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||How to get to and around Kuşadası
The "Centrum" dolmuş station and the roundabout at Şevki Hasirci Meydani, known as Friday Market.
|We have tried to find as much accurate, up-to-date information
about travelling to, from and around Kuşadası as possible.
Prices and schedules change continually,
and sources do not always agree on details.
It always pays to double-check information.
The best way to find the latest travel information is usually
to ask at bus and train stations or local travel agents.
|The nearest airport to Selçuk and Ephesus is Izmir Adnan Menderes International Airport (80 km north), which has its own train and metro station. The airport is 18 km south of Izmir, and only 65 km north of Selçuk. If you travel to nearby Selçuk by train (see below) you do not have to go into the city centre to get here.|
There are buses between Selçuk and Kuşadası every half hour (see below).
Getting from the airport to Kuşadası by bus is a bit more complicated (see below).
The Izmir Airport website has information in English about transport to and from Izmir: www.adnanmenderesairport.com
Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport Infobook (PDF format, 2013)
An unofficial website also has information in English about transport between Izmir and the Airport: www.izmir-airport.info
Izmir airport now has a separate terminal for domestic flights.
|The tiny Selçuk-Efes Airport (Turkish: Selçuk-Efes Havaalanı), just outside Selçuk, is used only by private, firefighting and crop-spraying aircraft. It is often used by visiting millionares, politicians, dignitaries and other VIPs.|
It also provides training and facilities for flying private and commercial aircraft and microlights, as well as for skydiving and parachuting.
See: LTFB - Izmir Selcuk Efes Airport Information
|Many hotels in and around Kuşadası (e.g. in Selçuk) offer free bus transfers to and from Izmir airport. Check for transfer costs and details when booking your hotel.|
|For independent travellers, we recommend that you buy a good up-to-date road map in your home country. Accurate maps in foreign languages are not easy to find in Turkey.
The Website of the Turkish General Directorate of Highways www.kgm.gov.tr (in Turkish and English) publishes downloadable detailed road maps.
|The nearest railway station is in the nearby town of Selçuk, 18 km northeast of Kuşadası, with connections to Izmir, Izmir Airport, Söke and Denizli (for Pamukkale).
There are Dolmuşes (minibuses) between Selçuk and Kuşadası every half hour (see below). Journey time around 30 minutes.
See the train timetable for trains to and from Izmir, Selçuk, Söke and Denizli:
How to get to Selçuk
Trains between Izmir (with a station at Izmir Airport), Selçuk, Söke, Aydin and Denizli are fast and cheap, but relatively infrequent. Buses to and from Izmir leave every hour, but the Izmir bus station is 8 km from the centre and difficult to get to (see below).
Tip: If you want to travel from Izmir to Kuşadası, take a train from Izmir's conveniently central Basmane station (or the airport station) to Selçuk, and then a Dolmuş from there. Selçuk's otogar (bus station) is a 10 minute walk from the railway station.
|by bus and dolmuş
Kuşadası Otogar (bus station), known as "Garaj", to the southeast of the town centre.
The destination of each dolmuş (minibus) is clearly marked on the front of the bus and on top of each bay.
|Fast, cheap, comfortable and frequent buses connect Kuşadası with long-distance destinations such as Izmir (see below).
For long distance buses it is advisable to book in advance. Your hotel will usually phone a booking for you, free of charge (in some cases they earn a small commission from the bus company).
Kuşadası central bus station
The Kuşadası central bus station (Otogar, also known locally as "Garaj"), for long distance and local destinations (Aydin, Güzelçamli, Davutlar, Kadinlar Denizi, Seferihisar, Soğucak, Sahil Site, Selçuk/Ephseus, Söke, Şehiriçi, see below), is just over 1 kilometre south of the centre, on the main highway D515 between Selçuk (to the north) and Söke (to the southwest). If you follow the Kahramanlar Caddesi out of town (and uphill) to its end, the bus station is at the large junction with the highway.
There are toilets (1 TL) and a small café at the otogar, and grocery shops nearby.
For some bus services you can buy tickets at the station or pay the driver. Usually, no tickets are issued on dolmuşes.
