Kusadasi, on the West Coast of Turkey is a terraced town overlooks a stunning inlet on the Aegean Coast and is one of the longest established Tourist towns along the Turkish Riviera. Kusadasi’s census in 2000 recorded 47,800 Inhabitants however, in the spring of 2007 Kusadasi Municipality guesstimate the population as 68,000 including 15,000 Students and in excess of 5,000 Foreigners who have made Kusadasi their home.
Kusadasi’s most famous landmark is the Kervansaravi, (now a hotel) constructed in the early 18th century. This structure was constructed simultaneously with the Kaleici Camii (“Old Town”) and Hamam (Turkish Baths) together with the city walls.
The Kervansaravi hosts Traditional Turkish Nights where Turkish culture can be explored through food and dance, folk dancing, Cossack dancing and obligatory belly dancing is performed.
The Kaleici area of Kusadasi is ideal for shopping and late night revelling.
You cannot visit Kaleici without calling to see our Friends at the Orient Bar you are guaranteed a warm welcome, an excellent nights entertainment with live music, a traditional atmosphere, cold beer, efficient friendly service………and memories to cherish (www.orientbar.com)
A visit to Turkey is not complete without a visit to a Haman and Kusadasi has a large selection to choose from – traditional or extremely modern incorporating Turkish culture and art. A visit to a Haman (Turkish bath) it is an opportunity to revisit Ottoman times, the wonderful soapy massage followed by a manipulation with a loofah provides skin exfoliation in preparation for those many hours of sunbathing and leaves you relaxed and invigorated, fully primed to enjoy all the activities available.
There is a profusion of restaurants with a wealth of choice to satisfy all budgets, appetites and palates. Turkish food is regarded as one of the world’s greatest cuisines due to the abundance of fish, fresh produce, herbs and spices.
Virtually every restaurant serves alcohol and locally produced wine is cheap as is Efes Pilsen (light and dark) regarded as Turkey’s best beer. Tuborg, a Danish company also produce two varieties of beer and imported beers are available however, as with all imported goods these can be expensive by Turkish standards.
The Turkish equivalent to Greek ouzo is Raki, an aniseed-flavoured grape brandy (usually diluted with water). Gin, vodka and brandy are produced in Turkey and thus are much less expensive than their equivalent imported varieties.
Bars, nightclubs, jazz clubs, discos, beach clubs and cafes remain open into the early hours of the morning there are many live music venues catering for all ages, preferences and endurance levels.
Taxis are readily available and taxi ranks are strategically located. The fleet still includes a number of 1960s Chevrolet Impalas. The distance travelled determines the fare payable; the price is displayed on the meter and prices increase after midnight as the Dolmus (Municipality mini bus) service ends.
Shopping is a favourite pastime with Locals and Visitors alike, everything that could possibly be made from leather is available, textiles, delicate embroidery, lacework, footwear and souvenirs made from onyx, copper and inlaid wood are in abundance at very reasonable prices on every street corner.
Pottery has become a popular choice with a rapid increase in Turkish and International designers utilising historical designs to reproduce spectacular memorabilia.
Gold and silver jewellery will capture the attention of even the most reluctant Shopper, the variety of stones, settings and designs make it extremely difficult to resist temptation!
Turkey is famous for its carpets. Prices are determined by quality, age, condition and material (wool or silk). Be prepared, the Salesperson will go to great lengths to explain the “story of the carpet”.
All shops are open seven days a week and are generally open from 9am to 12pm. Tax-free shopping is available from authorised Retailers.
On Tuesday and Friday there is a fruit and vegetable market in town where an enormous variety of locally produced fresh produce is available, the experience of browsing among the stalls examining the produce, bantering and bargaining with the Vendors is one that even those Visitors availing of all-inclusive packages offered by some hotels should not miss.
For Tuesday market get the Ladies Beach dolmus. The location is just up the hill from the town Cemetery.
Friday fruit and vegetable market is in town just opposite the Dolmus station and there is a textile market every Wednesday in the same location.
Kusadasi is ideally positioned for Domestic and International Travellers with Izmir International Airport only 75km North and Bodrum International Airport to the South 120Km away. (Izmir is Turkey’s 3rd largest city after Istanbul and Ankara).
Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey’s Cultural heart, is the only city in the world located on two Continents - Europe and Asia. During its 25,000 year history, it has been the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. (www.thy.com.tr) 16 flights per day Istanbul – Izmir). On 9th April 2007,Tony Mannix, the Irish Ambassador in Ankara stated that in excess of 75,000 Irish Tourist visit Turkey per year. The majority fly to Izmir airport.
For the Brave and Not So Brave – you can enjoy the feeling of free fall or a Tandem jump (two persons jumping with one parachute). With a Tandem Pilot you can make a free fall from 3,000 meters altitude. After 30 seconds of free fall (180km/h) the parachute is opened. Enjoy the fascinating scenery of the Ancient City of Ephesus with the surrounding beautiful landscape for a full three minutes to the drop zone.
A Video can be arranged to capture your adventure - from your exit of the aircraft to your safe landing
Take a Microlight Flight lasting 15-20 minutes over Ephesus
See the spectacular sights of Kusadasi, Marmaris and Bodrum from the air in a Jet Cessna choose from a C-208, Cessna 402, Cessna 206
Kusadasi’s proximity to some of the most unique ancient settlements of the World together with religious shrines unquestionably contributes to its major importance as a fulcrum for the entire surrounding area.
Ephesus (17km Kusadasi) was one of the most important centres of the ancient world in terms of civilisation, science, culture and art in its history dating back to 4,000BC. It was a major harbour in its time. Many ancient civilisations made Ephesus their home, the traces of Ionian, Roman, Byzantine, Selcuk and Ottoman civilisations exist to the present day. The first foundation of Ephesus city goes back to the Neolithic Age (6,000BC). The ruins are spread over a large site and also host the Temple of Artemis which is regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. A minimum of 1.5million Tourists visit each year. Other attractions in this area include -
Artemis Temple – one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World.
Basilica of Saint John Selcuck – this Church was built over the tomb of St John the Divine (Book of Revelations in AD 95)
Cave of the Seven Sleepers – one of the most sacred places in the Christian World.
The Archaeological Museum of Ephesus is one of the most visited museums in the World. The rich variety of artefacts is in excess of 50,000 pieces and increases yearly with new findings from the ongoing excavations.
The Virgin Mary Church (17km from Kusadasi) sited on one of the hills overlooking Selcuk. After the death of Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary had gone to Ephesus with St. John and lived here until her death. Thus this church is an important pilgrimage centre for the Christian World. This site has been visited by Pope Paul VI in 1967 and Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XV1 on 29th November 2006.
Selcuk Fortress – dating from the Ottoman Empire this fortress is located on a hill in
Selcuk near Ephesus & Kusadasi.
Didyma (Didim), site of the ruins of the Temple of Apollo was one of the most sacred places of antiquity. A double-colonnade portico surrounds the colossal temple. Not far from Didyma lies Altinkum Beach. There are frequent dolmuses from Soke to Didim and Altinkum. There are also frequent dolmuses from Didim to Akkoy.
Miletus (Milet) is approximately 22km south of Priene, and like Priene was a great Ionian port. Its 15,000 seat Grand Theatre can be viewed as you approach from the south; the well-preserved ruins of the Faustian baths and the Archaeological Museum are worth a visit. From Soke take a dolmus to Balat and ask to be dropped at the Miletus- turn-off. From Miletus, very infrequent dolmuses head south to Akkoy where you can pick up a minibus to Soke or Didyma. (It may be quicker to return to Soke and start out again for Didyma.)
Priene (Gullubahce) overlooks the plain of the Buyuk Menderes River. It was an important port city around 300 BC; its layout followed a grid formation. The five standing columns of the Temple of Athena remain, the theatre has finely carved front seats that were reserved for VIPs, the Byzantine church, stadium and gymnasium are also worth viewing. There are half hourly dolmuses between Priene (Gullubahce) and Soke: the last back to Soke leaves Priene at 7pm
All of the above are easily accessible –
- Lots of Tour Operators in town offer guided tours – shop around!
