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.
Kuşadası takes its name from the Turkish 'kuş' (bird) and 'ada' (island) -- literally 'Bird Island', a reference to Guvercin Adası ('Pigeon Island'), which is connected to the mainland of Kusadasi by a short causeway. Today, citizens of Kuşadası often shorten the name to Ada.
Kuşadası caters to tourists, growing to over half a million during the high season, when the large resort fills with tourists (from Turkey itself, northern Europe and the Balkans) plus the hotel staff, bar staff, construction workers, and drivers who are needed to work in the restaurants servicing all these visitors. The hills behind Kuşadasi are built up with big hotels and blocks of holiday flats.
- Visitors can arrive by highway (from north, south, and east); the city is linked by a modern six-lane highway to İzmir's Adnan Menderes Airport.
- There are daily ferry services to and from the nearby Greek island of Samos.
- The city is a port of call for cruise ships plying the Eastern Mediterranean. In a controversial deal in 2003, the previously public-owned port was leased to a private company and renovated to attract luxury cruise liners. Today, Kuşadası is the second busiest cruise port in Turkey, after Istanbul, mainly due to the archaeological attractions at Ephesus. The Kuşadası docks are right downtown, and terminals offer a good selection of stores including a duty-free shop.
- If you are starting from Izmir Adnan Menderes airport, take the ESHOT 204 bus for 5.75 TL to the Izmir otogar. On the ground floor of the otogar there will be tickets stands for the various bus companies, e.g. Anadolu, Pamukkale, etc. An Anadolu bus cost 12 TL (2013) and will drop you off at the Kusadasi otogar.
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.
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.
The ladies beach, a crowded Sunday in September 2011
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.
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. Notable scamming businesses are: Benny's Shop also called Benny's Leather and Ephasus Jewelry.
- Avlu Restaurant & Cafe, Cephane Sokak 15 (Located in the bazaar area behind the main post office.). Tasty Turkish food at a reasonable price. Friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere. Vegetarian options available upon request. Finish your meal with an excellent cup of Turkish coffee served in style.
- Saray Restaurant is one of the best multi-national restaurant in town. Located at Kaleici (Oldtown) at the heart of the city.
- Orient Bar The Orient Bar is famous for its cosy atmosphere, grapevine roof and its walls are surrounded by old music instruments. This bar is perfect if you enjoy live music, a cold drink and a place full of atmosphere! It is said that once you visit the Orient Bar, you never want to leave. Suitable for families and couples a like.
- SWE Restaurant Enjoy an ice cold beer or a holiday cocktail while overlooking the Aegan Coastline at Ladies Beach. Established in 2000, SWE restaurant has earned an excellent reputation for the most hospitable service service and freshly prepared, delicious food!
*The Orient Bar The Orient Bar is famous for its cosy atmosphere, grapevine roof and its walls are surrounded by old music instruments. This Bar is perfect if you are into live music, a cold drink and lively atmosphere. Some say that once you visit the Orient Bar, you never want to leave! Suitable for couples and families alike.
*The Limon Bar The Limon Bar is extremely popular amongst tourists. This bar, which stays open until late, is the perfect place to finish up for the night. Enjoy yourself, relax and have fun at the Limon Bar.
*Cem's Paradise Cem's Paradise is open all year round. During the Summer months, you can enjoy live rock music on Wednesdays and Saturday nights. Enjoy a cold Efes, sit back and relax. You may also hear one of Cems stories if you are lucky!
For further information on the bars mentioned above and a series of others, please visit [meanwhileinkusadasi-wix.com].
- Dias Hotel, Tarhan Candan Blv.. Family run 3-star hotel, friendly and clean. Englsh speaking staff, always friendly and helpful.
- Hotel Panorama, Kıbrıs Caddesi 14, Hacı Feyzullah (in downtown), ☎ +90 256 614 66 19 ([email protected], fax: +90 256 614 66 54), . Hotel Panorama is a cheap, convienent backpacker hostel to stay located just a minutes walk from the port in central Kusadasi. The owner/manager Ali is extremely welcoming and eager to help travelers with any of their plans and even has some inside contacts (ask about Ali Baba for tours to Ephesus). Furthermore, pick up is provided from the port along with a free drink upon arrival to the hostel. The rooms are clean and adequate with en-suite bathrooms and air-con and the hostel throws events at night for free such as Turkish spoon dancing and belly dancing and, if you are lucky, Ali's mother may invite you to a home cooked meal! €20/14/11/10 per person in single/doube/triple/dorm rooms. Cheaper Oct-Apr.
- Sezgin Hotel, Aslanlar Caddesi 68 (in downtown), ☎ +90 256 614 42 25 ([email protected]). A guesthouse in old town owned by a former traveller. Rooms with en-suite bathrooms, balconies, and air-con. Staff can reportedly speak English, German, Japanese, and Korean.
- Hotel Suer, Yeşilvadi Sokak No: 9, ☎ +90 256 622-31-01 ([email protected]), . checkout: noon. Placed on a hilltop, the hotel offers a nice view with great sunsets. Not a bad choice if you are looking for a low price living. The hotel is located 20 minutes walk from Lady's Beach. To Kusadasi center you need to take a car. What's good is that you get free rides wherever you would like to go as long as it's close to Kusadasi. Don't expect too much and you will be happy with this hotel. Standard Turkish breakfast is served every morning. 30 TL/person, closed Oct-Mar.
- Gzr Hotel, Akbük Mah. 2048 Sok. No 3, ☎ +90 256 817-33-03 ([email protected]), . checkin: 13:00; checkout: noon. This hotel in in Didim which is 60 km away from Kusadasi. Hotel has it's own private beach and the beach is really goood. If you want to have a relax holiday it will be a good choice. The rooms are clean with en-suite bathrooms and the price is included an open buffet breakfast. 75 EUR/room.
Kuşadası falls within the area code (+90) 256, which is also shared by some nearby inland cities and towns, such as Aydın.
- Ephesus, one of the major and best preserved Greco-Roman sites in Turkey, is located nearby, about 20 minutes by car.
- Dilek Peninsula National Park — about 20 min south of Kuşadası, this park with its lush forests, hiking trails, and quite secluded beaches is exactly the opposite of what Kuşadası represents, and is therefore a great get-away.
- Greek island of Samos, just southwest of Kuşadası, makes a great side trip (or even day-trip for those not needing a Greek visa), thanks to daily boat connections, which depart more than once daily during high season.