The coastal town of Turkey’s Alacati, coming at #14 on the New York Times’ top places to go in 2016, will be welcoming guests this spring to this hidden corner of the Aegean with an array of boutique festivals and activities planned for this year. Among the region’s best springtime activities are the famous Herb Festival celebrating the arrival of Spring, wine-tasting in the region’s delightful vineyards, experiencing the burgeoning gourmet scene in the cosy restaurants serving local dishes with a modern twist, and going on historical sight-seeing tours around UNESCO Heritage sites.
Alacati is a much-loved town with a rich blend of Greek, Jewish, Levantine and Turkish history. Spring is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the town’s unique culture while exploring its gourmet food and wine scene in a genuine, intimate and cosy setting created by the warm welcome from friendly locals.
Average temperatures in Spring are 17°C in March and 20°C in April, offering the perfect Easter or long-weekend getaway. Spring activities in the region include wine-tasting, bird-watching, cooking workshops and the town’s colourful Herb Festival to name just a few. With direct flights from London to Izmir (the nearest airport to Alacati) all year round with Pegasus Airlines, direct seasonal flights with Easyjet, Thomas Cook, Sun Express and Thomson Airways, and connecting flights from elsewhere in the UK via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines, the town is easily accessible with the journey just over 3 hours’ flight time from the UK.
In Autumn 2015, Alacati was featured on BBC2 to great acclaim as part of the famous seafood chef Rick Stein’s new series ‘Venice to Istanbul’. The town is one of Turkey’s foremost gastronomic destinations with a wide array of Aegean cuisine and local wines on offer and there are countless restaurants embracing the region’s local herbs, foods, recipes and dishes to create a blend of local and global. Visitors can arrange wine tasting tours at the nearby Urlice, Urla, Mozaik or Suvla wineries in Urla and enjoy discovering local grape varieties such as Bornova Misketi and Urla Karasi as well as blends with international varieties.
Between 7 and 10 April 2016, Alacati will also once again host the Herb Festival and introduce its rich and unique region-specific herbs such as rocambole, chicory, white mustard, golden thistle and crown daisy among many others to guests from around the world. The town comes to life during the festival through the many festivities, events and activities planned to celebrate the freshness of spring coming to Alacati including walking tours, talks on food, health and the environment as well as a fun competition to collect the widest variety of herbs around town.
Set your imagination alive with a cultural trip to the renowned cities of the ancient world
Alacati is close to some of the most renowned cultural gems Turkey has to offer such as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Pergamon, once home to the second biggest library in the world, and Ephesus, one of the best preserved Graeco-Roman cities on the Mediterranean. At Pergamon a cable car whisks visitors up to the lovely acropolis with its jaw-droppingly steep ancient theatre while near Ephesus is the ruined Temple of Artemis, once one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the House of the Virgin Mary, a pilgrimage site today.
The region immediately around Alacati also has lots to offer including the 1.5 km-long beach at Ilica perfect for walking along in the gentle spring sunshine and Cesme, a major port in Byzantine and Ottoman times, with a 14th-century Genoese castle. The Cesme peninsula is renowned for its thermal waters which are today part of the area’s variety of spa treatments; Sifne is also famous for its healing mud baths. For a gentle springtime trek, walk uphill from Ildiri to the ruins of Erythrai, once an important Ionian city dating from around 3000BC, for views of the Aegean Sea.