Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary Day Trip from Istanbul. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.
This was an excellent tour. The guide had an extensive background on the history of this historical site. I was pleased thar there was someone who guided us through the airport that morning. I have one very negative comment. The tour company required you to contact them 24 hours before the tour to let them know if you wanted to be picked up for transportation to and from the airport. Since I was not going to arrive within the required time limit I called the company from my home. It cost a lot of money Upon arriving at my hotel in Istanbul, I ha the hotel contact the company to inquire what time was pick up. They couln't tell me. Since it was going to be early in the morning, it was important to know the time. I wasnot informed until 9PM .
Overall excellent. The organization by the tour company along with transfers were excellent. The driver and of course the tour guide for the day were excellent. This tour was superb. The equal if not better than the other great antiquity sites of the Mediterranean. The history of the Bible, the Greeks, and Rome all in one area. An early start and a late finish but of course well worth it. Great value for money. All very positive.
Even with a 5.30 start and a 9.00pm return this was one of the best days of my life! The mechanics of pick up/flight/drop offs etc went like clockwork. Our guide at the Izmir end was fantastic - his knowledge was great, his English was perfect, he gave us the right amount of time at every point. There was only one other couple on the tour, so it felt very personal service.
First we visited the House of the Virgin Mary, surprisingly peaceful and moving. Ephesus, I have no words for, except 'WOW' - go there. Unparalleled, and a lifetime's ambition realised! Then we went to St John's Basilica - in really good condition, followed by a quick stop to what remains of the Temple of Artemis - my classics and mythology courses come flooding back!
Lunch was after all the sightseeing - a lovely meal at a Carpet weaving co-operative. That, of course, was the only downside - the attempt at hard sell - luckily, the Americans bough a carpet, so everyone came away happy. I just wish these tour companies wouldn;t try with these factory visits - how many people really want to spend a lot of money when on a day out - unless they are actively looking for the diamond, the pearl, the carpet, the piece of furniture.... we never have and find these interludes annoying.
However, this particular day, nothing could spoil my enjoyment and appreciation of onw of the most amazing places on the planet.
It was nice to get out of the city and see some of the countryside. The guide was great. The bus was great. The meal was great. Even the carpet weaving stop was great, very low pressure.
Excellent, our guide was wonderful, she likes what she was doing, and she live what she said, her name Cigdem Goktas, in Turkish. Kudos for that lady who transmit her passion for the history and her knowledge to us.
I was disappointed with the service for this tour. The Driver was 40 minutes late to pick me up in the hotel, we had to wait one hour and a half at Izmir airport because of the delay of other people´s flight, the van broke and we have to change cars, the Guide had a very difficult English to understand (I thought it was only me but I asked the others and they felt the same), lunch was in a place (very simple by the way) where they sell rugs and they were very pushy and when I got back in Istanbul they said my name was not on the list to take me back to the hotel.
There was also a lady who got sick and never made it to visit Ephesus (spent all time in the car) and when it was asked to drop her off first in her hotel they said they couldn´t because they had an itinerary to follow.
So Ephesus is great only the service has to get much much better.
Long day but worth every effort. I have seen many ruins throughout Greece, but none compare to Ephesus. Amazing place. Highly recommend this tour. Everything was executeled beautifully. Go!!
Fabulous guide. Knowledgable and friendly, made our tour a real learning experience.
It was good and our guide was good trying to explain the history of ephesus.
The Tour of Ephesus interesting. So much to see. You could spend an entire day there walking through the ruins. Amazing. The performance later in the day was short but cute. Get your camera ready.
House of Virgin Mary was very small. Some folks were praying and it prevented easy access to the small area. Wait for awhile to get inside and look around and feel the environment. Beautiful secret place in the mountains. Nice people run the exhibit on site.
It was a great day getting a taste of Turkey outside of Istanbul but a very long day.
While everything was very smooth with transfers etc I would have appreciated a little more information about the format of the day, for example, explaining that I would be picked up at the airport and then transferred to another bus etc.
This trip could be organized better. First I called the tour company for confirmation of my booking a few days before the trip. Nobody was taking the call. I had to call Viator to sort things out. Second, when a non-English speaking driver picked me up at my residence, he did not/could not tell me that nobody would met me at the Istanbul airport; I was suppose to just go in and take the plane myself to Ephesus. I would not mind that if somebody had informed me. Nobody did, and I was wondering during my entire plane journey if I was doing the right thing.
Ephesus itself is great. However the trip is actually too short; we got back to the airport at about 4:00 p.m., waiting for a scheduled plane back at after 6:00 p.m. The tour guide should have strongly recommended us to visit the Terraced Houses in Ephesus if she knew that was going to happen.