Kocaeli (Izmit) City Guide

Kocaeli City Guide

Kocaeli is the tenth largest city of Turkey. Almost 2 million people live in Kocaeli and it’s located in Marmara Region of Turkey. The city is the most developed city after İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir. However, Kocaeli has the highest per capita income in Republic of Turkey. The city is one of the largest industrial and commercial cities in the country with its strong international and domestic companies in industrial zones and free trade zone. In addition, Kocaeli is a neighbor to strategically important cities. This city has been hosted of many civilizations throughout history. It had great importance in the development of navy during the Ottoman period. Gölcük district of Kocaeli is known as the navy city. Kocaeli has a special importance with its natural beauties, beaches, plateaus, Kartepe Ski Center and historical monuments.

Kocaeli is among the fastest growing cities in the Turkey. The city is also in the list for top 5 livable city of the Turkey. Also, Kocaeli is one of the center of automotive and petroleum chemicals industry in Turkey. TÜPRAŞ İzmit Refinery is is one of the largest crude oil refining facility in Turkey. On the other hand, the city has the seventh largest cargo port in Europe. If we look at the education perspective, Kocaeli also have the highest quality universities of the country like Kocaeli University and Gebze Technical University. However, Kocaeli is the most important attraction point for tourism, industry and real estate investments. Check out the most comprehensive Kocaeli city guide now. You will find the answers of many questions like “Places to see in Kocaeli” or “How to get to Kocaeli?” in this guide.

City Name



Population Density

Population Growth Rate

Surface Area

Number of Districts

Postal Code

Area Code

GDP (Per Capita)




539 / km2

2,45 %

3.623 km2




79.254 ₺

There are important districts in Kocaeli like İzmit, Gebze and Darıca in terms of population. These three districts are the biggest districts of Kocaeli with about 1 million population. Körfez, Gölcük and Derince are also have an important feature for Kocaeli. These districts are among the most popular districts of Kocaeli. For tourism, ski resorts, recreation areas and historical buildings attract the interest of tourist in the city. Kartepe and Kandıra are important tourism centers of the city. Almost all must-see destinations of Kocaeli is within the boundaries of these districts. Gebze, Çayırova and Dilovası are most important industrial centers of the city. The biggest and most developed organized industrial zones in Turkey are located in these districts. İzmit, Karamürsel, Kartepe, Körfez and Gölcük are the profitable districts for real estate investments in Kocaeli.

The districts of Kocaeli are Başiskele, Çayırova, Darıca, Derince, Dilovası, Gebze, Gölcük, İzmit, Kandıra, Karamürsel, Kartepe and Körfez. You will find detailed information for all districts of Kocaeli in this guide.

Short History of Kocaeli

The history of Kocaeli goes back to very ancient times. The cities founded in the region called Bithynia in the early ages were named as Olbia, Astakos, Nicomedia, Iznikmid, Izmid and Kocaeli, respectively. It was the capital until the Bithynia Kingdom collapsed. Roman Emperor Diocletian conquered Nicomedia in 284 and made the capital of the Roman Empire. During this period, the city became the fourth largest city in the world after Rome, Antakya and Alexandria. Later, the new center of the empire became Istanbul, and the city lost its former importance. Kocaeli first came under Turkish sovereignty in the late Seljuk period (1078) in the late 11th century. However, the city was occupied and looted for a while due to the Crusades. Kocaeli joined the Ottoman territory in 1337 by Akçakoca, who was the margrave of Osman Bey and his son Orhan Bey. The city reached its brightest period in the time of Suleiman the Magnificent.

After World War I, Kocaeli was occupied by the British first and then the Greeks in April 28, 1921. Kocaeli was liberated from the invasion by the Turkish Armies on June 28, 1921. Kocaeli has been one of the fastest developing cities in the field of industrialization, especially with the Republic of Turkey. İzmit Paper Factory (SEKA), the first paper production facility in Turkey, was opened in 1934.

