The excavation of the city of Ephesus has unearthed many structures from Greco-Roman culture. Indeed the area is Europe's most complete classical metropolis and there's still more to be discovered. In its time, Ephesus was a hub for sailors, traders and pilgrims, a diverse city with over 250,000 inhabitants. And today it's one of the most well-preserved Roman settlements in the world.
And if all this wasn't enough, Ephesus is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis.
If you're seeking a lively evening, the obvious choice is Kusadasi or the modern city of Izmir itself.
Izmir's a bustling city – and the bustle continues long after the sun goes down. The most popular areas for slipping into your night-time groove are found in the Alsancak and Konak areas.
For an authentic Turkish experience head to Nektar, or find cheesy Europop at the Club En Velo. For true partygoers, the best club in town is Outside, where the strong party vibe lasts into the small hours.
The resort of Kusadasi is also lively, with a seemingly endless array of bars and restaurants inviting you to let your hair down. Bar Street is home to the liveliest nights with the biggest, busiest and best nightlife. The music ripples out onto the streets and the drinks flow until at least 4am.
The Ladies Beach area offers a more relaxed atmosphere, while an authentic Turkish evening can be experienced in a nearby old Ottoman Castle.
Life’s a beach
The beaches in Kusadasi are particularly renowned and a big draw for people scouting out cheap holidays to Turkey. The sands are golden, and set against deep turquoise water and lush green palms. Kusadasi has shaped itself as a family favourite and the beaches are well equipped with sunloungers, parasols, watersports and an array of beach bars.
The sandy bay at Ozdere is also a welcoming haven for families because of its calm, shallow waters. Some watersports are available but on a whole the area is less commercial than Kusadasi.
Those seeking a more rugged coastal experience should retreat to the Dilek Peninsula National Park.
Food, glorious food
Eating out in Izmir will give you a real idea of Turkish cuisine. Based by the glorious Aegean Sea, it's no surprise that many of the coastal restaurants have menus with a large selection of seafood including grilled cipura – sea bream – anchovies and octopus.
Of course Turkish cuisine is also famed for the kebab, but you could also try an iskander. This is the traditional way to enjoy succulent lamb pieces – with flatbread, yoghurt and tomato sauce.
Many of the restaurants also have a distinctly mezze theme, serving lots of small plates filled with regional delicacies – perfect for sharing with family and friends.