For someone who only had half a day (or 10 hours, exactly) to explore Kusadasi, Turkey, I had an amazing time stretching those fleeting hours into a wonderful tour of what the town and its nearby places could offer. Here are the three highlights that I have personally chosen to share with you guys:
Shopping at the Grand Bazaar
What’s a famous place if they don’t have huge bazaars where they sell homemade wares and furniture for tourists? The first thing I did was to visit the renowned Grand Bazaar, which was located just a kilometre or two away from the Kusadasi port. It really lived up to its title of being grand- a veritable collection of shops, from arcade-style booths to large, mini-market emporiums lined up on the horizon as far as my eyes could see! It was indeed worthy of being called a shopper’s paradise.
I saw a demonstration of how rugs are made- from cocooning to weaving and dyeing. There were endless varieties of clothes, shoes, hats, bags, leather goods, jewelries, watches and souvenirs! You could literally spend the day away trying out the clothes and haggling for the price that you are willing to buy the goods for. As for me, I was content to buy gifts for my friends and families (which came out to 4 bags, no less!), then moved on to the next attraction.
A Private Tour at the Ancient City of Ephesus
There’s something about ancient ruins that call out to me to see and marvel at their architecture. Of course, I couldn’t resist a private tour at the famed ruins of Ephesus! I chose a private tour because public ones spend a lot of time waiting to be filled up. My guide met me after the shopping at Grand Bazaar and off we went to the Ephesus ruins.
From there she pointed out the highlights of the ruins and also told me a little bit about its rich history. The tour was completely different from the public ones because I got to see more of the secluded areas, where the public buses just went roundabout on the trodden path. My guide was an excellent companion and tour guide; very knowledgeable and accommodating.
I would very highly recommend that you visit the Ephesus at night- the ruins literally glow with modern lights and other comforts! There was an orchestra performing some local music; cocktails and wine were available, and the twinkling stars added to the ethereal effect of being in an old, ancient place where civilisation used to flourish. Magical!
The sacred shrine of The Virgin Mary at “Bulbul” Mountain
Finally, you will want to allocate some extra time in climbing to the top of “Bulbul” mountain (about 9 kilometres from Ephesus) to see the place where The Virgin Mary spent her last days on earth. There’s a sacred shrine where you can pay homage and take pictures in to share on your Facebook or Twitter page.
Upon reaching the top, you can pray on the Virgin Mary’s shrine, drink from the holy fountain, or wish on the sacred wall. Get ready and wear your most comfortable shoes, and bring a bottle of water to have a pleasant experience!