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.
Kuşadası destination guides
5-Day Aegean Tour from Istanbul: Gallipoli, Troy, Pergamum, Ephesus, Kusadasi, Pamukkale and Hierapolis
Travel along the breathtaking coastline of Turkey’s Aegean region, full of ancient Greek cities, on this tour from Istanbul. With your local guide, visit the battlefields of Gallipoli, explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Troy and tour ancient ruins in Pergamum and Ephesus.
Private Jewish Heritage Tour: Sardis and Imir Day Trip from Kusadasi
Combine a visit to the ancient ruins of Sardis with a tour of Izmir's Jewish neighborhoods on a full-day excursion from Kusadasi! While enjoying personalized attention from a private guide, walk around the medley of ruins at Sardis and learn about the Lycians, Persians and Romans who made the city their home.