- What to see and Do
Kusadasi, a once sleepy fishing village back in the '70s, is now the most popular summer resort on the Turkish Aegean coast. The main decoration of this beautiful and safe city (about 60,000 inhabitants) are beautiful sandy beaches. The non-board offer is exceptional: cafes, national and other restaurants, discos… The real attractions are the colorful and well-stocked shops, especially the Grand Bazaar, which offers a variety of items for everyone's taste and pocket!
The architecture of the place is dominated by European and Mediterranean style, so that only exotic aromas of excellent local culinary specialties will remind you of the classic orient. In the vicinity of Kusadasi are ancient historical monuments: Ephesus, Hierapolis (Pamukkale), Didymus and Miletus, which you can (optionally) visit. By mini bus (dolmus) you are connected to the city center or the beach at any time. Whether your goal is to relax and gather energy or to visit historical sites and experience new experiences, Kusadasi, a beautiful resort on the exciting Aegean Sea, is the best place to do it.
There is not much to see around the town center. However, all it takes is a few minutes drive to see many interesting and spectacular attractions in the area.
Ephesus is Kusadasi's biggest attraction. It is located 18 km away from the town center and only a 25 minute drive away. You can join a group tour for a hassle-free trip or you can be more adventurous and take the minibuses for much lesser cost. Once you get to the ancient city of Ephesus, you can't help but marvel at the traces of history, spanning about 3,000 years, laid out before you.
Make sure to visit the Terrance Houses while at Ephesus. This homes are believed to have been occupied by the wealthy of Ephesus and are situated on the hillside overlooking the city. They have been painstakingly excavated and are in amazing condition showcasing frescoes and mosaics from Roman times. The oldest building dates back to the first century BC and continued in use as residences until the 7th century AD.
The ruins are impressive, starting from the Agora and the Temple of Isis, as you explore farther you will discover the Odeion, the Baths of Varius, the magnificent temple of Hadrian, the imposing Librabry of Celsus, the House of Love and the Great Theatre.
Temple of Artemis
Other must-see attractions in Ephesus include the Temple of Artemis which was once considered one of the Seven Wonders of World, the House of the Virgin Mary, the Church of St. John and the Cave of the Seven Sleepers.
House of Virgin Mary
House of Virgin Mary is located on the top of the "Bulbul" mountain 9 km ahead of Ephesus, the shrine of Virgin Mary enjoys a marvelous atmosphere hidden in the green. It is the place where Mary may have spent her last days.
Seven Sleepers Cave
Seven Sleepers Cave is located to the east of Mount Pion behind Ephesus. According to the story in both Christian and Muslim tradition, In the 250's AD seven Christian youths fled the city of Ephesus to avoid persecution and took refuge in this cave. They slept for two hundred years here. When they emerged after two hundred years they saw that Christianity was now the official religion and as all their beloved ones were no longer alive, they went back to sleep at this location. Later, a church was built at the same place and the Christian Ephesians wanted to be buried here. Unlike the Christian story, the Islamic version includes a dog who allegedly accompanied the youths into the cave, and kept watch at the entrance for the entire time that they were asleep In Islam, these youths are referred to as "The People of the Cave" ( Ashabe-Kahf).
Today the cave is visited from behind bars as inside has tomb holes and dangerous to enter. The location is accepted as sacred and visited by both Muslims and Christians.
Cooling off in Kusadasi is easy with the many beaches available for you. If you just want to stay within the city center, you can try and find a place to lounge on the narrow shore of Ladies Beach, however if you want a wider playground with much less tourists milling around, then a 15 minute drive north of town to nearby Pamucak Beach is worth it.
Just be prepared to bring everything you need because there are fewer services and facilities in the Pamucak Beach area, although, there is a small hotel nearby where you can get some drinks and meals.
Dilek National Park
If you want a more scenic location for your beach excursion, then you should head south to Dilek National Park. It is also a 15 minute drive from the resort town. The park's north shore is perfect for swimming and features four main beaches. You can also simply enjoy the picturesque setting while having a picnic at the park's charming wooded areas or follow its hiking trails if you are up for a scenic walk.
Island of Samos
You can also take a quick trip to the nearby Greek island of Samos. It is only one hour and fifteen minutes away by ferry. A walking tour of the Samos's outstanding architecture and colorful bazaars is a must when you get there. Also, make sure to get a sip of the local wine that is famous all throughout the country. Finally, visit the islands popular attractions such as the Monastery of Agia Triada and the Roman Baths in Pythagorion, to name a few.
Shopping in Kusadasi in plentiful, from hand knotted rugs to exceptional hand crafted art and sculpture. There is also no end of stores and shops selling genuine "fake" watches. Be prepared to bargain wherever you shop in Kusadasi and in the heat of exchange make sure you are negotiating the right currency. The Turkish Lira is worth far less than the desired Euros, so have a plan and know the conversions before you bargain!
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