Cesme offers newlyweds a choice of golden-sand beaches and thermal springs, great shopping and ancient ruins to ponder – perfect for adventurous couples celebrating a honeymoon or romantic getaway.
This world-class resort on Turkey’s Aegean Coast has been renowned as a health resort since the 2nd century AD: the Cesme Peninsula boasts natural-occurring therapeutic hot springs surrounded by fields of aniseed, sesame and artichokes dotted with mastic trees and olive groves.
Choose from one of the many beach clubs that offer a seafront locale with music, drinks and food or ride a dolmus (shared minibus) to a natural beach (plaj in Turkish) on the peninsula.
The best beaches in and around Cesme, include…
Unwind on the white sand of this 250m-long beach backed by bush-clad hills and facing the wide Alaçati Bay, famous for its shallow waters and the brisk year-round winds that make it ideal for kite and windsurfing. In fact, Alaçati is one of the world’s top windsurfing destinations, offering windsurfing schools and boasting annual professional competitions.
The Alaçatı Beach Resort provides facilities including parasols and sun loungers, with music, food and colds drinks available. Water sports include banana boats, water skiing, kite and windsurfing.
Come for a day or stay longer at the Alacati Tas Otel, a tastefully renovated 120-year-old Greek mansion. Or try the beachfront Suzer Sun Dreams Hotel & Spa.
Alacatı Beach is easily access by dolmus, around 13km away from Cesme and 2km from Ilica.
Sunbathe on this wide, 1.5km-long, white-sand beach that shelves gently into warm, turquoise waters.
Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, with cold drinks and food just a stroll away at various beach clubs. A long palm-fringed promenade edges the beach and is lined with restaurants and hotels.
Ilica Plaj is located on the north coast of the peninsula, just 5km from Cesme.
(Diamond Beach) – Sunbathe on the white sand of this 600m-long beach that sits beneath bush-clad hills facing the Aegean Sea.
Easily accessed by dolmus from Çesme's town centre, windy Pirlanta Beach offers ideal conditions for kite and windsurfing.
Facilities include deck chairs and umbrellas for hire, with a few beachfront cafés serving food and cold drinks. Pirlanta Beach is 8km west of Cesme.
(Golden Beach) – Flanked by bush-covered sand dunes and low hills, this kilometre-long golden-sand beach offers ideal swimming conditions in generally calm and crystal clear waters.
Facilities include deck chairs and umbrellas for hire and a small beach restaurant serving food and cold drinks. Water sports include kayaks and windsurfers for hire.
If you want seclusion, then this is the beach for you. Altinkum Plaj is located on the south coast of the peninsula, around 8km from Cesme.
Unwind on this golden-sand beach that fringes a small cove facing crystal clear waters.
Facilities include deck chairs and umbrellas for hire, and a small beach restaurant sells food and cold drinks.
Dalyan Plaj is just 5km from Cesme, on the northeast side of the peninsula.
The peninsula is indented with golden-sand beaches, many of which offer ideal conditions for kite and windsurfing. Go kite or windsurfing at Alaçati Plaj, escape the crowds by gulet (traditional wooden boat) to swim, snorkel and picnic at deserted coves, or hop on a ferry to the nearby Greek island of Chios.
In the laid-back resort town of Cesme, discover all the ingredients you need for a restful Turkish beach holiday, without the prolific partying often found at many of the larger resorts. People watch from a teahouse on the old main square or catch a sunset view of the Aegean Sea.
Then pop into the Cesme's picturesque stone walled, 14th century Genoese castle, which now houses a small museum of weapons and artefacts recovered during excavations of the nearby ancient city of Erhthrai. The castle hosts concerts during the Cesme Sea Festival every year in July.
Browse for Turkish carpets, leather, jewellery and handicrafts along the traffic-free main street, also lined with cafes and restaurants.
After dark, head to waterfront bars and beach clubs such as the popular Seaside Beach Club at Piyade Cove and the vibrant Babylon Alaçati at Çark Plaj.
Dine at one of the excellent seafood restaurants that line the small harbour of Dalyankoy, a small fishing village just 5km north of Cesme.
Cesme and its immediate surrounds offer an array of must-see attractions, including ancient cities that are all just a short drive away – perfect for inquisitive couple.
Away from the beach, journey into antiquity on a day trip to the remains of ancient Erythrai, dating from 3000 BC.
Further to the south lie the remains of Hierapolis and Ephesus, one of the best-preserved Graeco–Roman cities in the world. To the north lie the ruins of ancient Pergamon.
Nearby Izmir also offers an interesting day trip, with its excellent museums of archaeology and ethnography, an old castle and a Roman forum.
