Once a haven for those wishing to explore the Aegean coastline of Turkey, Kusadasi has transformed over the years into a package-destination and doubling as a cruise-ship port. Bottom line? While this is the perfect place to come if you want a packaged Turkish holiday complete with British-style pubs and plenty of rip-offs in the form of ridiculous prices, if you are looking for a more authentic Turkish vacation away from the outrageous prices and jaded hospitality you might want to look elsewhere.
Kusadasi sits on the Guvercin Ada peninsula as it juts out into the Aegean, and sits against the backdrop of the Kaz Dagi Mountain. It has a history stretching back to 3,000 BC and contains a variety of stunning architectural wonders both in and around the city itself. This was one of the most important caravan routes from the Orient to the rest of the known world during the early years until the Crusades finally forced things to a halt. The current architecture is mostly a result of the Ottoman Empire, although traces of older ruins from the Byzantine era can still be found in some places.
Kusadasi is primarily a tourist destination for people on cruise ships. As a result, you can expect everything that a traditional tourist-trap would offer; jacked-up prices and wheedling merchants. While there are plenty of historical wonders to explore in the surrounding countryside, such as Kirazli Village some 12 km out or the Byzantine castle of Kadikalesi roughly 10 km out, everything within Kusadasi is going to be targeted towards the money-spending cruise-ship crowd. This is not a budget destination. Still, in typical Aegean and Mediterranean fashion, the sights in and around the city are breathtaking in scope, and the history of the region is rich with cultural significance. Just bring your smarts with you and you will get along just fine.
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