Things to do in Izmir

Our most recommended things to do in Izmir

From Izmir: Full-Day Ephesus Tour

1. From Izmir: Full-Day Ephesus Tour

Start with a pickup from your hotel in Izmir. Then, the discovery of Ephesus begins with the House of the Virgin Mary and a 10-minute drive to the ancient city of Ephesus. Explore the city by walking on the marble streets, accompanied by a guide.  See the Odeon, State Agora, the Pretension, the Memmius Monument, the Domitian Temple, Hercules Gate, Curetes Street, Hadrian Temple, and the Latrines. Choose to take an optional visit to the terrace houses for an additional cost.  After the terrace houses, carry on with your exploration with the Celsus Library, Marble Road, Commercial Agora, Great Theater, and Arcadian (harbor road). Enjoy a nice lunch served in a quaint local restaurant. Visit the Temple of Artemisa and take pictures of the church of St. John and the Mosque of İsa Bey. Enjoy free time in the old village of Sirince to discover the traditional houses, the fruit-flavored wine production, and enjoy some wine tasting.  End the day with a transfer back to Izmir airport or to your hotel in Izmir.

From Selcuk/Kusadasi/Izmir: Pamukkale Full-Day Tour

2. From Selcuk/Kusadasi/Izmir: Pamukkale Full-Day Tour

Discover the stunning region of Pamukkale and its hot springs on a day trip from Selcuk, Kusadasi, or Izmir. Begin by meeting your driver/guide at the reception of your hotel in the morning and a transfer to Pamukkale. Explore the ancient city of Hierapolis, built on solid limestone layers formed by mineral-rich waters that flowed for millennia over a raised level plateau. See the most significant sites of the sacred city including the Theatre, the Temple of Apollo, and the Necropolis. Admire the Necropolis (Cemetery) of Hierapolis, one of the largest ancient burial sites in Anatolia. See a Roman bath, the Gate of Domitian, the main street of the ancient city, and the Byzantium Gate. Walk to the natural warm water terraces, formed by running warm water rich in calcium and temperatures of 35 Celsius all year-round. Get the chance to see the gleaming white travertine terraces of Pamukkale, located next to the ruins of Hierapolis.  Enjoy optional free time to swim in Cleopatra’s Pool before ending the tour with a transfer back to your hotel. And during the tour you'll have the chance to have a look at the Turkish traditional handcrafts.

Ephesus Entry Ticket with Mobile Phone Audio Tour

3. Ephesus Entry Ticket with Mobile Phone Audio Tour

Founded by the Greeks and conquered by the Romans, Ephesus was once a city of proverbial wealth. It was a bustling port which over time developed into an important center for Christianity. On this self-guided tour, benefit from skip-the-line entry then explore using your smartphone to travel back in time to the city’s former life. The tour is the perfect way to experience the site in a fun and insightful way, and gain valuable insight into one of the most popular places in Turkey. The first stop of the day is to the State Agora, which was once the political heart of the city boasting a lavish square. Continue on to Bouleuterion, and discover the meeting point of the city council which perhaps was also a space for artistic performances. As you stroll around the colonnades, stoas, and other buildings, listen to fascinating stories about what life was like here for locals. Arrive at the Temple of Domitian and find out the rather unusual architectural layout of the U-shaped altar. Next, wander down the Curetes which connected the political and commercial hearts of Ephesus. Uncover the legend of the emperor’s fountain, then explore the large complex of baths at the Scolastica including the lavish marble latrines. Head to the grave of the Egyptian princess Arsinoe, then marvel at the mesmerizing Celsus Library, which is probably the most famous landmark of Ephesus. From here the road leads you to the gate of Mazeus and Mithridates, and onto at the Grand Theatre where performances and gladiatorial games took place. Last but not least, walk through the crossroads of the Arcadiane and follow a small path that leads you to the spectacular ruins of the enormous Church of Mary.

From Kusadasi or Izmir: Ephesus Private Tour

4. From Kusadasi or Izmir: Ephesus Private Tour

Explore the stunning ruins of Ephesus on this full-day sightseeing tour from Izmir or Kusadasi, also available as a half-day option from Kusadasi for those short of time. As it is a private tour you can start at any time you like. You will also visit the small House of the Virgin Mary, where it is thought she spent her final days after St. John brought her to Ephesus following the death of Jesus. Located on Mount Bulbuldagi (Koressos), it’s a popular pilgrim site for Christians and Muslims and boasts a captivating, spiritual atmosphere. Once inside the grounds of Ephesus, wander among the ruins with your guide to see sites such as the Odeon Theatre, which could seat up to 1,400 spectators in its day. Admire the beautiful Roman statues and decorations carved into marble slabs at the Pollio Fountain. Other highlights include the Celcius Library, completed by the Romans in 117AD. The building has the most awe-inspiring façade, with columns, statues, and intact windows. Finally, explore the Greek Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, and go to the Basilica of St John (Kusadasi departures only), constructed by Justinian I over the burial site of the Apostle John.

