kusadasi turkey

What To Do in Kusadasi, Turkey in 24 Hours

With a history which includes chapters of Persian, Roman, Greek, Byzantine and Venetian rule, Kusadasi is today a modern tourist destination that retains some of its relics from long ago. Then named Scala Nova, the town developed around its importance as a trading port, filling the niche which that of mighty Ephesus had once done before its port silted up.   Where today those who arrive in Kusadasi come for holidays of sun, sea, a lively atmosphere and a full menu of things to see and do, in prior times the visitors were sailors, sea captains and traders. Its location as a significant trading route led to the construction of its imposing caravanserai which sits just back from the port in a well-preserved state while what were once impressive fortified walls and entry gates can today only be seen as ruined sections dotted here and there. Just offshore lies the picturesque Pigeon Island with its ancient fort and beautiful gardens while in the surrounding mountains and countryside is any number of charming villages which will give you a glimpse into real Turkish life.

Several important archaeological sites are also within reach from Kusadasi, allowing you to step back in time and discover a collection of wonderful leftovers from the area’s fascinating past.   However, Kusadasi’s number one draw card is the ancient city of Ephesus which lies just a few miles east, a city once so magnificent it was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Exploring the temples, market squares, amphitheaters and old streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site where St. Paul used to preach is a must while you are in town, as is visiting its museum which is found close by.   Combining all the conveniences of a vibrant tourist destination with lovely beaches,culture and history, Kusadasi has something for everyone.

A Morning in Kusadasi

Begin your morning with the best views of the town possible from Ataturk Hill followed by a quick explore of the old quarter’s highlights if you have time before coffee. Afterward, you can stroll out to Pigeon Island with its old fortress which many say was once a hideout for pirates.

Ataturk Hill –A National Hero and Magnificent Views

If you want to start your Kusadasi day with beautiful views of the entire town take the winding path which starts behind the Caravanserai to head up Ataturk Hill. You will weave your way past Greek-style houses until you arrive at a large terrace which opens out to glorious views. The sweep of your gaze from this vantage point can take in Kusadasi, the harbor, Pigeon Island, all the boats in the bay ranging from tiny to massive and beyond to the Icarian Sea and the Greek isle of Samos.   Beside the fluttering Turkish flags, the statue here –a standing figure on a high square column looking out to sea –is the national hero Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. So revered is this ‘Father of the Turks’ who served as the republic’s first president in the 1920s that you will see statues and images of him wherever you go in the country and encounter countless roads and places named for him. If you want the view but don’t want to make the effort to climb the steps up the hill you can take a taxi.

Kusadasi Highlights

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If you climbed Ataturk Hill you will no doubt be ready for a morning refreshment pause by the time you’ve made your way back down but if you took the easier option and drove up then you’ll have time to take in a few more town highlights before a coffee break.   The area behind the port still has vestiges of its old town (Kaleici) and if you really want to explore this aspect you can get a walking tour map from the tourist office. The town was once entirely circled by protective walls which still stand in stretches along with one of the original entry gates but there are other historical sights too.  

Thelargest of the medieval leftovers and impossible to miss is the castle-like Okuz Mehmed Pasha Caravanserai, usually just referred to as the Caravanserai. Along with most of the other antique elements of Kusadasi, the Caravanserai was constructed in the early 1600s when the town was under Ottoman rule. Imposing and crenelated, this thick-walled structure was once used as secure storage for valuable items being shipped in and out of port as well as a protected inn for travelers on the country’s trade routes. It now functions as a hotel but you can still wander its inner courtyard.   The town also has several mosques that you are welcome to explore although you will need to be dressed appropriately and remove your shoes before entering.

Most notable of these is the Kaleici Camiiwhich is another ancient relic of the Ottoman period. Built in 1618 by the same grand vizier responsible for the Caravanserai, the domed mosque with its slender minaret is perhaps the most striking of Kusadasi’s landmarks.Entry is through a wooden door decorated with mother-of-pearl and the beautiful and tranquil interior features stained glass.   Kusadasi’s vast Grand Bazaar is something of a must-visit while in town and although its endless rows of fake designer goods and cheap souvenirs might not tempt you to spend any of your cash it is nevertheless quite a sight. Comprised of both undercover and open-air sections and constantly busy with browsers and buyers, almost anything can be bought here from belly-dancing costumes to hookah pipes and rugs to Turkish delight. The color, aromas and sounds make this a fascinating experience while listening to the sales pitch of the merchants or watching the tourists and vendors haggling can be entertaining.

