Leave your centrally located Istanbul hotel in an air-conditioned coach and drive to Istanbul airport. Board your 45-minute flight to Izmir and on arrival, hop on to another air-conditioned coach to Ephesus.
During your 1-hour journey, stop at St John’s Basilica, an ornate church at the top of Ayasuluk Hill. See its tomb of St John, who is believed to have written his gospel on the hill.
Continue to Ephesus, the eastern Mediterranean’s best-preserved classical city. An important hub of early Christianity and thriving Greco-Roman port, this spectacular place boasts streets, shops and temples that make it easy to imagine those who lived here 2,000 years ago.
Hear the history of the city as you explore with your guide. View the remains of the nearby, immense Temple of Artemis, once an Ancient Wonder of the World, and wander the streets that formed Ephesus’s heart. Marvel at the 25,000-seater Great Theatre, ogle the façade of the Library of Celsus, and see well-preserved shops and temples. On route, see captivating details such as the chariot wheel grooves and brothel signposts carved in the sidewalks.
Leave Ephesus and after lunch at a local restaurant, visit the nearby House of Virgin Mary, said to be the last home of the Virgin Mary. See inside the tiny house, whose foundations may date from Mary’s time in the 1st century AD, as your guide explains why it’s believed to sit where her last residence stood.
Then, return to your coach and Izmir airport. Fly back to Istanbul and enjoy a hotel drop-off at around 8:30pm.