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Things to do in Kusadasi

Things to do in  Kusadasi

Welcome to Kusadasi

With its popular beaches and European-style shops and restaurants along the waterfront, Kusadasi is primarily regarded as a resort town frequented by cruise ships and populated by European holiday-goers. But this city on the west coast of Turkey offers the seasoned global traveler plenty to love, including a stunning example of 17th-century Ottoman architecture at Okuz Mehmed Pasha Caravanserai. Apart from the attractions, however, the city’s most enticing appeal is its prime location with easy access to some of Turkey’s most popular historic and natural attractions. Take a short ferry ride to the Greek island of Samos, home to Pythagoras and Epicurus, or spend the day lounging aboard the deck of a boat on the Mediterranean Sea. The large set of Aegean ruins at Ephesus—including the House of Virgin Mary, Basilica of St. John, and Temple of Artemis—lure travelers away from the city, as do the smaller but equally important sites at Priene, Didyma, and Miletus. With so many tours geared to please the cruise passengers coming and going from Izmir Port, finding a streamlined shore excursion to any of these attractions is a breeze. Private tours offer customizable itineraries best suited to your interests, while group tours help you save money on the most popular attractions.

Top 15 attractions in Kusadasi

Kusadasi Castle

Built and extended between the 14th and 18th centuries, picturesque Kusadasi Castle sits on Pigeon Island (Guvercin Adasa), an islet connected to Kusadasi via a causeway. Originally constructed as a military base, the fortress is composed of outer walls that enclose its gardens and an inner castle with a tiny museum.More

Ephesus (Efes)

Ephesus (Efes) is one of the greatest ancient sites in the Mediterranean. During its heyday in the first century BC, it was the second-largest city in the world, with only Rome commanding more power. Many reconstructed structures and ruins, including the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, can be seen here.More

House of the Virgin Mary (Meryem Ana Evi)

St. Mary’s House in Ephesus is believed by many to be the place where the mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, spent her final days, and has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors and pilgrims seeking the healing properties of the spring that runs beneath the stone home since its discovery in the 19th-century.More

Temple of Artemis (Artemision)

One of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the marble Temple of Artemis (Artemision or Artemisium at Ephesus once spanned more than 63,000 square feet (around 5,850 square meters. Today all that remains of 127 original columns plus countless frescoes and statues is a teetering pillar and some foundation fragments.More

Kusadasi Caravanserai (Öküz Mehmed Pasha Caravanserai)

Built in 1618, the Kusadasi Caravanserai is an authentic Ottoman-era inn situated close to Kusadasi’s harbor. Commissioned by Ottoman statesman Okus Mehmed Pasha, the building functioned as a trading house through the centuries before its current use as an outdoor entertainment, festival, and arts venue.More


The ancient Greek city of Priene is in modern-day Turkey, but its Greek roots are clearly visible in the excavations you can visit. The remains of the city of Priene we can see today date back to the 4th century B.C.E., but it’s widely known among archaeologists that the original Priene settlement is much older. How much older, they can’t say - those remains are likely still buried - but it’s possible the original city was established before 1000 B.C.E.One of the main attractions at Priene is the Temple to Athena, situated at the highest point of the old city. Other sights in the excavations include a theater, the agora, a city council building called a “bouleuterion,” a gymnasium with Roman baths, and a Temple of Demeter.More

Miletus (Miletos)

The ancient Greek city of Miletus (Miletos) in modern-day Turkey was once an important port city. When the river’s location changed, the city was eventually abandoned.The settlement at Miletus dates back to 1400 B.C.E., and the city grew to be one of Greece’s wealthiest cities - thanks in large part to its position at the mouth of the Maeander River. Over the centuries, the river changed course, leaving Miletus behind. The city was later destroyed by the Persians in 499 B.C.E. and then rebuilt on a new grid plan that was to become the model for Roman cities. Excavations at the site began in the late 1800s, and today you can see the remains of a theater, a stadium, a Temple to Apollo, a Byzantine-era castle and church, and Roman baths.More

Sardis (Sart)

Just east of Izmir in Turkey, ruined Sardis—or Sardes—was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia before falling to the Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. Its ruins span everything from a Roman gymnasium to the relics of a nearby Greek temple, and the remains of the 5th church of the Bible’s Seven Churches of the Revelation.More

Adaland Aquapark

One of Kusadasi’s best water parks, Adaland Aquapark boasts slides for every age and pace, from leisurely 6-person family jaunts through to freefall and boomerang rides. A wave pool, lazy river, jacuzzi, little kids’ zone, rafting course, and lively poolside disco make it a great space to while away the day.More

Dilek National Park (Dilek Milli Parki)

Covering 87 square miles (227 square kilometers), the Dilek Peninsula-Buyuk Menderes Delta National Park occupies a peninsula south of Kusadasi on Turkey’s Aegean coast. Natural wonders abound here, from pebble beaches and wildlife to footpaths, ancient ruins, and a canyon hiking trail.More

Basilica of St. John

In Christian tradition, St. John the Apostle came to Ephesus after St. Paul and ministered to the Ephesians. The vast Basilica of St. John, built by the sixth-century emperor Justinian, houses a fourth-century tomb that drew pilgrims from across Europe in search of miracles. It is still one of the world’s largest cathedrals today.More