- For Selcuk, Pamucak, Soke and Seferihisar you don’t need to go to the Otogar (Main Bus station), you can puck up a dolmus (Municipality mini bus service) on Adnan Menderes Bulvari.
- For Didyma, Priene and Miletus change at Soke bus station
- Drivers at the Otogar run tours to Ephesus and Meryemana for about €10.00 per person.
- You can get a dolmus to Ephesus, hire a taxi / horse and trap to get to the main site / House of the Virgin Mary, return to the main road and get a dolmus to Selcuk or back to Kusadasi.
Kusadasi is ideal for all forms of water sports including scuba diving, water skiing, parasailing and jet skiing. For those who enjoy water activities on the terra firma there are many water parks Adaland reputed to be the biggest aqua park in Europe and Aqua Fantasy Aqua parks to name but a few.
Ten best water parks of the world:
- Wet’n Wild - Florida - USA
- Schilitternbahn- Texas – USA
- Ocean Dome – Japan
- World Waterpark – Canada
- Blizzard Beach – Florida – USA
- Wild Wadi Waterpark – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
- Water World – Colorado – USA
- Adaland – Kuşadası – Türkiye
- Splashin Safari – Indiana – USA
- Wavehouse – California – USA (http://specialsections.nypost.com/news/nypost/travel/20050809/p45.asp)
The Kusadasi Gulf spreads south and southeast possessing some of the most attractive beaches, bays and coves on the Aegean coast. Kusadasi boasts 15 “Blue Flag” beaches. Kusadasi’s unrivalled selection of beaches is all within easy and affordable access of town by Dolmus (Municipality mini bus service).
The beaches in Kusadasi guarantee endless fun & unlimited sunbathing during your holiday....all accessible by Dolmus for a few Liras.
1-City Beach: (Palmiye) Located in the Centrum, the sandy beach provides a perfect environment, however the slippery rocks to the sea make it unsuitable for young Swimmers.
2-Pigeon Island Beach: A private beach, situated on the shore of the island. Ideal for Swimmers, enjoy the translucent and deep waters of the Aegean.
3-Yilanciburnu Beach: A quiet beach, located on the peninsula behind Pigeon Island. It can be reached by Kadinlar Denizi (Ladies Beach) minibuses every 5 minutes.
4-Ladies Beach: The powdery sandy beach of Ladies Beach provides excellent entertaining within its borders. Kadinlar Denizi (Ladies Beach) minibuses departure from the city Centrum every 5 minutes.
5-Kustur Beach: With its varied activities including water-skiing, parasailing, surfing, Kustur Beach is located on the 6km on Selcuk road and can be reached by Sehirici minibuses from the city centre.
6-Tusan Beach: Situated just near Kustur Beach, Tusan Beach offers unlimited fun with the various choices of beach & water activities. The beach is located 7km of Selcuk road and can be reached by Sehirici minibuses.
7-Long Beach: The long sandy beach and crystal-clear water of Long Beach are ideal for swimming, water sports and peaceful resting. The beach is 6km south of Kusadasi, -between Batihan Hotel and Nazilli Site, and can be reached by Sahil Siteleri minibuses every 5 minutes.
8-Gold Beach: The golden sandy beach of Gold Beach is ideal spot for a holiday, located between Emekli Sandigi camp and Emektur Area. Davutlar dolmus will bring you here.
9-Silver Beach: Excellent clear waters of Silver Beach await exploration. The beach is located around Ozlem Site and SSK Site. Get the Davutlar dolmus and get off at this beach.
10-Paradise Beach: Situated between Aykustur and Sokeliler site, Paradise Beach offers a perfect environment. Davutlar dolmus will bring you here.
11-Love Beach: Located near Genclik Camp, Love Beach provides visitors with a perfect opportunity to make water activities and swim in relaxing conditions. Davutlar dolmus will bring you here.
12-Guzelcamli Town Beaches: The quiet beaches in pretty Guzelcamlli offer a restful peace. National Park minibuses pass through the beaches every 30 minutes. Guzelcamli or National Park dolmus.