Explore these ancient Greek ruins that include a 3rd century BC theatre, the 6th century BC Temple of Heracles, a 5th century BC sacrificial altar and a 2nd century BC mosaic stone pavement. Climb to the top of the theatre for great views over the region.
Erythrai is located on the coast around 23km from Cesme town centre and 17km from Ilica.
(Pergamon) – Scramble among the remains of the ancient city of Pergamum, which dates back to the 12th century BC.
Climb to the 300m-high summit for panoramic views over this vast site then visit the terraced hillside theatre, the well-preserved Temple of Dionysius, the famed library, the Altar of Zeus and the propylaeum (monumental gateway) of the Temple of Athena.
On the way back down the hill don’t miss the Sanctuaries of Hera, the Temple of Asklepios and the agora (meeting place) in the Lower City. While there is much to see in situ, the vast majority of excavated artefacts now reside at the Pergamum Museum in Berlin, Germany.
Pergamum is located 118km from Cesme.
Explore the remains of one of the world’s earliest medical and therapeutic centres and the world's first psychiatric hospital, dating to the 4th century BC.
This famed ancient medical centre, built in honour of Asklepios, the god of healing, gained prominence during the Roman era in the 2nd century AD.
Stroll the once colonnaded Sacred Way (that connected the Asklepion with the Acropolis) to the propylaeum. See the altar inscribed with the emblem of modern medicine, the serpent.
Follow the curved Temple of Telesphorus, an underground tunnel that hosted treatment rooms and sleeping chambers, to the circular domed Temple of Asklepios.
Elsewhere, see pools and fountains used for bathing and drinking as well as the semicircular Roman Theatre, which flanks the colonnaded promenade on the northwest corner of the site.
(Kizil Avlu) – Stroll around this enormous red Byzantine church, originally built in the 2nd century AD during the reign of Hadrian as a temple dedicated to the Egyptian god Serapis.
Destroyed in the Arab raids of 716 to 717 AD, the church was then converted into a basilica by the Byzantines; a small mosque still resides in one of the towers.
The Red Basilica straddles the ancient Selinus River (today called the Bergama Cayi), in Bergama (Pergamum), around 118km north of Cesme.
Explore the ancient ruins of Sardis, the one-time capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia and home of King Croesus (560–546 BC), famous for his wealth.
Within the ongoing excavations, which comprise an open-air museum that once served as the gymnasium and bathhouse, see the colonnaded arcade lined with Byzantine-era shops, the Palestra, Caldarium and Frigidarium.
Sardis is located in the village of Sart, around 72km east of Izmir and 185km east of Cesme.
Cesme offers an excellent choice of accommodation options, especially around the beachside suburb of Ilica, including the following 5-star hotels…
Sheraton Cesme Hotel Resort & Spa
Location: Llica, Cesme
Ave nightly price: AUD221 per room
Description: his beachfront, 5-star resort is located in the town of Cesme and offers panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. It features a state-of-the-art spa and an extensive, outdoor pool. Alacati town centre is 2 km away. Sheraton Cesme Hotel Resort & Spa’s chic rooms lead onto private, furnished balconies with sea or garden views. Each has a flat-screen TV and a modern bathroom. Down at the beach, water activities including windsurfing and diving can be arranged. Guests can enjoy a workout at the fitness centre or a game of tennis on the court. The Sheraton Cesme’s front desk is available 24 hours a day. Several dining options are offered including Spices Roof Restaurant, which serves Turkish and international cuisine. Mediterranean specialities can be enjoyed at Olives Restaurant. Light snacks and drinks are served at the many bars and cafés on site. The hotel offers free private parking and a car rental service. Cesme Castle is a 10-minute drive away.
Alacati Kapari Hotel
Location: Alacatı, Cesme
Ave nightly price: AUD169 per room
Description: Overlooking the Aegean Sea, this stylish hotel features free Wi-Fi and an outdoor pool. It offers a fitness centre, spa facilities and modern rooms with air conditioning and flat-screen TV. All rooms at Alaçatı Kapari Hotel have a seating area, and are equipped with a minibar and a work desk. Each room is uniquely designed and some offer sea views. Guests can enjoy their breakfast in the hotel’s green garden. A bar is also available for tasty snacks and drinks, while every afternoon a tea and sweets are served. Kapari Hotel offers a spa pool and a sauna. Guests can also enjoy a steam bath. The pet-friendly Alaçatı Kapari Hotel is situated across Alaçatı Marina. Alacatı Port Marina is 500 m while Alaçatı Beach is 1 km, with its windsurfing and kite surfing opportunities.
