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Day 5 – İzmir to Kuşadası


İzmir

The second largest city of İzmir is a great way to start your coastal tour of Turkey. Locals and tourists from all over Europe fill this city during the peak summer months from June to August. Having spent a whole day in İzmir visiting all the sights, it was time to move on to the next coastal town of Kuşadası (pronounced kusha-da-suh).

Kuşadası is the base of many other sights and towns nearby – the Roman ruins of Ephesus (Efes), town of Selçuk, and hill-station town of Şirince.

Metro free shuttle from Izmir center to bus station
Metro free shuttle from Izmir center to bus station
The problem is reaching İzmir Otogar (bus station) from the city center – which lies 6km north east of the city and although there are plenty of dolmuş that make the journey there, just inquire at one of the various bus companies’ offices for free rides to the bus station. Hotel Guzel was close to the Basmane metro station and around the circle from the station, Metro bus company runs free Metro shuttle buses to the İzmir Otogar every 30 minutes. Just get in that free shuttle!

The free shuttle took about 15 minutes to reach the bus station, which has the offices of all the bus companies. I decided to travel with Kamil Koç (in Turkish & English) buses that takes less than 2 hours to reach Kuşadası otogar and costs TL 10. Kamil Koç buses are equipped with toilets, wifi and on-board snack service (coffee, tea, biscuits, water). The buses to Kuşadası run every hour from İzmir Otogar. Having missed the 10am bus by a few minutes, it was going to be the next one at 11am.

Kuşadası

Other than being a coastal town and a base to go to Ephesus, Selçuk and Şirince, there’s not much to do in Kuşadası. And as with any other coastal city in Turkey, Kuşadası has abundance of hotels, many of which don’t come cheap, especially because of the ship-load of tourists that either arrive or take the 2-hour ferry ride from/to Samos, Greece.

Hotel Stella

Hotel Stella

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Rooms
Service
Breakfast included: Yes.

Address: Haci Feyzullah Mah., Bezirgan Sokak No:44, Kuşadası, Turkey
Website: www.hotelstellakusadasi.com

Good location, great rooms
Hotel Stella had great reviews, both on Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor, which helped me decide to book a room for three nights via their website. Hassan, the owner of this boutique hotel offered to pick me up from the bus station in his car, which turned out to be great because it takes 20-30 minutes of uphill walking to the hotel. Another option is to take the local bus no. 5 and tell them you’d like to go to Hotel Stella. The bus, actually a dolmuş, will drop you on the road facing the sea from where you follow signs to the hotel – take left on this tiny road and take the elevator up to the hotel.

Hotel Stella is built on the hill-top facing the southern-side of the marina. All the rooms face the sea and hence the views are gorgeous. Hassan is very helpful, speaks English and very friendly person. The rooms are huge, clean and worth the price of €20 a night.

That being said, there are a few things one must keep in mind. The hotel’s swimming pool is located on the first floor, the ground level being the road and the lobby/reception and dining area are on the third floor. I got a room on the second floor, which still had great views, but a bit obstructed by the tall elevator shaft. But the not-so-good part about being on the second floor is the constant thumping on the ceiling by everyone above in the dining area. The chairs of the dining area make terrible noises when they are moved around and you can hear people smoking or talking in your room below.

Breakfast is limited to one plate and is not unlimited.

On the last day I had to leave in the morning to go to Bodrum on the 8am bus which was booked by Hassan, for which I was at the reception at 6:30am expecting to have breakfast. But I was not offered one! Also, it is a 20 minute walk from the hotel to the bus station, but Hassan insisted that I take a taxi, and it’d cost about TL 10 to reach the otogar (taxis are metered in Kuşadası). But I was taken for a ride and it costs double, TL 20, to reach there!

All in all this is a fantastic hotel to be in, with great breakfast and a roof-top swimming pool.

 

After checking in, I walked to the city center for sending postcards and getting stamps in my Postal Stamps Travelogue book. Next to the post office was the Wednesday flee market that sells everything from clothes to souvenirs.

Lunch was at Metin Usta Cafe along the main road leading to the promenade – Tavuk (chicken) kebab that comes with fries, pita bread, cheeses and çay (tea).

Kuşadası Flee Market
Kuşadası Flee Market
Lunch at Metin Usta Cafe
Lunch at Metin Usta Cafe

Post lunch, I headed back to the hotel for a quick nap since it was too hot in the day to walk around the city. And after the nap, I walked over to the castle which was under renovation, hence closed.

Castle
Castle

Post sunset, the weather was just perfect for a long walk along the promenade, planning my next two days in Ephesus & around, and Pamukkale. Sat by the pier, talked to some locals about the history of the city and country; and calling it an early day, headed to Damla restaurant by the pier for a sumptuous meal – grilled calamari, sheesh kebab and some fantastic Turkish music.

Costs

Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult. The exchange rate at the time of publishing is assumed to be USD 1 = TRY 1.80.
 

What Cost Notes
Bus from Izmir to Kusadasi TL 10 or $5.60 One way is TL 10.
Lunch at Metin Usta Cafe TL 10 or $5.60
Hotel Stella €60 or $82 €20 per night for a single bedroom with bathroom. For three nights.
Dinner at Damla Restaurant TL 55 or $30.50
Snacks & water TL 5 or $2.80
Toilets TL 2 or $1.10
Total Costs $147.60 Per person
Overall Costs $1,920.40 Per person

 

« PREVIOUS – Day 4

Çeşme

Coastal town featuring thermal baths & castle.

Day 5

İzmir to Kuşadası

Traveling from İzmir to Kuşadası & spending day there.

« Sixteen days in Turkey

Day 6 – NEXT »

Ephesus, Selçuk, ŞirinceVisiting Efes & towns of Selçuk & Şirince.

Visiting Efes & towns of Selçuk & Şirince.

 


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