My first visit in Turkey took me to Kusadasi, which means the Pigeon Island (or Dove Island). Although this is not the top destination in Turkey for a summer holiday, Kusadasi is impressive and we did have an amazing time there. (For the hotel I stayed in, check out my Arora Hotel Review).
But now it’s time to learn more about Kusadasi: I am here to help you discover the things to do in Kusadasi, what are the attractions here, a quick look at the hotel and some tips and tricks for every tourist. So we could consider this a guide to Kusadasi, Turkey.
The starting point for anybody visiting Kusadasi should be the city center: situated just minutes away from the Aegean Sea and the beautiful promenade, the city center is also near the Grand Bazaar, another attraction for the tourists.
Apart from the Grand Bazaar where you will find cafes, amazing ice creams and all the souvenirs you can think of (which makes it the best place to buy gifts for home), there are also three different markets in the city: Tuesdays and Fridays the fruit and vegetable markets and Wednesdays the very popular clothes market with tons of “genuine fake” designer goods for everybody.
There are two things to take into account before making a purchase: haggling is a must (you will usually get the products for at least half the price asked initially) and second, you should try to avoid purchasing things when the Cruise Ships are in the port since the prices are higher on these days. However, I made all the souvenir and gift buying when Cruise Ships where in the port and I still didn’t feel ripped off.
Promenade and Pigeon Island
You owe it to yourself to take a walk on the beautiful Kusadasi promenade and visit the Pigeon Island: an ancient fort and museum where entrance is free. Expect to see there the well preserved ruins, a beautiful view of the city and the Aegean sea and tons of olive trees and cats.
In order to get there, you’ll walk through the fish market and the harbor, where the beautiful ships for daily trips are located (tip: buy trips directly from the boat captains for a better price!) and near the docking spaces of the huge cruise ships. Make sure to find a terrace there and experience a true Turkish dinner, watching the sunset and enjoying the amazing view!
Beaches in Kusadasi
Most hotels have their own private beaches and probably you won’t need anything else, but in case you are one of the unlucky tourists in a hotel without a beach, there are a few free options for you: Ladies Beach, Long Beach, Silver Sands Beach or Love Beach, all of them are in different areas of Kusadasi and are accessible with cheap Dolmus (a sort of a small bus) rides.
Don’t forget that the beaches in Kusadasi are usually narrow, but sandy. However, having water-shoes will probably make the entire experience better since there are rocks in the water as well as vegetation. The water is clear though and beautiful and there are lots of brightly colored fish for you to admire if you have the required gear.
Regarding the private beaches of each hotel, it would be best to ask the management of the hotel you are going to visit: they vary from sandy to rocky beaches as well as artificial beaches built of concrete and even no beach at all!
And finally, for the most luxuriant beach experience in Kusdasai, you have the option to visit one of the town’s Beach Clubs. There are 4 beach clubs: Eleven’s, Jade, Miracle and Elias and they each require a paid entrance fee, but you will enjoy the day and/or night on the big cushions and hammocks, sipping on the sweet drinks and listening to music. Dancing is also allowed!
Fun in Kusadasi
Of course, there are a ton of ways to spend the nights and days in Kusadasi and I will only talk here about ways to have fun in the town itself and not by going on various trips (which also offer even more ways to have fun).
The first thing that comes to mind is the most famous Aqua Park in Kusadasi: Adaland. There is an entrance fee of 15 or 20 Euros but afterwards you have free access to all the attractions there: from various pools with beautiful water to crazy water slides for all ages or courage levels. There is also a special area for kids and tons of ways to spend your free time.
In Adaland you can also go on a rafting course or check out their Seapark (a different entry fee is paid here) where you can watch the dolphin show and even swim with sharks! Therefore, I think that one day of your Kusadasi holiday should be dedicated to visiting the Adaland!
Blending the fun with the traditional Turkish food, a Turkish Night (available for purchase at your hotel) will certainly help you understand the culture better while enjoying some traditional Turkish dances, belly dancers and more!
Hamam & Turkish bath
You can’t go to Turkey and not try a Turkish bath, followed by a massage from the professional Hamams. The Turkish people even say that visiting the Hamam should be made during your first days of the holiday because it prepares your skin for the sun and makes your tan last longer.
As you can see, there are a lot of things that you can do in Kusadasi in order to turn your holiday into a perfect one – and this without the optional trips that you can (and should) buy from the locals in order to check out the surrounding attractions. But more on that later, now I want to allow you sit back a little and imagine just how amazing Kusadasi really is!