Boyalik Beach Hotel & Spa Cesme
Ave nightly price: AUD157 per room
Description: Just a few steps from the beach, Boyalik Beach Hotel & Spa Cesme has a garden, an outdoor pool and a private beach area offering free parasols, sun loungers and beach towels. Free WiFi and free private parking are also available. All rooms of Boyalik are equipped with air conditioning, flat-screen satellite TV and a minibar. Each also comes with a balcony and a private bathroom with a shower, hairdryer and free toiletries. After a workout at the fitness centre, you can relax in the sauna, spa and wellness centre as well as Turkish bath. You can also have massage and beauty treatments. Leisure facilities include games room, billiards and darts. There is also a business centre offering 4 meeting rooms. Breakfast and dinner are served buffet style. You can taste snacks at the snack bars beside pool and sea. There are also 4 bars on site. Cesme’s town centre is 2 km from the premises, and Alacati’s town centre is 4 km away. Airport shuttle services to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport, which is 80 km away, can be arranged at a surcharge.
Location: Alacatı, Cesme
Ave nightly price: AUD147 per room
Description: Set in a rustic stone house a 3-minute walk from Alacatı’s centre, this hotel offers free Wi-Fi and air-conditioned rooms with balcony. It comes with a charming garden terrace and outdoor pool. Each room features a colourful, authentic Victiorian-style décor and a private bathroom. A rich traditional style with organic and fresh ingredients breakfast is served daily. Room service, including breakfast, is available. Massage treatments can be scheduled. Guests can relax in the sauna, swim in the pool, or watch Alacati views on the terrace. Adnan Menderes Airport is 90 km from Chigdem Hotel. The 24-hour staff can arrange a shuttle. Hotel is 3 km away from Ilıca Beach and Alacati surfing beach.
Ilica Hotel Spa & Wellness Resort
Location: Llica, Cesme
Ave nightly price: AUD133 per room
Description: Featuring a blue-flag private beach along the Aegean coast, this 5-star resort in Çeşme features 7 outdoor pools, including one with thermal water, and a buffet restaurant with panoramic windows. The rooms at Ilica Hotel Spa & Wellness Resort are bright and include a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi and a private balcony. Some rooms feature a hydro-massage tub and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Ilıca Bay. Guests can enjoy Thai and Bali massages at the spa, along with several body and skin treatments. Children can participate in the activities of the mini-club, enjoy the water slides, or play in the game room. Kalama Restaurant specializes in Aegean flavors served as rich buffets. Menu options are available at the Grill Bar, where international cuisine is available. The stylish cocktail bar has a spacious terrace with comfortable seating. Guests can also visit the aquapark right next to the resort, Çeşme Aqua Toy City, and enjoy the swimming pools with slides.
Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Cesme
Ave nightly price: AUD113 per room
Description: Steps from the beach in Cesme, the 5-star Radisson Blu features a 10,770 ft² outdoor pool. It also has a spa with 3 hammams, ultra-modern fitness center and saunas. The air-conditioned rooms are decorated in relaxing pastel tones. Each room has a private balcony and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Some overlook the Aegean Sea. Guests at Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Cesme can enjoy the jet streams of the indoor pool. The spa also has 21 treatment rooms, thermal pools and steam baths. For younger guests, a mini-club is available. Buffet meals at Element Restaurant have a wide selection of international favorites and fresh local products. Guests can also relax with a sandwich at Aqua Pool Bar or socialize over a cocktail at the beach bar. Radisson Blu Resort is 3.2 km from the center of Cesme. Free private parking is available on site.
The best time to visit Cesme is from May to September. But for hot weather, visit in summer from July to mid-September – temperatures often exceed 32°C (90°F) during July and August.
For slightly cooler but still pleasant weather visit during spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) when temperatures range between 16°C (61°F) and 25°C (77°F).
Cesme enjoys a Mediterranean climate with long, hot summers and mild winters.
For more climate info: Cesme Weather Guide…
Sitting on the tip of the peninsula that also carries the same name, Cesme juts out into the Aegean Sea halfway along the west coast of Turkey around 85km (52mi) from Izmir.
The most convenient route to Cesme is by air to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB), located 18km (11mi) southwest of Izmir city centre, and 94km (58mi) east of Cesme.
Shuttle buses operate between the airport and Cesme, a journey of around 1 hour 30 minutes. Hotels can meet flights by prior arrangement. Hire cars and taxis are available.
By sea, a ferry service runs between Cesme and the nearby Greek island of Chios.
Information on how to get to Cesme…
Latest update: Where to Honeymoon in Cesme: 9 May, 2022