Cesme Peninsula, Turkey

The Çesme Peninsula forms the Gulf of Izmir in the Aegean region of Turkey’s coast and is situated just west of the city of Izmir. On the very tip of this peninsula, surrounded by the waters of the Aegean Sea, is the little town of Çesme. This town got its name from the many water sources and springs in the area—’çesme’ being the Turkish word for ‘fountain’ or ‘spring’.

A lot of these water sources are curative springs and thermal baths, especially those in the vicinity of Ilica, a resort area close to Çesme. Tourists can benefit from the numerous luxurious thermal spa centers situated along the coast. It is quite unsurprising, therefore, that this region is a very popular tourist destination.

Çesme and Ilica as travel destinations require more time to be properly enjoyed. That is why tourists are encouraged to spend as much time there as possible. Bayside resorts are numerous on the Çesme Peninsula and provide excellent holiday accommodations, restaurants, sports, and entertainment facilities for visitors. Romantic boutique hideaways, discreetly welcoming inns and even stately Pasha’s manses offer lodgings for travelers But, this is not all Çesme has to offer.

Ilica, as well as being at the center of several touristic sites, is also known as one of Turkey’s most beautiful coastal areas, with lovely beaches stretching around clear blue seas. Swimming in the unspoiled bays is a peaceful experience. Another characteristic sight in this area in the fields, dotted with fig and gum trees, where aniseed, sesame, and artichokes are cultivated.

The very popular thermal resorts of Sifne Pasa Limani, Buyuk Liman, and Alaçati are located around Ilica, and so is the Bay of Boyalik. The best thermal baths in Ilica are those in Signe Bay. They were described as the ‘sea springs’ by the Greek geographer Pausanius, who also praised their therapeutic effects as superior to any other spa in Ionia. They are famous for relieving the symptoms of rheumatism arthritis, partial paralysis, and digestive complaints.

The Altin Yunus Marina and Holiday Complex in Ilica is an outstanding resort. The bay there is particularly convenient for water sports enthusiasts, especially those who favor windsurfing and sailing. Campers are also welcome in Ilica, as the campsite at Pasa Limani offers very comfortable camping facilities. The International Çakabey Optimist Yacht race is held every July in Ilica Bay.

To the northeast of Çesme is Lidin—another attractive destination not to be missed. Founded after the Trojan War, it was an important port of Erythrai—its acropolis offers a very good view of the bay and the surrounding islands.