Kusadasi

Kusadasi Kuşadası is a coastal resort town in the Aydin Province of Aegean Turkey. It 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.

Weather

Kusadasi is perfectly situated on Turkey's Aegean Sea to take full advantage of the region's year-round, warm sunny weather. Even in the middle of Kusadasi's short winter, the days are mild, hovering around 10oC most of the time. What little rain falls in this area falls between November and February. Although this is considered the resort town's low season, conditions are still pleasant enough to make for an enjoyable visit.

With an average of 300 sunny days each year, Kusadasi almost guarantees blue skies during your visit. Summers kick in around April and last until the end of October. Expect hot temperatures during this period, especially at the height of summer in July and August, when the mercury cranks up to the mid-40soC. This is the prime swimming, diving and sunbathing time, so expect hoards of other tourists to be flocking to Kusadasi at the same time to enjoy the bustling party atmosphere and postcard-perfect sea.

The best time to visit Kusadasi is from May to September.

For hot weather, visit in summer from July to mid-September – temperatures often exceed 35°C during July and August. For slightly cooler but still pleasant weather visit during spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) when temperatures range between 16°C and 25°C.

Winter from December through January averages 13°C; December is the wettest month.

What to see in Kusadasi

Its proximity to some of the top cultural, religious, and natural attractions in Turkey makes Kusadasi one of the best ports to use as a springboard for sightseeing trips. The ancient Roman city of Ephesus—a half- hour drive away—is widely considered to be the most well- preserved Classical city in the Eastern Mediterranean. Just outside of Ephesus, the provincial town of Selçuk is home to the Basilica of St. John and the House of the Virgin Mary. Drive the 40 minutes from the port to Sirince, a rural area dotted with wood-and-mortar houses, olive groves, and lush vineyards.

Top Attractions in Kusadasi

Discover a choice of must-see Kusadasi attractions, which are also some of the world’s greatest sites of antiquity, just a short drive away from the resort town, including:

Ephesus (Efes)

Explore one of the most evocative archaeological sites in the world. Stroll marble-paved avenues that lead to remarkably well-preserved ruins and partially reconstructed buildings.

See grooves in the ground made by chariot wheels and admire an amazing collection of Roman ruins, including a 1st century AD stadium, where gladiators met wild beasts in combat before 70,000 spectators and a 25,000-seat 2nd century AD theatre lined with rows of curved bench seats that are still used annually in May during the music and dance performances of the Selçuk Ephesus Festival.

Marvel at the stunning two-storey Library of Celsus, where you can still see rolls of papyrus in the ancient reading room. See slender columns of marble on the Arcadian Way and wander down the Street of Kuretes to a large house believed to have been a brothel and containing a mosaic floor depicting three women.

Admire the Corinthian columns and serpent-headed hydra on the facade of the Temple of Hadrian and ponder the collapsed row of columns that once supported the vast Temple of Domitian. Visit also the Upper Agora (market), the Magnesian Gate and the Odeon, where spectators once listened to poetry readings and music.

Plan on at least four hours for a casual stroll through this immense site and double that for a comprehensive visit to all the sites. Doomed by the silting of its harbour in 6th century, the city of Ephesus relocated to what is now known as Selcuk. Ephesus is just 20km north of Kusadasi.

Selcuk

Explore the 15 towers, mosque and cisterns of the ancient fortress, then stroll through the marble courtyards and halls of the impressive Basilica of St John, built atop the 2nd century tomb believed to have once held the body of St John the Evangelist.

At the Ephesus Müzesi (Ephesus Museum), which houses some of the finest collections of Roman and Greek artefacts found anywhere in Turkey, see two white statues from the 7th century BC Temple of Artemis – once one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Or visit the actual site on the Selcuk–Ephesus road to see a lone column soaring over a rubble-strewn green field – all that remains of a temple that was once four times the size of the Parthenon in Athens. Other fragments from the temple were ‘borrowed’ to build the Isa Bey Cami (Isa Bey Mosque), one of the oldest mosques in Turkey, dating from 1375. Visit in January to witness the annual camel wrestling festival.

House of the Virgin Mary (Meryemana)

Pay your respects or simply visit out of curiosity, at this small church built atop an ancient house believed by many to have been the place where St John took the mother of Jesus following the crucifixion. Mass is celebrated here every morning.

