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Things to do in

Izmir

Our most recommended things to do in Izmir

From Izmir: Full-Day Ephesus Tour

1. From Izmir: Full-Day Ephesus Tour

Start with a pickup from your hotel in Izmir. Then, the discovery of Ephesus begins with the House of the Virgin Mary and a 10-minute drive to the ancient city of Ephesus. Explore the city by walking on the marble streets, accompanied by a guide. See the Odeon, State Agora, the Pretension, the Memmius Monument, the Domitian Temple, Hercules Gate, Curetes Street, Hadrian Temple, and the Latrines. Choose to take an optional visit to the terrace houses for an additional cost. After the terrace houses, carry on with your exploration with the Celsus Library, Marble Road, Commercial Agora, Great Theater, and Arcadian (harbor road). Enjoy a nice lunch served in a quaint local restaurant. Visit the Temple of Artemis. Here, there will be a good chance to take gorgeous pictures of the church of St. John and the Mosque of İsa Bey. Enjoy free time in the old village of Sirince to discover the traditional houses, the fruit-flavored wine production, and enjoy some wine tasting. End the day with a transfer back to Izmir airport or to your hotel in Izmir.

Ephesus Entry Ticket with Mobile Phone Audio Tour

2. Ephesus Entry Ticket with Mobile Phone Audio Tour

Founded by the Greeks and conquered by the Romans, Ephesus was once a city of proverbial wealth. It was a bustling port which over time developed into an important center for Christianity. On this self-guided tour, benefit from skip-the-line entry then explore using your smartphone to travel back in time to the city’s former life. The tour is the perfect way to experience the site in a fun and insightful way, and gain valuable insight into one of the most popular places in Turkey. The first stop of the day is to the State Agora, which was once the political heart of the city boasting a lavish square. Continue on to Bouleuterion, and discover the meeting point of the city council which perhaps was also a space for artistic performances. As you stroll around the colonnades, stoas, and other buildings, listen to fascinating stories about what life was like here for locals. Arrive at the Temple of Domitian and find out the rather unusual architectural layout of the U-shaped altar. Next, wander down the Curetes which connected the political and commercial hearts of Ephesus. Uncover the legend of the emperor’s fountain, then explore the large complex of baths at the Scolastica including the lavish marble latrines. Head to the grave of the Egyptian princess Arsinoe, then marvel at the mesmerizing Celsus Library, which is probably the most famous landmark of Ephesus. From here the road leads you to the gate of Mazeus and Mithridates, and onto at the Grand Theatre where performances and gladiatorial games took place. Last but not least, walk through the crossroads of the Arcadiane and follow a small path that leads you to the spectacular ruins of the enormous Church of Mary.

From Selcuk/Kusadasi/Izmir: Pamukkale Full-Day Tour

3. From Selcuk/Kusadasi/Izmir: Pamukkale Full-Day Tour

Discover the stunning region of Pamukkale and its hot springs on a day trip from Selcuk, Kusadasi, or Izmir. Begin by meeting your driver/guide at the reception of your hotel in the morning and a transfer to Pamukkale. Explore the ancient city of Hierapolis, built on solid limestone layers formed by mineral-rich waters that flowed for millennia over a raised level plateau. See the most significant sites of the sacred city including the Theatre, the Temple of Apollo, and the Necropolis. Admire the Necropolis (Cemetery) of Hierapolis, one of the largest ancient burial sites in Anatolia. See a Roman bath, the Gate of Domitian, the main street of the ancient city, and the Byzantium Gate. Walk to the natural warm water terraces, formed by running warm water rich in calcium and temperatures of 35 Celsius all year-round. Get the chance to see the gleaming white travertine terraces of Pamukkale, located next to the ruins of Hierapolis.  Enjoy optional free time to swim in Cleopatra’s Pool before ending the tour with a transfer back to your hotel. And during the tour you'll have the chance to have a look at the Turkish traditional handcrafts.

From Kusadasi or Izmir: Ephesus Private Tour

4. From Kusadasi or Izmir: Ephesus Private Tour

Explore the stunning ruins of Ephesus on this full-day sightseeing tour from Izmir or Kusadasi, also available as a half-day option from Kusadasi for those short of time. As it is a private tour you can start at any time you like. You will also visit the small House of the Virgin Mary, where it is thought she spent her final days after St. John brought her to Ephesus following the death of Jesus. Located on Mount Bulbuldagi (Koressos), it’s a popular pilgrim site for Christians and Muslims and boasts a captivating, spiritual atmosphere. Once inside the grounds of Ephesus, wander among the ruins with your guide to see sites such as the Odeon Theatre, which could seat up to 1,400 spectators in its day. Admire the beautiful Roman statues and decorations carved into marble slabs at the Pollio Fountain. Other highlights include the Celcius Library, completed by the Romans in 117AD. The building has the most awe-inspiring façade, with columns, statues, and intact windows. Finally, explore the Greek Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, and go to the Basilica of St John (Kusadasi departures only), constructed by Justinian I over the burial site of the Apostle John.

From Izmir: Pamukkale Guided Tour with Lunch

5. From Izmir: Pamukkale Guided Tour with Lunch

Discover the natural wonders of Pamukkale on this guided tour with lunch. Marvel at formations of travertine and explore Hierapolis to learn the history of the ancient city. Get the chance to also visit jewelry, leather, carpet, or ceramic centers. Begin at the ancient city of Hierapolis, established in 200 B.C. and one of the most important settlements during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Walk around the recently restored theater and the city’s majestic buildings and monuments. Later, see why Pamukkale means “cotton castle.” Step into a world of wonders as you witness spectacular formations of travertine and the natural hot spring pool. Learn more about the area and spend some relaxation time in the spring pool.

