We had a wonderful experience on our Ephesus Tours from Izmir with Joseph (Yusel) and Istanbul Tours in Istanbul for two days with Juli (Julideh). Both Ephesus Tours and Istanbul Tours are superb guides who strike the right balance of providing excellent information and giving us time to explore on our own and take pictures. Both were very supportive and provided excellent recommendations for lunch and dinner too. Significantly, they were flexible and responded to our needs and made the right choices so we could pack in as much sightseeing as possible in the limited time we had in both locations. They were also very patient in answering many questions about the history and culture of Turkey! Our drivers and the vehicles were also excellent and contributed to our enjoyment of the tours. Alix did a great job working with you to arrange these tours for groups from the Norwegian Jade.
In particular, we appreciated Joseph’s great sense of humour, good nature and balance. He responded all our Ephesus Tour questions and very patiently to our many enthusiastic questions throughout and remembered that one of the guests wanted baklava at lunch but didn’t get any so he stopped and got some for all of us on the way back. He helped us order lunch at a good restaurant in Sirince and made sure we picked local specialties. He knew instinctively to give us the right amount of information without obscuring the beauty of the surroundings with an overload of facts. We all had a great time.
Juli was also very patient and thorough in taking us through an exhausting array of sites. She demonstrated very detailed knowledge of history and answered all questions with aplomb. She guided us very competently through all the sites in a calm, confident and compassionate manner. We knew we were in good hands with Juli who taught through example which places were worth seeing and when and which deserved more time than others.
For cruise passengers, however, these are great Ephesus tours and Istanbul Tours which I think provided more varied and personable experiences than those offered by the cruise company (who, to be fair, are dealing with hundreds of people and have to stick to a prescribed itinerary and timeline). I thought the prices of these Ephesus Shore Excursions from Kusadasi Port and Istanbul Tours were very reasonable and the fact that payment is by credit card on the day of the tour is very helpful as it helps to maintain our cash and limits the risk of carrying large amounts of money.
We spent a winter at Ephesus when the ancient seaport was famous for its wealth and luxury. We only have half a day among its ruins, more than 2000 years later, but there’s plenty of evidence left to help us envision their toga’d life. At its peak Ephesus, or Efes, ruled first by Greeks and then Romans, was a seaport home to 250,000 people
Now it lies some eight kilometers inland, in ruins due to pestilence, fire and earthquakes, and is home only to the ubiquitous cats of Turkey. But the amphitheater, its marble streets, temples, library and even its toilets offer glimpses of its past. The very public toilets, carved holes in one long marble slab with no partitions, would have been pre-warmed for wealthy users by their slaves. A carving, believed to be the world’s oldest advertisement, shows the way to the local brothel.
The marble stones are deeply scored and scratched, presumably to prevent sandalled feet from slipping on the way to the shops or the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. For all you history and art buffs, Ephesus is just a few kilometers outside Selcuk, home to the Ephesus Museum and the smaller relics of the ancient site.
It’s a picturesque town with orange trees, sunny squares and carpet shops and there are plenty of other nearby sights to see, including the Basilica of St John the Apostle and a small stone chapel, believed to be where the Virgin Mary lived out her last days. We fell in love with nearby Sirence, an old Ottoman town. We reached it by winding up a valley past olive groves and citrus orchards to the steep streets of the village that has become famous for its olive oil, fruit wines and stunning views.
After our private Private Ephesus Tours Kusadasi Turkey we have our lunch in Artemis restaurant and wine house , a former school at the top of the village with stunning views and delicious food. The interesting menu can be found online. If anyone has ever tried the “cow pea of sea”, I’d like to know. We opted out.