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Ephesus and Pamukkale: Day Trip by Plane from Istanbul

1. Ephesus and Pamukkale: Day Trip by Plane from Istanbul

Travel back in time on a guided tour from Istanbul to the ancient cities of Ephesus and Hierapolis. Spend a full day marveling at ancient, multi-cultural architecture and monuments without worrying about any of the details of traveling and organizing.  Start your day with pickup from your hotel in Istanbul in the early morning and transfer smoothly to the airport to catch your flight to Izmir. Be greeted upon your arrival and travel to Ephesus to meet with your guide. Explore this iconic former-Greek city, built in the 10th century, famed for its temples, monuments, and theaters. Known as the commercial, religious, and social center of antiquity, this is sure to be the highlight to your whole visit to Turkey. Discover the city’s combination of Greek, Roman and Byzantine markers of civilization. Visit the Fountains of Trajan, Polio, the Temples of Hadrian and Domition, and the Library of Celcius. Be awed by the the Great Theater with its capacity for 24,000 spectators, the Temple of Artemis, and the House of the Virgin Mary. Continue to Pamukkale which is known for its natural thermal spring waters.  Find out why this site is known as the cotton castle as you see how the chemical properties of the water have formed pure white colored travertines and stepped water terraces that line the mountain’s slope, resembling piles of cotton. Visit the ancient city of Hierapolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highlight of this site is be the Sacred Pool, which you can enter if you choose. There, shallow thermal waters ripple over a wonderful scattering of ancient Roman ruins that lie beneath. Head to the Necropolis of Hierapolis which contains 1200 gravestones, including that of Marcus Aurelius Ammianos. After your tour, transfer back to Denizli Airport for your evening flight back to Istanbul and be transferred back to your hotel.

From Kusadasi: Half-Day Small Group Ephesus Tour

2. From Kusadasi: Half-Day Small Group Ephesus Tour

According your pick-up time, meet with your guide and transfer to the first sight in ancient Ephesus, the best preserved classic city in the eastern Mediterranean and the largest open air museum in Turkey. Ephesus contains more then 30 buildings and structures linked together by streets that still have the marks of ancient chariot wheels. Visit the Great Theatre, where St. Paul preached against the pagans and the gladiators once engaged in battle. Originally holding 25,000 people, this theater was built in the Hellenistic period and was renovated by several Roman emperors. Designed for theatrical performances, later alterations allowed gladiatorial contests to be held here. The face of the Library of Celsus, which has been remarkably restored, is probably the most photographed place in Ephesus originally built in 115 to 125. You might also be able to see the Odeon Temple, Fountain of Trajan, Temple of Hadrian, the steam Scholastica Baths, marble road, agora and the Temple of Domitian. After visiting ancient Ephesus, continue to the Temple of Arthemis. Considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Temple of Artemis was dedicated to the Goddess of the Hunt. Only the foundation and one column remains of this temple which once measured 425 feet by 220 feet wide. St. Paul’s successful ministry in this city was considered a threat to this temple. The city reached its Golden Age and became a good model to the ancient world in culture and art. The tour finishes at around 1:00 PM, from here you will return to your hotel or cruise port.

From Kusadasi: Full-Day Small Group Ephesus Tour

3. From Kusadasi: Full-Day Small Group Ephesus Tour

According to your tour pickup time, meet with your guide and start your day. First, visit the House of Virgin Mary. Located 6 km to the north of the ruins of Ephesus, this church was built in 6C AD on top of the foundations of a house from 1C AD. Next check out Ephesus, an archeological treasure and the best preserved classical city in the Eastern Mediterranean. During 1C AD, Ephesus was the second largest city on the planet after Rome with more than 250.000 citizens. It was in the center of the known world and played the role of a gateway between the East and the West. With its giant harbor, it was also the center of trading in antiquity. It is also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. Walking on the ancient streets among the beautiful monuments such as the third largest library of the ancient world or the largest roman theatre on the Asia continent gives you the feeling of a time traveler. After lunch, continue to the Temple of Artemis. Its ancient cult dedicated to Artemis was famous in antiquity and made Ephesus a much-visited pilgrimage place. At the end of the tour, head back to your hotel or the port.

Ephesus: Small Group Tour with House of the Virgin Mary

4. Ephesus: Small Group Tour with House of the Virgin Mary

Ephesus is the second biggest open-air museum in the world after Pompeii. Explore the public parts of its grounds accompanied by a licensed guide in a small group. Enjoy pick-up from your hotel in Kusadasi or Selcuk or from the cruise ship port. Your driver will take you to several important sights of the area while your guide will help you immerse yourself in Greco-Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman history. The tour includes lunch. Apart from the city of ancient Ephesus, also explore one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - the Artemis Temple, as well as the temples of Hadrian and Domitian, the Fountains of Trojan, Polio, the Library of Celsus, and the Great Theater, which was once the center point of entertainment for up to 24,000 people. You will also get to see the House where Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last years in life. The tour ends at approximately 4:00 PM, at which point you'll be taken back to your hotel or cruise ship.

Ephesus Entry Ticket with Mobile Phone Audio Tour

5. 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.

Ephesus: Guided Walking Tour

6. Ephesus: Guided Walking Tour

Join this shared or private walking tour of Ephesus with an expert guide. After you get some general information about this spectacular ancient city, enjoy walking in its marble streets. Visit the parliament building. You can even sit there and feel like a Roman senator. Walk in the upper agora and see the temple of the cruel Roman emperor Domitian. Walk through the Hercules gate and enjoy the magnificent view of the lower city. See the beautiful Roman shops with mosaics and enter the best preserved ancient library in the world. Visit the Grand Theater with a capacity of 25,000 seats.

