Alaçati in Turkey: A Sophisticated Seaside Town You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
Alaçatı (pronounced “Ala-cha-ti”) is a small town just a hop and skip away from Izmir on the west coast of Turkey. The charming town is a hidden gem that most people haven’t heard of, and the majority of first-time visitors leave Alaçati off their Turkey itinerary.
In fact, we hadn’t initially planned to travel to Alaçati at all. Though I pride myself on doing boatloads of research ahead of a trip, we found ourselves at a crossroads after just 1 night in Pamukkale. Our original plan was to stay in Pamukkale for 3 whole days…and although the shining travertines were a sight to behold, after just 1 day I was ready to move on from the hordes of day trippers and blaring music.
Luckily for me, a lovely reader (hi if you’re reading this, Selcan!) saw that we were in Turkey via my Instagram Stories, and sent me a DM to suggest that we check out Alaçati on the Aegean coast. So we packed up, hopped in the rental car and drove 4 hours west from Pamukkale to Alaçati. And boy oh boy, Alaçati did not disappoint in the slightest. Just when we thought nothing could top Fethiye, Ephesus and Cappadocia, along came this dark horse. Goes to show, it pays off to have a flexible itinerary!
Alaçati has a rich history mostly as a result of its Greek past dating back to the 17th century. Though the Greek population of Alaçati was forced to leave beginning in 1914, the remaining Orthodox Greeks in Turkey were removed in a formal population exchange with Greece in 1923. The town was declared as a historical site in 2005, and the traditional Greek stone houses are still well protected and remain on bougainvillea-framed cobblestone streets today.
Alaçati is effortlessly cool, and our 2 nights there was not nearly enough. Alaçati is one of the best places to visit in Turkey – read on for the best things to do in Alaçati, where to stay and where to eat the most delicious food!
Click here for more Turkey travel tips and guides or you can read more on Turkey travel mistakes you won’t want to make here!
How to get to Alaçati
Izmir to Alacati: The closest airport to Alacati is in Izmir – Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (airport code: ADB) – the drive from Izmir to Alacati will take you approximately 45 minutes. We rented a Hyundai i20 from Alamo and they were extremely helpful – it cost us only US$110/100 Euros for 8 days and tolls are virtually non-existent in Turkey. There are plenty of places to fill up on petrol along the way. Parking in Alacati was not impossible, but double check with your hotel if there is free on-site or street parking nearby as you will mostly be walking around the old town on foot.
Looking for the best prices for rental cars around the world? Click here to book your rental car ahead of your trip. Bookings can be cancelled or amended if your plans change!
Istanbul to Alacati: If you prefer to fly into Istanbul you can take a domestic flight to Izmir easily – there are several direct flights each day from both airports in Istanbul and the flight will take just 1 hour.
How to get around Alaçati
The best way to get around Alacati is by rental car, especially if you’re hoping to visit some of the nearby beaches. However, if you are staying within the old town area (on either side of Kemalpaşa Cd.) everything is within walking distance – there are oodles of shops, restaurants and cafes around.
There is parking (paid and free) at most places and it gives you the flexibility to travel further along the coast towards Çeşme and to explore places that are off the beaten track.
Where to stay in Alaçati
Like I said, Alacati is cool. It’s hip, stylish and chock-full of boutique hotels. We were lucky to snag one of the few rooms at one of the best new boutique hotels in Alacati, GAIA ALAÇATI. The design is flawless – chic yet cozy, with plenty of warm earthy tones. One of the best parts of the small boutique property is the enclosed internal courtyard-slash-restaurant where you can get your fix of mouthwatering food and drinks. Make sure you try their stunning breakfast spread – believe me when I say that it tastes even better than it looks.
GAIA ALAÇATI is located on a small side street – a stone’s throw from the main tourist stretch but away from the noise. The property only has a handful of rooms so make sure you book your stay well in advance, especially if you are visiting during the peak summer months from July to September. I would recommend spending no less than 3 days in Alacati – you won’t regret it. Click here to check current rates at GAIA ALAÇATI or head on over here to see even more Alacati boutique hotels!
Important information about hotel booking in Turkey: You can not book hotels in Turkey using Booking.com when you are already in Turkey, as it has been blocked by the Turkish government (so has Wikipedia, for that matter, and they’re looking to extend the ban to other websites including AirBnB and Expedia). Instead, make sure you book hotels for your stay in Turkey before your trip, or use Hotels.com or HotelsCombined for any last-minute hotel bookings that you need to make when you are already in the country.
What to do in Alaçati
Alaçati is not one of those places where you follow a list of things to do to the letter. There aren’t a ton of landmarks, archaeological sites or museums to add to a checklist – instead, wandering through the cobblestone streets and checking out the colourful buildings is one of best things to do in Alacati. Take it easy and sip on Turkish coffee during the day and smooth cocktails at night.
That being said, here are a few places to check out if you have a few days in Alacati!
1. Wander around town
Walking around Alacati makes you feel as though you are on a small picture-perfect Greek island. The architecture is unlike what you see in other coastal regions such as Fethiye and Oludeniz, and the stone houses are beautifully restored with more bougainvillea adorning the walls than you’ve seen in this lifetime.
The main street, Kemalpaşa Cd., is lined with tons of restaurants, shops, cafes and bars. You’ll want to make your way down all of the little quiet side streets so you can stumble upon hidden gems and charming little coffee shops.