"Centrum" dolmuş station in the town
The local dolmuş station in the town, known as "Centrum", is around a kilometre south of the centre. Following the Adhan Menderes Bulvari towards the main Selçuk to Söke road, it is on the right after the roundabout on the junction with Candan Tarhan Bulvari. Locals still call this area simply Friday Market, despite a large sign declaring the junction's official name as Şevki Hasirci Meydani. You will see the dolmuşes parked at the side of road.
There are bus stops for various destinations, and usually somebody around you can ask for information. It all seems very informal, but there is always a controller (no uniform or badge) on duty for queries and complaints. Some drivers and controllers speak either English, German or French.
Dolmuşes start at the Otogar, and getting on there usually guarantees you a seat, but they then go to the central dolmuş station (less than 5 minutes walk), where they stop for 5-10 minutes to fill up with passengers. Similarly, dolmuşes coming into town stop at the dolmuş station before proceeding to the otogar.
There is a toilet (downstairs! 1 TL) as well as cafés and grocery shops nearby. There is even a free water fountain, with drinkable water, on the corner of the street opposite the roundabout.
|Buses in the town|
|Kuşadası has its own local bus service for destinations in and around town and to the local beaches. Most visitors, who spend a day or to in town, will probably prefer to walk around to do their sightseeing and shopping. If you are travelling as a group, in a hurry or toting luggage, you may find it more convenient to use a taxi.|
As with many urban bus services, figuring out the logic of the various routes, bus stops and timetables can be very trying for foreigners. As yet I have discovered no route map, and even local people seem to be unsure about routes other than the ones they themselves use regularly.
|What is a dolmuş?|
|Dolmuş (minibus, pronounced dolmush) services provide transport around Kuşadası and to local towns, villages and beach resorts.
A dolmuş is a type of local private minibus found all over Turkey. Sometimes the fare is fixed, sometimes they operate a bit like taxi in that you share the fare with other passengers. Often there is no fixed route or timetable: the dolmus leaves when it is full, or the driver decides he has enough passengers, and he may go off the main road to take a passenger to a particular village or house. Tickets or receipts are usually not issued.
Dolmuşes can get cramped and very full, and the reinforced suspension often provides a bumpy ride, especially on country roads. However, they are cheap and reliable, and mostly the friendliest way to travel around the country.
The dolmuş services within Kuşadası district and to local destinations are now regulated, with fixed fares displayed on a list in the bus, although timetables are still approximate.
All the dolmuşes in the area are white and have the names of their start and destination places painted on the front.
Outside towns and villages there are fixed stopping points, although not always recognizable bus stops. Usually, you can flag down a dolmuş from anywhere along the roadside and drivers will stop for you, provided they are not full.
|Local dolmuş destinations
Selçuk and Ephesus
Dolmuşes to Selçuk (18 km northeast) and Ephesus run every half hour.
Journey time around 30 minutes.
After leaving Kuşadası the minibuses turn off the main highway (D515) to pick up passengers from hotels and beaches along the old coast road. Drivers will usually stop for you just about anywhere if you wave at them.
Then, rejoining the highway, crossing the mouth of the Küçük Menderes river and passing the tiny Selçuk-Efes Airport (see above), the buses turn right for the road to Selçuk. You can see the enormous Great Theatre of Ephesus rising behind the airport.
Shortly after this turn-off (3 km, 5 minutes before Selçuk) is the stop
for the Ephesus Archaeological site.
Be sure to tell the driver if you want to get off at Ephesus.
From the bus stop, it is a pleasant 10 minute walk along a minor country road (with signposts) directly to the lower entrance of the site. Taxi drivers often tout for business at the bus stop.
Dolmuşes to the inland town of Söke (pronounce Suké), 20 km southeast of Kuşadası, every half hour. Journey time around 40 minutes.
The route follows the coastal highway south of Kuşadası, stopping at the many beach hotels along the way, then heads inland at the major junction a few kilometres north of Güzelçamlı.
At Söke Otogar you can change for southbound dolmuşes to the archaeological sites of Priene (40 km), Miletus (55 km) and Didyma (the furthest site, 80 km from Kuşadası) and beach resorts such as Altinkum.
Miletus (55 km) is the most difficult site to reach from Kuşadası or Selçuk as it is on the old road south of Söke to Akköy, 5 km south of Miletus. Most dolmuşes now travel on the new highway. There aren't even any taxis in Akköy.
