Kusadasi Port of Call
Hagia Sophia at night © Moyan Brenn
One of the biggest cruise ports in Turkey, Kusadasi is a popular stop on Mediterranean cruises from Venice, Piraeus, or the Greek island of Samos. The city is blessed with roughly 300 days of sunshine each year, making it an ideal port of call or holiday destination for sun-starved vacationers.
Formerly a sleepy fishing village, Kusadasi owes its huge tourism industry to its proximity to archaeological sites like the ancient city of Ephesus, one of the best-preserved sites in the Eastern Mediterranean. Kusadasi itself is not without charm however, with attractions like Turkish baths, beaches, bustling markets, and waterfront cafes serving mouth-watering meze platters.
Cruise ships in Kusadasi dock at a terminal in the main harbour, walking distance from the city centre.
Kusadasi is easy to explore on foot, with a compact city centre friendly to pedestrians. Nearly all cruise ships offer shuttles and organised tours to further destinations, but if you want to go on your own you can find taxis at the docks (but be sure to negotiate a price before setting off).
The main attraction in Kusadasi isn't inside the town itself: the ancient city of Ephesus is only a few kilometres away and is home to popular sites like the House of the Virgin Mary, the Temple of Cybele at Artemis, and the ruins of a library, theatre, and many grand residences. Cruise passengers are well-catered-for on excursions to Ephesus, which are organised by nearly every cruise line.
Selam Restaurant - Good seafood and steaks for reasonable prices
Chez Maurice - local Turkish cuisine served right on the beach
Saray Restaurant - tourist-friendly restaurant with an eclectic menu
The main bazaar has a bustling atmosphere, but cruise passengers should be aware that prices are inflated just for them. Better bargains are to be had in less-busy areas. Bargaining is a necessity if you want a good deal, so starting from one third of the stated price is a good place to start. Touts can be persistent, and will go to great lengths to entice you into their shops.
silver jewellery and fragrant Turkish honey
Go hiking and have a picnic in the Dilek Peninsula National Park
Swim with dolphins or ride the waterslides at Adaland
Be pampered with a massage or sauna session in the Turkish Baths
View ancient historical sites on an Ephesus Shuttle Tour
Sun yourself on Kadinlar Denizi (Ladies Beach)
Become our Turkey Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Turkey travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Turkey or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.