A Turkish adventure: 10 things to do in Kusadasi

EPHESUS, TURKEY - JULY 28, 2017: Ruins of Celsius Library in ancient city Ephesus, Turkey in a beautiful summer day

The O'Hallorans

The OHallorans

We’re made up of Lyndsey, John and Erin, who all love a new adventure. We try to get away as much as possible, especially during school holidays and variety is a must for us. That means staying anywhere from a luxury hotel to a hostel and it’s not often we go to the same place twice. 

Planning a trip to the Turkish coast and looking for inspiration? In this guide, we’re spilling the beans on the top 10 things you absolutely can’t miss when you’re in this coastal paradise. From family-friendly escapades to solo traveller thrills, Kusadasi has something special for everyone.

Turkish flag on a boat during a stop on a day trip

Perfect for families:

Book a boat trip

Kusadasi is home to a beautiful marina, where you can go on a daily boat trip. As you walk around Pigeon Island, where the boats are, you can also see the cruise ships which are docked as you pass. We booked ours through our holiday provider, Jet2, which also provided transport to and from the boat. However, you can easily join a boat trip at the marina and pay on the day. There are various places in the town to book boat tours as well.

Generally, boat trips last from roughly 10 am until around 4 pm and visit a selection of places during that time. You can expect to pay anything between €25 and €35 for adults, which usually includes a traditional Turkish BBQ lunch. Children are welcome on most boats, with plenty of space for pushchairs etc.

Our boat tour stopped off three times, once passing by the Dilek National Park. At some locations, we were able to get off the boat onto a stone beach while at others we were only able to swim in the sea. There was time between stops to relax and sunbathe on the top deck, or sit with a drink inside the boat. This was such a nice way to see a bit more of Turkey, to enjoy the beautiful turquoise water and spot fish along the way.

Boat docked in the seat on a trip from Kusadasi

Visit Aqua Fantasy Water Park

For a fun-filled family day out, take a trip to Aqua Fantasy Water Park. Families can enjoy the thrill of slides, wave pools, and activities catering to all ages. There’s time to relax by the water too, if you need a bit of downtime and plenty of food and drinks options for when you get hungry.

Aqua Fantasy Water Park is only open during the summer season due to the mild winters. Be sure to check dates and times on their website.

Relax at the beach

Kusadasi has a few beautiful beaches, ideal for some downtime. Head to Ladies Beach or Long Beach for a day of sun, sandcastle building, and water sports suitable for the whole family. Kusadasi’s downtown beach is very close to Kusadasi town, meaning you’ll have plenty of options for food and drink throughout the day. The Mediterranean climate means the beach is a great place to spend time in the sun, but make sure you’re safe and sensible at the same time. 

Beach in Kusadasi at dusk

Explore Ephesus

Visiting Ephesus in Kusadasi with children is a fun adventure blending history and exploration. The impressive ancient city’s well-preserved ruins will wow children, giving them so much to talk about. Take a stroll through the marble streets, imagining what life would have been like in this Roman city. During your visit, be sure to look out for these areas:

  • Library of Celsus
  • The Great Theatre
  • Explore the terrace houses
  • Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Kusadasi Castle and Pigeon Island

No matter where you staying Kusadasi you’ll have easy access to Kusadasi Castle and Pigeon Island. 

The castle’s ancient stones are perfect for those interested in history, and as you climb, breathtaking views of the shimmering sea await. Pigeon Island becomes your private treasure island, where kids can roam free, imagining buried treasures and secret hideouts. It’s the perfect place for an adventure! Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the resident pirate pigeons—they might just join in on your quest for hidden treasures! It’s a day filled with history, imagination, and endless excitement for the little explorers!

Pirate castle on Pigeon Island in Kusadasi, Turkey in a beautiful summer day

For adult travellers:

Turkish Bath Experience

One of the best things I did while in Kusadasi was to experience an authentic Turkish Bath. We stayed at the Koru Mar Delux hotel, which had a spa offering this experience however, there are plenty of other places you can go. Jet2, our holiday provider also offered day trips to local Turkish spas. If you want to arrange this yourself, you might be able to negotiate on the price.

A Turkish bath, known as a “hamam,” is a traditional bathing ritual deeply ingrained in Turkish culture for centuries. It’s more than just a place to get clean—it’s a holistic experience for relaxation and rejuvenation. The bath typically consists of a series of heated rooms, starting with a hot room to sweat and open pores, followed by a warm room for a soothing soak and a massage with exfoliating scrubbing mitts to cleanse and invigorate the skin. It’s a cultural immersion that blends cleansing, socialising, and a serene escape, leaving visitors feeling refreshed and renewed, both physically and mentally.

Shop at Kusadasi Bazaar

Kusadasi is well-known for being a place to go if you like to shop. Wander through the bustling bazaars, bargain for souvenirs, local crafts, and spices and experience the vibrant local culture. 

Owners are likely to try and entice you into their shops, offering reasonable prices and must-have items. There are a lot of fakes in Kusadasi, but people visit just for this reason and the shops are one of the biggest tourist attractions. Haggling is welcomed and items are likely to be sold for less in the evenings. Kusadasi gets a lot of cruise ships there for a port day and once the ships leave, shop owners will reduce their prices. 

A row of shops at the Kusadasi bazaar

​Go on a day trip

Although there is a lot to see in Kusadasi there are so many great places on the Aegean coast of Turkey to explore. You can find some great ideas for day trips below: 

  • Pamukkale and Hierapolis: Venture to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pamukkale, famous for its terraces of travertine pools. Explore these natural wonders and visit the ancient city of Hierapolis nearby.
  • Priene, Miletus, and Didyma: Discover these ancient cities filled with historical remnants and fascinating archaeological sites. Priene’s well-planned streets, Miletus’ grand theatre, and Didyma’s impressive Temple of Apollo await.
  • Izmir City Excursion: Head to Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, for a vibrant day filled with culture, markets, historical sites like the Kadifekale Castle, and a taste of modern Turkish life.
  • Sirince Village: Visit this charming village known for its quaint streets, traditional houses, and local crafts. Sample homemade fruit wines and immerse yourself in the village’s laid-back ambience.
  • Bodrum: Travel to Bodrum, a picturesque coastal town famous for its vibrant nightlife, historical sites like the Bodrum Castle, and its beautiful beaches.

Take a local tour

A great way to see the local area, and to find out more about the place you’re staying, a guided tour is a great idea. If you are visiting in the summer months, children might find this too hot in the heat.

A tour guide will be able to take you to some of the best places in Kusadasi. This could be historical sites, the ancient city of Ephesus, a sandy beach or the Basilica of Saint John. I found Turkish people to be extremely friendly and a tour guide is bound to show you the best of this small town. Find somewhere to have some good food or maybe do wine tasting during your day if you have time. 

Ship in Kusadasi, Turkey in a beautiful summer day

Hike to Dilek Peninsula

If you’re better on land than at sea then there are places you can hike in Kusadasi. Dilek Peninsula National Park offers beautiful landscapes and maybe a much-needed escape from the tourist areas.

Think lush forests, crystal-clear streams, and breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. With trails for various skill levels, you can choose a hike that suits your family best, whether it’s a leisurely stroll or a more challenging trek. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife—shy deer or colourful butterflies might just make a guest appearance!

Find out more about Kusadasi:

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