There are a few dolmuşes a day between Söke and Akköy along the old road, passing Miletus. I know, I have travelled on them. But schedules are impossible to find - even on location. You can ask at your hotel, a local travel agent or at Söke Otogar.
The alternative is to take a dolmuş to Akköy and walk or try to find a lift the 5 km north to the site. You could also take a taxi from Söke, Priene or Didyma.
Davutla and Güzelçamlı
There are dolmuşes every 20-30 minutes to Davutla (15 km) and Güzelçamlı (23 km), major beach resorts south of Kuşadası with acres of self-catering apartments. The route is south along the coastal highway, with stops at the beach hotels along the way.
The village of Güzelçamlı is the furthest from Kuşadası, journey time around 30 minutes. From here you can visit the meagre remains of ancient Panonion on the side of Samsun Daği (Mount Mykale), the seaside Cave of Zeus (Zeus Mağarası, 2 km south) and the Dilek Peninsula - Büyük Menderes Delta National Park (Dilek Yarımadası Milli Parkı, known locally as Milli Parkı).
See Ionian spring part 1 at The Cheshire Cat Blog.
Buses Kuşadası - Izmir
There are buses to and from Izmir bus station (Büyük Otogar or Yeni Otogar) every 30 minutes. The journey time is around 1.5 - 2 hours. A single ticket costs 10 TL. Tickets can be purchased at kiosks near the bus bays.
At Izmir buses for Kuşadası arrive and leave from the upper level of the enormous, chaotic bus station which is
8 km to the east of the city centre. This means that if you are arriving fron Izmir Airport you have to travel for at least an hour in the wrong direction to catch a bus to Kuşadası.
We have heard that buses between Izmir and Kuşadası stop at Izmir Airport on the way, but have been unable to confirm this. It may seem logical and reasonable, but things do not always work out that way.
Bus tickets can also be purchased from the various travel agencies opposite Izmir's central Basmane railway station (Basmane Gar). Some of the travel agencies offer free dolmuş transfers to the bus station.
Local Izmir city buses (run by ESHOT) to Izmir Otogar:
To/from the city centre, bus 54 to Konak and bus 191 to Yurtoğlu. Both stop near Basmane railway station. (Ask the driver to let you off at Basmane, if that is where you want to go.) Journey time 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic. Fare 2 Lira.
Bus 204 to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (Havalimanı). Journey time 60 minutes, depending on traffic. Fare 4 Lira.
ESHOT website: ww.eshot.gov.tr (in Turkish and English)
The route/timetable finder is difficult to use as you have to enter the name of the departure and destination points; not easy if you do not know Izmir.
Futher information and links about Izmir public transport in English, including buses, Metro and İZBAN suburban trains, at the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality website: www.izmir.bel.tr
There is a shuttle bus run by Havaş Shuttle between Izmir airport and the centre of Izmir, stopping at Basmane and the Efes Hotel (Efes Oteli), every half hour (03:30 - 23:30). Journey time 60 minutes. Fare 10 Turkish Lira. Excellent service.
www.havas.net Tel: +90 232 274 22 76
Although Izmir's public transport system is good and cheap, if you are travel-weary, in a hurry or carrying luggage you may prefer to take a taxi. Between the otogar and the city centre a taxi costs around 30 Lira; to the airport 50-60 Lira. Be sure to ask the driver for the price (in Turkish Lira!) before you get in the taxi!
Izmir taxis charge an initial fee of 2.50 TL, and a fixed rate of 2.25 TL per kilometre.
Buses Selçuk and Kuşadası to Istanbul
The bus to Istanbul, operated by the Kamil Koc bus company, runs once a day.
Journey time 11 hours. Fare around 80 TL (38.00 Euro).
Departs from Kuşadası / Selçuk 21:30.
Kuşadası to/from Denizli (for Pamukkale)
There are 3 - 6 buses every day between Kuşadası Otogar and Denizli (approx. 200 km), although the trains (see Getting to Selçuk) are faster and more comfortable. The bus takes about 3-5 hours (depending on whose estimate you believe) and costs around 35 TL.
The buses are operated by Pamukkale Turizm. Their website www.pamukkale.com.tr is in Turkish only.
Information in English at:
according to which there are 5 buses a day for Denizli, leaving Kuşadası Otogar at the following times:
09:00, 11:15, 16:00, 22:00, 23:30
Buses do not go directly to Pamukkale directly, but terminate at Denizli Otogar (Bus Terminal)
which is 20 km from Pamukkale.
