Çesme, originally a local beach getaway for Izmirians, has now also become a popular summer destination for Istanbul’s elite. Despite rapid development, much of the town retains its provincial feel, even if you have to sometimes travel off the beaten path to find it. The location leaves the town exposed to constant winds, making it a hot spot for surfing and windsurfing.
Çesme is on a bay encircled by small towns that are becoming destinations unto themselves, most of which have better stretches of beach than Çesme proper. Dalyan is on the northernmost tip of the bay, while the surfer’s paradise, Alaçati, is southeast of Çesme proper. Ilica, directly south of Alaçati, is Çesme’s most popular (and closest) neighboring beach town and the first one you’ll arrive at if coming from Izmir.