About Kusadasi beaches
Kusadasi is the largest resort on Turkey’s Aegean Coast, used by cruise ships as the gateway to Ephesus. Beside the harbour, the walls of the tiny Old Town/Caravanserai encircle scores of shops, restaurants and nightspots. Jutting into the bay is Pigeon Island, a charming islet topped by a small Genoese fortress, now home to cafés and bars. Divided from here by the town beach is a smart new marina attracting yachts from all over the world. Beyond, building development continues apace rising into the low hills that back the coastal plain.
The narrow town beach is the least attractive option and in season swamped. A much more pleasant stretch is Kadinlar Beach (Ladies Beach), 3km (2 miles) south, though this also gets overcrowded in summer. Green Beach, a further 500m south is a pleasant small sandy beach with grassy areas under its palm trees. At weekends it is packed by locals. Long Beach, south of Kusadasi, stretches for over 3.5 miles (6 km) and services hotels and locals’ summer homes, with a choice of cafes, restaurants and watersports. It is usually very busy. Some 5km (3 miles) north of Kusadasi lies Kustur/Tusan Beach, a pleasant 1km (0.5 miles) long sandy shoreline. It offers most facilities and is very crowded at weekends.
Around the town are several ‘beach club’ options. For a small fee these offers deck chairs, sunshades, a café and/or restaurant, access to the water and/or a swimming pool and possibly watersports. One of the best is the Papaz Hamami Beach Club next to Pigeon Island (by the causeway to Güvercin Ada). The most peaceful and uncommercialised beaches in the area are those in the Dilek National Park (Dilek Milli Parki), some 30km (19 miles) south of Kusadasi. The pine-backed shore line is a mix of sand and pebbles and the beaches nearest to the park entrance are equipped with picnic tables, shower facilities, toilets, deck chairs and a cafe-restaurant.
Beyond the beach:
The crystal-clear waters of the Aegean coastline mean that snorkelling and scuba-diving are very popular and there are numerous operators and diving centres. A ‘Blue Cruise’ – sailing along the Turkish coastline on a gulet (traditional sailing boat) – is an essential part of a Turkish holiday, even if it is only for a few hours.
There are three waterparks close by. Adaland, at Ephesus Beach, Pamucak (15km/9.5 miles north), is on of the biggest in Europe and includes a dolphinarium and some unusual rides such as white water rafting. AquaFantasy, also at Ephesus Beach, is another large park with many rides and flumes. The smallest is Aqualand at Long Beach 10km (6 miles) south of town.
Just 18km (11.5 miles) northeast, the 2,000-year-old picture-postcard ruins of Ephesus, the Roman capital of Asia, make up one of the world’s best preserved cities from antiquity. The adjacent Ephesus Archaeological Museum in Selçuk is an excellent complement to the site. The three well-preserved Ionian settlements of Priene (35km/22 miles), Miletus (55km/34 miles) and Didim (Didyma) (75km/47 miles), are also well worth a visit. The fairy-tale dazzling white petrified (calcified) waterfalls of Pamukkale is one of Turkey’s most spectacular natural sites, around 220km (138 miles) east. The Greek island of Samos just a few minutes across the water. On a day trip you’ll have time to wander around the attractive harbour town of Vathy (Samos Town) and perhaps take a short excursion into the verdant mountainous countryside beyond.
For excellent Turkish (or European) dining with a great view over the harbour try the Marina Restaurant at the Kismet Hotel, which enjoys a glorious setting in its own gardens by the marina.