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Izmir Archaeological Site of Ephesus Excursion Reviews

Home > Member Reviews > Izmir Shore Excursions > Archaeological Site of Ephesus

Izmir is home to the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, the best preserved in the Eastern Mediterranean. Famous for the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Ephesus was a major regional power through much of antiquity.

canuck1669

1 review

Great historical site. Restorations are amazing.


Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

Seaoates

1 review

An impressive archaeological site.


Provider: Costa Cruises

kennbrandt

1 review

Too expensive and crowded for me. It was interesting and nice not to worry about transportation to and from the site. The crowds were so thick it was hard to keep up with the tour group. They took us to some mosque for some reason and to a carpet manufacturing place. This carpet place is a rip off. It is basically a sales picth for the company and the carpets are expensive. Carnival must get some sort of kick back from this vendor. Just stay on the bus.


Provider: Carnival Cruise Lines

prinsjh

2 reviews

The tour of Ephesus was good (not great). NCL, like other cruise lines, arrange for tours through the local or national tour agencies. This was the Turkish tourism tour (Tura Turizm). The guide was OK but had a thick accent and was difficult to understand. The site itself was interesting but didn't hold some of the significance and mystery of some other ancient ruins.


Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

cltraveler

1 review

The highlight of our trip. Our tour guide, Oz, was EXCELLENT! He was very knowledgeable and entertaining. We even learned a few important words in Turkish! Oz was very good about the pace for the walk through the ruins. Not too fast or too slow! His umbrella made it very easy to follow him.


Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

Vorcom

1 review

Hakan was our excellent guide Great meal at a beautiful resort


Provider: Royal Caribbean International

Bebbyanne

2 reviews

We used OTTI travel for a private tour to Ephesus which included a visit to the Terrace Houses, an included lunch, a carpet demonstration, souvenir shop and visit to the Temple of Artemis. We were a small group of 5 and had a wonderful guide and the best of tours. This was far better value than any of the cruise tours.


Provider: Independent Operator

mje419

1 review

ok. Audio phones were so distorted, they could not be used.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

rongoldner

1 review

Ephesus was magnificent. Being made to go to a leather factory wasn't. Rather spend more time at the ruins.


Provider: MSC Cruises

JLU917

1 review

Ephesus may have been the highlight of our trip! Great tour guide (Serdar), great tour, great site.

Provider: Independent Operator

EIslander

1 review

I found Ephesus to be incredible. It's amazing to walk through these ruins and see how great this city used to be.

Provider: MSC Cruises

Pezzy

1 review

Better ruins than Greece. Amazing site. Just unbelievable! Great Guide. Must do this if nothing else! Also if buying souvenirs for the gang back home do it here. Prices are right. Also visited a rug factory. Very good

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

Babaganush

1 review

We took a package tour that took us to Ephesus. It is a worthwhile excursion where they even reenact a scene from Cleopatra's life. The tour guide took us to a carpet store and also to a specialty turkish delight store. It is better to do shopping for both here rather than in the hustle and bustle of Istanbul.

Provider: Independent Operator

vtgumby

2 reviews

excellent site and worth the visit!

Provider: Independent Operator

house_elf

1 review

Turkey was the reason we picked this particular itinerary -- we've always wanted to see Ephesus. We docked in Izmir, which over an hour away from Ephesus, so decided to do a ship-sponsored shore excursion. We did the "Magnificent Ephesus" shore excursion which provided a comfortable bus, an excellent tour guide, admission to Ephesus (which includes the Library of Celsus), and a stop at a traditional hand-made Turkish carpet shop; there was plenty of time to shop on this excursion. Ephesus is beautiful and it is a must see if you're going to Turkey for the first time!

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

Griffter88

1 review

AMAZING! Ephesus is a brilliant site to visit and they have only uncovered around 25% of the old town. We were amazed to find so many building still 'in tact' so to speak. All of the current site has been very well looked after and kept together, the history as far as the Ottomans and Romans are concerned is interesting and it is well worth a visit! Izmir is a large coastal city which we didn't explore.

Provider: MSC Cruises

retired2012

1 review

Absolutely amazing, the tour of Ephesus, the House of the Virgin Mary, wow, what history. Ephesus really leaves you speechless.

Provider: Independent Operator

nw_man

6 reviews

We were a party of 15, booked independently after arranging on cruise critic and unfortunately only had a half day, arriving 7.15am and needing to be back on board no later than 12.30pm. The guide was excellent indeed and gave us a detailed description of Ephesus and some information en route. The person who organised our tour specifically asked for no shopping trips to carpet or leather stores as we felt we did not have enough time and that proved the correct decision as the site is a long way from the port itself, some 1 and 1/2 hours drive. Having said that we made a bathroom stop... at a shop. No matter though, it was fine. Basically we managed a whistle stop tour of the site itself before leaving. Ephesus is an excellent archaeological site and highly recommended. Be aware though, it is a long drive from Izmir and you always run the risk of being delayed and missing your ship if you arrange to do it yourselves.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

peicruisers

2 reviews

Another wonderful tour and again we had an archaeologist as our guide , the information she was able to provide was incredible and we spent 3 hours in the ruins of Ephesus, again we were in a nice modern air conditioned bus.

