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Small-Group: Ephesus and The House of Virgin Mary Day Trip from Istanbul

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Istanbul, Turkey

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icon15 hours  (Approx.)
Hotel pickup offered
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

Keeping you safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your visit
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Face masks provided for travelers
Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
Social distancing enforced throughout experience
Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
Gear/equipment sanitized between use
Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
More questions?
(888) 651-9785

Overview

Travel back in time nearly two millennia and discover the House of Virgin Mary and Ephesus during this guided day trip from Istanbul. With round-trip flights to Izmir included, you'll fly to the best preserved ancient city in the eastern Mediterranean for an epic trip. Stroll along roads once roamed by toga-clothed Romans; enjoy visits to the Library of Celsus, the stunning Great Theatre; gaze at temples and walk along shop-lined streets. You'll then explore the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, have lunch, and highlight your day with a tour of the stone home where it’s believed the Virgin Mary spent her final days. Numbers limited to 14 on this small-group tour.
  • Full-day tour of spectacular Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary, with round-trip flights from Istanbul
  • Fly to Izmir and travel to Ephesus, the eastern Mediterranean’s best-preserved ancient city
  • See the staggering Great Theatre, Library of Celsus and shops, baths and temples
  • Explore the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
  • Visit the House of the Virgin Mary, where she may have spent her final days
  • Enjoy an included Turkish lunch at a local restaurant
  • Small-group tour with numbers limited to just 14 people
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Hotel pickup and drop-off
Round-trip flights from Istanbul to Izmir
Lunch
Local guide
Air-conditioned vehicle
Gratuities
Food and drinks, unless specified

Departure Point

Traveler pickup is offered

Departure Time

5:30 AM
Start the day with a transfer by air-conditioned coach from your central Istanbul hotel to the airport. After a short 45-minute flight, land in Izmir and meet your guide for your day tour of Ephesus and the House of the Virgin Mary.

Aboard your air-conditioned coach voyage about one hour to Ephesus. Along the way break at the elegant church - St John’s Basilica. Walk his tomb and learn how he spent time atop Ayasuluk hill writing music.

Arrive in Ephesus, known as the finest preserved ancient city in the eastern Mediterranean. See an abundance of shops, temples, and lively streets as you stroll with your guide. Imagine how this early Christian Roman-Greco port once operated as you hear its in-depth history.

Stop at the Temple of Artemis and study the massive ruins of this Ancient Wonder of the world. Wind along streets through the heart of Ephesus to uncover the Great Theatre, which once held 25,000 visitors. Then, capture views of the ornate architecture of the Library of Celsus. During your exploration, observe fascinating history carved into the sidewalks like brothel signs and old chariot wheel tracks.

Take a break for lunch at a nearby place before continuing to the House of Virgin Mary. Hear the stories that indicate this was the last resting place of the Virgin Mary and why she decided to reside here in her final days. Then, delve into the small stone house and marvel at the old foundation speculated to be as old as the 1st century AD. 

Afterwards, head back to Izmir airport for your return voyage to Istanbul. After being collected from the airport, cruise to your hotel where your tour ends.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Meryemana (The Virgin Mary's House)
Leave Ephesus and after lunch at a local restaurant, visit the nearby House of Virgin Mary, said to be the last home of the Virgin Mary. See inside the tiny house, whose foundations may date from Mary’s time in the 1st century AD, as your guide explains why it’s believed to sit where her last residence stood.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Efes Antik Kenti Tiyatrosu
Continue to Ephesus, the eastern Mediterranean’s best-preserved classical city. An important hub of early Christianity and thriving Greco-Roman port, this spectacular place boasts streets, shops and temples that make it easy to imagine those who lived here 2,000 years ago. Hear the history of the city as you explore with your guide. View the remains of the nearby, immense Temple of Artemis, once an Ancient Wonder of the World, and wander the streets that formed Ephesus’s heart. Marvel at the 25,000-seater Great Theatre, ogle the façade of the Library of Celsus, and see well-preserved shops and temples. On route, see captivating details such as the chariot wheel grooves and brothel signposts carved in the sidewalks.
Duration: 3 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
The Basilica of Saint John
During your 1-hour journey, stop at St John’s Basilica, an ornate church at the top of Ayasuluk Hill. See its tomb of St John, who is believed to have written his gospel on the hill.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 30 days of travel. In this case confirmation will be received within 48 hours, subject to availability
  • Confirmation for this tour will be received at time of booking
  • In the event of any museum closures, an alternative similar museum will be visited
  • Not recommended for children aged 4 and under
  • Children 18 years and under must be accompanied by an adult
  • Passport name, number, expiry and country is required at time of booking for all participants
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 14 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Neon Tours