Cultural Mosaic of Kocaeli

Kocaeli has been the center and host of many civilizations throughout history. It has many cultural values with its deep-rooted history. During the Roman period, important buildings were brought to the city. However, many historical monuments have been destroyed during the Crusades and they have not survived. The city, which was a maritime center during the Ottoman Empire, quickly became industrialized during the Republican period. Kocaeli is also famous for Hereke Carpet in the world.

Accommodation in Kocaeli is an important issue for people who visit city for different purposes like tourism or business. In Kocaeli, close to the city center, it is possible to find world-famous luxury hotels in all-inclusive concept and accommodation options that serve in bed and breakfast, half board and room concepts only. You can stay in Kocaeli hotels with pools as well as city hotels suitable for the needs of visitors coming to Kocaeli for business and conference purposes. If you want to get away from the city center to holiday resorts of Kocaeli, you can choose the boutique hotels in Kandıra and Kartepe. You can also find a lot of accommodation alternatives in Kartepe Ski Center. There are world-famous hotel chains like Hilton, Holiday Inn and Ramada located in Kocaeli.

Marmara climate is seen in Kocaeli. Marmara climate shows a transition feature between Black Sea climate and Mediterranean climates. Summers are hot and dry, winters are occasionally cold and snowy. The average annual temperature is 15 °C. Kocaeli can be visited in all seasons of the year. However, the best time to visit to Kocaeli is spring months. Find the best hotels in Kocaeli in our guide easily.

If you are looking for real estate for sale in Kocaeli or real estate for rent in Kocaeli, you are on the right page. The real estate sector is growing steeply in Kocaeli. The fact that the city is located in a crossroad connecting Asia and Europe increases the value of the residences. Also, Kocaeli is the third biggest city of the Marmara Region and is a constantly developing industrial city. So, the city much more attractive and preferred for branded housing manufacturers. It is possible to see housing projects of various construction brands in most parts of the city. In Kocaeli, where branded housing projects increase, housing prices are valued and rising accordingly.

Kocaeli has the tenth highest population in Turkey. Thanks to its being a biggest trading and industrial city, every district of Kocaeli is valuable for residential investment. In recent years, housing sales have increased in the developing districts of Kocaeli such as Dilovası, Kandıra, Başiskele, Karamürsel and Gölcük. In addition, districts such as İzmit, Karamürsel, Kartepe, Körfez and Gölcük provide fastest return for real estate investment. Since affordable and luxurious sites are built in these regions, it is preferred by those who want to invest. You can make the most correct investment by examining our ads for apartment options for sale from Kocaeli real estate agent. You can also add your listings easily if you are selling or renting a house in different districts of Kocaeli.

Do you want to get detailed information about hospitals in Kocaeli? If you’re, our special health guide will be helpful for you. In Kocaeli, there are 4 state hospitals, 1 university training and research hospital, and more than 10 private hospitals. Almost all districts have hospitals in different regions of the city. You can get high-quality health services in many health instutitions in Kocaeli. Especially, Kocaeli University Hospital and Derince Training and Research Hospital are the full-fledged hospitals of the city with their high capacities. On the other hand, construction works of the city hospital in Kocaeli are ongoing.

If we look at the general perspective to Kocaeli, the city is located in Marmara Region of Turkey. Thanks to its central location between İstanbul, Bursa and Sakarya, there are many transportation alternatives for the city. You can reach Kocaeli by air, railway, seaway and road transportation. İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport is located 70 kilometers from the Kocaeli city center. You can come to the city center by using Kocaeli Municipality buses and shuttle services from the airports to different regions of the city. If you want to come to Kocaeli by bus, there are bus services from many cities to Kocaeli. You can also go to Kocaeli by high-speed train from İstanbul, Ankara, Eskişehir and Konya. It is also possible to reach Kocaeli by car-ferry from Yalova.

