Information about gay life in Izmir

Izmir Gay Guide

Gay Bars and Clubs in Izmir

Izmir - the birthplace of Homer - is the third biggest city of Turkey in terms of population. Izmir is less cosmopolite compared to Istanbul and  Ankara. The natives of Izmir are generally known to be more liberal and western-minded in Turkey. The gay life in Izmir is getting more and more visible each passing year.  Various bars and clubs serving exclusively to LGBT people are being operated in Izmir since early 90's.

Ehli Keyif Bar (20:00-24:00 or 02:00)
Address : 850 Sokak, No:43 Kemeralti, Konak / Izmir
Web: Ehlikeyif.html (Click for guest reviews, location map, videos, pictures and more)

Ehli Keyif was opened in early April 2011 as a gay-exclusive cafe & bar and its has been one of the major meeting point for local gay men living in Izmir since then.  During the weekdays and on Friday nights it is open from 20:00 until midnight. On Saturday nights they can stay open as late as 04:00 a.m depending on how busy it gets and when the clients starts leaving. The venue is more popular among local gay bears and straight-acting gay men and the prices are very reasonable compared to other LGBT clubs in Izmir; around 3-5 $ for local drinks. The bar is located in historical shopping district Kemeraltı, not far from Konak square and famous Izmir Clock tower. Location at Google Maps can be misleading. Please click here for the webpage dedicated to Ehli Keyif for more detailed location info, because it is not easy to find when you go first time.

Red Raw
Address: 1471 Sokak, No: 45/A, Alsancak,  Izmir
Web: Redraw.html (Click for guest reviews, location map, videos, pictures and more)
Trying not to be biased abut the venues listed on our website but with this one we have received many complaints and bad reviews, including gay tourists being scammed and overcharged. So it is highly advised to read the guest comments before you visit Redraw (former Ka Club), if you still intend to go. The clientele are regular transvestites, their admirers, unreliable rent-boys and rarely some gay men. Please click here for detailed location instructions, guest reviews and more.

Gay Friendly / Other Recommended Cafe, Bars and Clubs in Izmir

Following venues are recommended by our website's visitors and they are not publicly gay / gay-friendly places. Your additional comments will be appreciated if you happen to visit any of them.

Defne Cafe
Address: Kibris Şehitleri Cad. 1452 (Can Yücel) Sokak No 15/B, Alsancak,  Izmir, Turkey.
It is located on a small street next to Simit Sarayi (a popular Turkish coffee/tea-house franchiser) on Kibris Sehitleri street in Alsancak district. This cafe shop has been recommended by a website visitor as as a lesbian owned & gay-friendly cafe shop. Whereas we would like to remind people that there are controversial comments about the gay-friendliness of this venue on other internet resources and gay forums. (03/02/2009)

Starbucks Alsancak
Address: Dr. Mustafa Bey Caddesi No: 5/A Alsancak, Izmir
Starbucks in Alsancak seems to be the day time meeting place for some gay men living in Izmir.

Lesbian Friendly Cafe Shops in Izmir

Defne Cafe
Address: Kibris Şehitleri Cad. 1452 (Can Yücel) Sokak No 15/B, Alsancak,  Izmir, Turkey.
It is located on a small street next to Simit Sarayi (a popular Turkish coffee/tea-house franchiser) on Kibris Sehitleri street in Alsancak district. This cafe shop has been recommended by a website visitor as as a lesbian owned & gay-friendly cafe shop. Whereas we would like to remind people that there are controversial comments about the gay-friendliness of this venue on other internet resources and gay forums. (03/02/2009)

Gay Friendly Cinemas in Izmir

There is not any gay exclusive or explicitly gay-friendly cinema in Izmir, but most heterosexual erotic/porno cinemas are frequented by some gay men. Because of Turkey's bisexual culture it's very possible to meet interested-people in suchlike places. In a few of them gays are really welcomed, but still better be a little discrete, because they are open to straight men as well, some of whom can be homophobic.

