If you are cruising through the Aegean and the Sea of Marmara on a tour and stop in Kusadasi and Istanbul, here are some things to do in Kusadasi and Istanbul. You can take this tour to either or both of these places, and we’ll help you plan your trip so you can explore and have a good time on your vacation.
Duration: 8 hours.
Pick-up and Drop-off: Kusadasi Port or Hotel
Destinations in Kusadasi: The House of the Virgin Mary, Ephesus, and the Temple of Artemis
Destinations in Istanbul: The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Hippodrome
Languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, Greek, and Japanese
This tour is suggested because it includes a visit to Ephesus, where you will see, the House of the Virgin Mary, and the Artemis Temple.
After meeting your private guide at the Kusadasi Port, you’ll take a beautiful 30-minute drive to the House of the Virgin Mary, which Pope Paul VI declared a pilgrimage center in 1967. The Pope said, “She might have spent her last days here.”
When you spend almost an hour at the spot, you can feel the holy time.
It will take you 5 minutes to get to the upper gate of Ephesus after you’ve seen the House of the Virgin Mary, and from there, the itinerary will continue to the old city. Your private driver will wait for you at the lower gate while you and your guide walk down the hill.
The ancient city and the terrace houses will take 3 hours to see.
You will have a chance to spend a short time in the top souvenir area before going to the ancient site. At the lower gift area, you’ll have a lot more time.
As an expert scholar shows you around the city’s central streets, you’ll see marble buildings that were built between the 1st and 7th centuries AD.
The Great Theatre is the only ruin from the 3rd century BC, and it is also very important for Christians. Because Saint Paul the Apostle preached to the Ephesians there.
When you go through the Magnesian Gate, you will see businesses, government buildings, and the Augustus Basilica, which is surrounded by a circle of columns, at the State Agora.
As you walk down the main streets, your guide will tell you basic facts and history about fountain decorations, statues, and the famous temples of Emperors Domitian, Trajan, and Hadrian.
When you go through the Hercules Gate, you will see the Celsus Library. It was the third-largest library in ancient times, after Alexandria and Pergamum. It had more than 12,000 scroll books.
The Terrace Houses are a unique old place on the slopes of Bülbül Mountain (Coressus). They are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. They were where the rich people of Ephesus lived. Every part of the terrace houses shows how rich the people of Ephesus were.
There are frescoes, mosaics, and individual heating systems. From the front door to the upper exit, there are 80 steps. There is a different fee to get into Terrace Houses, which is part of the archaeological site. As you get close to leaving the old city, there is a souvenir area with restrooms and shops.
It takes 5 minutes to get to the original site of the Artemis Temple, which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World because of how big and beautiful it was. You are going to see where the temple used to be and the columns that are still there from the 6th century BC. (The time is 30 minutes.)
Your guide will also suggest a local place for lunch and tell you about traditional things to see and do while you’re there.
Kusadasi and the area around it are seasonal and laid-back. And each site is only about 5 minutes away by car.
So, people have a good time when they go to places like a weaving school or a ceramic art center.
The tour then ends in Kusadasi Port.
Depending on when your cruise ship stops at Istanbul Galata Port, you can take a full-day or half-day private tour of Istanbul with a local tour guide. Depending on how interested you are in culture and history, you can change your Istanbul day tour.
To have a private Istanbul tour guide meet you at the port and start the trip, please send us an email in advance with the name of your cruise ship and the dates you will be arriving and leaving. We recommend taking the tram, which is close to the dock and will help you get around the city faster and with less traffic. From the harbor, it takes 10 minutes to get to the Old City by tram.
We give you a planned itinerary and a full day to explore the Old City of Istanbul.
Please let us know if you only have a half-day or if you have a lot of time off so that we can change the plan.
This city was the capital of four different empires: the Romans from 330 to 395, the Byzantine from 395 to 1204 and 1261 to 1922, and the Ottoman from 1453 to 1922. Before Istanbul became the capital of the Roman Empire, Constantine the Great built it and named it Constantinople, which means “the City of Constantine.”
Istanbul has been a major city for a long time because of its convenient position at the meeting point of two continents: Europe and Asia. Istanbul is a major center of culture around the world because of its mosques, palaces, cathedrals, synagogues, modernity, and past.