13-National Park Beaches: The beaches are located 30km southwest of Kusadasi. Icmeler, Aydinlik, Kavakli and Karasu bays are the principals of the numerous secluded bays and coves in the park. Clear waters of the bays provide an opportunity to dive. Only Icmeler bay has the sandy beach. You will feel the real quietness while resting peacefully in the shades of the pines. National Park minibuses departures every 30 minutes from Kusadasi Dolmus station.
Icmeler Bay Beach (+1km) Aydinlik Bay Beach (+5km)
Kavakli Bay Beach (+8km) Karasu Bay Beach (+10km)
Dipburun Bay Beach (+25km)
Daily boat trips from the Marina or from Pigeon Island walkway, for fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling, diving or just sun worshipping. Or book a trip with one of the local Travel Agents lunch is usually included in the price.
Spectacular caves – don’t just take my word for it check this out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus_cave
Kusadasi, with its host of 4 and 5 star hotels has a long association with this sector of the tourism market. The Pinebay Resort (www.pinebay.com) has hosted the 8th Annual Conference of the SRNT Europe, The Biology of Tobacco Dependency: From the Laboratory to the Smoker September 2006 and The 7th Congress of the Balkan Union of Oncology in October 2007 – to name just a few.
The Surmeli Efes Resort Hotel has meeting and conference facilities to cater for group sizes of 30 to 1,200 Members.
A new purpose built Conference Centre is currently being constructed near Ada Land Aqua Park -3km from Kusadasi, with its 10,000 Delegate capacity this new attraction will be a major boost to the area and to this tourism sector.
Guided Cycling Tours are available locally. Travelling distances from 12km to 60km, with lots of options in between, covering Ephesus and the surrounding Countryside -Various tours available with a variety of stopovers. Some of the tours include a visit to an Olive oil factory. All programs are designed for small groups of 5-8 persons.
Prices from €19.00 to €60.00. See http://www.bikeephesus.com
Discussions with the Municipality are ongoing on a range of suitable sites with a range of National and International Investors vying for the privilege of bringing this form of tourism to Kusadasi. Meanwhile many new projects are springing up with golf practice ranges.
Greek ocean liners sail twice weekly between Ancona (Italy) and Kusadasi. Cruise liners from all over the World sailing the Aegean anchor here to allow Passengers to explore the town and the surrounding archaeological sites. Greek Island Hoppers avail of the opportunity of visiting Turkey using the daily ferry to and from Samos Island. In 2006 a total of 120,000 Tourist came to Kusadasi via cruise ships. The estimate for 2007 is 160,000. The Wind Star and Wind Spirit two of the US’s largest cruise liners have 40 departures from Seattle scheduled for the 2008 season, sailing from April through to November. Two Turkish stops – Istanbul and Kusadasi. Horse Racing
Scheduled day and night racing at this racecourse, which is the size of ten football fields is an experience not to be missed.See: http://www.tjk.org/Content/HaberDetay.aspx?hID=1796 (Turkish article but the photographs tell the story!) Horse Safari You don’t have to travel to the “Wild, Wild West” to enjoy a horse safari. Available locally, take the opportunity of swimming and trekking with the horses - ask any of the local Tour operators. This safari is also available at night and regularly there is a beach BBQ included in the price. Izmir
Izmir Turkey’s third largest city and the birthplace of Homer is Kusadasi’s nearest cosmopolitan city. Izmir is not rich in archeological remains however, it is a Shoppers paradise with a large selection of American style Shopping Malls and Turkish market stalls.
Many Tour Operators offer jeep safari on a daily basis. This involves visiting a number of local villages, driving through the mountains and a trip to one of the local “Blue Flag” beaches. Lunch is usually included in the price.
Bafa Lake near Soke (25km from Kusadasi on the Aydin Road) is a natural wonder caused by the silt deposits brought down by the Buyuk Menderes River. On the lake are two islets on which Monasteries and Churches were built, early Christian frescos are clearly visible on some of the ceilings.
More that 255 different bird species are native to this area and the slight salt content attracts mullet, sea bream, eels and carps so fishing is a vavourite pastime for the Locals and Visitors to this area.
Kuşadası’s Setur Marina (1 of Turkey’s 14 “Blue Flag” Marinas) is one of the largest and best equipped marinas in Turkey.