Ipek Cinema
Address: Gaziler Caddesi, No: 113,  Basmane, Konak, Izmir / Turkey.
Ipek Sinemasi is open as of November 2016 at this new address, in place of former Safak Sinemasi. It is a fairly small cinema and not as liberal as the previous blue movie theaters in Izmir.  It is less than half a km away from Basmane train station / metro station, on the left had side of the Gaziler street, under the small Kent Hotel building. The movies are bad and entrance fee is fairly cheap. Remember that you need to pay 1-2 lira more tip in addition to the entrance fee in these kind of blue movie cinemas. It is a strict custom which applies to all clients and nothing done to tourists, if you happen to think so.

Gay Friendly Sauna or Bath Houses in Izmir

The places listed under this category are not publicly gay / gay-friend venues. In general, the owners of action places such as cinemas, bath houses and saunas do not like to be mentioned on gay websites or guide books for fear of being raided by local authorities. To avoid any misunderstanding, homosexuality is not and has never been illegal in Turkey, but any sexual action (gay or straight) in public venues is a reason to close the venue for a period of time.

Istankoy Hamami
Address: 917 Sokak No:6, Kemeralti, Konak, Izmir - Turkey
Web: Istankoy
The sign-board reads Kemeralti Tarihi Hamami (Historical bath of Kemeralti). The hamam is located somewhere behind the Salepcioglu Mosque. Kemeralti is historical part of Izmir's central district of Konak, a traditional shopping quarter with narrow streets housing cinemas, cafes, spice shops, souvenir shops and many others. Click here for more information and reviews about this hammam.

Gay Cruising Areas in Izmir

In general, the cruising areas - especially parks and secluded beaches are where gay men should be more selective with the people they encounter. Especially, be careful at night time and do not carry very valuable things and a lot of money on you, just in case.

Izmir Fuari Park
Fairground area; officially named Kultur Park (Culture Park), also called shortly "fuar", is a huge city park in downtown Izmir where the annual International Izmir Fair Izmir International Fair is being organized. The vicinity of Parachute Tower, not far on your left when you enter from Basmane gate is also well-known cruising section in the evenings. In this section of the park you can see mostly mature men and men with mustache sitting on the benches alone, who are most likely interested in meeting other men.

Kordon Promenade
The famous promenade area, waterfront by the boulevard in Alsancak. Random cruising can happen in the summer evenings, mostly at the less busy sections on both side of Alsancak ferry quay.  Izmir's Kordon is well know all over Turkey, and has become inspiration to many classic and popular Turkish songs.

Konak Square
The park near the clock tower (Saat Kulesi) and the neighborhood of the clock tower in Konak, which is the district regarded as the down town of Izmir. Cruisy mainly after dark. The clock tower in Konak is the symbol of Izmir city.

Karsiyaka Alaybey Park
The park in Alaybey quarter of Karsiyaka district of Izmir (official name is Muammer Aksoy Park) is recommended by a local person as a cruising place in April 2011, especially between 22:00-02:00.

Guest Comments and Recommendations
"I went to the promenade on a a Sunday morning , 1:30am and I don't see the cruising potential at all at this place. It's extremely well lit and all sorts of people are here. Guys with girls, or guys with their male friends watching videos, not porn, eating sunflower seeds! There are no dark corners or big bushes to do anything...I didn't stick around to wait and see...I can't imagine there is much cruising here unless we're talking about 4am etc." -  (Posted on December 31 2017 by Ricardo T)

Gay Friendly Beaches in Izmir

There are no beaches in Izmir with visible gay scene except a far and secluded part of Altinkum beach in Cesme, which is about 1 hour drive away from Izmir city center. In recent years In fact there are no clean beaches left at Izmir city center, just like in similar metropolitan cities. The following beaches can be recommended to gay men visiting Izmir mainly for swimming and water sports. It is more likely to see gay men in Pamucak beach and some beaches in Cesme, which are all in considerable distance.

