Cesme-Alacati

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Travellers have been coming to Cesme since ancient times; its most famous visitors include Marc Antony and Cleopatra. Now a popular spot for residents of Izmir, about 85km west of Cesme. Cesme was once a terminus of the Silk Road, so its location is of historical importance.

The downtown is made up almost entirely of neo-classical buildings dating from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Cesme means “fountain” or “spring,” owing to the many water sources in the area. As such, it’s an agricultural heartland, surrounded by fields of artichokes, sesame, figs, gum trees, and aniseed.

 The peninsula that Cesme sits on juts into the Mediterranean near the Greek island of Chios. From Cesme, ferries run to both Chios and the west coast of Italy. Cesme is considered part of the Turquoise Coast that runs from here to Alanya, about 1,000 miles south. Tourists here enjoy the unspoiled beaches, nightlife, great restaurants, and sailing opportunities. The Cesme Castle was built in the 14th century to protect the port and is now a museum. Around the port are

caves and inlets that can be explored by sailboat or chartered yacht. The Church of Agios Harambos, now an art gallery, is also worth a visit. Visitors also enjoy the Turkish baths and spas in the town and surrounding area. Shopping is big on Sundays, which is market day in Cesme. Nearby Alacati—about 8km east of Cemse— is a historical town world famous for its windsurfing and kite boarding.

It’s on the leeward side of the peninsula, so catches a steady breeze—enough to power ancient stone windmills and modern wind turbines alike. The village boasts 330 windy days a year. Alacati is usually overlooked by tourists, so it’s still a quiet escape. The stone streets are lined with shops, restaurants with local and handmade goods, boutique hotels and cozy taverns.

There is a surprisingly lively nightlife here during July and August when Europe is on holiday, with open-air bars on the beach and discos open til dawn. Saturday is also market day in Alacati.