A Guide to Urla for Beginners / Sinan Hamamsarılar

Once we come through these pandemic days which make us all feel the meaning of getting stuck at home to the bone, the first thing I will do, like most of my friends, is to jump in my car and surrender myself to the Aegean’s lovely coastal towns, ancient cities and natural beauties. Considering that you may also be thinking the same, we decided to prepare an article series on the Aegean for “beginners”. This guide will help you feel like a local Aegean in your first visit to many of its towns. Our first article is about Urla, Izmir…

You’ve heard about Urla many times but never had the chance to see it for yourself. And those lucky ones who had been there have always told you how unique and distinct this town is. Urla is one of the most special places in the Aegean with its gardens endlessly stretching out, cobblestone streets promising a journey in time, sincere locals and its taste bud-pleasing cuisine. Now, if you are ready to explore Urla, join us to learn more about this cute town which not only casts its spell on sunny spring months but also on all other three seasons.

Firstly, there is one very important thing you should know before travelling to Urla: This town is much more tranquil and serene than its peers and has its own cultural rules. Urla is actually so much more than a simple resort. Unlike what is thought or how it is seen from outside, it is not an extension of Cesme or Alacati which are known for their lively leisure life. And Urla locals also don’t really have such an expectation from their town. Its advantage of being the biggest coastal town which is located closest to Izmir’s central districts has attracted many individuals and families to live in Urla and work in the central Izmir. Given this, you can simply multiply your expectations from Urla by your expectations from Kadikoy, Istanbul; Cankaya, Ankara; Lara, Antalya and then divide the result by the cosy Aegean energy to have an idea about this town. Urla is like a “small district” that is free of chaos, tall buildings, stress, air pollution and negativity.

Demircili Sakız Enginar

Perhaps you’ve searched the internet many times to learn about its best season to go for an holiday. And in most of those times the answer you got was probably spring. Don’t be fooled by it though. Urla promises uniquely pleasing moments all four seasons. If you opt for a visit in spring, make sure you stop by Begendik Abi Restaurant in the centre of Urla to have a taste of the mouth-watering Aegean dishes. You’ll enjoy the region’s broad selection of famous greeneries, blessed thistle, herbal delicacy called arapsaci, and artichokes. In spring, the town also plays host to a festival which is called the Artichoke Fest that draws many tourists. Also, one of Turkey’s most special destinations when it comes to wine cultivation, Urla has two important seasons in wine production. One of them is the harvesting season which often covers the period between mid-summer and mid-autumn depending on the seasonal changes. And the other one is the bottling season. This generally coincides with the period when you can taste the first white and rose wines to be bottled from the last harvest. So if you happen to be in Urla in spring, don’t fail to take on the Urla Vineyard Route to tour the wineries, taste different wines, and be the first to experience newly harvested wines.

Urla is also great in summer when you can hit the Demircili or Altinkoy beaches during the day for a swim in its clear waters or opt for a visit to Cesme while in the evenings you can enjoy a good dinner at the Urla restaurants with lush gardens. The most favourite of these restaurants is Od Urla. This restaurant which is shaped around the farm-to-table concept and known for its beautiful olive trees in its garden will make you feel totally special. Soak up the beauty of its garden as the sun goes down and creates shadows through the trees and then immerse yourself in the Anatolian flavors from the hands of a talented chef with a touch of world cuisines. Another fun activity would be to spend the evening wandering around Urla’s famous art street – the highest season of which is in summer.

And autumn… It’s a whole different experience! With the fishing season opening between May and September, Poseidon’s blessing starts to come down on the fish auction in Urla’s Ozbek village. The auction opens every day at the same time and exhibits fresh seafood on a giant marble bench for sale. Some call this auction “canto” as the price offers go upwards during the sales! And some refer to it as “stone” due to the marble bench! Across the auction is a restaurant called Akin’in Yeri to which you kind of have to go for a feast of seafood! If they have the blue tail shrimp, make sure you also take a bite for me!

Od Urla

I must confess that the most quiet season is winter. Still, winter has its own magic. For example, every January plays host to a festival called the Daffodil Festival in the far-away, yet nearby Karaburun… The district will offer you perfect tranquility as you take for a walk to explore its natural beauties. Plus, hotels are more affordable in winter compared to spring and summer months. As for restaurants, some also open in winter time like Vino Locale which offers a cosy atmosphere or Yengec Restaurant where you can enjoy a complete dinner on the pier. Not to mention that it’s only a 25-minute drive from the Izmir city centre.


  • Malgaca bazaar
  • Art street
  • Necati Cumali Remembrance and Culture House



  • Wineries
    • Urlice
    • USCA
    • MMG
    • Urla
    • Mozaik
    • Urla Vineyard House
    • Limantepe
  • Uzbas Arboretum
  • Beaches
    • Demircili
    • Altinkoy
  • Gardens
  • Bademler village
  • Olive oil museum


Far-away, yet nearby:

  • Seferihisar, Sigacik
  • Karaburun
  • Guzelbahce
  • Germiyan village


Food & Beverage:

  • Begendik Abi Restaurant
  • Katmerci Asik Usta
  • Irmik Hanim Patisserie
  • Da’s Kantina
  • Baristocrat 3rd Wave Cafe & Roastery
  • Od Urla
  • Yengec Restaurant
  • Ozbek Akin’in Yeri
  • Vino Locale
  • Hic Taste Workshop
  • Firin Vourla
Urla Zeytin Bahçeleri
Vino Locale