Beaches in Cesme
Cesme is a prominent center of international tourism in Turkey and is famous for its night life, fish restaurants and many beaches. It is one of Turkey's well-known touristy areas with landscapes of cultivated fields of aniseed, sesame and artichokes dotted with fig and gum trees. Cesme is a more popular summer destination among Turkish tourists in comparison to similar summer resorts such as Fethiye, Bodrum and Marmaris. You can reach to Cesme from Izmir's main Bus Terminal (Otogar) or from the secondary bus terminal in Uckuyular district. The buses are more frequent from Uckuyular terminal and they are available until very late hours in summer season. It is also easy to reach to Uckuyular terminal by Izmir metro. If you get on to train from metro stations in central Izmir such as Basmane or Konak, you can easily reach to the bus terminal is very close to terminal station, named Fahrettin Altay.

There are many Blue-flag bays around Cesme peninsula. Although there is only a small public beach nearby, it is wise to stay in hotels at the center of Cesme from where there are frequent transportation to all public beaches and other places all around the peninsula, such as Altinkum (see below), public and private beaches in Ciftlik (on the way to Altinkum) and beaches in Ilica (near Alacati). Alacati is a windy area in all seasons and so it is a famous windsurf palace. Alacati is also famous for its architecture, vineyards and windmills built over 150 years ago.

In recent years secluded beach in Delikli Koy has also become popular which is at roughly 10 km South of upscale summer destination Alacati. After the night clubs of Alacati close many people drives here to see sunrise and more. Delikli Koy is difficult to reach with public transportation. You need to rent a car or you can come as far as Alacati Port from where you can try hitchhiking.

Men's Beach in Altinkum Cesme, Turkey
Altinkum is probably the best beach location within the province of Izmir, located a few kilometers from the center of Ceshme. To go to Altinkum beach from downtown Cesme you first need to take the public minibuses departing from a point near the Police station by the coast, near the old castle. You will be in Altinkum in less than half an hour. You need to get off at the final stop which is right next to the beginning of public beach area. Walking to your left when you face the sea, you will see many privately-run beaches side by side which are providing sun beds, umbrellas, variety of food and drinks. You can also use the beach activities here for free in empty parts without necessarily renting sun-beds or umbrellas. The beach, also known as Ciplaklar kampi (Nudist beach) by some local people starts roughly 1 mile after these public beaches come to an end. You will first reach to a short rocky area, after which there is one more private beach. After passing by this last private beach a few hundred meters, you will see a secluded sandy beach far from the eyes of curious people. (Click here for Google map) Not surprisingly, most of people hanging around this farthest and desolate part of the beach are gay men. There are usually no hustlers around, but it is still wise to make some observation first. Especially if you go alone, do not to carry very valuable things on you, because it is very far from security forces if needed. It is sometimes heard that some guys are hiding behind the bushes to steal the belongings of the people when they swim. You can come from Izmir to to Cesme in one hour by buses departing frequently from the bus terminal in Uckuyular district. It is easy to reach to Uckuyular terminal by Izmir metro. If you get on from metro stations in central Izmir such as Basmane or Konak, you need to get off at Fahrettin Altay metro station.

Foca Beaches:
Foca (Focha) is a lovely small town some 70 kilometers north of Izmir located on the Aegean Sea, It's local populations is around 40 thousand people but in the summer time it goes up to 70 thousand with mostly Turkish and some foreign holiday makers who prefer this area for its natural beauties, crystal clear waters.. Some of Foca's bays are rewarded with the Blue Flag, securing the clean waters of an area in the Mediterranean. Most of these coves are along Mersinaki region and run by hotels in the vicinity. The beaches are named after these hotels. The most popular ones Phokaia Hotel & Beach, Hanedan Hotel & Beach, Pollen Hotel & Beach, Leon Hotel, Voodoo Melis Cafe Beach, Karakum Public Beach

Pamucak beach is in Selcuk town, just at the border of Izmir province and Kusadasi, 5 km from world-wide famous ruins of Ephesus ancient city, and also called as "Ephesus beach" by some people. Pamucak Beach, is about 11 kms in length. The beach, is sandy and has a clear water. It is very suitable place for water-sports and camping. Ephesus Princess, Aqua Fantasia, Surmeli Ephesus, Richmond Ephesus, are de luxe, club and resort hotels, which lie on the beach. The Pamucak region has also a camping area, aqua park, forest rest area covered with red pine woods 10 km from Selcuk – Kusadasi highway. Horse or Jeep safaris are the exotic activities that can be participated.