Istanbul is full of different things. We could set up a special tour of Istanbul so you can see all of these places for yourself. In Istanbul’s Old City, you will go to these places:
The Hippodrome was a U-shaped place where chariot races took place in the past. It could hold up to 100,000 people at most. Even though the seats, walls, and most of what was left of the Hippodrome are gone, three structures still stand: the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpent Column, and the Constantine Columns.
Sultan Ahmet of the Ottoman Empire built the Blue Mosque between 1609 and 1616. The official name is Sultanahmet Mosque, but tourists call it the “Blue Mosque” because of the blue tiles inside.
The Topkapi Palace is a memory of the glory days of the Ottoman Empire when it was the ruler’s home and the center of power. On the orders of Sultan Mehmet II, the house was built and finished in the 1500s. It was the center of government for the Ottoman Empire at the time. The Topkapi Palace is now open to the public. It became a museum in 1924 and is open to everyone.
Hagia Sophia is the name of the largest and tallest church in the world. Between the years 532 and 537, the Roman Emperor Justinian I gave the order to build. It was a church until the Turks turned it into a mosque in the 15th century. It became a museum in 1934. In July 2020, Hagia Sophia will no longer be a museum.
It will be a mosque again where it used to be a church. Hagia Sophia is open to the public, just like the other churches in the area.
The Grand Bazaar is the biggest and oldest covered market in the world. It has more than 4,000 shops spread out over 61 streets. In the 15th century, Sultan Mehmet II built the Grand Bazaar. Over time, more sultans added to it and made it bigger.
If you want, your guide will do everything they can to help you find that one unique piece of Turkish art that has always meant a lot to you.
On Tuesdays, you can’t go to Topkapi Palace. Basilica Cistern will get a new one.
On Sundays, the Grand Bazaar is closed. Spice Bazaar will no longer be there.
Information about Istanbul shore excursions
In Istanbul, you can take a walk through the old city.
Please wear regular comfortable clothes.
Every day, you can choose between a full-day and a half-day tour.
You will be going to mosques, so women should bring scarves to cover their hair, or the mosques will have some for you to use.
At the cruise port
A licensed guide who speaks English or another language of your choice
A luxury car with air conditioning and a driver
Service to pick up and drop off
Costs to get into the museums and places on the above schedule
Gratuities to the guide and driver
Anything that isn’t listed as being included
It’s a good idea to bring a camera, a hat, and shoes that are good for walking.
Ephesus Istanbul Shore Excursions
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Q: What are the destinations included in the Private Ephesus Tour from Kusadasi Cruise Port?
The Private Ephesus Tour includes visits to The House of the Virgin Mary, Ephesus, and the Temple of Artemis.
Q: How long does the Private Ephesus Tour from Kusadasi Cruise Port last?
The duration of the Private Ephesus Tour is 8 hours.
Q: What languages are available for the guided tour?
The tour offers guides who speak English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, Greek, and Japanese.
Q: What are the key attractions to visit during the Private Istanbul Tour from the Cruise Port?
The key attractions during the Private Istanbul Tour include The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, and the Hippodrome.
Q: What are the recommended clothing and accessories to bring for the tours?
It’s suggested to wear regular, comfortable clothes and bring a camera, hat, and walking shoes for both the Kusadasi and Istanbul tours. Women visiting mosques should also bring scarves to cover their hair, or mosques may provide them for use.
Q: What are the meeting points for the tours?
The meeting point for the Kusadasi tours is at the cruise port, and for the Istanbul tours, it will be either at the port or a pre-arranged location.
Q: What is included in the tour package for both the Kusadasi and Istanbul tours?
The tour package includes a licensed guide who speaks the language of your choice, a luxury car with air conditioning and a driver, pick-up and drop-off services, and the costs to enter the museums and places on the itinerary. Gratuities to the guide and driver, personal items, and anything not listed as included are excluded.
Q: Are there specific days when certain attractions are closed during the tours?
Yes, on Tuesdays, you cannot visit Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, and on Sundays, the Grand Bazaar will be closed. You may visit the Basilica Cistern instead of Topkapi Palace and the Spice Bazaar instead of the Grand Bazaar.
Q: What can visitors expect during the Private Tours of Ephesus, Turkey?
Visitors can expect personalized and intimate experiences while exploring historical sites such as the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Artemis, and the Great Theatre, with expert guides providing insights into the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.
Q: How far are the destinations from Kusadasi Port for the Ephesus Tour?
The attractions in Kusadasi and Ephesus are all located within approximately 5 minutes by car from Kusadasi Port, making it convenient for visitors to explore these places in a short time.