After early hotel pickup from Istanbul, travel to the airport for your approximately 1-hour flight to Izmir. On arrival at Izmir airport, hop into an air-conditioned vehicle and gaze at Turkey’s countryside on route to Ephesus.
After roughly an hour, meet the rest of your group and guide at the site and start your walking tour of the Greco-Roman ruins. Bypass the lines with your included, pre-booked ticket, and go through the main Magnesia gate into this once-thriving city.
Stroll down the marble-paved roads past the shells of shops and bathhouses as your guide recounts Ephesus’ history, including its golden age under the Romans from around the 2nd century BC.
View monuments and buildings including the Odeon, and admire the magnificent Library of Celsus and well-preserved Great Theatre, where St. Paul once preached.
If you wish, pay the additional fee (own expense) to explore Ephesus’ restored terrace houses, once home to the city’s elite. Hear stories of those who lived here, and learn about the important role played by symbolism in their lives.
Following your Ephesus tour, pay a visit to the House of the Virgin Mary, where a shrine marks the site of what's believed to be her last home.
Then, after a stop for lunch, continue to Isabey Mosque, a glorious example of 18th-century Seljuk architecture. Wander around and hear how it incorporates stones and columns from Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis — your next stop.
Move on to the temple, once one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. View the single remaining column and other remnants, and listen as your guide describes the former majesty of the building.
Later, transfer to Izmir airport for your return flight. Your trip then concludes with a drop-off at your Istanbul hotel.