With a capacity of 629 yachts both a float and on shore, it is visited by between 2,500-3,000 boats each year. The marina is on the latitude of 37 52' 20''N and on the longitude of 27 15' 46''E. Custom, repair service, security are some of the 24 hour services provided in the marina. “Tai Mo Shan” permanently moored in Kusadasi has been selected for the upcoming film “Fernando” (the film version of the stage musical “Mamma Mia”) the cast includes Meryl Streep. Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Julie Walters.
Mountain & Nature Walking
Latmos Mountain’s, North East of Bafa Lake has a selection of strange rock formations which often lead certain people to believe that creatures reside there!
National Park (28km from Kusadasi) combines, flora, fauna, waterfalls, beaches and mountains, making it Natures Garden.
See: http://www.dilekyarimadasi.gov.tr/fotogaleri.html where the pictures say more than thousands of words.
The area around Kusadasi abounds with walking routes which pass through areas of great natural beauty and history. Nature walking in the Dilek Peninsula – National Park (Milli Park) is a hot favourite.
The road between Soke and Gullubahce passes the village of Dogenbey (2-3km from Buyuk Menderes River Delta). The village commands superb views of the surrounding area from its altitude of nearly 70km above sea level.
There are also great trails for mountain biking between the Dilek Peninsula Buyuk Menderes Delta National Park and between Didim – Akbuk. These trails are stabilised and slightly sloping.
National Park (Milli Park – Guzelcamli)
Dilek Peninsula, about 28km south of Kusadasi protrudes westwards into the Aegean; on a clear day it appears to touch the Greek island of Samos. West of Guzelcamli is Dilek National Park a serene, mountainous nature reservation with some excellent walking, riding areas and unspoilt coves for swimming.
With its abundant flora and fauna this area offers an unrivalled experience in nature exploration. Some of the rarest wild animals in Turkey including the Anatolian cheetah and some of the last wild horses have made this area their home together with bear, wild boar, jackal, lynx, wolf, wildcat, hyena. Rabbits, otters and marten are also plentiful.
Wild goats, fallow deer and roe deer are abundant. National Park is the ONLY habitat of the endangered Anatolian Leopard in Western Anatolia.
The area also provides nesting and breeding areas for a wide range of animals such as sea turtles and Mediterranean monk seals, in addition to the plentiful supply of reptiles, mammals, birds and fish species.
The area abounds in species of trees including Holm oak (quercus ilex), Phoenician juniper (juniperus phoenica) and Mediterranean cypress (cupressus sempervirens).
National Park Centre for Visitors offers information on bird watching tours. Commonly found bird species include the kestrel, black kite, little bustard, great bustard, snipe and sea eagle as well as the pochard and coot – the most common water birds.
The Lake Bafa Nature Area is also an important bird area which provides shelter to a variety of species including spur-winged plovers. See: http://www.ornitravel.com
Pamukkale with its ancient name Hierapolis is famous and popular for its hot springs which are believed to have healing properties. The terraces of Pamukkale were formed by the running hot water that has the temperature of 35°C which contains calcium bicarbonate. The water loses its carbon dioxide it leaves limestone deposits. According to Scientists, the terraces began forming 14000 years ago. Located 220km from Kusadasi many choose to avail of an organised trip. Alternatively you can get a ticket from a bus company in town (there is one located at the Deniz Bank roundabout near the taxi rank) which will book you on all the connections to Pamukkale. This is more reliable than trying to do it yourself as the timetables are in Turkish and can be confusing.
Many of the Tour Operators offer a three hour quad bike safari – have lots of fun in the sun!
With 15 Blue Flag Beaches all within easy reach of Kusadasi this area is a Scuba Divers Paradise. The Beach Clubs and Diving Schools cater for all experience levels and equipment is supplied.
Some Tour Operators offer Amateur and Professional 5 day courses and are PADI registered. So if the sun, sand and other activities get too much for you, you can leave Kusadasi with a diving certificate. However, you may just want to enjoy the underwater sights which include sunken ships, amphora, seals and coral reefs yielding unforgettable moments from your dive.
