Kusadasi, Turkey – A Must Visit
A week away in the sun is never a bad thing; however, this trip was a mixed bag to be honest. We booked a week at the Club La Costa Kusadasi Golf & Spa resort through our holiday club. I’d wanted to visit this particular resort for a few years, mainly because the discounts were large, the resort included a golf course and I love kebabs! Although named after the seaside town of Kusadasi, the resort complex was 16km inland and perched high on a hill overlooking the surrounding area. The other issue that became abundantly clear relatively quickly after check-in was the fact that this was not a normal Club La Costa resort. A large amount of the complex, I’d say 80%+, was available to holiday tour operators to use rather than being exclusively for CLC members. In addition, the onsite restaurants charged a premium on top of the all-inclusive fee, apart from the free-for-all buffet that was horrendously busy and full of unruly kids and disinterested parents. Within a few hours it was clear we wouldn’t be returning for a second visit.
There were good parts, but they were few and far between. The golf clubhouse, restaurant and the course itself were very pretty and set apart from the main complex. We never played golf as it looked a very difficult layout and well beyond our abilities. The CLC members did get a separate pool area and bar that served snacks, so at least we had respite from the mayhem around the main pool. As a result, we tended to spend our days around the CLC pool or we jumped in our hire car and ventured around the local area, attractions and Kusadasi town.
In terms of culture, our main outing was to Ephesus, the ancient Greek city. It was built in the 10th century BC by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC. The city was famed for the nearby Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, along with many other monumental buildings such as the Library of Celsus and a theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators. Our visit was very enjoyable, but extremely hot and humid. We took a horse drawn carriage to the far end of the site and then walked the few kilometres back to a very welcome café and a cold beer!
Kusadasi as a town is truly beautiful, with a variety of sights, sounds, smells and photography opportunities. We ate at two brilliant restaurants; Erzincan (try their signature dish called Testi Kebab) and Ethci Steak House (amazing steaks at an unbelievable price). We visited the castle on Güvercinada (Pigeon Island) and wandered around the bazaar area, full of street sellers and alleyways. On top of this, we drank in some great bars, with wonderful views. Kusadasi town is highly recommended if you are ever in this region of Turkey.
Back near the CLC complex we found another superb restaurant called Tarihi Cinaralti Restaurant which was reached after a short drive down some very narrow and twisty back roads. This place was not primarily aimed at foreign visitors, so ordering food was somewhat tricky, but what we ate was truly delicious.
A lot of people shy away from Turkey, but if you avoid the main beach holiday destinations the country is beautiful, full of very friendly people and packed with great food options. Definitely consider visiting Kusadasi, but avoid the Club La Costa Kusadasi Golf & Spa resort in our opinion.