The port of Kusadasi is right in the downtown area. It is an easy walk (5 minutes) into the shopping area, as well as over the pleasant boulevard to Goveroin Ada (or Pigeon Island) and the beaches beyond.
The new cruise terminal of Kusadasi is also a modern mini-mall called Scala Nuova; The facility also has a well priced duty-free shop.
Printable map to take along.
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Just 30 years ago Kusadasi was a sleepy, traditional Turkish seaside village, dependent for its living on fish, farming and honey production. Since then, though, the double-edged sword of mass tourism has brought wealth (its main street sidewalks are now finished in marble!, which can slippery when wet) and, with that, mass commercialization.
Thronged with traffic and lined with ever more expensive carpet and jewelry shops, you can still find pockets of old-style Turkey amidst the narrow, winding streets of its old town, which house vibrant markets and traditional Turkish baths, and offer a chance to bargain for Oriental carpets.
Just head north along the shop-lined and pedestrian main street (Barbaros Hayrettin Caddesi), and when you reach the top it's easy to get directions to the main market and the ancient Kaleici neighborhood, a network of narrow streets crammed with bars, restaurants and atmosphere.
"Kaleici" means inside the castle grounds in Turkish. Kaleici is the oldest part of the town. It is a historical area, with old houses in which many restaurants, shops and some night clubs are situated. You can find also some turkish baths (hammam) in this area.
The tiny Güvercin Adasi (Pigeon Island) is connected to the mainland with a causeway. Its romantic setting includes a well-maintained flower garden which surrounds the restored 14th or 15th century fortress housing a restaurant and an open air café. It is about an half hour walk from port.
Kusadasi is very walkable.
In town, a taxi is cheap, and the fares are regulated. They are easy to find. For long journeys, however, drivers can charge more than the meter reads. So negotiate the fare in advance. The most unusual transportation in Turkey is called Dolmus for routes that buses don't take. The word actually means "To Fill"; thus, the dolumus leaves when it is full! They are usually a minibus, a jeep, or a van so they fill quickly. A bonus is that they will drop you off along the route.
It pays to compare your cruise line shore excursions here
Ephesus is one of the best-preserved ancient classical cities in the eastern Mediterranean. Ephesus was an important seaport as early as 600 BC, but over many centuries silt filled the harbor, and today the city is a few miles inland. Ephesus is best reached with a ship organized tour.
Cruise ships use Kusadasi, about 8 miles away, as a gateway to Ephesus. Ephesus gets very hot in the summer afternoons, so most shore excursions visit the ancient city in the morning, which also makes it very crowded in the summer.
Coaches drop visitors off on one side of the city, and they walk down a gradual hill to the pick up point on the other side. Guides describe the amazing mosaics and architectural and engineering marvels of the extensive site.
Plan to spend at least a half day at Ephesus, and be sure to wear good walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and take water.
Other interesting sites near Ephesus include the frescoes at the Church of St. John the Baptist, the celebrated House of the Virgin Mary, and the excellent Ephesus Museum.
Often included in tours to Ephesus and definitely not worth missing is a visit to the House of the Virgin Mary, located atop Nightingale Mountain (Bulbul). It's a humble, one-story brick house that by myth is supposed to be the place where she spent her last years. Discovered in 1880 by a German nun with a vision, the house has been visited by countless folks on pilgrimages -- including two popes.
By public transportation Ephesus is difficult to reach, a ship or otherwise organized tour is recommended.
If you elect to take a taxi make the same arrangements as the busses do, by picking you up at the other side. A short taxi tour will cost about 50 Euro. Entrance fee is 7 Euro per person. Certainly recommended in hot weather.
A cheaper option is dolmuses, or public minibuses, which are comfortable enough and depart very frequently from Kusadasi to the ruins at Ephesus for about 1 Euro per person one-way. Near the cruise terminal, take dolmus #5 tell the dolmus driver you are going to to Selcuk, and he will tell you when you get off From there take the dolmus to Ephesus. At the Ephesus stop, take a taxi (22 lira) to the upper gate or walk to the lower gate.
Grand and Orient Bazaars are the most important shopping centers at Kusadasi. They are most visited shopping centers because of being close to the Kusadasi harbor.
Traditional handicrafts such as carpets, copper goods, painted ceramics and jewelry are popular buys, along with a good selection of leather goods, sandals and beachwear which can be found in most of the larger resorts.
You can find many fake brands such as Lacoste, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein in most stores.
In souvenir shops and stalls, it's always worth trying a spot of haggling. For food shopping, local mini markets provide basic essentials, whilst the supermarkets found near the larger resorts are similar to those we are used to at home.
Along the Kusadasi's waterfront you will find plenty of (fish) restaurants.
Turkey's currency is the Turkish Lira. Many shops and restaurants in the coastal resorts and big cities accept payment in foreign currency. But if you are planning to travel to other parts of the country, it is advisable to take some Turkish Lira.
With a credit or debit card you can withdraw local currency from cash machines which are found in convenient locations in cities, towns and resorts.
Many restaurants and cafes in town offer free WiFi.
Emergency Ambulance: 112 (all over Turkey) Police: 155 (all over Turkey)
In tourist and coastal areas, opening hours are quite flexible and during the summer many shops stay open until late in the evening, seven days a week, leaving tourists to browse at their leisure and escape the heat of the day.
Holidays in Turkey
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