Turkey (Türkiye): eSim Mobile Data Roaming Plan

5. Turkey (Türkiye): eSim Mobile Data Roaming Plan

Make your trip hassle-free with your convenient eSIM. Stay connected on your travels with high-speed coverage in Turkey and the other 39 most visited regions in Europe. Purchase and install your eSIM anytime and anywhere, and choose from a variety of data packages, validity options, and coverage in additional countries. Simply scan the eSIM QR code to access all your essential apps on your trip. Avoid the trouble of managing multiple SIMs with this zero-waste solution. Get one eSIM per device and top up by simply buying and activating additional eSIM plans as you go. Once activated, your coverage will begin according to your selected duration. Benefit from coverage in Austria, Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Greece, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, La Reunion, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Also covered is Malta, Martinique, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland. All iPhone model launched beyond iPhone XS can support eSIM. For Android, if you are unsure, please check with the guideline photo for eligibility. If you can not connect to the internet after install this eSIM, please follow the Self Help Troubleshooting Guide in your GYG voucher. APN (Access Point Name): mobiledata Local operator info: Turkey: Vodafone-Telsim The rest of the countries is available in the voucher info on your GYG App after purchase

Izmir City Tour with a Private Guide & Van

6. Izmir City Tour with a Private Guide & Van

In this Izmir Sightseeing Tour, make your first stop at Kordonboyu, with its transformed coastline, after a short walk from Izmir port. Izmir’s famous Kordon has been the theme of many poems and lyrics and is known for being full of life and culture. There, admire the blue bay, green coast, sunset, and the ships hurriedly coming and going from the bustling port. Enjoy a walk along the strip, where you'll find various restaurants, bars, and cafes. Take the time to taste the city together with residents in Republic Square. There, enjoy a break and take some photos of the statue of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Ataturk, in the center of the square. Next, continue to walk on Kordonboyu until you soon reach Konak Square. See the symbol of Izmir in the center of Konak Square as well as the Clock Tower and its close friends, the pigeons. Close by, in twisting lanes and narrow courts, are the shops of Izmir’s Bazaar. Here, you'll find a huge range of goods - everything from flowers to antiques is on offer at a bargain price. After a lunch break, board the ferry for the approximately 40-minute journey to Karsiyaka, one of the finest sites in Izmir. Enjoy a beautiful bazaar, great malls, and lots of shopping possibilities. Then, take a ferry to Alsancak.

From Izmir: Pamukkale Day Trip with Lunch

7. From Izmir: Pamukkale Day Trip with Lunch

Depart from your hotel in Izmir in the morning and meet your guide. Travel to Pamukkale to see its dazzling sights and learn about its history and culture. The travertines are formed by a multifaceted chemical reaction and subsequent precipitation of various causes and environments. Water springs from ground with high level of Calcium Hydrocarbonate at a temperature of 35.6 degrees C; and this causes carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to evaporate and leave calcium carbonate to precipitate and form the travertine. Hierapolis has been a settlement of different cults and cultures throughout history; and the city is believed to be founded by Eumenies II, the Attalid king of Pergamon at the end of 2nd Century BC; and to have been named after Hiera, the beautiful wife of Telephos, the legendary founder of Pergamon. We will explore Necropolis, Domitian Gate, Frontinus Street, Agora, North Byzantine Gate, Gymnasium, Fountain with Triton, Apollon Temple, Martyrium of St. Philip and bridge, Column Church, ruins of Plutonium, Latrina and Roman Baths. Get transferred back to your hotel in Izmir at the end of the day.

Full-Day Tour of Ancient Ruins in Ephesus from Izmir

8. Full-Day Tour of Ancient Ruins in Ephesus from Izmir

This full-day tour from Izmir, takes you to Ephesus in Selçuk to explore Turkey’s best preserved ruins from the ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine civilizations. Visit the most important ruins in Ephesus, including the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World before it was destroyed in 401 AD. You will also see the Library of Celsus, built to hold 12,000 scrolls and at its time one of the largest libraries in the world. The nearby Great Theater, which was the largest outdoor theater in the world, was designed to hold 24,000 people – even its ruins are huge. After discovering the impressive monuments, you will visit the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus. The museum houses many important statues and relics including a preserved segment of the original Temple of Artemis. After enjoying a lunch of traditional Turkish cuisine, you will travel to the House of the Virgin Mary on Bulbul Mountain, where archeologists and historians believe the mother of Jesus lived at the end of her life.

