Foça: A Beautiful Seaside Town to Visit From Izmir

This destination guide covers Foça, a beautiful and relaxed seaside town in Turkey which you can easily visit on a day trip from Izmir using public transport.

Day trip to Foça

The Turkish city of Izmir is not only a nice destination in its own right, it also makes for an excellent base for some great day trips.

Among others, you can easily reach such places as Ephesus, Şirince and Çeşme from Izmir.

Another nice day trip you can make from Izmir is the cute seaside town of Foça.

Foça is a popular weekend getaway among Izmir locals due to the town’s picturesque location and some great quality cafés and restaurants.

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The lively waterfront of Foça. ©Paliparan

How to reach Foça

It takes about one-and-a-half to two hours to travel from Izmir to Foça by public transport.

You simply hop on the Izban – Izmir’s commuter train network – on the line towards Aliaga, getting off at Hatundere station.

At Hatundere, it’s is an easy change right outside the station for the bus to Foça.

Once you are on the bus do watch out for some magnificent rock formations and old stone windmills along the road to Foça.

izban train
On board an Izban train. ©Paliparan
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The landscape around Foça. ©Paliparan
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Windmills on top of the hills around Foça. ©Paliparan

A look around Foça

The town of Foça is built around a small, sheltered bay.

It’s not a large place as you can walk around Foça’s town centre and visit the main sights in one to two hours.

However, a visit to Foça isn’t necessarily about seeing the sights, it’s much more about enjoying the laid-back atmosphere and beautiful surroundings.

Coming from the busy metropolis of Izmir, Foça really feels like a peaceful oasis of quietness.

It’s the perfect place to wind down for a while at one of the many seaside cafés and enjoy a couple of drinks.

You’ll find dozens of appealing bars and restaurants along Foça’s pedestrianised waterfront.

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The Foça waterfront. ©Paliparan
waterfront restaurants
Restaurants at the waterfront. ©Paliparan
Foça waterfront promenade
The waterfront promenade of Foça. ©Paliparan
Foça boats
Boats anchored in the harbour. ©Paliparan
Foça marina yachts
Yachts in the marina of Foça. ©Paliparan


Apart from the waterfront promenade, Foça’s main sight is Five Gates Castle.

There isn’t actually that much to see of this castle besides the outer walls, which you can easily admire from the pedestrian walkway surrounding it.

With its prominent seaside location the castle does however make for a scenic spot to admire the views over the Aegean Sea.

seaside promenade
Walkway around the castle walls. ©Paliparan
five gates castle
Five Gates Castle. ©Paliparan


As you may expect from a seaside town in Turkey, there a lots of cute cats roaming the waterfront and backstreets of Foça.

There were plenty of brave cats jumping from the quays onto the decks of some anchored fishing boats, while others just lazed in the sun near one of the many cafés and restaurants in town.

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Cat in the fishing port. ©Paliparan
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Cute cat enjoying the sunny weather on the deck of a fishing boat. ©Paliparan
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Ginger cat on a fishing boat. ©Paliparan
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Another beautiful Turkish cat chilling at a local café. ©Paliparan
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Cat in the backstreets of Foça. ©Paliparan
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Cat enjoying the sunshine underneath a café table. ©Paliparan


Just like so many other towns in the Izmir region, Foça has Greek origins dating back to antiquity.

For centuries the town of Foça was known under its Greek name of Phocaea and was primarily inhabited by ethnic Greeks.

Just outside the town you can even find some ancient Greek ruins, although these will certainly pale quite a bit compared to the magnificent remains of Ephesus.

In Ottoman times Foça was a relatively quiet fishing town, although this changed in 1914 when the Massacre of Phocaea happened.

The Turks killed off most of the Greek population during the massacre, which also resulted in the destruction of a large part of the historic buildings in town, including all of the old churches.

However, some beautiful old stone mansions survived and can still be seen throughout town.

