The western region of Turkey has a long and rich history while the breathtaking landscape boasts many natural and manmade wonders. You can discover many of them with a Turkey Tour Package but if you don’t want the hassle of changing hotels and transporting your luggage to each location then daytrips from coastal resorts are by for the best way to explore Turkey’s Aegean coast.
Where to Stay
Kusadasi is buzzing holiday resort on the southern part of the Aegean Coast, perfectly located between the modern city of Izmir and the party capital of Bodrum with several ancient and historical sights within a short drive of the town. Kusadasi is also one of the few coastal resorts to have a beach right in the centre of town, nearby is a stunning national park, ancient historical sites and Kusadasi is linked by daily ferry to the Greek Island of Samos.
Less than an hour’s drive north of Kusadasi is Dilek National park with four beautiful coves backed by quaint villages and hidden between lush green mountains of evergreen pine trees. You can make a day trip to the park by joining an exhilarating off road jeep safari or take a local bus to the entrance of the national park to spend a day hiking on the many forest trails to fantastic panoramic view points and watching for native wild boars. On a day trip to Dilek you can enjoy fresh seafood in a local restaurant and swim in the crystal clear turquoise sea or delve into the deep blue water inside the Cave of Zeus.
Along the western coast of Turkey are several archaeological sites dating back to Ancient Greek and Roman times as well remnants of the Byzantine and Hellenistic periods. Some of these sites are within a short distance of Kusadasi and archeological tours with experienced guides can take you sites like Pergamon, Priene and Sardis on day trips. The most famous is located south of Kusadasi resort in the town of Didyma. The once glorious Temple of Apollo was first built in the Ionic era destroyed by the persian armies of Alexander the great. Roman’s rebuilt the temple over the 3rd/2nd century BC only to be destroyed again by raids, earthquakes and fires. The ruins now stand among the remains of Miletus.
Take a Bath
From the Aegean sea you can take a trip inland to the Denizli province and bath in the most unique pools that you have ever seen. The snow white travertine pools of Pamukkale are noted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is the 2,000 year old Greek-Roman city which sits beneath the terraces of hot mineral rich waters. Hierapolis was once a luxury spa town with grand bathhouses there wealthy romans would come bathe, today you can still dip into the thermal pools in the shadow of Pamukkale ‘Cotton Castle’ and float above broken marble pillars and ancient artifacts. The site also hosts an extensive museum inside a converted bath house and a well preserved theatre. In a day trip from the coast you will be able to visit both sites and enjoy the magical scenery on the road from Kusadasi to Pamukkale.
Sail the Sea
If you’re visiting Turkey’s Aegean coast that at least a day trip on the dazzling azure blue sea is an absolute must. Classic wooden gulets and larger sailing ships leave from the central harbour each morning to discover the secluded coves and inlets on the coastline. Swim and snorkel in transparent bays and dig into a BBQ lunch buffet while cruising on gentle waves and lounging in the sun. If there’s time in your itinerary you could join a 3 or 4 day Blue Cruise on the Turquoise Coast or sail for a week or more to Greece’s Aegean Islands.
Go Back 2,000 Years
If you prefer to base your vacation in the traditional town than a flashy seaside resort then travel to the mountain village of Selcuk where there are Turkey tours starting from Ephesus. The 2,000 year old Greek-Roman port city is just 3 km from the quaint cobblestone streets of Selcuk old town, where typical Ottoman homes have been converted into family run guesthouses and homemade local foods are served in quaint restaurants. Aside from the well preserved archaeological site of Ephesus the area around the town also plays host to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, The Temple of Artemis. As well as Early Christian relics like the Cave of the Seven Sleepers and St. John’s Basilica, and on a hilltop above the town stands a Seljuk-Ottoman fortress.