Morning Coffee in Kusadasi

In a town such as Kusadasi which is well-established on the tourist map, it can sometimes be hard to hunt down the more authentic places to eat and drink, with so many venues simply aimed at pulling in the visitors and with little regard to quality or service. However, Kusadasi certainly has its gems if you know where to find them and the adorable Sukufe Boutique Cafe is a wonderful example of this.   Tucked away down a small tree-lined street and rarely stumbled upon unless you know it is there, the interior is a tiny and simple space with a beautiful tiled floored and long tables made out of tree trunks split down their length. Offering good quality coffee, some lovely fresh lemonade, a relaxed vibe and a warm welcome, Sukufe also has a few cozy tables set outside if you want to watch the world go by.  

For those who rate the quality of the coffee as the most important factor when choosing somewhere for a mid-morning pause make your way to the Hand Coffee Shop, located on the main road running along the seafront just back from the port. This artsy contemporary space has a lovely area upstairs with wood floors and comfortable seats while the small alfresco terrace out front gives you a sea view. Besides being ideal for the coffee passionate this cafe is also one for animal lovers with the two resident dogs typically found chilling out on the sofas or patio when they are not otherwise intent on finding new friends among the customers.   Hand’s coffee menu is impressive, offering V60, cold brew and Chemex brew for those coffee connoisseurs who can tell the difference and a full range of espresso-based choices in both hot and cold forms. For those needing an energy pick-me-up a good range of coffee accompaniments are also available here including cheesecakes and pastries. 

Pigeon Island

Kusadasi’s little fortress-topped island -Guvercin Adasi in Turkish –sitting just offshoreis one of the first things you will have noticed during any explorations of the town. Once only reachable by boat, since the 1950s it has been possible to arrive on the island via a long thin causeway along which small boats moor.   Many things about this island and its fortress seem to be open to some debate including its exact age, who built it and why it is called ‘bird’ or ‘pigeon’ island. Some of the legends (which may have some basis in fact) revolve around the island’s alternative title of ‘Pirate Island’, a name which some say comes from its former use as a pirate lair. It is also said by some that the famous pirate Barbarossa, who later became Grand Admiral of the Ottoman Navy, was the pirate in question and built the fortress himself which would mean it dates from the 1500s.  

It is known for certain that the castle was active in the 1800s and expanded at this time, with the surrounding walls added in 1826. So important was the island’s defensive role in this period that the whole town, formerly called Scala Nova, became known by the island’s title -‘kus’ meaning bird in Turkish and ‘ada’ island.   Exact details and facts aside, the island and its fortress are both a lovely and free place to visit, presenting a tranquility that makes it feel more removed from the town than it really is. All visitors enter by way of the castle gate and from that point can choose whether to follow the pathway which circumnavigates the island or go inside the fortress itself.

The walk around, dotted with information boards and constant views of the lovely kind, places you outside the walls which almost entirely encircle the island.   The area inside the walls is charming and garden-like with pathways weaving between the wealth of greenery and trees, each species helpfully labeled along with displaying some interesting facts so you can tell your fig from your olive and oleander from your cypress. At the end furthest from the mainland is a picturesque lighthouse that offers beautiful views out to sea.   You can go inside the fort itself which is small and won’t take long to explore. There is a tiny museum here with models showing the changes in sailing boat design through the centuries, all of which this ancient port would have seen. Also ondisplay is an impressive whale skeleton, almost 50ft in length.

Lunch in Kusadasi

From fast food places catering to tourists in a hurry to upmarket restaurants with lovely settings, Kusadasi covers the whole dining spectrum. Its range is augmented by some further choices for lunch spots located just a short taxi or bus ride away.   In common with much of the Mediterranean and particularly those destinations by the sea, seafood and fish tend to be something of a focus on the Kusadasi menus. One of this kindin town, noted for its quality and diversity of choice, is the Capa Batik whose elevated restaurant offers wonderful harbor views through its huge picture windows.   You can make an entire meal with the mezze selection or pick out your own fish from the ice counter with all other kinds of seafood from shrimp to lobster also on offer. Capa Batik is more often filled with locals than tourists, something which is typically an indication that you have made a good choice. Additionally, those spots favored by thelocals also tend to be those with the most reasonable prices which is certainly the case with Capa Batik.  