Another seaside town out of Izmir city. Karaburun region is comparatively much less visited than Cesme although it provides an anticlimax to its southern neighbor and the associated attractions especially for those who want to escape the trails of mass tourism. The district's administrative zone is bordered by the districts of Cesme and Urla in its south and faces the Greek island of Chios.

Cesmealti, a part of Urla district of Izmir is about 36 km. away from Konak; which is a lively and natural tourism center. The long beaches which stretches from Cesmealti to Içmeler cause the regions population to expand by two or three times during the summer months. The Urla Camp Municipality Beach, the natural beaches and swimming pools of some holiday villages located in Cesmealti serve tourists all season long.

Gay Groups and Organizations in Izmir

Genc LGBTI Dernegi
Web:  & / Genclgbti/
A new LGBTI solidarity organization founded in late 2016. Genc (Young) LGBTI is aiming to help the younger people as their name suggests.

Gays and Lesbians in Izmir who had been pioneers of Turkish gay movement with disorganized small groups such as Biz GL, Otekizmir (the other Izmir), Pembe Uçgen (Pink Triangle) united their powers to continue together with the experiences which they inherited from these groups, in September 2006. The group gathering as an initiative previously, enunciated that they denominated themselves as Siyah Pembe Izmir in January, and rented their own office in June of 2007. Thus, meetings which were being organized in some cafes with many difficulties and limited opportunities, are now being organized in their own offices.

Siyah Pembe Izmir aims to support firstly gays and lesbians living in Izmir and the existence of all lesbians, gays bisexuals and transgendered people in society with their own sexual identities; works for their cultural, social, legal benefits; tries to prevent discrimination and struggles against homophobia everywhere.

History of gay movement in Izmir.
The first gay group that we know in Izmir, was a group called “Biz GL” who made meetings in Iskenderiye Library at the end of the 90’s. Although Biz GL which was pioneered by a group of gay and lesbian who organized around Arkadas Café, managed to make meetings with around 60 people, unfortunately it disbanded because of deficiency of awareness about being organized and lack of gay-lesbian movement experience.

In October, 2001, Oteki Izmir, was established by lesbians and gays regularly made meetings till September 2001, especially took a part in some activities like International Antimilitarism Meeting with antimilitarist movement in İzmir. But, being organized which based on antimilitarism that was not enough to produce solutions for primary problems for gay society, caused disbandment in short time.

Up until now, most longevous group was PUI (Pembe Ucgen Izmir- Pink Triangle Izmir) which was established by gays and lesbians who first gathered on internet platform formed in June 2002 . In regular meetings every week, lots of cases which concern gay and lesbian society like family, coming out, sexual health, militarism, gender politics etc.., was discussed. Although conflicts and problems with the cafés which meetings were made in, caused to make changes with the place of meeting every time, PUI managed to continue for two years. In time, disagreements and serious conflicts that came up in group caused disbandment and after two years, members annihilated PUI by themselves.

Click here for more information about Turkish gay life and LGBT solidarity movement in Turkey

VIDEO - Izmir LGBT Pride March 2013

Gay & Lesbian Internet Sources for Izmir

LGBT Turkey
The meeting point of Turkish & none- Turkish gay men living / visiting Turkey. You can follow activities all over Turkey, including Izmir.

Google Group for Turkish Gays
A Google Group to meet Turkish gay men from all over Turkey. You can leave a message to meet Turkish gays and gay tourists living in or visiting Izmir in this group.

Gay Friendly Hotels in Izmir

Turkey Gay Hotels
Unfortunately there are no explicitly gay-friendly hotels in Izmir. Therefore, we will recommend some ordinary hotels based on their location, guests satisfaction and prices. You can make Instant reservation via online & secure system of Booking Com. Best prices and free cancellation options are available.
Click here for recommended Izmir hotels carefully selected for our gay and lesbian visitors.

All Izmir Hotels
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General Information About Izmir

Please click here for a brief information about Izmir including historical places, major districts, museums and other places of historical and touristic importance.