2. Lounge on a beach
Alaçati is surrounded by beaches and tons of hip beach clubs. You might want to head to the popular Ilica Public Beach on the north, head west to the beaches around Çeşme, or venture down south to Delikli Koy to check out the white limestone cliffs and rocky beach.
If you’re headed to Delikli Koy, bring your own towel as there are no changing facilities, and make sure you have sufficient ground clearance on your vehicle and avoid the sand dunes so your car doesn’t get stuck.
3. See the windmills
No, you’re not on Santorini or Mykonos. These traditional Greek windmills were built to grind wheat into flour, and feature iconic cone-shaped straw roofs. These windmills are still standing off the main street that runs through Alacati, click here for their location. There is no entrance fee and can be visited any time of day.
4. Have a drink (or two)
Alacati is full of trendy cocktail bars serving up mouthwatering mojitos and world-class wine. We loved the drinks at Adı Memish lounge. Don’t be surprised if some of the local residents join you for some cuddles!
If you’re a wine aficionado, make your way over to Urla Winery, a local vineyard producing more than 10 kinds of wine. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to check it out, but Urla is an award-winning winery and located mid-way between Izmir and Alacati. If you’re driving it will take approximately 40 minutes to get there but make sure you don’t drink and drive!
5. Eat..a lot
Alacati is hip. Really hip. Restaurants were full almost every night when we visited in September and reservations are not just a suggestion – they’re absolutely necessary. Perhaps the most hyped up and popular restaurant in Alacati is Asma Yaprağı, a family-run restaurant hidden away in an outdoor courtyard.
If you’re lucky enough to get a table, you’ll be led to tour their kitchen where you’re given the rundown on the daily specials. Pick and choose what you want for dinner (they’ll let you know if you’re over-ordering!), and the chef will serve it up for you. The evenings can get chilly so you might want to bring a scarf, or ask your waiter for a fleece blanket.
We also loved Arven and enjoyed dining in their stunning garden among pomegranate trees. Restaurants in Alacati are slightly more expensive than what you might pay elsewhere in Turkey, so budget accordingly!
Mark my words, I will be back in Alaçati. It’s exactly what we needed after being on-the-go around Turkey, and an amazing treat before we traveled back to Istanbul for our final stop. If you have a few extra days in Alacati you might also want to visit Ephesus in modern-day Selcuk if you haven’t already marveled at the magnificent Library of Celsus. Ready to book your trip to Alacati? I recommend staying at GAIA ALACATI, a stylish boutique hotel in the heart of the old town, or you can also click here to choose from even more Alacati boutique hotels!
I hope this Alacati travel guide gives you a good idea of what to expect in this coastal town, and helps you to better plan your time there!
Need some help planning your Turkey itinerary? You might also find these articles helpful:
- First time visitor to Turkey? Read on for what not to do in Turkey and essential travel tips
- History buffs might want to do a day trip to Ephesus from Alacati. Here is my guide to visiting Ephesus
- Spending some time in Istanbul? Here is my guide to spending 3 days in Istanbul
- Head on over here for an easy 2 week Turkey itinerary for first time visitors
- Or check out all of my Turkey travel tips and guides here
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Hi Flo, I have just arrived to Alacati and follow your recommendations. I gave two days to explore the town and the beaches ) so planning to wake up early and would be happy to share my feedback later. Many thanks for detailed lust of things to visit
Hi Umida, have a wonderful time in Alacati! Thank you for taking the time to read this guide, and I’m so happy to hear that you found it helpful.
Hello Flo, I loved this post, very informative – I just came across Alacati and am now planning to include it in my upcoming trip… I am going to be there mid October – do you know if this town open year around? I noticed you mentioned you were there in September and from the internet I’ve noticed that this this would mark the end of the tourism season. Thank you!
Hi Yeli, yes everything should still be open, albeit slightly quieter in October. The weather should still be pleasant in the first half of October, and you might even get some better deals on hotels as it is not the peak season. Enjoy your trip!
Your post helped us a lot discovering Alacati. I must add that if one gets time, also make a day tour to Cesme and enjoy the promenade and the little castle. Cheers
Hi Mani, thanks so much for your feedback! Very happy to hear that you found this helpful – we also tried to spend more time in Cesme but unfortunately had some issues finding parking so if anyone is planning to do a trip from Alacati to Cesme you may need to organize a taxi/car!
Hi! This looks adorable and I think we will check it out this summer, we are going to Turkey. Have been considering also visiting Pamukkale for just one night, what’s your thoughts on it, is it worth it? The photos look beautiful (with no one in them), but I am picturing it being a crazy tourist attraction with hordes of people and then is it even worth the trip there? Would love your take on it!
Hi Summer, thanks for reading. With the pandemic I think the crowds should be thinner at Pamukkale these days – however you’re right, when we visited a few years ago it was fairly hectic and unpleasant (even though we were one of the first ones through the gates in the early morning). If you do go, 1 night is more than enough. You can read more about it here: https://www.yogawinetravel.com/overtourism-in-pamukkale-is-it-worth-visiting-turkeys-cotton-castle/
Hello, Alacati is hardly off the beaten track is one of the most visited places in turkey in the last years and very trendy too.
Hi Felipe, thanks for your comment. I hadn’t heard of Alacati before traveling to Turkey, and I know that many other people have not either. When many people think of Turkey, they mostly think of Istanbul – that’s the only point I’m trying to make.