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Things to Do in 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—lures 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 save money on the most popular attractions.
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Kusadasi Castle
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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.

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Miletus (Miletos)
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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.

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Priene
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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.

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Adaland Aquapark
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Adaland Aquapark is a water park in Kusadasi, Turkey on the country's west coast. In the past it has been named one of the best water parks in the world. The park has a wide variety of water slides including a head first slide, a freefall slide, loop slides, body slides, tube slides, speedy slides, slope slides, dark tunnel slides, and the world's longest family slide with tubes for two to six people. There's also a big fountain with water shooting out of the ground set to music in an area called Rain Dance where you can dance and enjoy the water. The water park has an elliptical shaped track for rafting and is the only place in Kusadasi where you can go rafting.

Adaland Aquapark also has a jacuzzi with warm bubbly water, a lazy river, a wave pool, and a pool for children. There's an activity pool where you can go swimming or sunbathing. When you're ready to take a break, there are several restaurants and bars offering hamburgers, pizza, Turkish food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and more.

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Dilek National Park (Dilek Milli Parki)
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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.

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Didyma
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Located 48 miles (78 kilometers) south of Kusadasi in Turkey, Didyma is a sanctuary centered on the 2nd-century-BC Temple of Apollo, once among the largest in the ancient Greek world. Now reduced to giant broken columns and chambers, the temple once drew thousands of pilgrims who came to worship Apollo and consult its prophesy-giving oracle.

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Kusadasi Caravanserai (Öküz Mehmed Pasha Caravanserai)
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The centuries roll back when you step inside Kuşadası Caravanserai (Öküz Mehmed Pasha Caravanserai), rich with Ottoman and Seljuk architectural details.

With its Venetian-style swallow-tail battlements and red stone walls, the Ottoman castle dates back to 1618 and the days of Vizier Öküz Mehmed Pasha (also written Okus Mehmet Pasa or Okuz Mehmed Pasha). In the Ottoman era, the castle acted as a trading house and meeting place for merchants, and was fortified to protect the valuable goods stored there.

Entering the Caravanserai, you walk through a marble arched gateway into a double-story courtyard filled with lush palm trees, Turkish rugs (for sale), marble pools and fountains.

These days the former stronghold is a welcoming boutique hotel with a well-known restaurant. The hotel combines Ottoman history and modern-day conveniences, with bathrooms and fireplaces providing plenty of 21st-century comforts.

The Kusadasi Caravanserai is a popular entertainment venue. Traditional Turkish cuisine and entertainment fill the courtyard on ‘Turkish Nights’, when folk music and belly dancing are performed under the stars.

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Kusadasi Cruise Port
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One of the most popular resort towns along Turkey’s Aegean Coast and the gateway to the UNESCO-listed wonders of Ephesus, the Kusadasi cruise port welcomes some 200,000 cruise passengers each year. It’s also a jumping-off point for regular ferry service to the surrounding Greek Islands.

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