The Turkish town of Cesme is known for being one of the best beach resorts in the world. But there are many other reasons as to why Cesme is a local secret and one of Turkey’s favourite destinations. With its impeccable beaches that stretch around the Karaburun peninsula and the crystal blue waters of the Aegean Sea, it’s quite understandable that Cesme draws visitors in need of some sun. But Cesme is also a great destination for when you need a break from the beach, so we have made you a list of our top picks:
Cesme has a history that goes back to the 14th century when it was an important place for import and export of goods between Europe and Asia. If you want to learn more check out the following two historic sites to learn more about the history of the area:
The ruins of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, or Efes, were discovered and excavated in the 1860’s and are now an open-air museum. Here you can get a sense of what life was like in the ancient city while walking down marbled streets and watching great dramas unfold at the Grand Theater. There are daily Ephesus Tours departing from Cesme, ready to transport you back in time.
2. The Island of Chios
The fifth largest among the Greek islands, Chios is a historical gem on Aegean coast. It is home to Neo Moni, an 11th century monastery recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has the most intricate sets of mosaics showcasing the finest existence of the Macedonian Renaissance art in Greece, together with those at Daphni and Hosios Loukas. You can visit this fascinating Greek island from Cesme with a ferry that will sail you to the past in 30 minutes.
No holiday is complete without gastronomic highlights. Our next three recommendations will make sure you got that covered, and if you’re lucky you’ll get to sample some delicious local specialties as well.
Perhaps more a café than a restaurant, the cute Kosekahve is not only great for everything from cakes to cocktails, but it’s also the best people-watching spot in the heart of Alacati in Cesme.
4. Kumru Sandwich
The Kumru Sandwich is a Turkish street food variant, and consists of a bun typically filled with cheese, tomato and sausage, and sometimes also cucumbers, peppers, mayo and ketchup. The tasty bread is usually produced by local bakeries, and rumour has it that Kumrucu Hikmet has the best Kumru in Cesme.
5. Imren Lokantasi
Imren Lokantasi is Cesme’s first restaurant and a favorite of the local population. They serve traditional Turkish food like grilled meats and hot and cold mezze.
Unique shops & boutiques
Cesme might not seem like a premier shopping destination at first, but you will be surprised, as some of the best Turkish brands have shops here. From textiles to home décor and jewelry, seek and you shall find that unique something to take home.
6. Eskiden Antika
From decorated wooden doors to old rustic olive buckets, colored glass bottles and industrial lamps, Eskiden Antika in Alacati has everything an interior eccentric person could desire. Check out their Instagram and see why people are obsessed with this antique shop.
7. Lisa Corti
The internationally acclaimed Home Textile Emporium of Lisa Corti is a Milan-based company that creates colorful, high-quality clothing and home furnishings. Cesme has its very own Lisa Corti shop, so be sure not to miss it!
8. Alacati Market
The famous Alacati Market is open every Saturday from morning until evening. At the market, you can find pretty much everything under the sun from local produce, spices, souvenirs, textiles, sports gear and clothing. The market even has its own fish auction!
Day-trips from Cesme
Why not branch out end explore some of the other interesting areas close to Cesme? There are plenty of tour companies offering some exciting day-trips either by boat or bus. Here are a few top picks:
9. Izmir Sightseeing
Izmir is the capital of the Aegean region and the third largest city in Turkey. A visit to Cesme wouldn’t be complete without a trip here, so come and see the rich culture and architecture and enjoy the plenty of places to discover, dine at and explore.
10. Boat trips
We also recommend booking a boat trip to one of the nearby islands, for example the Greek island of Chios, which we mentioned earlier in the post. Another interesting island is Esek Adasi, or Donkey Island, which you can visit on one of these boat trips. According to local legend, a few donkeys were left on the island and through the years they have multiplied, thus giving the island its new name. They say that if you feed the donkeys with watermelon they will pose for your photos. If you’d like to pose with donkeys then the island is an hour away by boat.
Your stay in Cesme
To experience Cesme to the fullest we recommend staying at the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Cesme, which is close to interesting shops, attractions and restaurants. The hotel also has direct access to the beach, so whether you are a beach bum or an aspiring historian, we hope you’ll enjoy your stay in this beautiful getaway location!