"Taking Kusadasi tours and shore excursions, shopping and sightseeing is guaranteed to make your visit to Turkey one of the most eventful days of your vacation!"
Many cruisers arrive at the ship without realizing the full extent of the excitement that awaits them during their visit to Kusadasi, Turkey (especially if they choose to take shore excursions to the fantastic biblical site of Ephesus, an archeological site that can only be compared to Pompeii).
While planning your European cruise, you may have a few activities that you prioritize above others, such as:
After many years of giving Mediterranean cruise-port and shopping presentations I realized that visiting this little port town, sightseeing and taking Ephesus shore excursions is something an average cruiser doesn't know much about prior to their cruise.
Be honest, if you haven't heard about this port before, you probably don't even know how to pronounce it's name. Of course you don't. And that's why I often took time in my presentations to teach it my guests.
But you know what, in the end, visiting Kusadasi turned out to be one of the most eventful days of my guests vacation!
If you're wondering why, make sure you read our article Why taking Ephesus shore excursions is a must! Namely, the remains of the ancient city of Ephesus are very close to this little port town and that is why I used put so much stress on taking daily Ephesus Tours.
Ready to book your tours? Explore the following pages:
Or just jump straight to some of the best Ephesus shore excursions I could find for you (the best ratio of price and reviews):
Once the cradle of civilization and the seat of the Greek, Roman, and Ottoman empires Turkey is today a magical blend of East and West. And in this port, Kusadasi, you will have a chance to enjoy this exciting combo.
But a picture is worth a thousand words, a video probably a million so do check out this video and see some of the beauties of Ephesus...
So, what else is so special about this port, Kusadasi? Only 30 years ago, it was just a small fishing village.
Since then it has grown into one of the most famous seaside resorts on the southern Aegean coast, loved by British, Irish and German tourists especially. Today, many of them are renting or buying villas or apartments in large complexes overlooking the old village from the nearby hills.
Location: Izmir Province, western coast of Turkey
Language: Turkish but English is widely spoken by merchants
Climate: Mediterranean with mild winters and hot summers.
Money: Turkish lira (TL) is the official currency but US dollars and Euro are widely accepted. Basically, there’s no need to exchange any money into Turkish lira at all for either shopping or Kusadasi tours.
With the tourists, the market of Kusadasi expanded accordingly. That’s why today, in Kusadasi, it’s easy to get lost in street after street lined with shops… some of them elegant and sleek, paved with marble, offering genuine precious and semi-precious stones, gold and silver… others offering knock-off Swiss watches and brand name purses right on the pavement, in tradition of the real Oriental Bazaars.
To find our more about getting around Kusadasi and what to see in town, check these pages...
During the day, you won’t see many of the local tourists around town as they must be enjoying Kusadasi beaches. But with up to 3 large ships docking at Kusadasi harbour in one day, the town will be abuzz with all the cruisers!
When in Kusadasi Turkey, this is the drill… first, everyone takes one of the Kusadasi tours to Ephesus. There are a few ways you can get to Ephesus ruins and you can read all about it in our Ephesus Travel article.
As the best preserved classical city in the Western Mediterranean, Ephesus ruins should be the #1 must see spot for anyone visiting this part of the world for the first time!
If you have or are planning your tour onboard the ship, that's ok (it's just more expensive). If you haven't, book one with tested providers online. Kusadasi is NOT one of the days you should go around without a tour!!!
Ready to book your tours? Pick the tour that is right just for you in our article Daily Ephesus Tours.
Make sure you plan your Ephesus Kusadasi tours and get to learn the basics of Ephesus history ahead.
Ephesus is one of those spots in the world where biblical history materializes right in front of your eyes. From being just a written word in a dusty history book it comes alive in the form of the baths, Ephesus library, temples, shops…
And what more could transport you 2000 years back in time better than seeing the public latrines or an advertisement for a brothel!
Add just a little more imagination and you can almost see St. Paul and Virgin Mary walking the streets of Ephesus just as you will be doing soon! You will also need some imagination to envision once impressive temple of the Artemis at Epheusus, as not much is left of it today.
But instead of wandering around the site on your own, which can be done in other ports, here we always recommend taking one of the organized private daily Ephsesus tours.
To find out more about the history of Ephesus and its sights, check these pages:
Once you get back downtown after your Ephesus tours, it will be time for that fantastic Kusadasi shopping! The town itself and the shopping area are literally just across the road from the cruise terminal, one of the rare Mediterranean cruise ports of call where there is no transport needed to get where all the action is!
So, don’t worry about getting back to the ship and indulge yourself in some shopping!
Of course, the absolute must buy in here is a Turkish rug.
If you’re lucky enough, a rug presentation will be included in one of your dialy Ephesus tours. If not, don’t miss visiting one of the stores yourself! Here you can read about Carmen, the luxury travel blogger's turkish rug demo experience.
Once you’ve chosen that perfect rug for your home, don’t miss out on Turkish leather, either. For more best buys & suggestions make sure you read our article Kusadasi Shopping - What to Buy..
Once you’re done with that, it’s time to taste some real Turkish food in one of the local restaurants.
Refreshed and rested, you will enjoy some Kusadasi town sightseeing. After that you can say you’ve experienced this little town to the maximum and it’s time to spend some time in the equally appealing harbour.
Here, you will also find a shop that specializes in baklava, and that’s some tasty baklava, trust us! We actually used to sneak it in to the ship ourselves!
While you certainly won't be able to take that baklava back home with you, you will be able to take some Turkish Delight!
Your cruise ship is only steps away from the Scala Nuova shopping village so you can relax here after your Kusadasi tours without worrying too much you will miss the ship.
Throughout all these years I’ve spent working as Port Lecturer on Mediterranean cruise ships, Kusadasi always got raving reviews and I'm sure your Kusadasi tours experience will be just the same!