Aliağa is a commercial town in the Izmir Province. It is situated just 50km from Izmir and is known for its extensive oil and gas plants. The large oil refinery and shipbreakers yard provide much needed employment locally. There is also income derived from tourism. Whilst this is not the most picturesque place to spend time on the beaches, it is a modern and pleasant town to explore.
The city is named after a wealthy merchant by the name of Karaosmanoğlu Ali Ağa. It used to be part of the Menemen district until 1952 when it became a municipality and subsequently a district in its own right in 1982.
Aliağa is surrounded by history and home to four of the most important cities of Aiolis, namely Aigai, Kyme, Myrina and Gryneion. Of particular interest are the Güzelhisar ruins from the Ottoman period. Aigai was founded in the seventh century and is approximately 25 km from Aliağa. The ruins of the ancient city of Kyme are just 6 km from the town centre. Unfortunately there is very little to see at Kyme as it in largely in ruins with no significant buildings to see. It awaits full archaeological discovery. Myrina is 15 km north of Aliağa and Gryneion, also the same distance, but to the south of the town. Uçansu Waterfall is also a popular destination and is situated near Karakuzu Village which is approximately 20 km from Aliağa.
At Aliağa Beach you can find the Aliağa Bird Sanctuary which is home to over 100 bird species. It is popular with bird watchers and visitors. You can walk all the way round it. The beach itself looks out towards the oil refinery and oil depots. Not the best of scenic environments although it is still popular in peak season. The best beach is Şakran beach on the main Izmir to Çanakkale road.
The city centre of Aliağa is modern and vibrant. You can find everything you need here for a comfortable stay. You can tell that this is a business centre by the presence of three main hotel brands, Hampton by Hilton, Ramada and Radisson. Using Aliağa as a base puts you within easy striking distance of Pergammon, Izmir, Foça and a host of other destinations. One thing worth mentioning. If you take the road out of town towards the oil refineries and shipyard you should pay attention to the signs that say no filming and no drones. Security is tight here and you are likely to get pulled over and questioned if you do. Using a drone will attract a heavy fine and any video or camera footage will need to be deleted.
The main seafront area has some nice cafes, park areas and restaurants. For shopping you can find local handmade crafts and souvenirs but look out for the famous Helvacı hand made kilims which have been produced here for over 500 years.