Back along the coast, Kusadasi, or Bird Island, is a lovely port built along the shores of a glittering bay. The terraced town overlooks the most beautiful inlet of the Aegean and seems to have been created purely for the delight of the holiday-maker. Be sure to visit the famous and popular Kus shopping center in the Kaleici quarter, where there is nightlong entertainment.
A large, modern marina facilitates life for visiting yachters. Tusan Kustur Beach, north of Kusadasi lies one of the cleanest beaches and 23 km south of Kusadasi is the charming holiday resort town of Guzelcamli. West of Guzelcamli and 30 km from Kusadasi, is the Dilek Peninsula National Park, and a visit is a must for those with the time. Here amidst incredibly beautiful surroundings are some of the most wonderful views and some of the rarest wild animals in Turkey, including the Anatolian cheetah and some of Turkey’s last wild horses, The park is a wildlife preserve and a haven for many species of animals and birds.
The exquisite Menderes River valley, known in the West as the Meander, has been the cradle of many civilisations. Set amidst pine, olive and oleander trees, the magnificent Camici (Bafa) Lake is a lovely place to stopover. Tourists can choose between guest houses or campsites. To the east of the lake rise the five peaks of the Besparmak Mountains.
The Iconoclastic priests who came here to live, from Constantinople, built monasteries, churches, and chapels around the base of the mountains and on the lake’s islands. The ruins of the ancient city of Heraklia lie close to the lake, while the remains of Alinda are found on the eastern slopes of the Besparmak Mountains. The valley has witnessed the rise and fall of several great cities, notably Priene, Miletos, Didyma, Aphrodisias, and Hierapolis.
This peaceful national reserve is an excellent place for bird watchers, trekkers, nature lovers and photographers. Gullubahce (Priene) was one of the most active ports of the lonian Federation. The gridlike system of streets introduced in the fourth century B.C. by Hippodamos of Miletos is a superb and early example of town planning. Milet (Miletos), like Priene, was a great lonian port and the birthplace of several philosophers and sages. The theatre justifies a visit, and be sure to see the well preserved ruins of the Faustina baths and the Archaeological Museum.
Major Sights, Places To See
Mehmet Pasa Caravanserai, Guvercinada (Pigeon Island), Dilek National Park, Ephesus, Miletos, Didyma, Priene, Aphrodisias, Pamukkale, Lake Camici (Bafa), Heracleia, Bodrum, Samos.
Tours and Excursions
Ephesus, Virgin Mary’s House.
Priene, Miletos, Didyma.
Pamukkale, Hierapolis and Aphrodisias.
Bodrum, Lake Camici (Bafa), Boat Tour of Bodrum Peninsula.
For most long distance bus journeys, it is necessary to change at Izmir, 90 minutes away, which has many more choices. Smaller buses make regular trips to Bodrum (2 hours), Pamukkale (3 hours) and Selcuk (30 mins), and dolmuses run a shuttle service to the beaches to the south of Kusadasi. There is a bus service that stops near Izmir’s airport. Buses either depart from the bus station, or from the town centre.
Bus Station Phone: + 90 256 614 39 81
There are two main harbours in the town. Cruise ships arrive throughout the year, and there are sailings to the Greek Island of Sisam (Samos) with daily departures between April 1 and October 20. In the new yacht harbour – the largest and best equipped northwest of Marmaris with a capacity of 650 – the Blue Cruise boats organise regular excursions.
Kusadasi Setur Marina Phone: + 90 256 614 17 52
The nearest airport is Izmir Adnan Menderes, 90 minutes by car. There are many domestic flights to Istanbul and Ankara, as well as European charter flights.