A second town grew up 20 km north, called Yeni ("New") Foça as it was only established 800 years ago. The original town is therefore sometimes distinguished as Eski ("Old") Foça, and to avoid ambiguity this page does so. So too should you when organising transport and accommodation.
Foça may have been settled as early as the 11th century BC, and developed as a Hellenistic city known as "Phocaea" for its seals. It became a mighty sea-power, establishing colonies across the Med as far away as Corsica, Spain and Marseille. Around 550 BC the city came under the sway of King Croesus of Lydia, who exemplified the Golden Rule: he had the gold, so he made the rules. But he and his dominion were in turn conquered by Persia, and much of Phocaea's population fled to its colonies. The city endured but was never as important again, variously coming under Athenian, Roman and Genoese rule. Yeni Foça was established in the 12th century, and briefly outgrew the old town with gypsum mining. From late medieval times the area was Ottoman-controlled, but still with a large Greek population. The Greeks suffered a massacre in June 1914, when much of the old town was destroyed, and after the treaty of 1923 they were resettled in Greece. Some of their architecture survives in the centre of Eski Foça.
Foça morphed into a beach resort as Izmir grew to the south, and better roads brought it within a day-trip. And that, as elewhere in the Med, was the downfall of the seals, the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus. They had long been hunted and harried by fishermen, or were accidentally snarled in nets. But now they faced enormous habitat loss, and total numbers shrank to some 700, in colonies almost as widely separated as those of ancient Phocaea. Belated protection has stabilised their numbers, with about 20 living around the islands off Foça, and they are therefore classed as "endangered" dropping the word "critically". But their position is precarious, and their cousins the Caribbean monk seals became extinct in the 1960s.
Get in edit
IZBAN the Izmir suburban railway blue line runs north from Izmir Airport via city centre to Hatundere (for Eski Foça), Biçerova (for Yeni Foça) and Aliağa (for Bergama and Çandarli). They run every 10-15 min from 06:00 to midnight. You need an Izmirim card, local transport doesn't take cash.
Eshot bus 744 runs every 20 min or so daily from Hatundere Izban station, taking 40 min to Eski Foça.
1 Foça Belediyesi Otogarı is the bus station and transport hub in Eski Foça.
2 Yeni Foça Son Durak is the end of the line for Bus 245 from Biçerova station, taking 20 min.
By road follow O-33 and exit at Hatundere for Eski Foça or at Şehitkemal for Yeni Foça.
Get around edit
The beach strip is 5 km long, dolmuşes and taxis ply along it. There's no bus along the coast between Eski Foça and Yeni Foça.
- 1 Three windmills stand on the hill at the east edge of town, one restored, a second dilapidated and the third forlorn. A Roman amphitheatre was cut into the hillside just north but there's next-to-nothing left of that.
- Old town centres on the pedstrianised street north from the bus station.
- Five Gates Castle (Beş Kapılar Kalesi), Aşıklar Cd 11, Eski Foça (50 m north of Bülbül Yuvasi Hotel). Closed. 13th century Genoese castle, repaired by the Ottomans and again in modern times. The interior is closed, but the ramparts line the shore road round the headland, with multiple viewpoints.
- Maritime Museum (Foça Denizcilik Müzesi) by the castle is a small display open Tu-Su 10:00-16:00, free.
- 2 Incir Island is the closest of the Foça Islands, 400 m off the headland. They're all just uninhabited scrub, but boat trips come by for snorkelling, picnics and wild-life spotting. Fener Island is another 500 m west, Orak the largest is 500 m north (the name means "sickle" from its long hooked spit), and Metelik and Hayirsiz islets are further north. If you hear an unearthly, haunting singing, block up your ears real quick and tie down the boat skipper so he can't turn towards the sound. These isles are supposedly the abode of the Sirens, half-woman half-bird, who in legend tried to lure Ulysses to destruction. The same legend attaches to a dozen other islands across the Med, so they obviously toured their act.
- 3 Persian Tomb (Pers Mezarı Anıtı) stands by the roadside 7 km east of town. It's about 4.5 m tall and from 4th century BC, the time of Persian rule, but the noble buried there is not known.
- Lots of little stores, mostly open daily. Şok, Dia and Migros are chains.
- Town centre is the restaurant strip in Eski Foça, with little along the beach. They include Marsilya, Foça Restaurant, Celep, En Gozde Pide, Foça Balkaymak, Limni Balıkçısı, Deniz, Ada Et-balık and Liman[dead link].
- Eski Foça accommodation stretches north of the bus station. Menendi is closest, Foça Kirke Otel is more like a pizzeria with rooms. Further up the beach are Şenyıldız (aka Villa Dedem), Karacam, Foça Otel 1887 (below), Ayshe Pansiyon, Limon, Siren Pansiyon, Foça Ensar, Melaike, Celep, Kumsal, Iyon Pansiyon and Midilli Konak.
- 1 Foça Otel 1887, 206th Sk 7, Eski Foça, ☏ . Charming small hotel, great welcome. B&B double 1000 TL.
- 2 İngiliz Burnu, 394th Sk, Eski Foça. This is the breezy headland north of the bay where camping is permitted. No water supply or toilets.
- 3 Bülbül Yuvasi Hotel, 121st Sk 20, Eski Foça, ☏ . Pleasant small hotel on the headland just west of village centre. B&B double 1500 TL.
- 4 Hotel Club Phokia, Mersinaki Cd, Eski Foça, ☏ . On a coast lined with small hotels for domestic visitors, this is unusual in catering for the international clientele of Mark Warner - it's probably the mostly northerly such resort in Turkey. Water sports include SUP, kayaking, sailing and windsurfing. B&B double 2500 TL.
- Harbour area has Limon Pansiyon, Vertigo Foça, Hanedan and Navalia (below).
- 5 , 29th Sk 1, Eski Foça, ☏ . Spacious comfy hotel a short walk west of centre. B&B double 2000 TL.
- Yeni Foça has lots, no stand-outs.
As of Aug 2022, Eski Foça and Yeni Foça and their main approach roads have 4G from all Turkish carriers, but the signal is patchy along the coast road between them. 5G has not rolled out in Turkey.
Go next edit
- Dikili is the next resort north, with a long sandy beach north and attractive rocky coasts south around the headland to Çandarli.
- Bergama has the must-see ruins of Pergamon.
- Izmir is a busy modern city but with lots to see and do. The Aegean international tourist strip starts south of the city.
- Istanbul to Izmir is a long distance itinerary passing through Foça.