A great day! We took the ‘Best of Ephesus Tour” from our cruise docked in Kuşidasi. The high point of the tour was clearly Ephesus, an ancient Roman city recently excavated. Consequently, the mosaics and frescoes are colorful and statuary is in good shape. A large archaeological site.
Our tour guide Işiķ (pronounced “Ish-ick”) spoke excellent American English and all were able to clearly understood her. We had excellent directions and met her just outside the cruise terminal. Işiķ was knowledgeable about the places we visited and pointed out particular points of interest. She and our driver let us spend as much time as we wanted, and even took us on an unplanned stop.
Işiķ also provided us with insight into about life in Turkey from the perspective of a modern young woman. That's something that you’d not discover by walking through the tourist shops.
One of our group was interested in seeing how Turkish carpets are made. We were all aware that some tours plan a stop at a “carpet factory”, which is really a sales opportunity. But Işiķ was able to contact a carpet store, telling them we just wanted to see the demonstration. We spent fifteen minutes there and weren’t pestered by the salesmen.
Our family of five adults included our 93 year old father who used a walker during the tour. While he wasn’t able to see all of Ephesus (it’s very large and has uneven terrain), he saw some of the high points: the amphitheater and Library of Celsus. Taking a private tour gave us a lot of flexibility in dealing with his needs.
So consider a private tour if you are traveling with someone with special needs. You see the same things that you’d get by taking one of the cruise’s tours and have lots of flexibility.
Note that we traveled in early November. We feel we had excellent weather; in the summer it might get less pleasant, as Ephesus lacks shade.