En route between Izmir and Aydin, is Selcuk - home to the Temple of Artemis, the altar is all that remains from the temple which is surrounded by large Ionic columns. The Church of St John, which is a splendid Byzantine era buildings is perched on a hill overlooking the town. If you want to relax and partake of excellent food at very reasonable prices in superb surrounding I highly recommend a visit to the Kalehan Motel. See: www.kalehan.com
Sirince village is 12km from Ephesus and famous for its old village houses, wine vineyards and peach orchards. It was founded in the 5th Century AD. All the houses are built of stone and brick. Thousands of Tourists visit the village to take photographs, taste the special pastry made on sheet iron and sample the large variety of home made fruit wines produced locally – cherry, apple, peach and strawberry are the most popular. Get a dolmus to Selcuck and then a dolmus to Sirince. Please check the return timetable as in late summer this service can finish at 7 or 8 pm however, if you decide to stay over see www.kirkinca.com & www.uzumcafe.blogspot.com
Skiing is not available in Kusadasi with our 300 days of sunshine but it is within easy reach - Bozdağ Skiing Facility in Bozdağ, is within the borders of Ödemis, a sub province of Izmir (90km from Kusadasi via Soke, Aydin)
38º 22´ 21.80” N
28º 07´ 05.18” E
Skiing is possible from December through to March with snow thickness of 80-120cm under normal winter conditions. The height of the skiing area is between 1528m -2157m.
and for a place to stay - http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/skiinginturkey/bozdag/1153335360/tpod.html
Tesco – Kipa Hypermarket
On 11th October 2007 Tesco-Kipa opened its 24th store in Turkey. Kusadasi Residents flocked to the opening day to avail of the bargains offered to attract Customers. The Company is providing a selection of free mini buses from various locations in town to bring Customers to the new store. It is rumoured that this store, which was constructed in TWO months cost $36m U.S. but more interestingly for me is that Enisolar Energy Solutions installed a 30kW PV system, utilizing solar modules in this store. The electricity generated helps power the cashier desks.
The Province of Aydin boasts a large selection of Natural Thermal Spas and hot springs. Davutlar Hot Springs are local to Kusadasi. Nature Med Thermal Springs and Health Resort according to their web site
“Combined, Natur-Med Rejuvenation programs aid in:
-Slowing the aging process
-Strengthening the immune system
-The treatment of skin diseases
After a 2-3 weeks rejuvenation program, your spiritual wholeness, mental alertness and physical and emotional balance will recover. With all these complementary therapies combined with hot spring therapies, a well-balanced diet and a mild exercise program, you will be on your way to a lifetime of health and vitality.”
Almost “next door” is Radon Thermal a Traditional Turkish Resort open all year.
See: www.radontermal.com (Turkish web site)
The Dilek Peninsula has excellent conditions for windsurfing and is famous among Enthusiasts.
My first introduction to Turkish Wines was Doluca Kav. It is described on the Doluca web page as “…….. an immaculate blend of robust, tannic Bogazkere grapes from South-eastern Anatolia with Okuzgozu grapes from Eastern Anatolia that have a unique aroma and a crisp, fruity character. Kav is aged for 12 months in 225 lt. French oak barrels and is kept in bottles for two more years in order to attain its characteristic full body, rich bouquet and unique taste. With its long finish and powerful, tannic structure Kav Bogazkere-Okuzgozu invokes the aromas of clove, cinnamon, red fruits, violets and oak.”
Not being a Connoisseur, all I can say is I enjoyed it so much I regularly check the quality!
However, if the above doesn’t tempt your pallet you can choose from a large selection on
PAMUKKALE WINERY started its production with a capacity of 1.000Hl. In Güney, a district of Denizli, (3hours drive from Kusadasi) in 1962. They were marketing their product in bulk until 1967. Since then they have been bottling it. The Oenophiles who are experts in winery, started to work for the establishment in 1972. Since then the Winery’s technology has been renewed and thus its capacity was increased.
With advances in technology, the Winery’s capacity is currently 20,000Hl. It has become one of the most modern wine production and bottling establishment in Turkey.
Artemis Sirince Sarapcilik a German Turkish Winery, producing a selection of wines in Sirince since 1999. Just 29km from Kusadasi and 12km from Ephesus is well worth a visit. A visit to their web site can be time consuming but like their wines well worth the effort.