While Kusadasi has a plentiful supply of dining options the surrounding area offers plenty more and away from town the food quality is often higher. Around 16 miles inland and 7 miles from the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ephesus where you will be spending your afternoon hours can be found the endlessly charming mountain village of Sirince. With its naturally green countryside setting, threaded through with cobbled streets and peppered with picturesque old houses, when seen from a distance Sirince appears like some idyllic artist’s impression of an impossibly romantic village.   Up close it is even more enchanting and, as this is a region known for its plentiful fresh produce including its fruit wines, lunch here can be something of a special treat for foodies. Surrounded by vineyards, olive farms and fruit orchards, some of the culinary delights on offer include exceptional   olive oil, a multitude of cheeses, tomatoes, preserves, walnuts, figs and peaches while the herbs which grow wild are often incorporated into the local dishes.  

It is hard to go wrong when choosing a lunch venue in Sirince but the Sirincem has to rank as one of its top picks for its exceptional setting alone. Located near the center of the village, Sirincem’s rustic painted stone walls with plants tumbling down them backed by lantern-hung trees begin to give you some hint of what lies within. Follow the blue and white steps from here to arrive at a gorgeous stone terrace and an enchanted garden restaurant where the wicker chairs and tables are overhung by vines strung along trellises and shaded by a lush and leafy canopy.  

Everywhere you look your gaze seems to fall on hanging pots, Turkish lanterns and light-shades made from painted gourds. Where there are gaps between the trees and its ornate hangings the natural view of the countryside is also beautiful.  Sirincem is actually the restaurant of the pension of the same name across the road but is open to non-guests, serving traditional Turkish fare of the rustically simple, homemade and delicious kind. Its huge menu offers a wide choice but for a bit of everything opt for the mezze selection which will result in your table being filled by a vast array of small plates with enticing aromas. Desserts tend to be crafted from fruit picked straight off the trees while the wide variety of wines help to wash the feast down.   Besides its excellent food at unexpectedly good prices the warm welcome of Sirincem is also something which seems to be constantly mentioned in reviews that, not surprisingly, tend to be of the 5-star kind.

An Afternoon in Kusadasi and Surrounds

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With lunch finished make sure you spend some time exploring the gorgeous village of Sirince before you head off to one of the world’s best-preserved ancient cities -Ephesus.

Sirince

Marrying the traditional Turkish village with the traditional Greek village, highly picturesque Sirince’s cobble-stoned streets and stone homes are the very embodiment of charming. So beautiful is this mountain village that this aesthetic element is closely safeguarded, prohibiting the building of anything that doesn’t blend in perfectly with its overall look which, as previously mentioned, is like something straight out of a painting.   Some of the architecture here is very different fromanything you might see elsewhere and as so many visitors are curious to know what lies behind the wooden doors of the village homes several have been opened up so you can do just that.  

For those looking for authentic and quality souvenirs or gifts then Sirince has to rank as one of the best, not just in the area but the whole of the country. Handicrafts are for sale throughout and the color-filled bazaar is worth a visit even if you don’t intend to buy anything although be warned, so lovely are many of the goods that you may find yourself making purchases no matter what. With a little of everything it would perhaps be easier to list what you can’t find than what you can; gorgeous textiles, jewelry, bags, handmade clothing, glazed pots, woven goods, hand-painted tiles, lace and all kinds of trinkets with the kind of prices that may both surprise and delight you.

As a producer of many local food products, such items for sale here are second to none and the vendors are always happy to let you sample somethingif you’re not sure. Within this range are many things that would make ideal gifts, particularly for friends and family who appreciate the gourmet or the unusual.   Besides the obvious charm of its streets and the wonderful bazaar the village also has a lovely little church named for St. John the Baptist. The courtyard out front has a little coin-filled wishing well and the church’s all stone interior is almost bare save for a few Byzantine frescoes although many feel such a spartan look only adds to its charm, highlighting the building’s age and simplicity.

Ephesus

Kusadasi has a wealth of impressive archaeological sites within reach such as Priene and Miletus but none is as close nor as important as the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Ephesus. Just 12 miles from Kusadasi, Ephesus ranks as one of the entire world’s best-preserved ancient sites whose buildings were once so spectacular its Temple of Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, joining other marvels such as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Great Pyramid of Giza. Destroyed by fire in 356 BC, rebuilt on an even grander scale and then destroyed again, all that remains today of this once magnificent temple are a few stones located just outside nearby Selcuk.  