From Denizli Otogar you can take a dolmuş shuttle or a taxi to Pamukkale.
Journey time 20-30 minutes.
|Taxis can be an economical and convenient way to travel to places not covered by frequent bus services, particularly for groups of 2-4 people. Many taxi drivers in Izmir, Selçuk and Kuşadası speak either English or German (or both) and even French, and can provide a lot of information about their locality. The best are also entertaining.
In Kuşadası taxis can be hailed on the street or found at various taxi ranks around town, marked on the free maps available from the tourist information and at many hotels.
Ask the taxi driver the price to your destination before accepting his services, and make sure of the price in Turkish Lira, even if you are paying in another currency.
Watch out for this, especially in Izmir: a driver may demand, say 30 Euro (= 60 Lira), rather than 30 Lira at the end of the journey!
For long distance rides, ask if there are any extra charges, for example road tolls.
Luggage does not cost extra. Tips are always appreciated (10-15 %) but not obligatory.
Sightseeing by taxi
Special prices can be negotiated with taxi drivers for day-trips and visits to local places of interest.
Deals usually include waiting times and lunch breaks at local restaurants.
|by bicycle, car and motorbike
Cycling around the beautiful coastal areas, inland countryside and villages of Ionia is a joy, particularly once you get off the main roads. The topography is varied, with flat river plains and some steep hills.
In Kusadasi itself, the coastal strip is flat, but the streets up to the main highway have a steep gradient, and hills rising steeply to the north, south and inland (east).
South of Söke, towards Priene, Miletus, Didyma and Altinkum there is a good, flattish minor road along the marshy delta of the Büyük Menderes river (Maeander) with little traffic.
Naturally, it can get strenuous in high summer when temperatures rise to 40 degrees Celcius. A good sun-blocker and plenty of water are strongly advised.
Parking and leaving bicycles is generally safe in the country and villages, but risky in towns.
Car and motorbike
Roads in Turkey range from the most modern motorways to potholed highways and country roads and unpaved tracks. As in other countries, most drivers are friendly and courteous while some are totally mad. Traffic can be chaotic in larger cities such as Izmir.
There are several firms in Izmir, Selçuk and Kuşadası offering car and motorbike rental. It is currently beyond the scope of this guide to recommend particular companies. The best advice we can offer is to shop around and ask locals, other visitors and staff at your hotel.
Kuşadası scooter boys
The Otoyols (expressways or motorways) and some large road bridges (such as the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul) charge expensive tolls.
You can not pay these tolls by cash or credit card.
The only way to pay the tolls is with a "HGS" electronic-chip sticker or a toll transponder (small plastic device), which you can buy at post offices and participating Shell fuel stations.
HGS stands for Hızlı Geçiş Sistemi (Fast Transit System), an electronic toll-payment sytem designed to speed up traffic flow. You buy credit for your transponder or chip card, which is affixed to the windscreen, and the toll is deducted electronically as you pass a toll booth.
You will need your vehicle registration documents and passport to register with the HGS system and pay a minimum of 30 TL to charge the first credit onto your HGS account
If you hire a vehicle in Turkey it should already be fitted with a HGS transponder.
You can not buy a HGS device on the internet. Any website offering to sell these devices is bogus.
The HGS system may improve traffic flow, but it also reduces the number of staff required at toll points and increases the government's ability to track the movements of citizens and visitors.
Often there are alternative, though slower, non-toll routes for those not in a hurry.
The Website of the Republic of Turkey General Directorate of Highways www.kgm.gov.tr publishes information in Turkish and English about the country's road sytem, as well as downloadable road maps.
The toll system:
Izmir province road map (2014):
|by ferry to/from Samos
The "Kuşadası Express" ferry, which carries passengers to and from the Greek island of Samos.
|Regular ferries cross the short distance between Kuşadası and the Greek island of Samos.
It is possible to visit Kuşadası and Ephesus from Samos (or vice versa) in one day, and organized excursions are available. However, you may find it less strenuous and more enjoyable to stay at least one night in Kuşadası.
Most of the shops and businesses on Samos close for their siesta in the afternoon (13:00-17:00). Banks are open Monday to Friday 8:30-14:30. The archaeological museum in the main town of Vathi (also known as Samos town) remains open and is well worth visiting. Open Tuesday-Sunday 09:00-16:00, Monday closed. Entrance 3 Euro.