If you cancel at least 8 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee.

If you cancel within 7 day(s) of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Small-Group: Ephesus and The House of Virgin Mary Day Trip from Istanbul?
A:
The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Face masks provided for travelers
See all safety measures taken by Small-Group: Ephesus and The House of Virgin Mary Day Trip from Istanbul.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Small-Group: Ephesus and The House of Virgin Mary Day Trip from Istanbul?
A:
The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Small-Group: Ephesus and The House of Virgin Mary Day Trip from Istanbul.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during Small-Group: Ephesus and The House of Virgin Mary Day Trip from Istanbul?
A:
The policy on social distancing is:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
See all safety measures taken by Small-Group: Ephesus and The House of Virgin Mary Day Trip from Istanbul.
Q:
What is the maximum group size during Small-Group: Ephesus and The House of Virgin Mary Day Trip from Istanbul?
A:
This activity will have a maximum of 14 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Small-Group: Ephesus and The House of Virgin Mary Day Trip from Istanbul.

Traveler Photos

Reviews

4.0
star-4
86 Reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 86 reviews
star-1
Misleading
Lubrichi62
, Oct 2019
We were picked up at our hotel at 4am and returned about 8:30pm. Throughout the entire 16 1/2 hour day, we only spent about 1 hour at Ephesus and were given no free time at all inside the city. We were taken to a rug shop so that they could show us how rugs are made but then they tried to sell you. The icing on the cake was next being brought to a leather shop to ensure a lights out fashion show with again more sales efforts to get us to buy their leather products. We signed up for a tour of Ephesus not a sales trip. Finally, the tour guide was terrible. Extremely strong accent, hard to understand and she didn’t have her facts correct about history but she passed along her superstitions and her opinions. Although the one hour in Ephesus was amazing, largely the day was a waste.
icon Response from Host , Oct 2019
Dear our valued guest, We're sorry to hear that you didn't have as much time as you wanted to spent at Ephesus. Did you visit Virgin Mary's House? If you can send us your travel date we'd like to hear more details about your feedback. Neon Tours
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Ephesus from Istanbul made easy
cagoldenbear
, Sep 2019
Our trip to Istanbul was amazing, but we really wanted to see Ephesus while in Turkey. Viator made this possible. They arranged an early morning picked up from our Istanbul hotel and put us on a Turkish Airline flight to Izmir (Turkey’s 3rd largest city). Our guide and driver met us at the Izmir airport and drove us the short distance to Ephesus. Our tour included four major stops. The first stop was the Ephesus House of Virgin Mary and Saint John (Jesus put his mother in John’s care while dying on the cross). The second stop was the ancient city of Ephesus. The ruins of this Greek city included: the Odeon (Senate), Hadrian’s Temple, Mosaic sidewalk, Library of Celsus, and the Theater. The theater has held several modern concerts including: Pavarotti, Sting, Elton John, and Ray Charles. The third stop was lunch and a short carpet making demonstration at Turkmen Carpet. The last stop was the Basilica of Saint John. Throughout our visit we were kept informed and entertained by our very knowledgeable and awesome guide Ceyla Ergon. She was great! At the end of the day, we were put on a return flight and taken back to our hotel. Everything was super professional and we highly recommend it.
icon Response from Host , Oct 2019
Dear our valued guest, Thank you for this kind review. We're more than happy to hear that you enjoyed our services. We hope to see you again soon, Neon Tours
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
this was truly a small group tour...
Jacqueline T
, Feb 2018
this was truly a small group tour the guide was great and very informative. I could not have asked for anything better.
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star-4
Excellent tour and guide. Very...
Doug
, Jan 2018
