We visited both Kusadasi and Istanbul first in 2010, then again in 2022. Both times were by cruise, and I can say with authority that sailing into Istanbul, a massive, ancient and exotic city that straddles two continents, is spectacular.
Kuşadası is a beach resort town on the Aegean coast known for its proximity to the classical ruins at nearby Ephesus (or Efes). Its excavated remains reflect centuries of history, from classical Greece to the Roman Empire – when it was the Mediterranean’s main commercial center – to the spread of Christianity.
Istanbul is a fantastic place. Europe’s most populous city, it was known in ancient Greek times as Byzantium, then in Roman times as Constantinople, and it reflects the empires that once ruled here. Mosques and minarets adorn the skyline in every direction, and the historic center of Istanbul is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will want to visit the iconic Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, as well as Topkapı Palace. It’s fun to wander through the unique neighborhoods and into bazaars teeming with foods, spices, lanterns and ceramics, jewelry and clothing.