Izmir Culture & history

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 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.

Ephesus Entry Ticket with Mobile Phone Audio Tour

2. 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 Izmir: Pamukkale Day Trip with Lunch

3. 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.

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.

From Izmir: Pamukkale Full-Day Tour

5. 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 Istanbul: 7-Night Tour of Turkey with Flights & Hotel

6. From Istanbul: 7-Night Tour of Turkey with Flights & Hotel

DAY 1: Arrival in Istanbul Arrive at Istanbul Airport ( IST ) or SAW airport where the tour representative will meet you with your name sign and private transfer to the hotel for your overnight stay in Istanbul. DAY 2: Full Day Istanbul Tour ( Breakfast ) 9:00 AM After breakfast, enjoy a walking tour of Istanbul. Visit the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Hippodrome, where chariot races and the Byzantine riots took place.Visit the Grand Bazaar for shopping and spend the night in Istanbul. Day 3: Istanbul – Izmir – Ephesus Tour – Kusadasi ( Breakfast – Dinner ) 6:15 AM Pick up from hotel and transfer to Istanbul IST airport for Izmir flight departing at 9:00 AM by Pegasus airlines PC 3301 Arrive in Izmir Airport and met by you tour guide with your name sign. Next, drive to Ephesus for 45-minutes. First visit the Artemis Temple, before continuing to Ephesus, one of the 12 cities of Ionia. After Ephesus, lunch will be served in the garden of a local handicrafts center. Make a visit to the House of the Virgin Mary. Transfer to the hotel for overnight in Kusadasi. DAY 4: Kusadasi – Pamukkale Tour ( 3,5 hours drive ) ( Breakfast – Dinner ) Drive to Pamukkale, Discovery of Travertine terraces and Hierapolis. Visit The travertine terraces at Pamukkale. Overnight Pamukkale. DAY 5: Pamukkale – Cappadocia Cave Hotel ( 8 hours drive ) ( Breakfast ) Drive to Cappadocia. Visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana, the world-wide famous mystic, and Sultanhani Caravanseria, a roadside inn where travellers could rest and recover from the day’s journey. Overnight in Cappadocia in a cave hotel. DAY 6: Cappadocia Tour Cave Hotel ( Breakfast ) Optional: Hot air ballooning with sunrise, once in a lifetime experience First meeting with Cappadocia, visiting Three Sisters Fairy Chimneys in Urgup. Then we descend into the center of the earth in the Kaymakli Underground City one of the largest and the deepest of 200 others in Cappadocia. Visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum Continue to Uchisar Rock-Castle to have a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia. Spend the night in a Cappadocia accommodation Cave Hotel that is unforgettable. Day 7: Full Day Cappadocia Tour – Istanbul (Breakfast) In the morning, breathe in your first meeting with the lunar landscape of Cappadocia, with rock formations beyond belief in Devrent valley. Lunch in Avanos, center of terra cotta work of art since 3000 BC, and a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. Afternoon: Transfer to the airport for your domestic flight from Kayseri to Istanbul . transfer to Hotel. Overnight Istanbul. DAY 8: Home ( Breakfast ) After breakfast, check out from the hotel and enjoy a private transfer to the airport.

Full-Day Tour of Ancient Ruins in Ephesus from Izmir

7. 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.

Ephesus & Sirince Village Tour from İzmir

8. Ephesus & Sirince Village Tour from İzmir

Meet with your professional guide at the port in İzmir. Drive to Ephesus-Selcuk. Ephesus is considered to one of the spectacular open-air museums in Turkey and in the world - and one of the highlights of any visit to Turkey. During this privately guided tour, Ephesus city will come alive as you walk through 2,000 year-old marble streets to admire the Library of Celsius, Hadrian's Temple, the Fountains of Trajan, Polio, The Temples of Hadrian and Domitian, Vedious and Scholastic Baths, Bouloterion, and the Great Theatre with capacity of 24.000 spectators. Then it’s up into the mountains to the lovely little Turkish-Orthodox village of Sirince. Up here, far from the madding crowd, you can wander the narrow streets, where the women sell their handcrafts and oils. You can take a quiet drink in one of the small café’s and sample the local sweet fruity wine. At the end of your day you will return to İzmir port.

Private Pamukkale (Hierapolis) Tour: Full-Day from Izmir

9. Private Pamukkale (Hierapolis) Tour: Full-Day from Izmir

Join us on our full-day tour to Pamukkale, which in English means “cotton castle”. You’ll understand why it’s called this when you see the site! This unique site should be on everyone’s “must see” list when visiting Turkey. The thermal spa of Hierapolis dates from dynasty of the Attalids, the kings of Pergamon, and is registered as a cultural and natural heritage site by UNESCO. Your guide will show you the ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments at the site. You’ll see the ruins of the ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis and have time to relax in the warm spring waters. Calcite-laden waters cascade from springs in a cliff towering nearly 200 meters over the plain, creating a surreal landscape of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. The terraces were formed by the warm cascading waters that contain calcium bicarbonate. As the water loses its carbon dioxide it leaves limestone deposits. During your visit to the open-air museum of Hierapolis you’ll see the massive ancient graveyard that contains over 1200 sarcophagi, many of which are the size of a small house. Other ruins that you’ll visit on this tour include the Great Theatre, the tomb of St. Philip, the Roman Baths and the Temple of Apollo.

Ephesus and Sirince Tour from Izmir / Kusadasi

10. Ephesus and Sirince Tour from Izmir / Kusadasi

Combine a guided tour of the extraordinary ruins of Ephesus with time in the small village of Sirince on this half-day tour, with round-trip transfers from Izmir or Kusadasi. The gem of the eastern Mediterranean is located about a 1-hour drive from the coast, and on arrival you will journey back in time to the days of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilizations. Your guide will tell stories of the ruins as you explore the Trajan Fountain, where all that remains of a statue of an emperor is a single foot. Visit the Temples of Domition and Hadrian, the latter boasting beautiful friezes and a head of Medusa. Walk down the central Marble Street to the stunning Celcus Library, once capable of holding up to 12,000 scrolls. Other highlights include the Scolastica Baths, and the steeply pitched Great Theatre, with a capacity for up to 24,000 spectators. Then, drive up into the mountains to the pretty Orthodox village of Sirince. Its name translates as “pretty” and it lives up to expectations. Wander the narrow streets, where local women sell their handicrafts and oils. Stop for a quiet drink in one of the small cafés, and sample the area’s famous sweet wine.

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Ephesus

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What people are saying about Izmir

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 52 reviews

Nizam was absolutely stellar. His knowledge of the area was exceptional and his honesty refreshing. We were transported on a journey through ancient Ephesus and it’s transformation over time through different lenses. Lunch was delicious. There were additionally some stops that added to the colour and experience. A real feast for the eyes. Would recommend!!

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.

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