Sitting on the western Aegean coast, the Aydin province of Turkey has much to boast about. Surrounded by the Izmir, Denizli and Mugla provinces, it contributes vastly towards Turkey’s tourism industry by presenting attractive beaches and many well-preserved historical ruins. Although it stretches inland, the coastline fronting the Aegean Sea includes Kusadasi and Didim that are both popular holiday destinations, foreign expat hubs, and choices of destination for Turks looking to own a second home.
Comprising 17 districts, this part of western Turkey receives fame for olive production. Everywhere you look, olive trees thrive thanks to ideal weather and soil conditions. Many people travelling to Turkey also use it as a base to reach surrounding tourist attractions, like Ephesus ancient city, Pamukkale and Hierapolis that host millions of visitors every year. For people who are thinking to explore or even buy a home here, the province has much to offer.
Getting Here: Although, Aydin’s doesn’t have an international airport, it still hosts a healthy stream of visitors thanks to Bodrum and Izmir airports. As part of the Turkish riviera, world-class marinas also serve as official ports of entry. Most cities’ bus stations connect the region to other places in Turkey through cheap and frequent countrywide buses. Otherwise, investment into roads and highways means car drivers can get here in next to no time.
Aydin Province of Turkey
1: Notable Towns and Districts
Kusadasi: In the Aegean, cosmopolitan Kusadasi is the major cruise ship port, hosting large liners bringing in people from around the world to see Ephesus, the temple of Artemis, and Virgin-Mary’s house in neighbouring Selcuk. For decades, it was a favourite holiday resort for the Irish, but these days hosts various nationalities.
Including the city centre, a short bus ride away is beautiful Ladies Beach district. Purely aimed at tourism, it makes a roaring trade with beach holidaymakers. Other claims to fame are Adaland and Aqua Fantasy that count themselves as Turkey’s best water parks. The Ottoman caravanserai sitting near the harbour and old bazaar district, and being an ancient building, hosts Turkish night shows.
Didim: Also called Altinkum, the last name translates into golden sands, which easily explains its lure as a major beach destination. The term Didim refers to the old town centre, while Altinkum is the beachside areas. Didim’s sizeable British expat population gained it the nickname of “Little Britain” thanks to a large concentration of bars and restaurants geared up for them. The promenade also hosts colourful bars and restaurants to enjoy lively summer evenings with a stunning sunset.
Soke: Few tourists venture to traditional working Soke. If they do, it is mainly to use the bus station for connections, or to visit the significant shopping outlet. For the ones that do, small cafes serving tea and the weekly market are an excellent insight into Turkish daily life away from tourist centres. On the main road running through, Cop Sis restaurants serve the town’s regional dish.
Nazilli: Talking about food, and heading inwards, Nazilli, Aydin’s second-largest town receives praise for its regional Pide. With a population of just over 150,000, tourists pass through to get to Pamukkale in neighbouring Denizli, and it is another chance to see authentic Turkish life.
2: Places of Natural Beauty in the Province
Bafa Lake: A weekend tradition in Turkish towns is to head out for a village breakfast, and in Aydin, Bafa Lake is a popular place. Restaurants on the lake’s banks serve organic and homemade ingredients making up a Turkish breakfast, like honey, butter, jams, tomatoes, and cucumber. Aside from that, a few archaeological ruins sit in surrounding landscapes luring in travellers and those who like the great outdoors.
Dilek Milli Park: This picturesque, protected peninsula of conservation offers nature walking trails, wild boars, and the stunning Aegean Sea-view. As a seaside destination, it sits near the cave of Zeus, which is a stop-off point for jeep safaris tours from nearby Kusadasi. The summer months are when Dilek comes alive, but it opens year-round to visitors.
3: Famous Historical Sites in Aydin
Apollo Temple: On the outskirts of Didim town centre, Apollo Temple is the major claim to fame. This former pagan centre of worship stands tall and proud, with columns and bases reflecting exactly how large it was. Some historians say had the construction of the temple continued, it would have rivalled the Delphi in Greece.
Miletus: A short drive away, the intact theatre at Miletus is simply stunning. Visitors still wander the corridors underneath the seating areas. Other landmarks buildings include a mosque. Miletus during its prime of the Byzantine era was an important sea trading port but lost importance when the sea banks edged away.
Priene: Many people visit Apollo, Miletus, and Priene ancient ruins in one day and the last often transpires to be the favourite. Once visited by Alexander the Great, the Temple of Athena earns admiration as do the historical houses. Although not suitable for people with walking difficulties, a stroll around this ancient city gives a marvellous insight into earlier civilisation.
Hellenistic Aphrodisias: This is another site repeatedly exciting history lovers. Ongoing excavations have unveiled the public baths, a large theatre, agora, and temples. When inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage list, the site sitting in Geyre village saw an increase in visitors.
Magnesia: As one of Aydin’s most under-rated ancient cities, the large theatre takes your breath away and historians class it as the best preserved in the Anatolian region. Once an ancient Greek city, the Persians ruled over it briefly. Findings from excavations started during the Ottoman-empire rule now sit in museums like Berlin and Paris.
4: Also Visit in Turkey
Aydin sits next to the Izmir province, which holds Turkey’s third-largest city-centre and surrounding coastal villages like Cesme. Famed for its nightlife, clock tower, and westernised ambience, Izmir, formerly known as Smyrna, is home to spectacular ruins including Pergamon and some of the Seven Churches of Revelation as mentioned in the Bible’s New Testament. Read about the Izmir province here.
Aydin also belongs to the Aegean region which boasts of famous cities and destinations. Alongside Mugla, it also hosts the most foreign visitors within Turkey’s tourism industry. In this article about Aegean region cities, we look at the must-visit places for anyone getting to know the area.
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