The surrounding national park is filled with natural springs said to cure all sorts of ailments; it is usually crowded with pilgrims. Meryemana is 5km south of Ephesus, Selcuk.

Pamukkale

See mineral-rich hot volcanic spring water cascade over nature-sculpted basins and terraces, crystallising into calcium-rich curtains of solidified water. The stunning chalky white cliffs of Pamukkale rise 100m above the surrounding plains.

Some of the hot spring water, believed to cure rheumatism and other ailments, has been diverted to fill thermal pools in nearby luxury hotels.

Go swimming in the effervescent waters of the Sacred Pool, which sits in the middle of a lush garden and is the main source for the eternal springs feeding the terraced basins.

The thermal water maintains a temperature of 35°C, so you can feel comfortable taking a hot dip even in the cold of January. Pamukkale and nearby Hierapolis combine to form a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site.

Hierapolis

Explore the ancient city of Hierapolis, founded in 190 BC and famous for its Roman ruins, which include: the thermal baths; the Temple of Apollo; the monumental fountain of Nymphaion, dating from the 4th century AD; and a 2nd century AD Roman theatre that is still used for performances during the Festival of Pamukkale, held in late May.

Hike up to the Martyrium of St Philip to see remains of a church built on the site where Philip is believed to have been martyred. Ponder the monumental 1st century triple Arch of Domitian, stroll among 1000 cut-stone sarcophagi in the city’s vast necropolis (cemetery) and see a fine collection of marble statues at the Pamukkale Müzesi – a stone building that once enclosed Hierapolis's baths.

Aphrodisias

Explore this ancient site crammed with some of the best-preserved examples of Hellenistic culture in Turkey.

Admire the 1st century BC Temple of Aphrodite, the Portico of Tiberius, the Baths of Hadrian and the immense (262m-long and 59m-wide) Stadium of Aphrodisias, a one-time Olympic-size swimming pool. Aphrodisias is 41km from Pamukkale and 130km north of Kusadasi.

Priene

Scramble over of the ruins of this ancient Greek city dating back to 300 BC. Visit the oldest remains at the Temple of Athena, which crowns the highest point of the city atop Mount Mykale, together with a small Greek theatre featuring typical ‘armchair’-style seating.

Don’t miss the square-shaped bouleuterion (Senate House), with its rather modest 640-tiered seating. Priene is 38km from Kusadasi.

Miletus

Discover this vast site – larger even than Ephesus and mainly overgrown with shrubs. Miletus is famous as the home of ancient scholars, philosophers and scientists such as Miletus, who gave the alphabet to the classical world, and Thales, who calculated the precise time of the solar eclipse.

Ponder the remains of the Roman Theatre and the Baths of Faustina, among other Hellenistic and Roman remains. Miletus is 22km from Priene and 60km from Kusadasi.

Didyma

Admire the 6th century BC Temple of Apollo (or Didymaion), once the largest building of its time with columns towering more than 20m high and still mainly intact. Didyma is 22km from Miletus and 82km from Kusadasi.

