8. Ephesus and Pamukkale: 2-Day Tour from Bodrum
Tour one of the world's best preserved archaeological sites, and walk in the footsteps of ancients on a 2-day (overnight) tour of Ephesus and Pamukkale, with round-trip transfers from the Turkish Riviera. Marvel at the calcium-filled springs that pour down the mountain side to form a kind of Arctic wonderland called “cotton castles.” Learn more about the Ephesians and the ancient Greek city that they built on the coast of Ionia. See some of the best-preserved ruins, including the Celsus Library, Temple of Hadrian, and amphitheater.
Day 1: Ephesus
Meet your guide at 07:00 and depart early, heading west towards İzmir Province in western Anatolia. Enjoy breakfast en route so that you can make good time to reach Ephesus by 10:00. Upon arrival, you will have approximately 3 hours to explore the ruins, and walk down the marble streets once walked by the ancients. The city was famed as the site of the Temple of Artemis (one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World) and while only a single column remains, much of the rest of Ephesus is remarkably well-preserved.
Admire the Library of Celsus, built to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a mausoleum for Celsus, who is buried in a crypt beneath. See stone carvings of Roman and Greek gods, and get a close-up view of the amphitheater. After lunch, continue to the House of the Virgin Mary on Mt. Koressos. Experience the holy spirit of the humble house where the Virgin Mary is said to have spent her last days. Transfer to your hotel for dinner.
Day 2: Pamukkale and Hierapolis
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before the transfer to the ruins of Hierapolis, built over the hot springs of classical Phrygia. Now enshrined as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ruins of Hierapolis give an insight into the lives of the ancients during pre-Roman, Roman, and medieval times. Admire the remains of the city gates and theater, along with the Nymphaeum in front of the Temple of Apollo. Beyond the city walls, and passing the Thermae Extra Muros (Outer Baths) lies an extensive necropolis that extends for over 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) on both sides of the old road to Phrygian Tripolis and Sardis.
Along with an inclusive lunch and a chance to photograph the local villages, you will visit the extraordinary “cotton castles” of Pamukkale over which Hierapolis was built. The hot springs and travertines of the mountains have created terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water, leaving a unique landscape in the River Menderes Valley. Depart Pamukkale for Bodrum in the afternoon for an estimated drop off back at your hotel at 19:00.