From Izmir: Pamukkale Guided Tour with Lunch

9. From Izmir: Pamukkale Guided Tour with Lunch

Discover the natural wonders of Pamukkale on this guided tour with lunch. Marvel at formations of travertine and explore Hierapolis to learn the history of the ancient city. Get the chance to also visit jewelry, leather, carpet, or ceramic centers. Begin at the ancient city of Hierapolis, established in 200 B.C. and one of the most important settlements during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Walk around the recently restored theater and the city’s majestic buildings and monuments. Later, see why Pamukkale means “cotton castle.” Step into a world of wonders as you witness spectacular formations of travertine and the natural hot spring pool. Learn more about the area and spend some relaxation time in the spring pool.

7 Churches of Asia Minor: 5 Days/4 Nights in 4-Star Hotels

10. 7 Churches of Asia Minor: 5 Days/4 Nights in 4-Star Hotels

Set off a Bible-oriented multi-day trip to the 7 churches of Asia Minor, including Pergamum, Sardis, and Laodicea. Immerse yourself in the history of Christianity as you explore Greek and Roman ruins. Stay in 4-star hotels during your tour and enjoy breakfast, dinner, and transportation included. Day 1: Arrival in Izmir Enjoy the convenience of being picked up at Izmir airport and driven directly to your hotel, Kaya Prestige, DoubleTree By Hilton Alsancak, or similar. Enjoy dinner at your hotel. Day 2: Pergamon, Thyatira, and Izmir After breakfast, drive to Pergamum, mentioned in the New Testament as one of the 7 Churches of Asia Minor [Rev. 1:11; 2:12]. Visit the Acropolis of Pergamum, an amphitheater perched dramatically atop a steep hill. Stop at the Asklepion, a famous medical center during the classical era. See the Altar of Zeus, which John the Apostle referred to as the “Throne of Satan.” Walk among the marble columns of the Temple of Trajan. Continue to Thyatira, another of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 1:11; 2:18-24; Acts 16:14]. Known in ancient times for its purple dyes, Thyatira is also the city where St. Lydia once lived. As you make your way through the city, you’ll have the chance to see ruins from Roman times. Enjoy a panoramic ride through Smyrna, the third largest city in Turkey and one of the sites of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 2:12-17]. Return to the hotel for dinner and some rest. Day 3: Izmir, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Hierapolis Depart early in the morning to reach one of the most picturesque of the Seven Churches of Asia, Sardis [Rev. 1:11; 3:1-4]. Sardis, now known as Sart was portrayed in the Book of Revelations as a dying church. Visit the Temple of Artemis and the Temple of Cybele. Continue to Philadelphia, now known as Alasehir, another of the Churches of Asia and the only church not censured. Unlike the other 6 churches, they remained steadfast in their faith. Visit the remains of a Byzantine basilica that features 11th-century frescoes. Drive to Hierapolis, a city known for its therapeutic springs. See the Pamukkale or “Cotton Fortress.” Visit travertines and terraces. Journey on to Laodicea [Rev. 1:11; 3:14; Col. 2:1; 4:13-16]. See the ancient theatre, the remains of a basilica, and ancient stone water pipes. Visit the Gate of Domitian, the Arcadian Way, a 2nd-century theatre, the Nymphaion, the Temple of Apollo, the Plutonium, and the Necropolis. Stay at the Colossae Thermal or similar in Pamukkale. Day 4: Ephesus Drive to Kusadasi and visit the ancient city of Ephesus. See the Basilica of St. John, which received an epistle from the apostle Paul who lived in Ephesus for 3 years. Tour the spectacular ruins where excavations still continue in this once great and important city founded over 2 millennia ago. Take a trip back in time as your walk along the marble streets lined with wonderful public buildings such as the Baths of Scholastica, the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, and the Theatre. See the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. Visit the House of the Virgin Mary, a house said to have been the Virgin Mary’s home in her final years. Afterward, enjoy dinner at your hotel in Kusadasi: the Efe Boutique Hotel or similar. Day 5: Izmir Your tour comes to a close as you are picked up from your hotel in Kusadasi and then transferred to the Izmir airport.

Frequently asked questions about Izmir

What top attractions are a must-see in Izmir?

The must-see attractions in Izmir are:

What are the best day trips and excursions from Izmir?

The best day trips and excursions from Izmir are:

Pamukkale

Other Sightseeing Options in Izmir

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What people are saying about Izmir

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 290 reviews

This was a fantastic 1-day trip that covered everything I wanted to see in Ephesus while removing all worries; it was completely stress-free from beginning to end.

This was the perfect way to spend the day! Our guide Aishin was incredible! She got us ahead of the crowds and her knowledge of the history was exceptional

Very well organized and a great trip. The guides are very knowledgable and know the best routes to see the locations.

It was good but the Title of the tour should be more clear. It said pickup from Izmir but that was not it

Amazing! Nizam is the best everything explained perfectly! It was an incredible and funny tour ☺️