The cruise terminal is off the main harbour and a short walk from the centre. As you sail into the sheltered bay, note Pigeon Island, an islet tethered to the mainland by a long causeway. The Old Town walls still stand and are now home to dozens of shops, restaurants, cafes and nightspots. By day the town is relatively quiet as most of its visitors are out at the surrounding beaches. By night however it is heaving, with the epicenter being Barlar Sokak (‘Pub Lane’).
Kusadasi is one of the liveliest and most popular resorts on Turkey’s Aegean coast and is favoured by a mix of locals, British package tourists – who come for the sandy beaches, shopping and prolific nightlife – and cruise ship holidaymakers who use it as a gateway to the ruins of Ephesus.
The old town (Kaleiçi) district of Kusadasi is attractively renovated with fashionable shops and refreshment places occupying old stone Ottoman houses. The spectacular 2,000-year old ruins of Ephesus, once a thriving city of over 200,000 people and the Roman capital of Asia, lies just 12 m (19 km) away. It’s worth visiting the nearby museum and minor sites to flesh out the history.
• Ephesus: one of Asia Minor’s finest sites, Ephesus is most famous for the much-photographed double-decker façade of the Celsus Library, built AD 110.
• Selçuk Archaelogical Museum: packed with interesting exhibits retrieved from Ephesus, including the extraordinary Mother Goddess statues of Artemis.
• Basilica of St John and House of The Virgin Mary: Next to the Selçuk Museum are the ruins of the basilica containing the grave of St John the Evangelist. According to local legend, the Virgin Mary spent the final years of her life here and a chapel marks ‘Her’ house.
• A Hamam (Turkish bath): modernized and catering for Western tourists, in Kusadasi old town.
• The old town (Kaleiçi) district of Kusadasi is attractively renovated with fashionable shops and refreshment places occupying old stone Ottoman houses.
• The spectacular 2,000-year old ruins of Ephesus, once a thriving city of over 200,000 people and the Roman capital of Asia, lies just 12 m (19 km) away. It’s worth visiting the nearby museum and minor sites to flesh out the history.
Kusadasi Tourist Office
Liman Cad 13, Kusadasi, Turkey
Tel: (+256) 614 11 03.
Kusadasi is the biggest shopping town on the coast. Copies of Roman and Hellenic artefacts, all manner of local handicrafts including textiles and embroideries, copper, onyx, leather and suede, jewellery, carpets, spices, Turkish delight and fake Rolexes. Expect to be approached by sales people; haggling is the norm. Buying a carpet or other expensive items can be a lengthy process, often involving taking mint tea with the sales merchants.
Often underestimated, Turkish food can be excellent. Try the meze (a selection of appetisers salads and dips). The most typical meat dish is the kebab, chunks of meat grilled on a spit. Simply grilled fish and shellfish are excellent.
When to go:
Both the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have a typical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers, with temperature often rising above 30ºC (86ºF) in July and August. Showers are unlikely in the summer months, but the rainfall is quite high in winter.
19.3km (12 miles).