With a reputation as one of the most attractive cities of the Aegean, Kusadasi is blessed with more than its fair share of tourist delights. It’s a meeting point for European modern and Middle Eastern mystique, with contemporary buildings and influences jostling alongside traditional and ancient.
Approached from the sea, Kusadasi, meaning Bird Island, is instantly identifiable by the restored 14th-15th century castle on tiny Güvercinada (Pigeon Island), connected to the mainland by a causeway. Beyond are the gleaming yachts in its smart marina and their larger sisters, the towering cruise ships in port, regular visitors disgorging throngs of holidaymakers that add to the already vibrant atmosphere in the town’s heady mix of restaurants, bars and colourful shops.
This is shopping heaven with designer name goods, both authentic and fake, and a tradition of haggling in the independent Turkish stores and markets. Turkey is also the place to shop for leather, carpets, jewellery, ceramics and other crafts and souvenirs. As well as hundreds of restaurants serving every kind of cuisine including Turkish, with its delicious meze (mixed plates of appetisers), fresh salads, aromatic grilled meats and fish, not forgetting sweets drenched in honey, there are discos, pubs, bars and cafes creating a lively atmosphere round the clock.
Beaches here are popular with their broad swathes of sun baked sand. Those closest to town get busy in the height of season and offer lots of activities, while further out you can find more isolated spots in which to spread out your towels.
A centre for art and culture since antiquity, Kusadasi has interesting sights and museums, including the Caravanserai, part of its rich architectural heritage from the opulent period of Ottoman rule, and the old quarter with its residences creating a labyrinth of shops, bars and cafes. Best of all, from Kusadasi you are within easy distance of a plethora of fascinating places to visit, including important historical sites, traditional villages, churches, mosques and monasteries. There’s also a choice of 3 aqua parks!
Mini buses, known as dolmus, provide an easy and inexpensive system of local transport, with excursions also operating out of town including boat trips to coves and beaches, or you can reach the lovely Greek island of Samos in under an hour.
There is never any problem of what to do in and around Kusadasi, only fitting it all in!