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.

Kusadasi and Selcuk: Small Group Ephesus Tour

8. Kusadasi and Selcuk: Small Group Ephesus Tour

You will be met at the harbor or at your hotel in Kusadasi or Selcuk. The guide will be holding up a sign with your name on it clearly so that you spot the correct pick-up service for you easily. It’s here you shall also meet your tour guide for the day who will give you some information of the plan for the day before heading off on your way to your destination. Pass through the verdant and picturesque countryside before arriving at your first stop, the House of Virgin Mary in accordance with the predominant Christian tradition, Mary was brought to Ephesus by the Apostle John after the Resurrection of Christ and lived out her final resting days here. After The House of Virgin Mary, make your way to the next destination at the ancient city of Ephesus. From here, the tour shall be a walking tour and will take you through one of the most magnificent excavations in the entire world. See the Odeon, The Fountain of Trajan, the stream baths of Scholastic, the Temple of Hadrian and the impressive library of Ephesus. The library is adorned with columns and statues. The Grand Theater where Saint Paul preached is the largest theater in antiquity with a capacity of 24,000 seats. Return to the bus through the Arcadian Way where Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession. After your 2-hour exploration around Ephesus, take a break for lunch. Then, continue on the tour and head for your next stop at the Temple of Artemis (Diana). This outstanding temple was built in honor of the Greek Goddess of hunting, wild nature, and fertility deemed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Once the tour comes to an end, you will head back to your bus and be driven back to your allocated drop-off points.

From Istanbul: Cappadocia, Ephesus, & Pamukkale Private Tour

9. From Istanbul: Cappadocia, Ephesus, & Pamukkale Private Tour

See Istanbul, Cappadocia, Izmir, Ephesus, Pamukkale, and Hierapolis. Enjoy pre-selected hotels, with breakfast and lunch included. Choose your own spot for supper and explore a bit on your own. Day 1: Istanbul To Cappadocia by Plane; Full-Day Tour of Southern CappadociaEnjoy pick-up from your hotel to the airport for a one-hour flight to Cappadocia. Upon arrival at Cappadocia, meet your guide at the airport who will have your name on a sign. Relax while your guide transfers you to the tour office in Goreme. Next, depart for a full-day tour of Southern Cappadocia. See Pidgeon Valley, the Underground City of Kaymakli, the continue along the countryside to the Kızılcukur Valley. Visit Selime Monastery before returning to your hotel.  Day 2: Cappadocia To Izmir; North TourBe picked up from your hotel after breakfast and depart for a full-day exploration of North Cappadocia. Visit Goreme Open Air Museum, Cavusin Vallage, Monsk Valley, Devrent, and the towns of Urgup, Ortahisar and Avanos. Return to your hotel in Cappadocia before leaving for your transfer to the airport for the flight to Izmir. Upon arrival in Izmir, you will be met at the airport once again with your name and you will be delivered to the next hotel in Kusadası. Day 3: Full-day Ephesus TourLeave your hotel after breakfast and depart for Ephesus. See the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World. Visit the biggest amphitheater and the Celsius Library. Tour around ruins left from the ancient city, and see the House of the Virgin Mary, thought to be her last dwelling. At the end of the tour enjoy a transfer back to the hotel. Relax and explore Kusadasi at your own pace with free time in the evening. Day 4: Tour of Pamukkale and The Ancient City of Hierapolis; Flight Back To IstanbulBe picked up from your hotel after breakfast and depart for a full-day Pamukkale and Hierapolis tour. Visit the Old Gates, the cemetery, and the theatre of Hierapolis (part of the James Bond film shoot).  Take in the waterfall known as Travertines, and swim in the calcified pools made famous by Cleopatra. At the end of the tour sit back as you are delivered to the airport for a short flight back to Istanbul.

From Izmir: Guided Tour of the Ancient City of Ephesus

10. 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.

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Selcuk?

The best day trips and excursions from Selcuk are:

Ephesus

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What people are saying about Selcuk

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 51 reviews

Excellent small group tour. I was met outside the port by Mustafa. He was very friendly, spoke excellent English and looked after the group very well. He was extremely knowledgeable and answered all our questions on all ranges of subjects. There were just four of us and the tour was flexible about what we wanted to do. He did his best to miss the long queues and big coach loads of tourists. He was flexible on the time we spent at places and we could have carried on longer if we had of had more time. But they made sure we were back at the port in plenty of time to board our ships. The driver dropped us off close to the entrances and was always there right at the exits to pick us up. I thoroughly recommend the tour and definetly ask for Mustafa. A great tour and a great Tour guide. Thank you to Castle Tours, Mustafa and the Driver.

Our guide, Gorkem, met us at the port on time and was very knowledgeable about Ephesus. I had a small travel scooter and he was able to accommodate this with no problems. We did visit a carpet shop afterwards which we hadn’t expected but it was very interesting watching the carpets being made and there was no pressure to buy. Altogether a great guide and tour.

Our guide Mustafa was great, so knowledgeable and took great pride in his job and made sure that we were happy & enjoying the tour. Always happy to answer questions, nothing was to much trouble, we had a great day with our small group and learnt so much.

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

This tour was absolutely fantastic and our guide, Ali, was very friendly and knowledgeable! Definitely a highlight of my trip to turkey!