Çeşme (pronounced chesh-meh) is a sea-side resort town (population around 20,000) on the Aegean coast, 85 km west of Izmir. It lies on the extreme western tip of Turkey, opposite the Greek island of Chios. The name "Çeşme" means "fountain" in Persian (چشمه) and possibly draws reference from the many Ottoman fountains scattered across the city. Today Çeşme is the center of a rich resort area that feature lovely beaches and spas.
There are several ways to get to Çeşme, it's half an hour drive from Izmir by car, and there are several bus companies that will drive you to Çeşme from Izmir on any time of the day. Buses from Çeşme to Izmir at the time of writing are around TL 10.
Bus services are also available from Istanbul, the route lasts approximately 8 hours.
There are two daily ferry(ies) to and from Çeşme from the Greek island of Chios (Greek, Hios), the boat ride takes just over an hour and costs €25 one-way or €40 return.
Some cruise ships call on the port of Çeşme, typically from June to October, and most likely by tender as the small port and marina do not have a berth large enough for most cruise ships. The tender dock is across a small marina from the commercial center of town, which is next to the Çeşme Castle. The tender dock is also close to the Çeşme Castle, which is about 1.2 km away.
Çeşme is a compact town, so the simplest way to get around is walking. The Genovese Castle dominates the waterfront of Çeşme. Starting at the northwest corner of the Castle is the main square, situated kitty corner from the Castle with the waterfront on the west side, On the east side of the main square is the pedestrian Inkilap Caddesi, Çesme's main shopping street, which slants inland from the northwest corner of the Castle. To the south, Beyazit Caddesi wraps around the Marina waterfront and terminates near the southwest corner of the Castle.
The first place you should visit is the tourist information office (tel. 0232/712-6653), located on the pier by the Customs Office across from the Castle. The staff is ready, willing, and able to provide thorough and useful information on a wide range of subjects. Mon-Fri, 8:30am - 5:30pm; Sat-Sun, 9am - 5pm.
You will find street signs with the word Sokak (abbr, Sok), which is Turkish for street, Caddesi (abbr. Cad) for Avenues, and Bulvari (abbr. Bul) for Boulevard. If you get lost, head for the seafront (walk down) and look for the Castle; then you can easily recalibrate. If the Castle is to your right as you are heading down, you'd end up at the Marina. If on your left, you'd end up at the main square or north of it.
Several car rentals are on Inkilap Caddesi. Typically advanced reservations are not necessary.
- Çeşme Castle (Çeşme Kalesi), (at the town centre), ☎ 0232/712-6609. Daily 8:30am-12:30pm and 1:30-5:30pm. It was built in 1508 and repaired by Sultan Beyazıt, son of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror (Mehmet Fatih), to defend the coast from attack by pirates. Later, the Rhodes-based Knights of St John of Jerusalem also made use of it. Today, the well-preserved battlements, with its six towers and moats on three sides, offer excellent views of Çeşme. It also houses two historical museums. One museum features artifacts from the nearby ancient city of Erythrai and the other focuses on the events of the Russo-Turkish War. The Castle is also used for the International Cesme Music Festival, held in the first week of July every year. The Castle is guarded by a statue of Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasha, one of the naval commanders of the Battle of Çesme. Pasha is depicted caressing his famous pet lion and facing the Town Square. General admission 5 TL.
- Old city. The Old city is full of Greek neo-classical buildings from the late 1800s/early 1900s that wouldn't be out of place in, say, Symi, which are well preserved and are quite elegant.
- Çeşme Marina, . An upscale marina village with 400 berths for yachts up to 60m, protected by a new 90m breakwater. (38°19'.2N,26°18'.1E)
- Sunbathing at its beaches, thermal baths, spas, etc.
- Kiteboarding — Kiteboard at one of the best spot in Europe with profesional riders. The IKO center at Kitesurfbeach Pirlanta-Ciftlikkoy will be very happy to host you.
Prices in Çeşme are cheaper than in Istanbul.
There's a row of cheap-eats along İnkilap Cad (just north of the Castle).
- Rumeli Pastanesi, Inkilap Cad 44, is a local legend for ice cream at 1.5 TL per scoop. Daily 10am - midnight.
- Fatih, off Inkilap Cad, behind Ayios Haralambos, offers the town's pide (pita) specials, from 6 TL. Daily 9am - 11pm.
There are many upscale restaurants and cafes near the Cesme Marina.
- Kumru — a kind of local warm sandwich. Tasty, it is made with a special bread originally stuffed with salami, Turkish garlic-flavoured sausage (sucuk), grilled cheese and tomatoes; nowadays a vegetarian version is also available if you ask for it, prepared without the sausage and with the addition of green pepper. Most famous eatery specialized in kumru is Kumrucu Sevki at the Marina.
- Ice cream (dondurma) — Veli Usta is a great place to have an ice-cream. There are lots of flavors available, including very local balbadem (honey and almond) and black currant, which are the most favorite flavors.
- Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Altınyunus Mah. 3435 Sok. No. 25, ☎ +90 232 455-45-00 ([email protected], fax: +90 232 455-45-01), . Beachfront hotel offering rooms with a seaview, TV, free internet access. Two swimming pools (both indoor and outdoor) and an on-site spa available. Note that the hotel lies far away (5 km) from the old town, though. € 165-278.
- Rıdvan Hotel, (at the centre of old town).
- otel MaSaLa, Tokoglu Mah. 1020 Sok. No:4 (Alacati/Cesme IZMIR), ☎ +90 232 716 0578/ +90 532 3572001 ([email protected]masala.com), . A "sympathic" hotel in Alacati, each one diffrent furnished six rooms. Room for two person B&B € 85 to 125
Town's telephone code is (+90) 232.
Hotel Altinyunus, and Ilica view
- Alaçatı — a historical town on the southern leeward side of the peninsula—and thus is perfect for wind-surfing!—noted for its Greek houses, ancient windmills with modern electricity-generating wind turbines side by side on the hill overlooking it. About 8 km east of Çeşme.
- Ilıca — a town noted for its thermal springs, located 5 km east of Çeşme, on the northern coast of peninsula.
- The Greek island of Chios is just opposite Çeşme, about an hour away by ferry, and thanks to quite frequent ferries can be done as a day-trip from Çeşme. The ferry departs at 11AM from Çeşme and the return trip is at 5PM from Chios (4PM on Sundays).
- Take a minibus to Pırlanta: wilder beach for kite-surf. Open fire and wild camping possible.