We finish our Best of Turkey tour in Kusadasi the morning of 5/19 and fly out of Istanbul on 5/20. We'll spend the night of 5/19 at an airport hotel in Istanbul. What do we do with our full day of the 19th? Explore Kusadasi or Izmir? We will fly from Izmir to Istanbul either way, and we can ride the tour bus to Izmir if we choose. What to do with luggage during the day regardless? Would hate to waste our final day!
If you can get a car, or a bus tour, the ruins of Ephesus are amazing!
An acoustically perfect amphitheatre where you can sit in the back row and hear people talking from the stage. An ancient public toilet showing how Roman plumbing dealt with such things. The site of the Virgin Mary's death. And the amazing Library. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephesus
When I went there what blew me away was the guide telling us that this is "New Ephesus" because its only 2,000 year old Roman. Old Ephesus (5,000 years old) is long gone.
Ephesus is about a half hour from Kusadasi. I went there from Izmir and it was farther. If you're ending your cruise in Kusadasi and flying out of Izmir, I would rent a car and stop at Ephesus on the way. Or check if the tour bus can take you from K to I with a stop at E.
I assume you will already have seen Ephesus with your tour?
North of Izmir is Pergamon, a famous antiquities site. I recommend that you visit it.
I really enjoyed seeing Izmir - I stopped there on my way from Ephesus back to Istanbul (I was traveling by bus) and it was an easy stopover. I spent about 6 hours walking and seeing the sights (the ruins of the Agora are especially interesting) and its harbor, which was beautiful. It's Turkey's third largest city with a lot to see and do.
Kusadasi is a beach town so if you're looking to relax on the beach, you may want to choose that. However, if you want to see more of Turkey and its sights, I would recommend Izmir. It's also closer to Istanbul, which is a plus.
Thanks, Mardee. That's really helpful. What did you do with luggage while you toured Izmir?
I don't know about Kusadasi because we didn't visit there but we stayed in Izmir and enjoyed spending an evening and morning exploring a bit of the city. We also visited Pergamon and found it definitely worth seeing - unless you're all tuckered out from seeing the ruins at Ephesus.
caroldex, when I got to Izmir in the late morning, I went to the large otogar on the outskirts of town to book my bus ticket to Istanbul (I used Varan) and they let me keep my luggage there until the bus left (later that evening). However, I'm fairly certain that the airport has luggage storage, so you could always drop it off there, which might be handy if you're flying from Izmir.
EDIT: Just checked and yes, Izmir airport has bag storage facilities in the International Terminal that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I have a flight from Izmir to Oslo that doesn't leave until late that evening on the last day of the tour. I plan on taking the tour bus to Izmir in the morning, which is the end of the tour. I will store luggage at the airport and then explore Izmir for several hours before returning to the airport. Here are the rates for baggage storage at the airport:
Izmir has a wildlife park that I plan on visiting during the day. The park is about a 40 minute drive each way.
Thank you all for the tips! These are very helpful -- I appreciate the links. Mile High 33, if I understand your post correctly, we will be on the same tour. Looking forward to meeting you. :)