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Izmir

Culture & History

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Our most recommended Izmir Culture & History

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 Artemis. Here, there will be a good chance to take gorgeous 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.

Full-Day Tour of Ancient Ruins in Ephesus from Izmir

4. 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

5. 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.

Ephesus: Half-Day Tour from Kusadasi or İIzmir

6. Ephesus: Half-Day Tour from Kusadasi or İIzmir

Begin your half-day tour at your residence in either Kusadasi or Izmir, and enjoy a comfortable drive in air-conditioned luxury vehicle to the ancient city of Ephesus. Considered to be one of the most spectacular open-air museums in Turkey, Ephesus is a must-see on any visit to Turkey. Walk through its ancient marble streets and admire the stunning facade of the Library of Celsus. Walk past the Temple of Hadrian and the Temple of Artemis, as well as the Vedius and Scholastic Baths, and the Fountains of Trajan and Polio. Admire the staggering size of the Great Theatre, whose capacity exceeds 24,000 spectators, and then begin to make your way back to Kusadasi or Izmir to end the tour.

From Kusadasi or Izmir: Ephesus Private Tour

7. 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.

From Izmir: Guided Tour of the Ancient City of Ephesus

8. From Izmir: Guided Tour of the Ancient City of Ephesus

Arrive on the outskirts of Bulbul Mountain at the gates of the ancient city of Ephesus. Discover the daily life of Ephesians and visit the most important pagan and Christian heritage sites. Enjoy an included lunch, and take some time to shop afterward before returning back to Izmir. Enjoy pick-up from your hotel and learn the important history and mythology on your one hour drive to Selcuk. Find yourself at the gates of the city, important for its place in the Hellenic world and Roman era. Imagine yourself an Ephesian, and see the most important attractions. Begin at the Governmental Agora, see the Road of Curates, and the Gate of Magnesia. Find the Gate of Hercules, the Traianus Fountain, the Temple of Hadrianus, and checkout how ancient bathrooms worked. Wonder at the Roman Baths of Scholastica, the Library of Celsius, and the Grand Theatre of Ephesus. Leave the city gates and take the option to visit the House of the Virgin Mary, where she spent her final days in peace and mourning. Marvel at the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. View St. John Basilica, an architectural wonder of the Christian world. Light a candle for the Virgin Mary if you like, and experience lunch and shopping before the drive back to your hotel.

From Izmir: Pamukkale Full-Day Tour

9. From Izmir: Pamukkale Full-Day Tour

We will depart from Izmir in the morning and two and a half hours later arrive at Pamukkale which means the cotton castle in Turkish. These white rock formations, known as travertines, are world famous and have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The water of Pamukkale is famous for the benefits it gives to the eyes and skin. It is also said to cure illnesses such as asthma and rheumatism. It is possible to swim in certain areas, so be sure to bring your swimsuit. Many centuries ago the Romans, aware of the powers of Pamukkale’s water, decided to build a large spa city called Hierapolis nearby. We will visit Hierapolis after lunch, which will be provided. Hierapolis means Holy City in Turkish and despite not having been lived in for several centuries it remains a fascinating place to visit. Hierapolis has a well preserved 12,000 seat amphitheater and the massive Necropolis which is the largest ancient graveyard in Anatolia. You will also see the Temple of Apollo and the shrine of the nymphs at this beautiful ancient site. At the end of the day we will drive back to Izmir, where we can drop you off at your hotel or at the airport.

From Izmir: Private Ephesus Day Trip and Shore Excursion

10. From Izmir: Private Ephesus Day Trip and Shore Excursion

After a one hour drive, arrive in Ephesus, which was the Roman capital of Asia Minor, and home to over a quarter of a million people —from slave traders to saints— at its peak between 1 AD and 2 AD. 150 years of excavations at Ephesus have revealed the most complete Greco-Roman classical city on Earth. There are terraced Houses, containing handsome frescoes from the 2nd century CE, which extend up the hill. They once housed the wealthier and more prominent families of the city, who lavished the interiors with superbly preserved frescoes and mosaics. The decor and furnishings of the houses have provided some interesting informations about the life style of the Ephesian elite during the Roman and early Byzantine periods. Inevitably, the houses have been compared with similar buildings found in the parts of the Roman Empire, particularly with the 1C villas of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The consensus is that the Ephesians houses are in no way inferior to these. The next stop will be the Ephesus Archeology Museum. A large part of the museum’s excavations at Ephesus, St. Jean Church, Artemision, and Belevi Grave Memorial  consists of works brought from other nearby ruins. The House of Mother Mary is where Mary was brought to Ephesus by the Apostle John after the Resurrection of Christ and lived out her final resting days here in accordance to the Predominant Christian belief. This is based mainly on the traditional belief that John came to Ephesus combined with the biblical statement that Jesus consigned her to John’s care (John 19:26-27). Discover the Temple of Artemis (Diana), an outstanding temple built in honor of the Greek Goddess of hunting, wild nature, and fertility, deemed one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Hear about its significance and the tension between the Romans and Christians that settled in the area over the centuries from your private guide.

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What people are saying about Izmir

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 52 reviews

This was a fantastic tour! We were picked up on time from our Airbnb in Izmir and were dropped off with the tour group. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and directed us to a number of amazing locations in Ephesus and the surrounding area. I would 100% recommend and would absolutely do it again.

This was the ideal way to your Ephesus with a knowledgeable, professional and attentive guide. It was a great opportunity to develop an understanding of the history of the region and it's people as well as seeing the wonderful UNESCO heritage site. It was certainly the highlight of the holiday

It was excellent Tour , specially Tour Guide Nizam was well informed and was great guide overall. Comfortable ride through out. Highly recommend it.

Great guide, good bus, good food. A great day out with the family (including kids 3 and 5 years old)

Volkan was a great guide. Very knowledgable with perfect English. Excellent tour!!!