kusadasiKusadasi is a Turkish beach town on the Aegean Coast.  It’s a popular tourist destination and has become a port of call for the mega cruise ships on the Mediterranean route.

There aren’t that many things to do in the town itself unless you’re an avid shopper, there’s plenty of shopping at the local bazaar.  But there are many things to do in the area whether you’re a history buff, a sun lover, or a thrill seeker there’s something for you at Kusadasi.  This Turkish town has a some fun family friendly activities.  So whether you’re there for the day or a week I’m sure you’ll find something fun and interesting to do!

Kusadasi is always a port of call on the Med cruises we take so we find ourselves there at least once or twice a year.  Our kids and grandkids have been with us on many of those cruises and they always look forward to a day in Kusadasi.  Here are 4 of our favorite family friendly activities in Kusadasi.

kusadasiKusadasi serves as one of the gateway towns to the ancient city of Ephesus which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Ephesus is a city that dates back over 2000 years.  It played important roles in ancient Greek and Roman times.  It was the trade center of the ancient world, and a religious center in the early days of Christianity.  Yes it was here that Apostle Paul preached to the Ephesians.

Today it is a major tourist site in Turkey.  A visit to Ephesus will take you back to how the Greeks and Romans lived 2000 years ago.  The well kusadasipreserved columns and buildings are definitely worth the trip.

It’s a great time to teach kids a bit of ancient history.  It really brings the ancient world to life for them.  They all get a kick out of the ancient bathrooms, trust me! (Even the big kids, like my son and son-in-law, get a kick out of the ancient toilets!)

Other important building and statues include the Odeon, the Hercules Gate, the Terrace Houses, the iconic Celsus Library, and the Stadium.   Believe me there are many more sites than these.

My grandson Dion thought the kusadasiNike relief was pretty cool.  He pointed out the “swish” that the athletic shoe company has adopted as their logo.

 

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The girls and I entered the Terrace Houses, the boys decided to stay outside with my husband.  They had fun climbing some of the blocks in the area.  We really enjoyed the Terraces Houses, the mosaics and frescos are so well preserved, some of them look like they were painted recently!  The Terraces Houses are definitely worth the time and admission price!

The  site is located about 30 Km.  and is easily accessible by taxi, minibus, or  you can book a tour.

If you decide to go on your own, that’s what we always do, the best way is to negotiate a deal with one of the many local taxi drivers.  We can usually hire a mini-van that will take us to the site and back when we’re done for about $75.  The mini-van easily seats 6.

Ask the driver to drop you off by the Magnesian Gate entrance.  (There are 3 gates into the ancient city)  Starting at the Magnesian Gate, the upper entrance, allows you to walk downhill thru the site and end up at the big parking lot on the bottom where your driver will be waiting for you.  (Don’t pay the driver until he takes you back to your hotel/port or where ever you want to return)

You can purchase tickets at the entrance. They cost 40 TL, about $10, this tickets allows you entry to the site, but not into the Terrace Houses.  You can buy tickets to see the beautiful mosaics in the excavated houses at the main entrance for 20 TL, about $5, or if you’re not sure you want to go in then buy them at the entrance to the Terrace Houses.

You can buy tickets online here!

There are other archaeological sites around the area and can be combined with a visit to Ephesus.  You can visit: the Temple of Artemis, it is one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, sadly today there’s little left of the site, but admission is free and kids don’t mind scampering around the site; the House of the Virgin Mary, the small dwelling where some believe she spent the final years of her life, admission 20 TL, about $5; Basilica of St. John is built over the supposed tomb of the apostle, admission 10 TL, about $2.50.

kusadasiThe Ephesus Archaeological Museum is a good place to visit after a trip thru the ancient city of Ephesus.

The museum is in Selçuk, not far from Ephesus.  It houses many artifacts found during the excavation of the site.  Most notably the statue of Artemis from the temple of the goddess in Ephesus.

Admission 10TL, about $2.50.  The museum isn’t very big, you can see everything in about an hour or so.  The kids thought it was interesting, but best of all they loved the fact that it was a short stop!

kusadasiWhen you’ve had your fill of museums and ancient sites spend a day at Adaland!

There are 3 waterparks in Kusadasi.  Adaland was voted one of the best in Europe.  We spent a day there last summer and the kids had a great time.

There are activities for all ages.  Jett loved the splash zone and the older kids, and adults loved the water slides.

Admission is €17 for kids 4-9, €24 for everyone else.  Children 3 and under are free.  Admission includes use of pools, slides, changing room, locker, lounge chairs, and umbrellas.  Some activities like rafting may incur an additional charge.

There are also wandering photographers in the park that love to take photos of you and the kids.  You don’t have to buy any of the photos, you can view them at the photo kiosk and buy prints or a thumb drive with all the photos.  That was the best buy and we ended up buying one.

The park also has snack bars and restaurants that serve everything from pizza and fries to Turkish kebobs.  They’re reasonably priced and the meals are actually pretty good.

kusadasiHone your bargaining skills at the Kusadasi Bazaar.

The bazaar is filled with spices, souvenirs, toys, leather goods, jewelry, and more.  The kids always find something to buy and have a great time wandering the little alley ways.

There are also many cafes and restaurants in the bazaar.  Your favorite fast food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Popeye’s are there too.

We always opt for local food at one of the restaurants.  The kids love the chicken kebobs and for dessert sweet cheesy Kunafe.

When you’re done shopping and eating take some time to wander the waterfront.  There’s a park across the street and seafood restaurants by the port.  You can also hike over to Pigeon Island.  It’s attached to the main island by a causeway.  You’ll find seashore restaurants there as well a fortress once used to guard against pirates.  While on the island you can see nice views of the harbor and the town of Kusadasi.

If you still have time to spare try out one of the beaches.  Hire a taxi or ride a public mini bus from the town center to one of the area beaches.  The water is warm and the beaches are nice.  Two popular beaches are Ladies Beach and Long Beach, both are organized and have sun loungers and umbrellas for rent and have cafes and restaurants.  Kids always love the beach!