Pigeon Island – or Güvercinada – may have become the symbol of the popular holiday town of Kusadasi but, in fact, it isn’t an island at all! It is actually connected to the mainland by a causeway, along the entire length of which are dozens of berths for small fishing boats and the iconic wooden gulets, many offering half-day, full-day and evening sailings.
Nevertheless, it does have that quintessential island ‘feel’, with wonderful, panoramic views across to Kusadasi town and over the sweeping bay. It is a lovely, colourful place to spend a relaxing afternoon, either exploring the Byzantine castle or watching as sleek yachts and gigantic cruise liners glide by. Alternatively, go across for a quiet evening spent sipping drinks, enjoying a typical and delicious Turkish ‘meze’ meal or simply gazing at the unforgettable summer sunsets.
The island was used by migrating birds as a convenient stopping-off place, and so it became known as ‘Bird Island’ – or ‘Kusadasi’ in Turkish – and effectively gave its name to the adjacent town we know today. It was later changed to Pigeon Island as flocks of pigeons made it their permanent home.
Originally a strategically important, defensive military base during the Venetian and Ottoman empires, the island’s position helped to secure the shoreline from attacks from the sea. The castle that still stands proudly on top of the island was used to warn locals about impending attacks by pirates, and is still known as ‘Pirate Castle’.
Just a 16km drive from CLC Kusadasi Golf & Spa resort, Pigeon Island is easily reached from the centre of Kusadasi. Drive and park near the causeway, or take a minibus from the town centre to Ladies Beach, which run every 5 minutes. Or you could even enjoy a leisurely half-hour stroll from the marina, along the seafront to the ferry harbour and then across the causeway.