Changing hands many times over its history depending on the mightiest powers at the time, the settlement was originally founded by native peoples. However it grew to magnificence in the 10thcentury when the Ionian Greeks settled here, creating a religious center for the worship of Artemis (Cybele under the former settlers). It underwent many further changes in the era of Roman rule around 129 BC with most of what you see today dating from that time. While the Roman years are well-documented the periods before are not. Historians are only able to guess at certain aspects although it is known that Ephesus had periods of rule under the Lydian kings, the Persians and the Egyptians between its Greek and Roman eras.  

Ephesus is today well inland but it was once a port, at itsmost prosperous as a mighty trading city until the third century AD and during the time it was under Roman rule. According to some sources Ephesus was the empire’s most important city after Rome.   Besides its significance as a commercial and cultural hub, Ephesus also played a major role in the growth of Christianity with both St. John and St. Paul visiting here and converting many of the Artemis worshipers (Diana under the Romans) to their own religion.   The gradual silting up of the city’s harbor meant it could no longer sustain its role as an important trading center. Attacks by other powers and natural disasters accelerated the city’s dive into obscurity and when Crusaders passed through the region in the 11th century AD they found only a small village. By the 15thcentury the once mighty city of Ephesus was completely abandoned after having seen a slight resurgence in the century before when the Turkish added a few features of their own such as a mosque and bathhouses.  

Ephesus is truly vast (its inner area alone more than three times the size of Disneyland) and its total collection of building antiquities enough to fill a book. This means that unless you have several days to spare you can’t hope to see it all but there are some essential highlights whichany visit here should include.

The Celsus Library

Arguably the most magnificentof all the Ephesus sights, the Celsus Library’s two-storey facade is something you may be familiar with long before you visit the site as practically all Turkish tourist information features its image.   Built in 125 AD and paid for by Celsus, a Greek governor serving under the Romans, the replica statues of the facade represent his four virtues –wisdom, knowledge, intelligence and valor.The originals, like many other Ephesus treasures, are found in the Ephesos Museum in Vienna. The facade of the library –a place once home to many thousands of scrolls -has been painstakingly reconstructed using the original stones unearthed here. Historians believe its east-facing aspect isa purposeful design feature, intended to allow the readers inside the full benefit of light in the morning.

The Temple of Hadrian

Built in the 2nd century and extensively repaired in the 4thcentury, Hadrian’s Temple features a grand four-columned facade with a highly detailed arch above it. Also reconstructed using original fragments found, the beautiful reliefs on the arch are casts and the friezes inside the temple copies but the originals of both can be seen at the nearby Ephesus Archaeological Museum.

The Terrace Houses

Opposite Hadrian’s Temple and only recently excavated, the Terrace Houses now represent what many consider to be the highlight of the entire site. While the rest of Ephesus is typically about public spaces, this area is a collection of private houses whose grandeur and decor mark them as having once been the homes of the city’s aristocrats. While exploring here it is impossible not to be touched by a profound sense of the past and perhaps nowhere else in Ephesus gives you such an intimate insight into how the people of this grand city lived.   Formed over three levels, the houses which date back to the 1stcentury BC are covered by a protective roof while glass and steel walkways dotted with excellent information panels allow you to traverse the dwellings without damaging them. In places, evidence of the sophisticated systems which allowed all the houses to have hot and cold water and heating can still be seen.   A remarkable amount of wall frescoes and intricate mosaic floors with all kinds of designs according to the individual owner’s personal taste survive and for most visitors represent the most striking sight of the whole city.

The Great Theater

visit kusadasi theater

Designed to hold 25,000 spectators, the vast Great Theater of Ephesus is believed to date from the Greek period which makes it truly ancient. The reason for this theory is its design; Hellenistic amphitheaters were typically built into a hill or sloping ground to support them whereas Roman theaters were free-standing with outer walls such asis seen at the Colosseum in Rome. However, it is known that the theater was significantly remodeled covering a period of six decades beginning in 41 AD.   Evidence that the theater was used for gladiatorial combats was unearthed in 2007 when a burial site was excavated in 2007. It is also believed that this is the site where St. Paul preached and the excellent acoustics he would have needed to make his voice heard to all are still as good today with the arena still used for concerts and plays.   Ephesus also has a second smaller amphitheater –the Odeon -built around the 2ndcentury AD which, with a capacity of 1,500, was used both as an entertainment venue and for council gatherings.

