiquities from the region's ancient cities.
Day 2: Ancient Ruins
Just 50 miles (80 km) from Izmir lie the ruins of one of the world's greatest cities: the ancient Greek city of Ephesus. Classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Ephesus' incredible ruins include the Temple of Artemis, the Library of Celsus, the Theater, the Cave of the Seven Sleepers, Church of Mary, House of the Virgin, and the Temple of Hadrian. It only takes just a small amount of imagination to help you imagine what life was like for ancient Greeks and Romans.
Day 3: Thermal Pools
Spectacular Pamukkale is another must-see site for visitors to Izmir. These incredible, limestone cascades are created by a natural build-up of calcium carbonate, which make the cliffs look like they've been covered in icing! You can no longer take a dip in the pools at Pamukkale but, visit the neighboring ancient city of Hierapolis, and you can swim in the thermally heated Sacred Pool among the remains of ancient Roman columns.