Excellent tour and guide. Very efficient pickup at the airport and transfers to and from the hotel. Amazing opportunity to see two 2 pretty special places. Highly recommend and can be accomplished in one day/
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
It was an absolute privilege to walk...
Mariska M
, Jun 2017
It was an absolute privilege to walk in the same paths and alleys as were some of the political giants, gladiators and philosophers of the Roman empire had walked and to experience the Christian history of this ancient jewel. What made our visit to Ephesus so special, was that our guide Ismail majored in history, archaeology and religion as part of his bachelors degree. It was amazing to discover some of the hidden gems in Ephesus and to imagine what the city must have looked like 2000 years ago :-
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
My partner and I recently late March...
Bernardo C
, Apr 2017
My partner and I recently late March 2017 visited Ephesus on a day trip. Our guide, Ismail was very knowledgeable and took the time to explain in detail the major highlights of Ephesus and made sure we avoided the crowds. He made sure we were checked in for our return flight. A great way to experience this part of Turkey and truly unforgettable. Thank you.
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star-5
I thoroughly enjoyed the private...
Neels E
, Jul 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed the private tour to Ephesus July 8, 2016 and want to commend Gokce Tascilar and the drivers for their excellent services and hospitality. Will be remembered for a long, long time - for sure!.
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star-5
Excellent guide - Mr Top. Not at...
Nigel H
, Jun 2016
Excellent guide - Mr Top. Not at all crowded. Wonderful weather. Flight connections and airport and hotel pick ups perfect.
HelpfulHelpful
star-4
I was picked up at my Istanbul Hotel...
Jonathan N
, May 2016
I was picked up at my Istanbul Hotel on time and efficiently transported to the airport for the flight to Ismir, where I was met by the tour guide. The guide was knowledgeable and informative. The entire tour was well-organized and efficient. there were just 2 of us with the guide--which is not typical, according to my understanding.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
This was an excellent tour in every...
Stephen M
, May 2016
This was an excellent tour in every way! We were staying privately in Istanbul and so an arrangement was made for the minibus to pick us up at a nearby hotel. This would have been easier to arrange if an email address had been provided rather than a local phone number, however, we managed email contact in the end and all went well. All the staff involved with transfers were good at their jobs, prompt, efficient and welcoming. Would be a good idea to tell/remind people to bring passports official photo ID to the airport fortunately we did have ours. Similarly for those who collect frequent flyer points advance knowledge of the airline might help ours was Turkish Air - Star Alliance. The tour itself was absolutely brilliant and our tour guide was much the same. We were very fortunate to have Mr Serhat Top as our guide he was knowledgeable, insightful and enormously helpful. This was no 'follow the orange umbrella' tour! Everything was included in the tour as per the printed information, so this may be more along the lines of a means of alternate gratuity than travel advice: we found that our 5 day Museum Passes bought in Istanbul also would have worked at a number of the sites we visited. Lunch was relaxed outdoors dining.The meal was traditional, simple and very satisfying. The restaurant staff were more than helpful and obliging, especially given my garlic allergy - advised in advance. The cooperative carpet making presentation and demonstration was very informative. We had make it clear to our tour guide beforehand that we were not in the market to buy carpets or leather goods for that matter. The journey home went smoothly and we were met and transferred by the same people who had sent us off that morning. Yes, it is a long day but worth every minute of it. We'd certainly do it again if we found ourselves back in Istanbul. Thank you Viator!
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Product code: 3795IZM02AIR

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