This week I’m following up on last week’s photo diary of Alaçati with my tips on the best restaurants, shops, and things to do. Part of Alaçati’s charm is that it’s still a Turkish (vs. international) resort town, but going somewhere where English speaking is limited might seem intimidating. The people are incredibly friendly and gracious, so not to worry. See below for everything from the dining establishments you don’t want to miss to where to score some beautiful “souvenirs” to bring home.
IN THREE WORDS: charming, romantic, undiscovered
WHERE TO STAY: Beyevi Hotel
WHAT TO DO: watch windsurfing at the port, head to a beach to sunbathe alongside aqua waters, spend a leisurely afternoon at a street cafe, hunt for treasures in the antique stores
DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT: making the drive to Ephesus and sampling wines at Urla Sarapcilik vineyard
WHERE TO EAT: Asma Yaprağı for home-style Turkish food in a garden setting; Barbun for one of the most impressive fine dining experiences of your life; Köşe Kahve or Orto Kahve on the main street for an afternoon coffee and treat; Fahri’nin Yeri at the port for local seafood
FOOD TO TRY: lemon-soaked mussels from the street carts, Turkish coffee, baklava, fried whole fish, any aubergine meze, roasted lamb, the fabulous breakfast spread
BEST PLACE FOR A DRINK: The chic garden at Yaya Restaurant
WHERE TO SHOP: Yastık by Rıfat Özbek for unique luxury pillows, Atmospheres for resort wear, Fash for beachwear, Zeytik V.S. for olive oils and homemade jams, antique stores in the Haci Memiş area of town, Lisa Corti for colorful textiles, and a tiny storefront (can’t recall the name!) on Kemalpaşa Caddesi (the main street) for Turkish towels
HOW TO GET AROUND: The village is pedestrian only. But be sure to rent a car to explore the Çeşme peninsula and make a day trip to Ephesus. The one-hour highway drive from the Izmir airport is easy once you figure out the signs.
GOOD TO KNOW: The village’s emerging boutique hotels and restaurants are expensive but extremely high quality. You get what you pay for and more.
WHAT TO PACK: Breezy linen pants and tanks for day, pretty dresses for night and flat sandals for night
WHAT TO BRING HOME: striped Turkish towels, a colorful pillow, olive oil soap
WHEN TO GO: High season is summer. We loved the quieter pace in early September.