Activities and Cultural Attractions in Çeşme
The Cesme peninsular is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt areas on the Turkish coast. Popular with Turkish holidaymakers for its great beaches and relaxed atmosphere, it has hardly been discovered by European tourists.
Guided tours can be arranged or you may prefer to explore the area yourself with a bicycle or rental car or by local transport. Public minibuses run between all the sites below, we can point you in the right direction.
Alacati is a charming former Greek town located on the Cesme peninsular on Turkey’s beautiful Aegean coast. Overlooked by a row of stone windmills, the town’s cobbled streets are lined with old stone houses, shops and tavernas, and dotted with friendly guesthouses and boutique hotels. The local shops sell crafts, jewellery and antiques; while the village square is filled with market stalls and open-air cafes, great for browsing or people watching.
Alacati Bay, 3 km south of the village, has become Turkey’s top wind-sport location thanks to its protected, shallow water and strong, reliable wind. It is an established destination for kiteboarders and windsurfers from across Europe and a venue for international competitions, which attract thousands of spectators each summer.
The town of Cesme is built around a medieval Genoese Castle overlooking a large yacht marina and the old town square. The main street is lined with shops, cafes and a large art gallery in an old Greek Orthodox church. The castle has an interesting museum with many historic artefacts from the local area. There are souvenir shops and shops selling the local jams and puddings made with pine mastic, an important local product with a distinctive flavour. The waterside fish restaurants are crowded on summer evenings with diners enjoying the fantastic fresh seafood.
Cesme has many great beaches with soft white sand and sparkling, turquoise water. The most famous is the stunning beach at Ilica, though there are quieter stretches beyond the village of Ciftlikkoy, on the peninsular’s south west coast. Elsewhere on the peninsular there are beach-clubs with music, water sports and cafes.
Cesme is famous for its hot thermal springs, which are said to cure many ailments, aside from being a great way to relax your muscles after a hard day kiting. Several hotels in the area have luxury spas offering treatments or you can soak in the hot water and have a traditional massage at the baths in Sifne. There are several points where the hot spring waters issue directly into the sea.
For culture-vultures, the remains of the ancient hilltop city of Erythrai, inhabited since the Bronze Age, can be explored 22 km south east of Cesme. Wander around the scattered ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine ruins and scramble up to the acropolis for a great view. The Greek island of Chios
Ferries cross to the Greek island of Chios in the summer. The crossing takes about 45 minutes, so it’s possible to visit for a weekend or even a day-trip. Chios is a quiet island, which is far off the beaten-track. There are some picturesque mountainside villages, great beaches; but above all a feeling of being far, far away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.