Just south from the large city of Izmir lies the coastal resort town of Kusadasi. Known by others as the Pearl of the Aegean, Pigeon Island or simply as the coastal gateway to Ephesus’ bustling cruise port. The town’s popularity has been steadily increasing since the 1980s. During summer months, it fills with tourists from Turkey, northern Europe and the Balkans. Some looking to enjoy the holiday resort hotels, some holiday shopping or as a stopover from your cruise ride. Mingled remnants of old Kusadasi in the form of traditional houses, bars and cafes sit by the seafront. In contrast is the modern-European looking town, sheltered by the hills. From the city centre heading either to the north or to the south are the beaches of Kusadasi.
Things to do at Kusadasi
There is no shortage of activities one can do at Kusadasi. Primarily the several beach options, the closest being the sandy City Beach. For quieter beach options, there is Paradise Beach, Silver Beach, Long Beach and Gold Beach. Though if you are looking for extra entertainment - in the form of surfing, parasailing, water-skiing or scuba diving, head on over to Kustur Beach, Ladies Beach, Love Beach or Tusan Beach. Especially on Ladies Beach and Tusan will you find a glitzier atmosphere. Near the town, there are also several aquatic parks with the largest being Aqua Fantasy. After all, that bustling activity one can always go for a bit of a spa retreat with one of the Turkish Baths.
The symbol of Kusadasi is Pigeon Island, known to the locals as ‘Guvercin Ada’. It has this name because during the seasonal migration many birds come to the island. It is one of the best viewpoints to get a panoramic view of the sunset and the city itself. On the top, one can also visit the Byzantine Castle that was built to protect from the pirates. On top of the hill near Pigeon Island, one can also go visit and pay respects to the statue of Kemal Ataturk. In town visit the city walls; only one remains from the original three city gates. There is also the 1618 Kaleici Camii mosque, dedicated to Grand Vizier Okuz Kara Mehmed Pasha. While by the modern waterfront area stroll down the bazaar for shopping.
The Grand Bazaar is also the best place to promenade and shop for typical Turkish souvenirs, wool rugs or other handicrafts. Along with an array of cosy restaurants and bars to enjoy the sunsets or the bustling nightlife of Kusadasi. A curious activity one can do while at Kusadasi is to watch a camel wrestling match at the nearby city of Selcuk.
How to get to Kusadasi
As the coastal city possesses a large port, many cruise ships dock here as a short stopover. There are also daily ferry services from the nearby Samos Island in Greece to Kusadasi. But visitors can also reach the town by land from Izmir’s Adnan Menderes Airport. Other equally worthwhile beach resort towns to visit within the Turkish Rivera are Cesme and Didim.