Provider: Independent Operator

hillside

1 review

We were in port from 7am to 1pm so we booked a ship's tour. We went to the ruins of Ephesus and were impressed. Our guide was good and we had headsets to hear her. Because of the limited time we felt the ship's tour was the way to go.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

cognos18

1 review

Although our experience with the Cruise line, Costa was poor, the visit to Ephesus was very interesting.

Provider: Costa Cruises

Ironman56

1 review

This was an excellent tour for those who have an interest in history. The 'city' of Ephesus is absolutely amazing, especially if you believe the information that on;y about 17% has been uncovered. We had an English speaking Turkish lady for our guide and she was very good. Be aware that, depending on the time of the year, it can be quite hot with little shade. Take a hat and water. Spectacular place.

Provider: Costa Cruises

FitchburgWIFamily

1 review

We arranged for a private tour here, and were motored in a private van to Ephesus for our tour. This was well worth the money as the ruins are extremely crowded and it would have been impossible for my mother to keep up with a large group. We had the most patient and wonderful guide through the ruins, and then escaped the crowds for a wonderful lunch in Sirince. We had time to do a little bit of shopping in Sirince in the very nice very low key market and there before we got back in the van. We had time for a quick stop at the ruins of the Basilica of St. John and then headed back to port. This was a great great way to see the city. The cruise line did a great job of explaining the things we would pay out of pocket for (parking at Ephesus, our admission to Ephesus and st john) Driver stopped at an ATM so I could withdraw enough Turkish money. I only felt bad because we really didn't have the budget to give our tour driver and tour guide the tip they probably deserved.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

Jazzacat

1 review

Simply amazing experience and well worth the coach trip from Izmir. Our tour-guide Amy was very knowledgeable, having a degree in archeology and fantastic English. A photographer came round the site with us taking shots which were an optional purchase at the end. We bought five photos for £10 (Sterling accepted) which was a bargain!

Provider: Thomson Cruises

KfordRedSox

1 review

Really enjoyed Ephesus, quite an archaeological site.

Provider: MSC Cruises

dunjaf

1 review

Excelent!!!

Provider: Costa Cruises

Crui$erCT

2 reviews

Ephesus is ALL it's touted to be in the tour books and MORE!!! You feel as if you're in a living, breathing Roman city, and the extant architecture has been beautifully restored. We recommend ephesustours.biz as the tour company to use. Our private tour guide, Begum Gencer, was one of the best tour guides we've had anywhere... personable, intelligent, sensitive to our needs and interests, knowledgeable, and thoughtful. We were relieved not to be herded along with hundreds of others from the cruise ship. Begum knew all the ins and outs of the site and regaled us with anecdotes and history so that the time was simply just too short. We did not tour the industrial city of Izmir. It's the least attractive port city arrival on the cruise.

Provider: Independent Operator

fabnfortysomething

7 reviews

Our tour guide Taner was fantastic-with a short port time he got us to House Of Virgin Mary and the site of Ephesus for a really informative day

Provider: Independent Operator

Steve Shorter

1 review

ONLY WAY TO GET THERE 60 EURO BUT IF THIS SORT OF THING INTERESTS YOU THEN ITS WORTH IT

Provider: MSC Cruises

World Gallery

12 reviews

Izmir - We went to Ephesus with a private tour with Ephesus Shuttle. I had asked for a guide that would be great for families. We had Mr. Bob (Babar). He was excellent!! You could tell he does this because he loves sharing the information and has a passion for his country. We had to squeeze in the Terrace Houses since we were only in port 7 - 1 but I am so glad we did because my kids loved them. He zigzagged us through the crowds of large tour groups. He also talked to us the whole way there and back about his country, people and anything we wanted to know.

Provider: Independent Operator

FlaMilkman

5 reviews

We booked our English language excursion through Costa primarily due to the great distance between Izmir and the ruins. However, given the excellent guide on our adventure who not only provided thorough information throughout the trip, but also kept the group moving in an efficient manner, we were very glad we booked this trip. In addition to the ruins, our guide took us to a carpet making school in the area. Yes, we are sure that the guide was given a kick back by the school with the hopes that someone would buy one of their beautiful masterpieces, but it didn't matter. Sometimes current culture is as important as ancient culture.

