Flanked by the spectacular clear water of the Aegean Sea, it's not hard to see why the Izmir region is a big hit with tourists seeking fun and frolics on their Turkey holiday packages. There are spectacular views over the ocean to the Greek islands, and a good selection of amazing beaches to choose from in between. From busy sand spots with lots of activities on offer, to quieter, more secluded coves, the Izmir region offers a dose of everything.
The beaches in the Kusadasi area of Izmir are firm favourites with visitors to this part of Turkey. With many highly developed, the beaches here tend to be well equipped for the huge influx of tourists to the region each summer, and come with sunbeds, parasols as well as a wide variety of beach activities. From volleyball to jet-skis and banana-boat rides, the beaches here have it all.
The days don't end when the inflatables are packed away – in fact, the beaches all have a great selection of restaurants, bars and clubs to spend the evening in.
Long Beach and Ladies Beach are particularly popular with holidaymakers, attracting a flurry of tourists over the summer. These beaches have plenty to occupy you – whether you fancy having a go at scuba diving in the beautiful water, or prefer a less-active boat tour, there are options to suit most tastes.
If you don't exhaust yourself with all the watersports during the day, Kusadasi has loads going on when it comes to evenings, too. Popular options to pass the time on Turkey holidays include letting your hair down at a karaoke bar, hanging out by the sand for cocktails in a beach club and dancing the night away at one of the many amazing nightclubs on offer.
If you want wet and wild, Kusadasi is home to several waterparks. At the Adaland Aquapark you can even try your hand at rafting on the specially built elliptical track – and of course there are plenty of pools, slides, and diving boards to enjoy in between. There are also animal shows and the chance to swim with dolphins. It's the perfect place to cool off during those scorching summer days – and it does get hot! Temperatures can feel like 40°C in the sun.
Aqua Fantasy is another exciting waterpark, with plenty of fun slides named things like Screamer and Black Tunnel. There's also the Tortuga waterpark, which is highly rated by visitors to Kusadasi.
There are plenty of tour operators in Kusadasi who can help arrange a minibus day-trip to the ancient city of Ephesus. Here you can join a sightseeing tour, a walking tour, or find your own way around the city. As one of the best preserved Roman settlements in the world, Ephesus was the trade centre of the ancient world and there are plenty of archaeological remains to admire.
There's a weekly market in Kudadasi, held on Wednesdays, where you'll come across tons of traditional Turkish items. But be firm and prepared to barter with the stall holders when choosing your souvenir. This is a real Turkish experience with shops selling everything from gifts, leather goods and trinkets. And, of course, don't forget the Turkish Delight.
Visit a traditional Hammam – Turkish bath – for some serious relaxation. A traditional Turkish massage is also a great way to get rid of any niggling aches and pains.