Kuşadası is a beach resort town on Turkey’s western Aegean coast. Also close to classical ruins at nearby Ephesus (or Efes), it’s also a major cruise ship destination, Its seafront promenade, marina, and harbour are lined with hotels and restaurants.
Just offshore on Pigeon Island is a walled Byzantine castle that once guarded the town, connected to the mainland via causeway.
The traces of Old Kuşadası can be seen in its seafront houses, a surviving city gate and in the Ottoman architecture of the town’s Kaleiçi Mosque. The fortress-style, 17th-century Öküz Mehmed Pasha Caravanserai is now a hotel. There are modern water parks and lively nightlife on Bar Street. Local bazaars sell leather, carpets and jewellery. South of town, Dilek Peninsula National Park has secluded beaches and hiking trails through forested mountains.
Kusadasi has become a popular holiday resort, especially for visitors from Northern and Western Europe. It has about 50,000 residents, although that grows significantly during the high season from May to October.
How to get around
There are 3 major ways to get around within Kusadasi. The first and the most common way is by minibus service (called dolmuş, literally “stuffed”, in Turkish), which is available between 7:30 AM and 12:00 AM during the high season from May to October. Minibus routes and stops within town are shown by minibus signs by the roads.
The second way to get around in town is by taxi. To find a taxi, you’d rather go to their office or call one of the taxi companies than waiting on the street. Taxis are yellow with company names on side; and fees are paid according to taximeters : distance calculater which the driver switches on when you get in the taxi. Make sure it is on the day (lower) setting if you are riding in the day or evening. Taximeters run double between 12:00 am and 06:00 am.
The third way to get around in town is by foot. Most of the town is relatively flat and the scenery is nice. To walk from one end of town to another takes 30 minutes.
Stuff to see
In the town
- The City Walls – There were once three gates. One remains today.
- Kaleiçi Camii – the mosque built in 1618 for Grand Vizier Öküz Kara Mehmed Pasha.
- The Öküz Mehmet Pasha caravanserai is near the docks. It was built in 1618 as a strong-room for the goods of seamen.
- Guvercin Adası (i.e., ‘Pigeon Island’) – the peninsula at the end of the bay, has a castle and swimming beaches, including a private beach and cafe with a view back across the bay to the harbour of Kuşadası. There are public beaches at the back of the peninsula, towards the open sea.
Dilek Peninsula is the Peninsula lying between Kusadasi and Aydin centre. It is in Western (Aegean) coast of Turkey and it has many many rare plant species.
There are some good beaches both south and north of Kusadasi. All beaches are commercialized with hotels surrounding them. South of Kusadasi is the ladies beach, lost paradise beach and the long beach.
Shopping and what to look out for!
The “downtown” area near the waterfront is quite modern, with many stores and an open air bazaar. Offerings range from typical souvenirs to fine jewelry and Turkish rugs. Hawkers frequently implore passersby to come inside, but with patience, visitors can find quality items at prices often somewhat better than in large cities. Bargaining is expected, and essential in the bazaar.
- There are many showrooms displaying traditional Turkish handmade silk and wool carpets where staff happily explain the rug making process. Learn about silk production, natural color dyes and the art of traditional carpet weaving. There will be some pressure to buy, but should you wish to purchase a traditional Turkish rug, it will be sent to your home by world wide delivery if its available.
BE CAREFUL: Recently there have been many dealers especially in the market who have been blatantly ripping off and stealing from tourists. DO NOT purchase big ticket items from shops in Kusadasi as there are many known scams especially in the jewelry stores and the leather dealers in the area; mainly the types of scams include credit card identity theft and the sale of highly defective products in stores. Fake leather, fake Jewelry are passed off as real products and there are currency scams that operate in lots of the stores also (stores will quote products in Lira then charge customers in Euro’s). Store contact details are fake as are certificates of authenticity. Police have been notified but have so for been unreliable in stopping scams in the area.
Kuşadası falls within the area code (+90) 256, which is also shared by some nearby inland cities and towns, such as Aydın.
There’s are also many amazing hotels and restaurants in kusadasi!
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Please note, I cannot take credit for the pictures, they are credited to the original photographers who uploaded them to google. Also some of information researched and added among my personal write up.