With a population around 5 million, Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey and, after Istanbul, the second busiest port. An important road and rail junction, it is linked to Turkey's principal cities and many European capitals by frequent direct flights from Adnan Menderes airport. Each year Izmir stages an important international fair in August and September at which Turkish and foreign exhibitors display a wide range of products. There is an international Arts Festival in June and July.
The city is set splendidly on the steep, umber-coloured hills that surround gulf of Izmir. Its wide palm-lined boulevards, smart shops, hotels and restaurants and the bustle of a busy port combine with the simplicity and exoticism of the old quarter in an attractive, unusual and elegant amalgam. The city has a plesant climate. In summer the temperature, which can be oppressively hot in the Aegean, is tempered by the Imbat, a refreshing sea breeze.
Izmir is an excellent centre for visiting the sites of ancient Pergamum, Sardis, Ephesus, Priene, Miletus and Didyma, all of which are within easy driving distance.