Let our insider’s guide inspire your next holiday to Turkey. With authentic tips on the best attractions, restaurants, cafés and shopping, you can live it up like a local in Cesme. This time around, we asked local, Emre Selen, for his favorite city spots and hangouts:
What is your favorite area in Cesme?
Alacatı is my favorite place as it is one of the most popular windsurfing centers in the world. It also still has an authentic touch, with trendy streets and different types of social gathering spots, like bars, cafes and lounges through the day and night. You can enjoy some of the best beaches and seaside activities in the vicinity. In case you’re wondering, the most beautiful seaside in Cesme is in Ciftlikköy district. It is a 20 minute drive from the city but has real golden sand so I strongly recommended it.
Where can you find the city’s best coffee?
There are really nice cafes all over the city for every budget, taste and mood. My favorite is Köşe Kahve in Alacatı, due to its location and ambiance as well as their specialty, Mastic scented coffee. Verano Cafe Bar is located on the marina as well as many other trendy cafés.
Where are the best places to eat out?
Cesme is packed on every street corner with delicious restaurants and dining outlets. Residents mostly love to eat in Alacatı, Dalyan or Ilıca. You should try Horasan Fish Restaurant, a special place run by a local family to have a Turkish Feast night with excellent food and nice ambiance. Altın Kapı is very famous for its meat dishes, while the Fish and Raki serves deliciously fresh seafood with a delightful view. The Cesme speciality is the Kumru sandwich, a delicious snack for any time in the day, which can be found on every corner in town, pretty much like New York’s hotdog carts. Make sure you have one before you leave!
…and what's the best spot in Cesme’s for a date?
In the area of Aya Yorgi Cove, beach clubs like Babylon and Sole & Mare, as well as Paparazzi and Kafe Pi are frequented by people of all ages. They are perfect for dating and meeting new people, dancing or chilling out. Fun Beach, located in the south of the city, is a more upmarket gathering spot if you want to impress with something more romantic.
Where are the best night spots?
The underground club scene is very lively around July and you can catch up with the upcoming events beforehand. The Aya Yorgi area has become the main attraction for nightlife in recent years. Don’t leave without attending one of the interesting events hosted by clubs like by Babylon, Paparazzi or Sol & Mare, be it a music festival, live gigs, DJ performances or even theme nights.
But, if you want to hang out in a bustling, yet laid back place, Marina Yacht Club is worth a visit. It hosts great live concerts during summer! Cura in Alacati is the venue of choice for those who like to dance to Turkish oldies music. Single Fin Yellow is the place to hang out if you’re into surfing and electronic music.
As well as the aforementioned venues, it is worth just walking around the streets and checking out the bars and cafes that you stumble across as you go. You'll be sure to find something to suit your taste.
… and the top must see attractions?
Cesme does not have much when it comes to historical and cultural sights compared to some similar cities, but it does offer a different flavor when it comes to sightseeing. Cesme Castle and Museum is a must. Dalyan District is worth a visit. Here you can eat delicious fresh fish and sample the Turkish spirit, Raki, by the seaside with a beautiful view. The yacht marina also gives a glimpse into life here by the seaside.
What are the best shopping areas and markets?
The marina is a good starting point as it hosts many popular Turkish brands like Vakko and Mudo. Cesme city bazaar, lining the city’s streets, also has many different stores ranging from fashion and jewelry, to delicatessens, souvenirs and local handcrafted goods.
The most important shopping place is Alacati Bazaar, which takes place every Saturday. It gathers local products from the surrounding villages including textiles and household items. It also sells dairy products, all kinds of fresh vegetables, traditional goods such as Turkish pastrami and salami, locally made marmalades and specialty goods, which you can only buy here. This all comes at a relatively reasonable price. This bazaar is so large, crowded and intricate that you have to be prepared beforehand and spare a couple of hours at least to walk around it. There is a small buffet serving wonderful Turkish coffee close to the center of the bazaar complex. It really is a grace when you tire after walking through the bazaar.
Oh, and a room with a view? That's also a great way to relax after a long day or exploring!