Kuşadası is one of Turkey’s premier tourist resorts. It is a large coastal town on the Aegean coast in the province of Aydın. Just 95 km from Izmir and 60 km from Aydin, the town’s name means Bird Island in English. It gets its name from the small island connected to the mainland by a man-made causeway. From the sea the island looks like a bird’s head. Called Güvercin Adasi, or Pigeon Island, there is a nice flower garden around a restored 15th century fortress.
The main industry in Kusadasi is tourism. With close proximity to Izmir, the town gets both local and foreign tourists. Over half a million visitors arrive in Kusadasi during the summer months and many tourists arrive by large cruise ships. The local sandy beaches and crystal clear turqoise waters of the Aegean sea make it a popular destination.
Just 50 km from Adnan Menderes Airport in Izmir, and close to the historic ancient city of Ephesus, the town is a massive holiday village with many hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs. The variety of cuisine here is not just limited to traditional Turkish food. The diversity and range of establishments means that Kusadasi can cater for all tastes. Prices vary considerably from the cheaper local restaurants and guest houses to some very exquisite alternatives for the more wealthy tourists.
The cruise ships stop over for one or two days at a time and the tourist trade supports hundreds of shops with every kind of souvenir imaginable as well as good quality clothing and traditional Turkish crafts and products. During the day the beaches can get quite crowded in peak season. There are numerous options when it comes to beaches. The promenade beach is close to the city centre and Ladies Beach is very popular. For quieter beaches you need to move further down the coast towards Güzelçamlı and the National Park which is known for its coves, beaches, canyons and a sink cave.
When you are fed up with beach life you can take a ferry trip over to the nearby Greek Island of Samos. You might also like to visit Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary near Selçuk which are very popular day trip destinations. In the town itself you should take a look at the Kaleiçi Mosque which dates back to the 17th century and also the Öküz Mehmed Pasha Caravanserai of the same period. There are several aqua fun parks for families and other historical places of interest in and around the town.
Even off season you can find foreigners who have settled in Kusadasi. Along with Marmaris and Fethiye it is popular with British ex pats and those who have retired and bought homes here.
This history of Kusadasi dates back to Roman times. The Virgin Mary came to live here and it became a well known trade route with Genoese, Venetian and Byzantine merchants. Pigeon Island was originally a garrison which later moved to the mainland. The restoration of the old ruined garrison took place in 1834. Like many towns and cities in the Aegean it became occupied after the fall of the Ottoman Empire only to be liberated by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and becoming part of modern day Turkey.