Places to Stay in Cesme, Cesme Hotels and Pension
Although Çeşme has several inexpensive pensions and hotels, several moderately priced hotels, and a restored caravanserai, most charge over the odds; and many lodg-ings are booked solid in the summer season. Check the package holiday brochures if you're after a longer stay.
Places to Stay – Budget
There are several good pensions in the midst of the action just off Inkilap Caddesi. The unmissable pink and black Teras Pansiyon (232-712 7463), on Ertürk Sokak near the church, is clean and relatively quiet, with shower-equipped rooms above a restaurant a single/double. Some signs stili call it the Birlik.
On the opposite side of Inkilap in a narrow İane of crumbling old houses, Burcu Pansiyon (232-712 0387) has a fine terrace and good shower-equipped rooms for slight-ly less, as does the nearby U-2 Pansiyon (232-712 6381).
Tarhan Pansiyon (it 232-712 6061), behind the Çeşme Kervansaray Hotel, a single/double for rooms in a pretty house draped with bougainvillea. Tani Pansiyon next door is similar.
Cesme Hotels - Places to Stay - Mid-Range
Right on the shore, facing the main square, the two-star Hotel Ertan (232-712 6795, fax 712 7852, Cumhuriyet Meydanı 12) has a lift, open-air terrace bar, air-con restaurant and 60 rather ordinary guest rooms with bath, some facing the sea. Rates are US$70/90 a single/double, breakfast included.
Next door to the Ertan, the newer 36-room Rıdvan Oteli (232-712 6336, fax 712 7627) charges the same for rooms with similar facilities, but usually with balconies. The lobby is decorated with works by local photographer Çavit Kürnek.
Just north of the Ertan and Rıdvan near the water, Çeşme Marin Otel (232-712 7579, fax 712 6484, Hürriyet Caddesi 10) offers even better value, with shower-equipped rooms a single/double with breakfast included, but the staff are in need of cheering up.
Parla Apart Otel 252-7/2 6366, Musalla Mahallesi, Kabadayı Sokak 27), run by an energetic woman named Çiğdem, rents clean, modern double rooms and small apartments (lounge, bed-room, kitchen and bath) - great value. The cheaper Vural Pansiyon, just behind the Tarhan Pansiyon, is under the same competent management.
Yalçın Otel (232-712 6981, fax 712 0623, Musalla Mahallesi, Kale Sokak 38) is perched on the hillside overlooking the town. Its 16 pleasant rooms, all with private shovvers, some with excellent views,
HotelPapageno (n 232-712 8327, fax 712 0105, 16 Eylül Mahallesi, 1 Yalı Sokak 11) is clean, modern, comfortable, and decently priced at US$30/50 a single/double wifh shovver, breakfast included. One reader com-plained of noise from the market outside.
The historic Çeşme Kervansaray Hotel (232-712 7177, fax 712 6491), just south of the main square, was restored a decade ago and even more work was undenvay at the time of writing. The posted price of US$100, for a pleasantly furnished double room with tiny bathroom, has been known to halve when it's quiet. Turkish Night shows are held at least twice a week when you should go elsewhere or be kept awake by the racket.
Places to Eat
Çeşme's restaurants are ali reasonably cheap, but of varying standards. Virtually ali restaurants post their prices prominently. For a local taste treat, try the sakızlı dondurma (sah-kuhz-LUH dohn-door-mah), ice cream flavoured with pine resin, the same stuff they put in Greek retsina vvine. If you like retsina, you should like this weird reincarnation of the flavour.
Behind the old church are numerous small eateries, including Özen Pide & Pizza, which serves grills and Turkish pizza, also the speciality of Fatih Pide Pizza Salonu next door. Both places have outdoor tables by the church.
