Insider's Guide to Izmir

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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Tour code: 5389PRTADBIZM02
Hop off your cruise ship and head straight to Ephesus, one of the historic highlights of Turkey’s Aegean coast. Travel by luxury vehicle and make the most of your private guide as you visit the Great Theater, see the impressive Celsus Library and view ancient monuments like the Temple of Hadrian and the Trajan Fountain. Finish by visiting the House of Virgin Mary, where Mary lived out her final days. Covered by Viator's worry-free policy, you’ll enjoy round-trip transfers from Izmir port and guaranteed on-time return to your ship.


  • Private shore excursion to ancient Ephesus and the House of the Virgin Mary
  • See historical sites like the Celsus Library and the Temple of Hadrian
  • Transport by luxury air-conditioned vehicle
  • Private licensed tour guide for a more personalized experience
  • Covered by Viator's worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship

What You Can Expect

Izmir Shore Excursion: Private Tour to Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary

Izmir Shore Excursion: Private Tour to Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary

When you arrive in the Izmir port, leave your cruise ship behind and head out on a private tour to the ancient city of Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary. Your experienced private guide will lead you around the city and ensure that you make the most of your time in port. As you travel south from Izmir to Selcuk in your private vehicle, you’ll drive along the blue Aegean Sea, passing cotton fields, vineyards and pine woods.

When you arrive in Ephesus, enter the city through the Magnesia Gate, a marvelous example of ancient architecture. Inside the former Roman capital city, you will see the Odeon (a small theater), the Celsus Library (built in honor of the Roman senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanu), and the Temple of Hadrian (originally built in the 2nd century). You will also see the Great Theater and the Fountain of Trajan, which was erected between 102 and 104 AD and consecrated to the Emperor Trajan.

The Great Theater is one of Ephesus' most famous landmarks, as it is still used today for the local spring festival. It once had seating space for 24,000 people, and it is believed to be the site where St Paul preached to the Ephesians.

You will then visit the House of the Virgin Mary in the Solmissos Mountains. This small house it is of extraordinary importance to Christians as the place where the Virgin Mary spent her final days. A small shrine dedicated to her was found there when the ruins of the house were first discovered.

Worry-free Shore Excursion:

We will ensure your timely return to the Izmir port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.

Customer Reviews

Diane May M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

We were greeted immediately from departing the ship by a very friendly man named Alex who was our guide for the day. Alex made our day for sure, his knowledge and passion for these ancient sites was amazing.
These two sites are very special so we were so thankful we did get such a good guide that knew so much we got so much great knowledge that we otherwise never would have known. I would highly recommend this tour and ask for Alex. John was the driver and he was equally as good. We are definitely going back to Turkey beautiful country and super people.

Laurie W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2014

Emray was a fabulous guide! We was very friendly, knowledgable and spoke English well. This tour was my favorite of our trip! We even asked if we were interested in going to lunch at a local family owned carpet factory. There was no pressure at all. The food was great and we got to see every step in how they make handmade carpets.

William B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2013

Our tour was fantastic. Our guide, Emre Dasdemir, was knowledgeable, considerate, respectful, helpful, interesting and funny. He made a point of educating us as well as entertaining us, in fact, he restored our faith in the Turkish people after a less than positive experience we had the previous day while in Istanbul. His knowledge of the sites we visited and his ability to provide relevant history and geographic information to ensure we developed a complete understanding of the relevance of the site historically was exceptional. We took three tours on our cruise, each from different providers, and this one was by far the most positive experience, due in large part, we believe, to the skill and personality of our guide. We would strongly recommend this tour and in particular our guide, to anyone visiting Turkey.

Richard A S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2012


Aaron J

4 star rating: Recommended December 2013

This was a great tour of Ephesus and the House of the Virgin Mary. Our guide Emre was incredibly knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor. Only downside to the trip was that we were taken to a rug making store at the end and they were really great and took us in a private room and unrolled a bunch of rugs for us and were then a bit too pushy about having us buy one. Felt obligated to get one, which wasn't exactly what I wanted from this tour. Don't let them unroll the rugs unless you plan on buying.

From USD $ 82.95

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