Road Transportation

For the road transportation concept, İzmir has the most alternative connections of Turkey with the Osmangazi Bridge and important highway connections. You can visit Kocaeli by D-100, D-130, E-80, and O-5 and some other important roads from İstanbul, Sakarya and Yalova. İzmit Intercity Bus Terminal is the main bus station of Kocaeli and it’s located in İzmit district. You can find direct lines from many cities of Turkey to Kocaeli.

Air Transportation

Cengiz Topel Airport is the main airport in Kocaeli and this is located in Kartepe districts. However, it is only open to domestic flights to Trabzon. Therefore, İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport is preferred for international and other domestic flights. It takes about 70 km. from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to the city center, so you can use Kocaeli Municipality buses and shuttle services to reach city center from the airport. You can find direct international fligthts from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to the many countries of the world. Also, you can fly to many domestic cities of Turkey from Sabiha Gökçen Airport.

Railway Transportation

For the concept of railway transportation, it is possible to reach Kocaeli by high-speed train from Ankara in 3 hours and 45 minutes. It’s too easy to visit Kocaeli by high-speed trains from any other cities such as Eskişehir and Konya. You can also reach Kocaeli from İstanbul and Ankara using the Ankara Express. On the other hand, you can reach between İstanbul and Kocaeli with the Marmaray train.

Seaway Transportation

Kocaeli is a coastal city. Therefore, it is possible to reach Kocaeli by ferry from nearby cities with sea connection. You can go to Kocaeli by car-ferry from Yalova. IDO organize sea voyages from Yalova to Kocaeli every day.

Inner-city Transportation

There are tram, ferry and bus transportation alternatives in Kocaeli. You can use all of the districts of the city by public transportation. Ferry services are organized between districts such as İzmit, Gölcük, Değirmendere and Karamürsel. The tram line of the city :

T1 –  Otogar (İzmit Intercity Bus Station) – Plajyolu

You will find the answers of the “Best places to visit in Kocaeli” or “Top 10 things to do and see in Kocaeli” questions in this guide. Choose your destination, click on the guide and start discovering Kocaeli deeply now. Kocaeli has a lot of places to visit. First of all, we should start with Seka Park, is the main attraction point of Kocaeli. Seka Park is a popular recreation area especially for foreign visitors in Kocaeli. İzmit district, central district of Kocaeli, is the most visited district of the Kocaeli. Many of the tourist attractions are located in this district. Gayret Ship Museum, Kocaeli Archeology and Ethnography Museum, Kocaeli Science Center, SEKA Paper Museum and İzmit Clock Tower are places to visit and see in İzmit. Fethiye Street in İzmit is the busiest point of Kocaeli and it’s a must-see destination. One of the most important centers of daily life in Kocaeli, it hosts a lot of shopping centers, restaurants and cafes. On the other hand, Osman Hamdi Bey Museum and Çoban Mustafa Pasha Complex in Gebze district, Kaiser Wilhelm Mansion in Körfez district are the main historical places you can visit in Kocaeli. Those who want to enjoy the sea should go to the holiday regions of Kocaeli such as Kandıra. Pink Cliffs in Kandıra are also worth seeing. Ormanya is one of the most beautiful nature parks in Kocaeli with various animals living in a natural environment. Kuzuyayla Nature Park in Kartepe, Eriklitepe Recreation Area in Gölcük, Ballıkayalar Canyon and Nature Park in Gebze, Maşukiye Kirazlı Plateau in Kartepe are the great choices for those who are looking for a quiet holiday in Kocaeli. Ski Center in Kartepe is also another very popular destination for winter tourism. For more, check out our guide now!

There are 2 state and 1 foundation universites in different districts of Kocaeli. For educational perspective, we can say the universities in Kocaeli provide world-class education quality in different languages. Especially, Kocaeli University and Gebze Technical University are so popular for international academic staff and educational quality worldwide. Find the best university in our guide below.


Enes Sahin

Hello, I am Enes, I write content for Expat Guide Turkey every day. Don't forget to check it out! You can contact me via e-mail

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