From Izmir: Pamukkale Full-Day Tour

6. From Izmir: Pamukkale Full-Day Tour

We will depart from Izmir in the morning and two and a half hours later arrive at Pamukkale which means the cotton castle in Turkish. These white rock formations, known as travertines, are world famous and have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The water of Pamukkale is famous for the benefits it gives to the eyes and skin. It is also said to cure illnesses such as asthma and rheumatism. It is possible to swim in certain areas, so be sure to bring your swimsuit. Many centuries ago the Romans, aware of the powers of Pamukkale’s water, decided to build a large spa city called Hierapolis nearby. We will visit Hierapolis after lunch, which will be provided. Hierapolis means Holy City in Turkish and despite not having been lived in for several centuries it remains a fascinating place to visit. Hierapolis has a well preserved 12,000 seat amphitheater and the massive Necropolis which is the largest ancient graveyard in Anatolia. You will also see the Temple of Apollo and the shrine of the nymphs at this beautiful ancient site. At the end of the day we will drive back to Izmir, where we can drop you off at your hotel or at the airport.

Private Pamukkale (Hierapolis) Tour: Full-Day from Izmir

7. Private Pamukkale (Hierapolis) Tour: Full-Day from Izmir

Join us on our full-day tour to Pamukkale, which in English means “cotton castle”. You’ll understand why it’s called this when you see the site! This unique site should be on everyone’s “must see” list when visiting Turkey. The thermal spa of Hierapolis dates from dynasty of the Attalids, the kings of Pergamon, and is registered as a cultural and natural heritage site by UNESCO. Your guide will show you the ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments at the site. You’ll see the ruins of the ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis and have time to relax in the warm spring waters. Calcite-laden waters cascade from springs in a cliff towering nearly 200 meters over the plain, creating a surreal landscape of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. The terraces were formed by the warm cascading waters that contain calcium bicarbonate. As the water loses its carbon dioxide it leaves limestone deposits. During your visit to the open-air museum of Hierapolis you’ll see the massive ancient graveyard that contains over 1200 sarcophagi, many of which are the size of a small house. Other ruins that you’ll visit on this tour include the Great Theatre, the tomb of St. Philip, the Roman Baths and the Temple of Apollo.

Ephesus & Sirince Village Tour from İzmir

8. Ephesus & Sirince Village Tour from İzmir

Meet with your professional guide at the port in İzmir. Drive to Ephesus-Selcuk. Ephesus is considered to one of the spectacular open-air museums in Turkey and in the world - and one of the highlights of any visit to Turkey. During this privately guided tour, Ephesus city will come alive as you walk through 2,000 year-old marble streets to admire the Library of Celsius, Hadrian's Temple, the Fountains of Trajan, Polio, The Temples of Hadrian and Domitian, Vedious and Scholastic Baths, Bouloterion, and the Great Theatre with capacity of 24.000 spectators. Then it’s up into the mountains to the lovely little Turkish-Orthodox village of Sirince. Up here, far from the madding crowd, you can wander the narrow streets, where the women sell their handcrafts and oils. You can take a quiet drink in one of the small café’s and sample the local sweet fruity wine. At the end of your day you will return to İzmir port.

From Izmir: Best of Ephesus Private Tour

9. From Izmir: Best of Ephesus Private Tour

Meet your guide in your hotel reception or pre–arranged meeting point and receive a brief introduction from your tour guide about the attractions in the Ephesus Region. Together with your guide, decide the places you would like to see such as museums, local markets, and local restaurants, and then start your full-day tour. Discover the places in Ephesus that interest you the most and learn about these spots from your own private guide (attraction admission fees not included). Take the tour at your own pace, stopping as frequently and for as long as you like without the hassle of waiting for other people. The tour is designed as a full day by private van. At the end of the tour, you will return to your original departure point.

From Izmir Airport: One-way Private Transfer to Kusadasi

10. From Izmir Airport: One-way Private Transfer to Kusadasi

Begin your trip with a private one-way transfer from Izmir Airport to anywhere in Kusadasi. Sit back and relax during the journey in an air-conditioned vehicle.  A friendly driver will meet and greet you at the airport arrival terminal. Your driver will proceed with escorting you and your luggage to the vehicle. Experience a comfortable journey in an air-conditioned private vehicle directly from the airport. Travel conveniently without having to worry about pre-booking or last-minute searching.

Other Sightseeing Options in Izmir

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What people are saying about Izmir

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 199 reviews

Our tour guide was very kind and gave us a lot of info about the place and its history…I strongly recommend to spend more time in the natural pools…I didnt do the Cleopatra pool, it was nice, but something you can see in other places, instead of the natural pool. Walk further all the way enjoying all the pools, dont stay in the first and second one which are to crowded…I stayed in the third and I could have picture with the entire pool only for me…Use sunscreen, you get burned very easily…have fun!

Ephesus is a must. Great tour with guide Nizam. Had a lot of background knowledge. Lunch at a nice facility, were the only group and the food was great. After that, however, annoying carpet sales show. All in all a nice trip.

Fantastic day adapted to their own interests. Professional explanation of every item we encountered during our visit. Stops to drink if kids got thirsty, real custom made. Wonderful relaxing and educational day.

Ibrahim a very good guide, we met the schedule, they picked us up at the time it was, the explanation was very good, the food was delicious and the whole tour was great. Thanks to Ibrahim for everything

Excelente service, we don’t get worried about the transportation and is was easy to move