Ah, Şirince. Lovely, pretty, delightful Şirince, Turkey. Though bustling with both foreign and domestic tourists almost every day, and especially at weekends, the small village about an hour from Izmir is still a real treat. Though we've been once before, I was more than thrilled to get back there again yesterday with Jeff and Dustin.
The town is no stranger to tourism; in fact, it eats it up. Aside from growing olives, making honey and producing wine, the town seems to exist to cater to city-weary Turks from Izmir who need some fresh air.
It's a lovely little town and definitely worth it if you can find the time to stop by on your way down the Aegean. Here's a simple guide of what to do while you're there:
To Eat: Gözleme
At 4 TL, Şirince's karışık gözleme -- a savory pancake stuffed with white cheese, spinach, meat and potatoes -- is truly a bargain. In English, gözleme is sometimes called a "Turkish pancake" or a "Turkish crepe", so if you see that on a sign, you're likely in the right spot.
To Drink: Local wine
Şirince is known for its locally made wine, especially its fruit cordials. Most of the village's wine is simply awful, but there is little pressure to buy. Simply wander in and out of the dozens of shops, tasting a little here and a little there. If you taste something that you like, buy a glass (usually 5 TL) and sit a spell.
To Do: Shop
Most of the stuff you will find for sale in Şirince is quite similar to what you'd find in any touristy pazar: shawls, souvenirs and knick knacks, imported toys from China. But you'll also find homemade wine, honey and olive oil, all specialties of the area. The leather goods -- especially bags -- are very reasonably priced. Most things are marked in euros; ask for the lira equivalent and bargain down from that price.
To See: St. John the Baptist Church
photo courtesy of Dustin
Walk through the village's hilly streets to the St John the Baptist Church and admire the old Greek houses along the way. Also don't miss the church's underground wine and food cellar, which is totally cool.
Want more? Check out additional photos I took of Şirince on Facebook.
To get there: Take a minibus from Selcuk (2.50 TL, 10 minutes) every half hour.