Library of Celsus

A grand two-story facade adorned with statues of the four Virtues makes the Library of Celsus the most photographed and best-known monument in the Ephesus UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in AD 110 to honor Gaius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, it once held 12,000 scrolls, making it one of the largest libraries in the ancient world.More

Temple of Hadrian at Ephesus

The Temple of Hadrian at Ephesus is one of the highlights of the ruins of Ephesus in Turkey. It was built around 118 AD and is actually more of a monument to Hadrian, Artemis, and the people of Ephesus. Hadrian's temple is small, but there is a beautiful arch on the outside, a porch, and a small main hall. The porch is supported by pillars and Corinthian columns. A statue of Hadrian once stood on a podium in the temple, but it has been lost. On the front of the porch are bases with the names of Galerius, Maximianus, Diocletianus, and Constantius Chlorus inscribed on them, indicating that the bases might have once held statues of these emperors.Panel reliefs on the inside depict Medusa warding off the bad spirits, the mythological foundation of Ephesus, and various religious scenes. The reliefs seen today are plaster replicas, while the originals are protected in the Ephesus Museum.More


Şirince, a small village of just 600 inhabitants, has a long history that is intrinsically linked to Ephesus; indeed, rumor has it that it was founded by freed Greek slaves who named it “ugly” in Turkish to deter others from following them after the fall of Ephesus. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the name was changed to Şirince, which means ‘pleasant.’ Nowadays the mountainous village is mainly known for its many preserved whitewashed stucco homes, bucolic and lush setting, as well as its fruit-based wineries and olive groves. The Church of St John the Baptist, although neglected by Turkish authorities, still houses fantastic Byzantine frescoes. Most tourists tend to visit for one day as part of excursions to nearby Selçuk, but there’s a handful of guesthouses and cafés for overnight guests as well. Visitors should be aware that Sirince gets very crowded on the weekend.More

Public Latrine at Ephesus

The ruins of the ancient Roman city of Ephasus are located in Selcuk, Turkey. The city was the second most important city in the Roman empire during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. One of the popular sections of the ruins is the Public Latrine, next to the Hadrian Temple and the Bordello. The public latrines were the city's public toilets, and they were built in the 1st century AD as part of the Scholastica Baths. These baths were built to provide the city with the modern conveniences of public works, including 36 marble toilets.Visitors can still see, but not use, the toilets that are lined up along the walls. There was an uncovered pool with columns surrounding it which supported a wooden ceiling. Underneath the latrines was a drainage system. There was also a trough with relatively clean water near where your feet would be. People who wanted to use the toilets had to pay an entrance fee.More

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Recent reviews from experiences in Kusadasi

Fabulous tour and fabulous guide
Nina_G, Oct 2022
BEST SELLER: Private Ephesus Tour From Kusadasi
Kusadasi is a fabulous city to visit.
Best Ephesus tour
Leon_R, Aug 2022
PRIVATE TOUR: Best of Ephesus Tours (Skip The Line ) / FOR CRUISE GUESTS ONLY
Best way to see all and learn from her, highly recommended
Best stop of our trip
Lori_G, Nov 2022
Kusadasi Shore Excursion: Ephesus Tour for Cruisers from Kusadasi Port
So many tours like this (rich in history) can become overwhelming to visitors (us) - when made to understand the historical relevance to the site.
Truly an Amazing Tour that covered the Highlights of Kusadasi
christopherlee0214, Oct 2022
All inclusive Private Tour: Ephesus, Artemis, The House of Virgin Mary, LUNCH
He truly made us feel like family and made Turkey a country I'd love to visit again perhaps not on a cruise next time so we have more than 8 hours to explore.
margaretcazer, Aug 2022
Good luck on your trip to visit the USA!
Best tour of Kusadasi
Mickey_K, Aug 2022
Kusadasi Port Private Ephesus Tour
She was a pleasure to have as our tour guide for the day and allowed us to see Kusadasi in the short time we had.
Great service
XIAOCHEN_W, Jun 2022
Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB) Transfer to OR from Kusadasi
He spoke English.
Great tour…
Jonathan_R, May 2022
Customizable Private Ephesus Tour
His english was fluence and easy to understand.
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All about Kusadasi

When to visit

For the high season buzz, come in July and August when the Aegean coast fills with Turkish and foreign travelers. By September, temperatures remain warm but the crowds thin. If you’re using Kusadasi at a jumping-off point to visit archaeological destinations such as Ephesus or the Temple of Artemis, get an early start in summer to avoid crowds and heat. Seeing the ruins requires a lot of walking, so consider a spring or fall trip for milder weather.

Getting around

Although many visitors opt for a hired driver or guide, getting around Kusadasi independently is a breeze thanks to the city’s network of domus routes, or shared minibus services. A staple of any Turkish city, they can be flagged down like a taxi from most street corners with a hand wave. Routes connect the town center to outlying beaches. To explore the Ephesus ruins, it’s best to take a taxi or private bus service, or go on a tour.

Traveler tips

Kusadasi may be bustling and cosmopolitan, but it also runs rich with Turkish traditions. Keep your eyes peeled for the nazar, a blue symbol meant to protect against the evil eye. If you’re hankering for a less crowded coastline, then skip jam-packed Ladies Beach and head south to pristine Dilek Peninsula National Park. Or, consider coming in early fall, when the days are still warm but the hordes have moved on.

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