The Church of St. Mary

Close to the former harbor, the ruins of this churchmight not look that impressive when compared to some of the other sights of Ephesus but it has tremendous historical significance. This was the first church following Rome’s conversion to Christianity that was named for the Virgin Mary.

The Main Streets

To date three main streets have been discovered in the city with a network of side streets leading off them. The road which led from the port to the theater is known as the Aracadiane and would once have been lined with stores and covered galleries. The Marble Street connects the theater to the Celsus Library and has a feature that never fails to fascinate visitors.   Along this stretch can be found a hole in a paving stone together with some carvings which include a foot, a heart and a female figure although all but the foot are not immediately obvious. One much-loved theory regarding this stone is in connection to the brothel which sits next to the public toilets. It is suggested that the carvings direct city visitors to this place where love can be bought and only then if your foot size matches that of the foot outline here and your coins are enough to fill the hole. If not, you are directed to the library instead.  

The third street is Curetes Street which runs between the library and the Hercules Gate, representing the city’s residential area with some of the mosaic floors to the side still visible. This stretch would once have been rich in monuments, fountains and statues, some of which –such as the Trajan Fountain –still survive. Curetes Street is also home to Hadrian’s Temple and the Scholastic Baths complex. Part of this latter is the 2,000 year old public latrines which are three stone benches complete with 36 holes where remains of the marble toilet seats can still be seen in places. A common sighthere is that of visitors perching on one of these to have their photo taken.  

Exploring Ephesus independently is possible and you will be able to navigate thanks to many signs which direct you to the main sights. However, many choose to discover this ancient city with a guide who can bring your attention to all kinds of tiny details you would otherwise miss while also regaling you with a wealth of little-known facts and historical anecdotes which can considerably add to your experience.   For those who want to explore Ephesus in a totally different way it is possible to take a flight sightseeing tour over the ruins which helps you appreciate more fully its extent while the truly adventurous can even tandem skydive over it.

The Ephesus Archaeological Museum

As the first excavations of Ephesus were carried out by overseas archaeologists many of the earliest treasures unearthed here are not displayed in Turkey at all but in the British Museum in London and the Ephesos Museum in Vienna. However, the Ephesus Archaeological Museum in Selcuk, just outside the main Ephesus area, also has a rich display of Hellenistic and Roman relics taken from the site including statues, vases, reliefs and parts of the Artemis Temple. The museum’s most prized exhibits are the exquisite marble statues of Artemis, the finest of these is in a remarkable state of preservation, only the nose of the goddess showing any obvious damage.   Small in size but nevertheless covering every chapter of the history of Ephesus from its most ancient days to its resurgence under the Turks in its final stages, this museum is a perfect example of what even the most modest of spaces can achieve with world-class displays and excellent lighting. 

Pre-Dinner Drinks and Dinner in Kusadasi

As a well-developed tourist hub Kusadasi has plenty of drinking and dining venues and a diversity of settings too which can see you right at thewaterfront, for example, or perhaps tucked away amid the old town area. The majority of spots are open-air so you can make the most of sunsets and night skies while cuisine choices include Turkish, Mediterranean and other international options such as Indian and Chinese.

Pre-dinner Drinks

While quite what qualifies as the perfect drinking spot is down to personal taste few would argue that the ideal sundowner comes with a view of the sun setting over the sea. As Kusadasi faces west pretty much any waterside spot is going to give you prime sunset viewing but the town’s handful of rooftop bars offer some of the best views of all.   One of these is the Roof Lounge Bar which later in the evening becomes a lively spot with DJs and party-goers dancing the night away. However, in the late afternoon and early evening this is a tranquil choice and at five storeys up offers incredible views of the harbor, the sea stretching far beyond and of course the sun sinking into the blue waters.

There is usually some low-keymusic   playing here throughout the day and the staff are welcoming and efficient. The Roof’s specialty is its cocktails but there are plenty of wines and all the other choices of beers and spirits typically found elsewhere in town too.   For a totally different kind of atmosphere make your way to the old quarter of the town where the locals typically head to arrive at the Orient Bar.Located in an old historic house, the open-air courtyard of the Orient Bar is an atmospheric and cozy place, overhung with grapevines full of fruit and surrounding you with its white-washed stone walls. Old instruments, pictures, mirrors and an eclectic collection of curios adorn its walls while the bar, tables and chairs are all wood with some cushioned corners.   This bar has been part of the Kusadasi scene for more than two decades now and such longevity is down to its popularity with those who call Kusadasi home.