Provider: Costa Cruises

Anne C

1 review

A must! The only negative is that it was extremely crowded - so many cruise ships in at the same time.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

FlossyScot

1 review

Excellent guide, informative about the area and the site as she was an archaeological graduate. Pleasant drive. Toilet and refreshment stop appreciated although coach journey was only approx one hour. Ephesus was crowded and very hot but there is a theatre and the fabulous library frontage. Really interesting. Highlight of trip. Good value as doubt that you could have obtained the same level of information otherwise. Surprise stop at a pottery - no doubt in MSC interest - but no pressure to buy and it was slightly interesting. Photographer accompanied us and did manage to take some acceptable photos that you could purchase on the ship.

Provider: MSC Cruises

DDisaster86

1 review

Got picked up right outside the ship and driven to the Ephesus ruins in an air-conditioned van. We hooked up with a fellow cruise critic couple we met through the forums and shared the cost with them (very reasonable prices). The countryside is surprisingly beautiful on the way. The tour through the ruins was fine, but it was the ruins themselves that were amazing! I loved the Library and the amphitheater is incredible! These were my favorite ruins of the trip!

Provider: Independent Operator

Happy1211

1 review

Tulay was another great guide who appreciated shade, clean and free toilet and safety in visiting the ancient site with slippery marble in many spots. Fabulous tour from a passionate and professional guide who wanted everyone to be welcome in Turkey.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

puablo

3 reviews

We only had a half day here, so we took the NCL Simply Ephesus tour, which spends more time exploring Ephesus and skips the terrace houses. Other buses went to a leather store afterwards but our tour spent the entire time at Ephesus and we were some of the last people back on the ship -- so we loved it!

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

LocardsChild

1 review

Ephesus is hugely crowded, but if you like Roman ruins it's a great stop. We were very certain to take an excursion in Turkey because we were hesitant about traveling to the country. That's a personal decision for each traveler, but I did notice that the excursions were much more full at that stop.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

Still Dreaming

1 review

Ali with Ephesus shuttle did an incredible job. Loved that he had a mic so everyone could hear him.

Provider: Independent Operator

bandanna

1 review

The actual timings etc all ran smoothly and the excursion was made very easy. The tour guide, Murat, was absolutely fantastic. He was Turkish but spoke fluent English, and he was very knowledgeable and funny which kept us interested. Ephesus itself was incredible. I did not think I would be that interested as it's not usually my sort of thing, but it was such a wonderful big site that you can't help but me amazed.

Provider: Costa Cruises

spookyload

1 review

Getting robbed by the food vendor for 50 Euro is all I remember about this. Of course you see cops everywhere in Turkey until a Turk is robbing you.

Provider: MSC Cruises

Rio Brewster

1 review

DO NOT TAKE THE SHIP EXCURSION. OK so it didn't help that, in addition to Pacifica, there was Costs Serena (i think) AND a Pullmantur ship at the port. It was gridlock from the start so we were behind schedule all day. All the buses made the same potty-break stop at the same cafe/souvenir shop at the same time. There were 10-15 busses, with probably 25-40 people on each - all trying to use the same 10-stall bathroom. They said we had 15 minutes. Seriously? 500 people? It was ridiculous. So we get to Ephesus and it's awash in people. Probably more than when the city was at it's height. The guide hustled us through in less than 90 minutes. Didn't even mention the Terrace houses. It didn't help that we had two couples trying to navigate with infants in strollers. What were they thinking? Before we even got to the ampitheater at the end, she gave us 10 minutes to look at the ampitheater, use the bathroom, get something to eat, and get back to the bus. One man blurted out "10 minutes?" incredulous. "Yes" she says "we're running late." Late to what? The tour of Ephesus was over, it was 2 o'clock. We hadn't been given any time to eat anything and the ship doesn't leave until 6. Of course the rude Spanish party kept everyone waiting on the bus for an extra 10 minutes. I didn't know who to be more annoyed at - the guide for rushing us through or the people that kept us all waiting. So where were we late to? A "rug academy" of course. Out in the middle of nowhere. Not mentioned anywhere in the excursion description. Having been to Turkey twice before, we'd seen the whole rug schtick. We bolted as quickly as we could, only to have to pass through room after room of overpriced "fine jewelry" at "discount prices". After about 4 rooms of "fine jewelry" we started getting more standard souvenir faire - which was fine. I wanted to get some Turkish Delight and inexpensive "evil eye" beads for friends back home. But since we were the first to break free, the salespeople literally pounced on us while we were barely in the door. Finally we got outside. We were starving and we had seen what looked like a little cafe outside. Turns out they had chips, soda and ice cream. That was it. By the time we were herded back on the bus, we had spent more time at the rip-off rug academy - that wasn't on the itinerary - than we had at Ephesus. I wouldn't have minded so much if we hadn't been rushed through Ephesus and not allowed any time for a bite to eat. Or if the rug demo had been somewhere where there were other options to shop or relax. We should've demanded our money back, but we were so worn out and angry we just didn't want to deal with it.

Provider: Costa Cruises

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