What to do in Kusadasi

In Kusadasi you cann’t miss:
  • ***Exploring the ruins of the Basilica of St. John perched near the citadel The (reputed) grave of St. John the Apostle—marked with a marble slab—is the main attraction.
  • ***Veal meatballs at Selçuk Köftecisi, a tiny café off Selçuk’s main square. They’ve been the house specialty for the last 50+ years.
  • ***Cocktails at the Marina Bar. Located in the Kismet Hotel—which was built by an Ottoman princess, the bar has stunning views of Pigeon Island and the nearby port.
  • Visit the ancient city of Ephesus and the Virgin Mary’s House
  • A holiday to Kusadasi is not complete without going on a tour to the ruins of the spectacular ancient city of Ephesus and the peaceful Virgin Mary house.
  • Sit at the Port and watch the Cruise ships come and go
  • Sip a frappuccino in Starbucks located in the shopping center of Scala Nuova and watch the cruiseships come and go.
  • Eat in a Turkish restaurant to get a true idea of the delicious Turkish cuisine
  • Visit Bul Bul, Avlu, Alo24 or one of the many other Turkish restaurants and eat like a local, great food & great prices.
  • Spend the day at one of Kusadasi’s many beaches
  • Ladies Beach, Long Beach, Silver Sands Beach or Love Beach, each one offers different activities for a perfect day of relaxation.
  • Have a drink in the rooftop bar at Dejazar Wine Bar
  • Chill out with an ice cold Efes or a glass of wine on Dejazar’s fabulous roof terrace and watch a beautiful sunset over Kusadasi Marina.
  • Explore Pigeon Island and visit the museum
  • Pigeon Island, also known as Bird Island, is the symbol of Kusadasi and where the name Kusadasi (meaning Bird Island) originated from. Visit the Museum inside the old Byzantine Castle or simply sit down and enjoy the panoramic view of Kusadasi.
  • Go on a Jeep safari and explore the surrounding areas of Kusadasi
  • Spend the day exploring the mountains of the National Park or the hills behind Sirince in an off road jeep. It’s a fun, dirty day out with constant water fights between the jeeps going on, lunch is included.
  • Spend the day whizzing down the slides at Adaland or Aqua Fantasy
  • Adaland and Aqua Fantasy are the two main waterparks in Kusadasi. Spend the racing down slides with names such as Black Thunder and Kamikaze, join in with the rain dance or simply take the relaxing option and float around the Lazy River on a rubber ring.
  • Visit the town of Selcuk - Selcuk, a small town 20 minutes away from Kusadasi, is is one of the most visited touristic destinations within Turkey because of it’s closeness to Ephesus. There are also other places of interest in Selcuk including The Castle, The Basilica of St John and the Isa Bey mosque. You should also try the famous (and very delicious) ‘çöp ?i?’ (small chunks of grilled lamb and fat) in one of the many restaurants.
  • Spend Saturday morning at Selcuk Market - Selcuk Market is held every Saturday from early in the morning until late at night. Browse around the many stalls where you can pick up bargains. The Dolmus (minibus) departs from Kusadasi to Selcuk regularly and costs 4 lira per person each way.
  • Pay a visit to the old Greek Village of Sirince - Located 30kms from Kusadasi, this picturesque village with small cafes and wine houses with a magnificent view over fields, orchards, vineyards and olive groves is worth a visit. Eat traditional Turkish pancakes known as ‘gozleme’ in one of the many cafes and try the fruit wines which Sirince has become famous for producing. Take the dolmus to Selcuk and then another to Sirince from the Selcuk bus station.
  • Go on a horse safari and swim with the horses - If you’re into horses this is an excursion for you. Trek through forests and over mountains until you reach the rural beach of Pamucak where you have the chance to swim with the horses and gallop along the sandy beach.

Shopping in Kusadasi

Shopping in Kusadasi is largely a tourist-based experience, but can still be interesting if you've never been to Turkey. The old town's Grand Bazaar boasts around 1,000 stalls selling every Turkish product under the sun. Beautiful crafts and carpets compete here with fake Rolex watches and other souvenirs. Be prepared for aggressive shopkeepers, and hone your bargaining skills. The Orient Bazaar is the other big traditional shopping centre in Kusadasi worth exploring.

A more local scene can be found at the weekly outdoor markets that cater to the residents of Kusadasi. There are three local markets in the city centre worth checking out. The Tuesday Market is full of fresh seasonal produce. The Wednesday Market focuses more on clothing and accessories, while the Friday Market is a combination of the two.

What to eat in Kusadasi

The town boasts wonderful seafood restaurants and lively cafes. There are a number of Chinese and Indian restaurants offering sumptuous meals throughout the day. For junk food McDonalds, Subway and KFC are also very popular. Moreover, the city harbour boasts a good selection of fish restaurants.

Turkish food is very popular and you will find a range of good restaurants in the Old Town area of Kusadasi. If you wish to try some excellent Turkish (or European) dining with a great view over the harbour then the Marina Restaurant at the Kismet Hotel is the perfect place.

The Old Town in Kusadasi is renowned along the coast with numerous bars, jazz clubs, discos and cabarets that promise an evening filled with excitement and entertainment. The Bar Street is famous for Irish bars and pubs which in summers are jam packed. Also, Asagi Barlar Sokagi, Lower Bar Street, is filled with no-less-lively mostly Turkish bars. The biggest disco in town is Ecstasy Bar (Sakarya Sok); where you will find the hot and happening crowd dancing the night away. For the full-on Turkish tourist experience visit a folklore show, complete with belly dancers; the Club Caravanserail (Atatürk Boulevard) is the best known venue.