There is no central or comprehensive source of information for fares and schedules for the ferries, and the websites of the various travel agencies and ferry operators publish information in different ways. You have to ask at the travel agencies around the harbours of Kuşadası and Samos to get the best deal.
The Kuşadası authorities charges an enormous port tax of 10 Euro for each passenger. Some ticket sellers include this tax, others do not. The Samos port tax is usually included in the ticket price.
Generally, infants 0-5 years old travel free, children 6-12 years old pay 50% of the adult fare.
If you are travelling from Samos you may also have to buy a visa to enter Turkey
(see Tourist visas for Turkey).
Between Kuşadası and Vathi (Samos town)
From 1 April to 31 October there are two daily departures from each of the ports,
at 8.30 am and 5 pm.
In winter there is only one ferry from each port, departing at 8.30 am and returning
at 4.30 pm.
The journey time is around 1.5 hours.
Typical ferry fares (2014), including the 10 Euro Kuşadası port tax:
Kuşadası to Vathi
Departure 8:30 every day
One way: 35 €
Same Day Return: 40 €
Open return: 55 €
Departure 17:00 every day except Monday, Wednesday and Friday
One way: 40 Euro
Open return: 60 Euro
Vathi to Kuşadası
Departure 8:30 every day except Monday, Wednesday and Friday
One way: 45 €
Same Day Return: 55 €
Open return: 65 €
Departure 17:00 every day
One way: 45 Euro
Open return: two one-way tickets (price depening on which ferry you return)
Passengers must book at least one day in advance. Passport details are required for the booking.
Embarkation 1 hour before departure.
The ferries are quite small, typically taking only 120 passengers.
Up-to-date ferry schedules and fares can be found at:
Each of these websites states different fares, with or without port taxes. All very confusing. Why don't they all just include the tax? Or better still, the tax should be abolished altogether - it is just another way to fleece tourists.
Between Kuşadası and Pythagorion, Samos
In summer there are also daily ferries to Pythagorion, the ancient capital of Samos, but reliable information about schedules is difficult to find. Fares are about the same as for Vathi.
Meander Travel (www.meandertravel.com) offers a ferry between Pythagorion and Kuşadası every day except Monday and Friday:
08:30 hrs from Pythagorion, Samos to Kuşadası
One Way Ticket 35 Euro, excluding Kusadasi port tax
Same Day Return Ticket 45 Euro, excluding Kusadasi port tax
Open Return Ticket 45 Euro, excluding Kusadasi port tax
17:00 hrs from Kuşadası to Pythagorion, Samos
One Way Ticket 40 Euro, including Kusadasi port tax
Open Return Ticket 60 Euro, including Kusadasi port tax
Journey time 1 hour 45 minutes.
Pythagorion is a small, pleasant seaside town, on the southeastern coast of the island, 13 km and 35 minutes by bus from Vathi (Samos town). It has some good cafes, restaurants and shops, a few beaches nearby, some ancient ruins and a tiny museum. It is close to Samos airport (4 km) and offers day trips to the island of Patmos.
Patmos is miles 52 km south of Samos. The ferry from Pythagorion departs at 07:30,
and returns from Patmos at 16:00. Journey time each way approximately 2 hours.
Opening times for Samos Archaeological Museum, in the centre of Vathi.
Summer (1 April - 31 October): Tuesday-Sunday 09:00-16:00. Monday closed.
Winter (1 November - 30 April): Tuesday-Sunday 08:00-15:00. Monday closed.
Admission 3 Euro; reduced tickets 2 Euro.
Tel: 0030 22730 27469
Map of north-western Turkey and the Aegean area.
See a larger interactive map of this area.
A sculpture of pigeons (or doves)
landing on a giant outstretched hand
on a jetty in Kuşadası harbour.
|Map, photos and articles: © David John
Additional photos: © Konstanze Gundudis
All photos and articles are copyright protected.
Images and materials by other authors
have been attributed where applicable.
Please do not use these photos or articles without permission.
If you are interested in using any of the photos for your website,
blog or publication, please get in contact.
Higher resolution versions are available on request.
Some of the information and photos in this guide to Kuşadası
originally appeared in 2004 on davidjohnberlin.de.
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