After the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922 almost the entire Greek population of the wider Izmir region was expelled from Asia Minor, bringing an end to centuries of Greek life and culture in this part of the world.

They were replaced by Muslims who were forced to flee Northern Greece and other parts of the Balkans in what was one of the largest population exchanges in the history of Europe.

old stone mansion
Old stone mansion. ©Paliparan

Town centre

Although it’s hard to turn your back towards the appealing waterfront, it is well-worth it to explore Foça’s inland streets as well.

If you walk a bit inland you will find a lovely old town centre with tree-covered alleys full of appealing cafés and shops.

On your walk through the town centre you will come across some beautiful stone mansions – some of them in a state of disrepair, others beautifully renovated.

Pavement cafés in the centre of Foça. ©Paliparan
Foça town street
The streets in the town centre of Foça are absolutely lovely to explore. ©Paliparan
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There are plenty of cafés and restaurants in the town centre of Foça. ©Paliparan

Seaside walk

Especially on a sunny weekend day, Foça is a popular day trip destination among the citizens of Izmir.

The many cafés in the town centre can fill up quickly in the afternoon, making it hard to find a good spot with a view if you want to have some al fresco lunch or drinks.

However, the crowds thin out quickly as you walk away from the city centre along the seaboard.

The seaside promenade is quite long and will bring you all the way to the outskirts of town.

It makes for a lovely, relaxing walk and on your way you will find plenty of appealing cafés and bars to recharge your batteries and to wind down for a while.

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Walking along the seashore towards the far end of the town. ©Paliparan
Foça boutique hotel
There are plenty of boutique hotels in old mansions in Foça. ©Paliparan
seaside café Foça
Lovely seaside café in Foça. ©Paliparan


Stopping frequently for coffee, some nargilah and a couple of beers was exactly what I did during my visit to Foça.

After admiring some brilliant sunset views around the castle, it was time to grab some dinner before returning to Izmir on one of the last bus and train connections.

Of course, when you’re at the seaside town in Turkey you must enjoy some fish paired with raki, which was exactly what I did on my Foça visit.

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Sunset at the castle of Foça. ©Paliparan
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Some fish and raki to end a lovely day in Foça. ©Paliparan


Foça is a lovely seaside town in Turkey that can be easily reached from Izmir with public transport.

With its appealing waterfront promenade and relaxed atmosphere, Foça makes for a great day trip destination if you find yourself in Izmir.

The town itself has an interesting history and the beautiful stone mansions and castle are certainly worth seeing.

Most of all, Foça is a great escape from the urban chaos and crowds of Izmir as the many cafés and restaurants in town really make for the ideal place to wind down and get away from it all.

Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘Khachapuri & Kebabs: A Summer Trip to Georgia and Turkey‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: Wizz Air Bucharest to Kutaisi (Airbus A320)
2. A Day in Kutaisi, the Charming Capital of Imereti
3. Caves, Churches and Monasteries – A Kutaisi Day Trip
4. Review: My Warm Guest House, Batumi, Georgia
5. Beautiful Batumi – The Pearl of Georgia’s Black Sea Coast
6. From Georgia to Turkey: Batumi to Kars by Bus
7. Review: Kars Konak Hotel, Kars, Turkey
8. A Day Trip From Kars to the Ancient Armenian City of Ani
9. Goose, Cheese and Russian Remnants: A Visit to Kars, Turkey
10. Review: Dogu Express Night Train Kars to Ankara, Turkey
11. Review: AnadoluJet Ankara to Izmir (Boeing 737-800)
12. Review: Ege Palas Business Hotel, Izmir, Turkey
13. Izmir: Turkey’s Most Liberal and Liveable City
14. Ancient Ephesus: An Easy Day Trip From Izmir
15. A Visit to the Hilltop Wine Village of Sirince
16. A Beach Trip From Izmir to Cesme and Ilica
17. Foça: A Beautiful Seaside Town to Visit From Izmir (current chapter)
18. Flying Back Home With Atlasglobal and TAROM

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Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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