On inkilap Caddesi, Lezzet Aş Evi (Flavour Cook-House) is stili hanging on as one of the cheapest eateries in town, with veg-etable plates, and salçalı köfte (meatballs)
Nearby, Nil Patisserie serves excellent baklava (pastry with nuts and honey) and lokum (Turkish delight), and has a few streetside cafe tables. Rumeli Pastanesi on İnkilap specialises in the local reçel (jellies and preserves), which include patlıcan (aubergine), turunç (bitter orange), incir (fig), limon çiçeği (lemon-flower), sakız (pine gum - unusual white jam), ayva (qu-ince), gül (rose) and karpuz (vvatermelon).
Sevim Cafe, in front of the Kervansaray, has outdoor tables which suffer a bit from traffic noise, but it's a good place for a sunset drink.
Chinese restaurants have been popping up in Turkish coastal resorts. The cuisine may not be authentic but it makes for a pleasant change. The Mandarin Chinese Restaurant, in front of the Çeşme Marin Otel,
The Castle Restaurant & Bar (232-712 8339), in a tower of the fortress, is a romantic place to watch the sunset, espe-cially on your last Turkish night before catching the ferry bound for Greece. A full dinner will cost you between US$20 to US$35 but it's only open from late May to September.
Cetting There & Away
Bus The opening of the Çeşme-Izmir otoyol (expressway) has made it harder to get to Çeşme vvithout transitting İzmir. If you're coming from Selçuk or Kuşadası, don't think you can avoid izmir by taking a bus to Urla - there's no longer any onward public transport from Urla to Çeşme.
This is a drag because the bus to Çeşme doesn't leave from İzmir otogar. You'll have to come into the otogar, and then catch a bus across town to the separate terminal for Çeşme in Üçkuyular, a neighbourhood 6km west of Konak. This can add a good hour to the journey time (see Bus under Getting There & Away in the izmir section).
Once you've got to the Çeşme terminal it's simple. Çeşme Turizm buses and minibuses make the 85-km, 114-hour run every 15 minutes or so from 6 am to 6 pm, stopping at Ilıca and Alaçatı on the way.
If you buy an onvvard ticket from Çeşme to Ankara or istanbul, your bus vvill stili stop in izmir en route.
Ferry - Chios
Most people come to Çeşme on their way to or from Chios.
in high summer (1 July to 10 September) there are daily boats; the Monday boat con-nects at Chios with a boat for Piraeus, arriving in time to connect with a boat to Israel.
At other times of the year the schedule is:
16 to 30 April and throughout October, boats run Tuesday and Thursday.
I to 15 May boats run Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
16 May to 30 June boats run Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.11 to 30 September boats run on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
Çeşme, Things to See & Do
Çeşme's caravanserai was built in 1528, during the reign of Süleyman the Magnifi-cent, but has been restored and converted into the Kervansaray Hotel, with limited success. It's worth taking a look around.
On Inkilap Caddesi is the ruined orthodox church of Ayios Haralambos, sometimes used for shows and exhibitions.
in the evening the people of Çeşme stili observe the old Mediterranean custom of piyasa vakti ('plaza time'): dressing up and coming down to the main square for a stroll, a glass of tea, a bit of conversation and some people-watching. The men, some with their wives, then linger in the seaside restaurants and teahouses.
Vessels moored along Çeşme's vvaterfront make day excursions up and down the coast, stopping at good swimming spots.
Çeşme has a hamam, just past the Kervansaray Hotel. However, it charges a ridiculous US$40 for a wash and massage and an even more exorbitant US$60 if you want an oil massage tagged on.
Dalyan, 4km north of Çeşme, is a fishing village on a fine natural harbour (but no beach), with some reasonable seafood restaurants.
The unimpressive ruins of ancient Erythrae, famed for its cult temples of Cybele and Hercules, are within and around the modern village of İldir, 27km north of Çeşme. A few small fish restaurants provide sustenance.
The best beaches are at Boyalık, 1.5km east of Çeşme's main square, and Ilıca, 6km east. Both beaches are heavily developed with hotels, but are stili good for a swim in the sun. Alternatively, Altınkum consists of a se-ries of coves 9km to the south-west beyond the town of Çiftlik, reached by dolmuşes which depart from behind Çeşme's Tourism Information Office. There are simple restaurants and camping grounds here, as well as some rental equipment for water sports.
