About 22km southwest of Selçuk lies Kuşadası, which suffers from the double indignity of being a cruise-ship port and a major package-holiday resort. English-style pubs and karaoke bars are filled with football strips signed ‘Elaine and Gary from Tredegar, South Wales’, ‘The Essex Police’ and ‘The Catholic Girls’. Then there are the tattoo parlours and shopping centres. Prices are also higher than other towns (particularly alcohol because of high municipality tax). Rip-offs are all too common, and you’ll get plenty of ‘Hi, where are you froms’ from the carpet touts near the cruise-ship port. For the first time, too, the traditional Turkish hospitality seems a little jaded.
Nevertheless, outside high season it is a laid-back town with some lovely beaches and stunning views. A room at a nice pension with a rooftop terrace also makes a decent base for excursions to the ancient cities of Ephesus, Priene, Miletus and Didyma. Plus, the nightlife is cheesy but full-on. And if you look hard enough, the old Kuşadası is not too far beneath the surface either: there are some lovely bars in the old quarter.
There are also signs that the city fathers have at last cottoned on to the need to clean up their act, with the building of an attractive new waterfront esplanade.
Last updated: Mar 24, 2009