Kusadasi is one of the most swollen resort towns on the southern Aegean Coast, overflowing with shiploads of tourists in summer who enlarge the year-round population several times over. Once a small fishing village, today the busy town is packed with curios and carpet shops; its proximity to the ruins of Ephesus making it an ideal base for Aegean cruise ships.
Despite the frenzied tourism, Kusadasi is situated amid splendid coastal scenery and several significant archaeological sites, including the three well-preserved Ionian settlements of Miletus, Priene and Didyma. There are plenty of good hotels and restaurants, and ferries link it with the nearby Greek islands of Samos and Mykonos.
The Grand Bazaar in Kusadasi, near the harbour, is one of Turkey’s largest shopping treasure troves, crammed with 1,000 or more stores and stalls open seven days a week from 9am until midnight. Bargaining for a variety of attractive items, like leather jackets, sandals, carpets and hand-made jewellery, is a fun experience, usually accompanied by a glass of tea. Despite the traditional trading atmosphere, most merchants accept credit cards, travellers cheques and even foreign currency for purchases.
All budgets and all tastes are amply catered for among Kusadasi’s dozens of restaurants, cafes and lokantas. Most visitors opt for sampling Turkish cuisine or enjoying the sumptuous seafood on offer, but there are numerous alternatives from curry to Chinese and burgers. Acknowledged as one of the best seafood restaurants is the Cinar Fish Restaurant, where guests can watch their meal prepared in the open kitchen and dine with a view of the sea.
Nights in Kusadasi throb with action, particularly along the town’s pulsating Bar Street in the old town centre, lined with pubs and clubs. One of the hottest spots is the huge open air disco, Ecstasy Bar, featuring top European DJs. Jimmy’s Irish Bar at the start of Bar Street is a favourite gathering place for young Brits.
Those looking for something more sedate will find cabaret bars, Turkish folk taverns, or cosy jazz clubs tucked away. Activities: Kusadasi’s clean, sandy beaches are a major drawcard for visitors, whether simply for sunbathing and swimming, or for indulging in a myriad of watersports that are on offer through local operators at the numerous ‘beach clubs’. The turquoise Aegean waters are particularly popular for scuba diving and snorkelling.
A variety of boat trips are also available. Water-babies will also enjoy Kusadasi’s three thrilling aqua-parks. Away from the water active holiday-makers can indulge in a horse-back safari, or head off on a jeep safari to get down and dirty on muddy nature trails. The surrounding region of Anatolia is crammed with interesting historical and archaeological sites and dozens of excursions are available for visitors to explore these, particularly the ruins of ancient Ephesus. Ephesus is the biggest and best-preserved ancient city in the country and is one of the world’s spectacular historical sites.
The city was established with a harbour on the mouth of the Cayster River, and in the 2nd century BC it became the most important port and commercial trading centre in Anatolia, from Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic period to capital of Roman Asia under Augustus in 133 BC. The city went into final decline during the Byzantine era with the silting up of the harbour and by 527 AD it was deserted.
The city is also important as the early seat of Christianity, visited by St Paul, whose letters to the Ephesians are recorded in the New Testament. The site needs little imagination to see what a functioning Roman city would have looked like, but guides are available and can offer a rich insight into the history and architecture of the ruins.
Among the amphitheatres, murals and mosaics, baths, fountains, brothels and columns, the chariot-worn streets lead to some of the highlights, including the enormous Library of Celsus, the impressive Temple of Hadrian, a row of public latrines and the Grand Theatre where Paul preached to the Ephesians. The city was originally dedicated to the goddess Artemis and her once-magnificent temple was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Kusadasi, situated on the west coast overlooking the Aegean Sea is one of Turkey’s main tourist centres. It has an abundance of beaches all of which are ideal for sun worshippers. The crystal clear water is warm and there is excellent provision for the more energetic visitor to indulge in water sports. There is a wealth of sightseeing opportunities including excursions to the historical town of Ephesus which is nearby. With plenty of sunshine, excellent restaurants and a wonderful sunset Kusadasi is a first rate holiday destination.
Why Go To Kusadasi?
Kusadasi is a very pretty area with splendid beaches and excellent facilities. It has a long season guaranteeing hours of sunshine every day. Turkey has succeeded in retaining its traditional appeal enabling visitors to experience the authentic atmosphere of Turkish life while enjoying the modern facilities that holiday makers have grown to expect.
There is an exciting array of water sports for both the novice and the expert. Those interested in ancient history will find a large number of fascinating archaeological sites including such gems as Ephesus, Didyma and Priene.
Who Is Kusadasi Popular With?
Kusadasi is popular with most people because of its wide-ranging facilities and attractions. It is particularly popular with families with small children because of its large numbers of safe beaches. Those with a love of water sports will be amazed by the variety of activities that are available ranging from diving and snorkelling, to wind surfing and parasailing. It is also an ideal spot for those interested in ancient times.
When To Go To Kusadasi
Kusadasi has a long season lasting from early spring until late autumn. The temperature range is from the twenties to the high thirties. Although summer is the most popular time to visit, those wishing to visit the historical sites may prefer the more pleasant temperatures out of high season.
Kusadasi – The Place
Kusadasi is a beautiful area making it a favourite holiday destination. The town itself has a very large marina which can hold more than six hundred yachts and boats. The waterfront with its array of cafes, bars and restaurants is the perfect place to sit and watch the sailing boats docking. There are some fine old mosques in the town including the Fortress Mosque built in the 17th century. It has some wonderful stained glass windows and the door is beautifully decorated in mother of pearl.
The Aqua Fantasy Park is a fun day out for both young and old with its hair raising shutes and flumes. Kustur is an ideal place for water sports with its many excellent facilities for water sports. It is possible to go out reef diving and snorkelling to experience the wonderful diversity of the marine life. Wind surfing, water skiing and parasailing are just a few of the activities that are available. The sunsets in Kusadasi can be quite spectacular and are especially enjoyable when sipping wine and tasting Turkish cuisine.
The nightlife in Kusadasi has something for everyone. The town itself has many bars and discos where, if you are feeling energetic, you can dance until dawn. On the other hand there are plenty of venues where you can sit back relax and watch the sun go down. Many hotels have entertainment such as belly dancing and live music which is open to the public.
There is no shortage of shopping opportunities in Turkey. Boutiques, craft and souvenir shops and jewellers are numerous and have long opening hours. Shopkeepers and stall holders have a very positive approach to selling and there is great competition for your business. Leather goods, handmade carpets and jewellery are very popular buys. Do remember that you are expected to barter and that the asking price is always inflated. You will see many blue glass beads for sale which according to legend will protect from the evil eye. Don’t forget yours.
Kusadasi has cafes, taverns and restaurants to cater for most tastes.
Traditional Turkish food is very tasty. Meat and fish are usually grilled and there is a great emphasis on vegetables. Stuffed peppers and vine leaves, kebabs and kofta are popular dishes. The national drink of Turkey is raki which is aniseed flavoured. Only drink bottled water while in Turkey.