If you think Çeşme is becoming too package-tourist orientated like Side, you could move out to Alaçatı, 9km to the south-east. A well-preserved village of old stone houses populated by Ottoman Greeks a century ago, Alaçatı is backed by three windmills and equipped with a few small restaurants, pen-sions and hotels. The nearest beach is 4km away, but, like many other spots along this coast, it's famed for its windsurfing. Alaçatı Sörf Cenneti (Surf Paradise) in the Çark Mevkii district rents sailboards, bicycles, mopeds and camp sites. Dolmuşes run from Ilıca to Alaçatı, a distance less than 4km.
Çeşme, Cesme Hotel and Tourism İnformation
Çeşme (CHESH-meh; population 100,000), 85km due west of tzmir, means 'fountain' or 'spring'. From the town, it's only about lOkm across the water to the Greek island of Chios and the ferries to Greece are the main reason people come here. However, the fast-growing resort area encircling the town is popular with weekend-trippers from izmir.
Çeşme itself is a pleasant seaside town, and the land to the east of it is rolling steppe, a foretaste of Anatolia. This barrenness subsides as you approach tzmir, giving way to wheat fıelds, lush orchards, olive groves and tobacco fields. About 23km east of Çeşme is the pretty Uzunkuyu Piknik Yeri, a roadside picnic area in a pine forest. About 50km east of Çeşme you pass the official city limits of İzmir, a full 30km west of Konak Meydanı.
Çeşme is right on the coast. Ilıca, a seaside resort town 6km to the east, has numerous hotels in ali price ranges. There are frequent dolmuşes running between Ilıca and Çeşme and buses from izmir cali in there fırst - but unless you want to spend ali your time at the beach you're better off staying in Çeşme proper.
Çeşme's otogar is less than l km south of the main square Cumhuriyet Meydanı al-though you can pick up a bus to izmir from immediately west of the monument at the western end of Inkilap Caddesi. Everything you need is near the main square on the water-front, with its inevitable statue of Atatürk. The Tourism Information Office, Customs House (Gümrük), ferry ticket offices, bus ticket offıces, restaurants and hotels are all within two blocks.
Tourism (Tourist) Information in Çeşme
The Tourism Information Office (fax 232-712 6653) is down by the dock at iskele Meydanı 6.
You can change money at Bamka Döviz (232-712 0853), Inkilap Caddesi 80.
The annual Çeşme Film Festival is held during the third week of August.
The postal code is 35930.
Çeşme Castle and Museum
The huge Genoese fortress dominating the centre of town was repaired by Sultan Beyazıt, son of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, to defend the coast from attack by pirates and by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem based on Rhodes. it is now the Çeşme Kalesi ve Müzesi (Çeşme Fortress & Museum), which is open every day from 8.30 am to noon and from 1 to 5 pm. The entrance is up
the hill by the steps more or less opposite the Tourism Information Office.
Most of the castle's interior is empty, with the exception of the north tower, which displays local archaeological finds, many re-lating to Çeşme's markime history, others from nearby Erythrae. You can climb up on the battlements for a good look around. One of the towers houses the summer-only Castle Restaurant (see Places to Eat in this section).
Facing the main square, with its back to the fortress, is a statue of Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Paşa (1714-90), together with a lion which symbolises his temperament. As a boy he was captured in a battle on the Iranian border, sold into slavery by the Ottoman army and bought by a Turkish tradesman who raised him with his own sons. Having joined the Janissaries at the age of 25, he began a brilliant military, naval and political career which included fıerce battles with the Russian fleet off Çeşme. He retired an ex-tremely wealthy man, having served as the sultan's grand vizier and having built public monuments, fountains and mosques on Lesbos, Lemnos, Chios, Kos and Rhodes (all Ottoman possessions at the time).