• Location: Istanbul, Turkey
  • Duration: 15 hours (approx.)

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Travel back in time nearly two millennia and discover the House of Virgin Mary and Ephesus during this guided day trip from Istanbul. With round-trip flights to Izmir included, you'll fly to the best preserved ancient city in the eastern Mediterranean for an epic trip. Stroll along roads once roamed by toga-clothed Romans; enjoy visits to the Library of Celsus, the stunning Great Theatre; gaze at temples and walk along shop-lined streets. You'll then explore the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, have lunch, and highlight your day with a tour of the stone home where it’s believed the Virgin Mary spent her final days. Numbers limited to 14 on this small-group tour.


  • Full-day tour of spectacular Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary, with round-trip flights from Istanbul
  • Fly to Izmir and travel to Ephesus, the eastern Mediterranean’s best-preserved ancient city
  • See the staggering Great Theatre, Library of Celsus and shops, baths and temples
  • Explore the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
  • Visit the House of the Virgin Mary, where she may have spent her final days
  • Enjoy an included Turkish lunch at a local restaurant
  • Small-group tour with numbers limited to just 14 people

What You Can Expect

Small-Group: Ephesus and The House of Virgin Mary Day Trip from Istanbul

View the ancient buildings and streets of Ephesus on your day trip from Istanbul

Start the day with a transfer by air-conditioned coach from your central Istanbul hotel to the airport. After a short 45-minute flight, land in Izmir and meet your guide for your day tour of Ephesus and the House of the Virgin Mary.

Aboard your air-conditioned coach voyage about one hour to Ephesus. Along the way break at the elegant church - St John’s Basilica. Walk his tomb and learn how he spent time atop Ayasuluk hill writing music.

Arrive in Ephesus, known as the finest preserved ancient city in the eastern Mediterranean. See an abundance of shops, temples, and lively streets as you stroll with your guide. Imagine how this early Christian Roman-Greco port once operated as you hear its in-depth history.

Stop at the Temple of Artemis and study the massive ruins of this Ancient Wonder of the world. Wind along streets through the heart of Ephesus to uncover the Great Theatre, which once held 25,000 visitors. Then, capture views of the ornate architecture of the Library of Celsus. During your exploration, observe fascinating history carved into the sidewalks like brothel signs and old chariot wheel tracks.

Take a break for lunch at a nearby place before continuing to the House of Virgin Mary. Hear the stories that indicate this was the last resting place of the Virgin Mary and why she decided to reside here in her final days. Then, delve into the small stone house and marvel at the old foundation speculated to be as old as the 1st century AD. 

Afterwards, head back to Izmir airport for your return voyage to Istanbul. After being collected from the airport, cruise to your hotel where your tour ends.

Customer Reviews

Jacqueline T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

this was truly a small group tour the guide was great and very informative. I could not have asked for anything better.

Mariska M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2017

It was an absolute privilege to walk in the same paths and alleys as were some of the political giants, gladiators and philosophers of the Roman empire had walked and to experience the Christian history of this ancient jewel.

What made our visit to Ephesus so special, was that our guide Ismail majored in history, archaeology and religion as part of his bachelors degree. It was amazing to discover some of the hidden gems in Ephesus and to imagine what the city must have looked like 2000 years ago :-

Bernardo C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2017

My partner and I recently late March 2017 visited Ephesus on a day trip. Our guide, Ismail was very knowledgeable and took the time to explain in detail the major highlights of Ephesus and made sure we avoided the crowds. He made sure we were checked in for our return flight. A great way to experience this part of Turkey and truly unforgettable. Thank you.

Neels E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed the private tour to Ephesus July 8, 2016 and want to commend Gokce Tascilar and the drivers for their excellent services and hospitality. Will be remembered for a long, long time - for sure!.

Nigel H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Excellent guide - Mr Top. Not at all crowded. Wonderful weather. Flight connections and airport and hotel pick ups perfect.

Jyotirmoy R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Absolutely great experience.

Stephen M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

This was an excellent tour in every way! We were staying privately in Istanbul and so an arrangement was made for the minibus to pick us up at a nearby hotel. This would have been easier to arrange if an email address had been provided rather than a local phone number, however, we managed email contact in the end and all went well. All the staff involved with transfers were good at their jobs, prompt, efficient and welcoming. Would be a good idea to tell/remind people to bring passports official photo ID to the airport fortunately we did have ours. Similarly for those who collect frequent flyer points advance knowledge of the airline might help ours was Turkish Air - Star Alliance. The tour itself was absolutely brilliant and our tour guide was much the same. We were very fortunate to have Mr Serhat Top as our guide he was knowledgeable, insightful and enormously helpful. This was no 'follow the orange umbrella' tour! Everything was included in the tour as per the printed information, so this may be more along the lines of a means of alternate gratuity than travel advice: we found that our 5 day Museum Passes bought in Istanbul also would have worked at a number of the sites we visited. Lunch was relaxed outdoors dining.The meal was traditional, simple and very satisfying. The restaurant staff were more than helpful and obliging, especially given my garlic allergy - advised in advance. The cooperative carpet making presentation and demonstration was very informative. We had make it clear to our tour guide beforehand that we were not in the market to buy carpets or leather goods for that matter. The journey home went smoothly and we were met and transferred by the same people who had sent us off that morning. Yes, it is a long day but worth every minute of it. We'd certainly do it again if we found ourselves back in Istanbul. Thank you Viator!

Roy E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

An excellent and fascinating day. I was deeply moved by being at the house f the Blessed Virgin and the tomb of St John. The Roman ruins were spectacular. My guide Gotcha? Was outstanding. I was greatly marvellously by all the staff. Highly recommend this tour

Roy E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

An amazing tour. Deeply moving to be at the House of the Blessed Virgin and the Tomb of St John. My guide ? Gotca was marvellous, as were all the staff. I highly recommend this tour.

Ihab United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

Wonderful tour, you get to see everything in the area with an experienced, knowledgeable tour guide

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