Kuşadası is one of Turkey's largest and most cosmopolitan resorts and a stopping off point for the big cruise-liners. It is a good all round resort, offering great beaches, excellent shopping and some serious nightlife. Kuşadası literally means 'Bird Island' and takes its name from the tiny islet known as Güvercin Adası or Pigeon Island, which is attached to the mainland by a causeway and boasts a 14th century Genoese fort. Kaleiçi , the old centre of the town, is a popular shopping and entertainment area where as the Ottoman Kervansaray or traveler's inn is an impressive building and a landmark in the town centre. Kuşadası's setting also makes it a good base for those wanting to visit Ephesus which is only approximately 30 minutes' drive away.
The town is also surrounded by some of Turkey's most beautiful national park including the Kalamaki National Park, which lies on the Dilek Peninsula, approx. 30 kms to the south. Dense pine trees cover the mountains which plunge dramatically down to beaches and crystal-clear sea. Some of Turkey's rarest wild animals can be found here including the Anatolian cheetah and wild horses. Another stunning spot in the vicinity is Lake Bafa which is approx, 80 kms south east of Kuşadası.
The most famous beach in the area is Kadınlar Denizi (Ladies' Beach), 3km south of town and well connected by dolmus, which is very crowded in high season. Güvercin Adası has rocky shores but it is possible to swim, and there is a small beach 500m north of Yılanci Burnu peninsula. A better beach is Pamucak, 15km north on the road to Selçuk.