Turkish Food

In Turkey most food is prepared from fresh ingredients, and in many of the resorts fish is fresh and plentiful. There are many small farms and local growers around and therefore an abundance of wonderfully fresh fruit and vegetables.

Turkish breakfast consists of slices of beyaz peynir (white cheese), preserves, (honey, jam etc.) black olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, clotted cream (kaymak), boiled eggs and bread . It is usual to drink Cay (tea) at breakfast time. Tea I Turkey is served black in small glasses, with or without sugar.

A few things to try for snacks or lunch

Gozleme – a flat lava bread, stuffed wth ingredients them baked on a griddle.

Fillings include:
spinakli = with spinach
karisik = with everything
kasar peynirli = with yellow cow's milk cheese
katmer = plain
kiymali = with ground lamb
patatesli = with mashed potatoes

Pide - a turkish style Pizza

Kumpir – Baked Potatoes are a popular lunchtime snack – fillings include cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, sweetcorn, sliced green and black olives, sausage slices, carrots, steamed peas, mushrooms and Russian salad

Nightlife in Kusadasi

Partying is a major component of the tourism scene all along Turkey's Aegean Sea, and Kusadasi is no exception. In fact, it could be the rule. The old town district is the hub of Kusadasi's booming nightlife scene, especially along its infamous Bar Street. Prepare for an excess of entertainment and dancing in the street. There are a few pockets of mellow bars where live jazz or a glass of wine is the priority, but most establishments cater to dedicated revellers.

Kusadasi nightlife includes a little bit of everything! It’s vibrant enough to attract a crowd of younger party-goers, yet it’s not too over the top. There are discos if you enjoy dancing the night away, as well as bars that have room for dancing, and pub style establishments that are very obviously aimed at the British holidaymakers. If you like the British themed places then you should also like very loud music, as these bars and pubs compete for your business based on how loud they’re playing the songs!

Those of you who prefer your nightlife to be more low-key will find Kusadasi nightlife suits you too. There are quieter parts of town where the bars aren’t trying to deafen you, and you can sit back and relax to the sounds of Turkish music, jazz, or several other genres. Some of the restaurants provide their own nightlife so once you’ve enjoyed a great meal you don’t have to get up and leave. The Turks are such friendly people that they would welcome you to stay and enjoy traditional Turkish music or dancing. This kind of entertainment is also often available in some of the larger hotels too.

It seems every popular tourist destination in Southern Turkey must have a street named ‘Bar Street’! In Kusadasi, Bar Street is definitely the noisiest part of town and it’s located just above the old heart of the town; just follow the music and you should find it! There are not usually admission charges for these bars and clubs but the drinks are priced higher than elsewhere; for this reason Bar Street doesn’t usually start filling up until around 11pm and doesn’t get quiet again until after 4am.
 
For the quieter bars, some of which play live music, head to the older part of Kusadasi called Kale. Here you’ll find narrower streets and a more genteel crowd, with a great atmosphere and ambiance.
 
Further out from Kusadasi centre there are still plenty of bars, pubs and clubs to choose from in the suburbs and along the beaches. Alongside the most famous beach in Kusadasi, Ladies Beach, you’ll find some lively bars and clubs. There aren’t as many as in Bar Street and although they’re loud, they’re not ‘as’ loud! The atmosphere here is a little more relaxed too, so may be preferable for families on holiday in Kusadasi.

Pulsating with energy, glitz and glamour, the nightlife in Kusadasi is an expedition into the heartland of clubs and party hot spots. The Kusadasi boasts of a wide array of bars, pubs, clubs and discotheques. Feel like dancing the night away? Dance till dawn! The nightlife in Kusadasi is dominated by dance clubs and lounges. Many of the clubs have live bands performing popular international numbers! But nightlife in Kusadasi is not all about partying; you can also go to a theater or enjoy a movie at a cinema hall. The options that the nightlife in Kusadasi present is numerous – enjoy them! Alternative for places with little or no nightlife : There’s not much to do at night in Kusadasi. Nightlife in Kusadasi mainly consists of a few small bars. You can go for a drink or two at the bars and enjoy a good snack. After a good tiring day of activities, nightlife in Kusadasi mainly consists of sleeping comfortably in your bed!




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