The venues aimed only at the tourist market come and go, struggling to survive in the down-season when customers are far fewer but this Turkish tavern pulls in its live music-loving crowd year-round, augmenting its clientele with those visitors to the town who are fortunate enough to find it.   Live music and open-mic sessions are a nightly occurrence here and the afternoons are often filled with the same. The customers and performers cover every age group and such a mix is something which adds to the warm atmosphere of this bar.   When it comes to what to drink cocktail lovers have a good choice along with bartenders who know what they are doing but there are also plentiful options for wines, beers and spirits too.

Dinner

With an old town area, a waterfront and marina and several beaches within reach, Kusadasi is not short on lovely restaurant settings to choose from and has a large choice of cuisine types and price ranges tokeep everyone happy. However, some of the best and most authentic are found a little away from the town and these are often better options for those looking for a more intimate or tranquil dining experience.   If this sounds more like your ideal then take a short ride out to the charming and quaint village of Kirazli, just six miles east of Kusadasi. What equates to a 15-minute journey transports you to what might as well be another world, so different is this mountain-and orchard-surrounded traditional Turkish village where you are more likely to encounter chickens and goats than people.

Entirely local and non-touristy, Kirazli’s 2,000 villagers in the main make their living from growing fruit and vegetables, raising animals and making soups, bread, preserves and a variety of other delicacies from their fresh produce to sell at farmers’ markets. This means the village is not reliant on tourism to survive and generally where this is the case the experiences to be had are very different.Eating at one of the small family-run restaurants here is as authentic as it gets and furthermore the bulk of the area’s produce is organic and of course totally fresh which means food quality is typically exceptional.   One of your choices here is the wonderfully rustic Koy Sofrasi which is all stone floors and natural wood surroundings. Keeping their kitchen open until 9 pm in the summer, this lovely warren-like venue has all kinds of little tucked-away corners for intimate dining while the many trees and vines make for a lovely setting. With their own farm and orchard attached, Koy Sofrasi offers all kinds of traditional Turkish dishes and your best bet is to order an array of mezze so you can try as much as possible.

Quite what is on the menu will depend on the season but possibilities include sac kavurma (a lamb dish), kofte (meatballs of beef), freshly baked bread and desserts such as the local sweet pastries known as kalburabasti soaked in honey.    For those who can’t possibly consider a dinner venue unless it has sea views, you will find an array of restaurants at Ladies Beach less than two miles south of Kusadasi. The Rosy Restaurant and Barsitsright on this long pale sand strip backed by coconut palms and no matter where you choose   to sit you are going to have prime sea-views as Rosy has three different terraces, all one above the other. On the pavement itself are a collection of cushioned canechairs and tables while above this are the tables set on the wrap-around patio you arrive at after going up the steps to the restaurant.

The second floor has an open-air balcony with yet more tables which gives you an elevated view. The good standard cuisine here is an eclectic mix of several types including Turkish, Italian and Mexican with steak, pasta, seafood, chicken and more all on the large menu. Besides the wonderful sunset views from here, the other pluses are decent size portions, good value for money and attentive service.

An Evening in Kusadasi

Evenings in Kusadasi can be as tranquil or as lively as you want them to be, depending on where you go and what you do.   The town’s waterfront promenade is just made for after-dinner strolling and if you are here in summer the sun sets late so you may be able to take in the sunset. You won’t have this stretch to yourself however as it is popular with both locals and visitors and come evening things get lively at the watering holes and cafes. You may decide to rest your legs at one of these yourself for a cocktail or two before bed and with the offshore Pigeon Island lit beautifully once darkness descends this is a lovely spot to pause for awhile.  

If you’d prefer some more organized entertainment that isn’t hard to find in Kusadasi with the historic Caravanserai taking top spot for its Thursday to Saturday Turkish Night which features folk and belly dancing and traditional music with colorful costumes and audience participation. Live music fans are also going to be spoiled for choice with plenty of options every night of the week although where you should head will really depend on your music tastes. BeBop at the Marina offers jazz while Golden Day Hotel and Kaptains House are two of the many venues who host live performances, offering an eclectic range of musical genres.   If you want to be the musician yourself head to the lovely Orient Bar (you may have already discovered this gem for pre-dinner drinks earlier) which hosts open mic evenings on an almost constant basis. With a wonderful mix of locals and visitors, this is also the place to come for live music performances and the vine-hung courtyard setting is hard to beat.

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