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About Izmir

Turkey's Aegean shorelines are one of the loveliest in the region with perfect beaches encircled by pinewoods, olive groves, and rocky crags. It's here you'll find Izmir, a city surrounded by scenic mountains and home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In fact Izmir is home to many wonderful archaeological sites from past Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilisations, all of which are outstanding in terms of the richness of their natural and historical assets - one of which is the excavated remains of the Agora (market). You can see more in the Archaeological Museum or, for the most spectacular panoramic views over the Aegean Sea, head to Kadifekale.

 

Shore excursions in Izmir

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

A Day in Cesme

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 5 hours

Discover the popular coastal town of Çeşme and visit its famous castle.

Enjoy a scenic drive to the pretty resort town of Çeşme. The town of Çeşme is considered to be one of Turkey's most prominent centres of international tourism, and was ranked 8th by the New York Times in ‘The 31 Places to Go in 2010’. The name Çeşme means ‘fountain’ which is said to stem from the many Ottoman fountains scattered across the city.

Disembark your coach and begin a guided walking tour, following your guide as they lead you to Çeşme Castle. Built in 1508 by Bayezid II, the castle dominates the town with its 6 towers and moats on 3 sides. A statue of Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasha, one of the naval commanders of the Battle of Chesma, stands in front of the castle, and is depicted facing the town square and caressing his famous pet lion.

After your visit of the castle, walk back to the town centre of Çeşme, pausing to view the Church of Agios Haralambos en route.

Enjoy free time to stroll through the beautiful marina, stopping to admire the many yachts and sailing boats, or relax with a drink in one of the cafés situated along the seafront promenade.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The drive to Çeşme is approximately 1¼ hours each way. There is approximately 1½ hours of walking on this tour, however passengers can choose to opt out of the guided walking tour if they wish. At Çeşme Castle there are uneven surfaces and numerous steep marble steps, therefore flat comfortable footwear is recommended.

Ancient Ephesus

Activity high

Duration: 4 hours

Explore the ruins of Ephesus featuring the Celsus Library and the Great Theatre, where it is believed St Paul preached to the Ephesians.

From Izmir, travel south to Ephesus, passing the Byzantine fortress at Selcuk, the ruins of the Temple of Artemis and St John’s Basilica.

At Ephesus, experience the Great Theatre, dating back to the Hellenistic period. In the 1st century AD it was successfully reconstructed and expanded by the Romans until it reached a seating capacity of 25,000, and today it is still used for performances.

Proceed to the Celsus Library and Hadrian’s Temple. The Temple was dedicated in 118 AD to Hadrian, Artemis, and the people of Ephesus but reconstructed in the 4th century. According to the belief of Ephesians, the Medusa head on the porch, would protect the city from its enemies.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot and involves approximately 1½ hours of walking, over some uneven surfaces. There is a charge of 50 cents to use the toilets at Ephesus.

Best of Ephesus with Lunch

Activity highMeal included

Duration: 7½ hours

Be mesmerised by so many iconic sites; House of The Virgin Mary, Ephesus, St John's Basilica, and the fascinating Terrace Houses.

Visit the House of The Virgin Mary, where the Virgin Mary is said to have lived the last years of her life. The site is officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church and was visited by Pope Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.

Continue onto Ephesus, one of the most magnificent and best-preserved ancient sites in the world. Marvel at the Odeon, the Market Basilica, Celsus Library, Marble Street and the Great Theatre with a seating capacity of 25,000 people.

Visit the impressive Terrace Houses, also referred to as ‘the houses of the rich’. The wealthy and important people of Ephesus resided in these houses, which is evident from the grand decorations of mosaics and frescoes.

Afterwards stop at St John’s Basilica. Built by the Emperor Justinian over the tomb of St John the Apostle, the Basilica, now in ruins, once rivaled St Sophia in size.

Travel to the resort town of Kusadasi, where you will partake in lunch in a 5 star hotel with spectacular views of the sea whilst being entertained by a colourful folkloric show.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Ephesus requires walking long distances over uneven surfaces. There are stairs to negotiate at the House of the Virgin Mary and the Basilica of St John as well as an uphill gradient. There are approximately 20 steps at the entrance to the Terrace Houses plus many steps inside to reach the different levels. There is a charge of 50 cents to use the toilets at Ephesus. The drive from Ephesus to the Virgin Mary Shrine takes approximately 20 minutes along a winding mountain road.

Best of Ephesus with Lunch

Activity highMeal included

Duration: 7 hours

Be mesmerised by so many iconic sites; House of The Virgin Mary, Ephesus, St John's Basilica, and the fascinating Terrace Houses.

Visit the House of The Virgin Mary, where the Virgin Mary is said to have lived the last years of her life. The site is officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church and was visited by Pope Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.

Continue onto Ephesus, one of the most magnificent and best-preserved ancient sites in the world. Marvel at the Odeon, the Market Basilica, Celsus Library, Marble Street and the Great Theatre with a seating capacity of 25,000 people.

Visit the impressive Terrace Houses, also referred to as ‘the houses of the rich’. The wealthy and important people of Ephesus resided in these houses, which is evident from the grand decorations of mosaics and frescoes.

Afterwards stop at St John’s Basilica. Built by the Emperor Justinian over the tomb of St John the Apostle, the Basilica, now in ruins, once rivaled St Sophia in size.

Travel to the resort town of Kusadasi, where you will partake in lunch in a 5 star hotel with spectacular views of the sea whilst being entertained by a colourful folkloric show.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Ephesus requires walking long distances over uneven surfaces. There are stairs to negotiate at the House of the Virgin Mary and the Basilica of St John as well as an uphill gradient. There are approximately 20 steps at the entrance to the Terrace Houses plus many steps inside to reach the different levels. There is a charge of 50 cents to use the toilets at Ephesus. The drive from Ephesus to the Virgin Mary Shrine takes approximately 20 minutes along a winding mountain road.

Cesme Beach Resort Getaway

Activity low

Duration: 5 hours

An opportunity to relax and soak up the sun at the luxurious Sheraton Hotel in Çeşme.

Embark on a scenic drive to the popular resort of Çeşme, where your destination will be the Sheraton Çeşme Hotel, Resort and Spa. Ideally situated on a stretch of the Ilica coast, the Sheraton Hotel is one of the most prestigious hotels in the area and a perfect location for a day of relaxation.

This wonderful 5 star hotel has fabulous services for that perfect day of luxury. Sit back and soak up the sun on the exclusive white sandy beach, take a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Aegean sea or relax by the hotel pool.

You may also choose to indulge in a visit to the Botanica Thermal Spa, one of the best spas in Turkey. (Additional charges apply).

A sun lounger, umbrella and towel will be provided at the pool and on the beach.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot and is inclusive of transfers, sun lounger, umbrella and towel. Passengers are reminded to take swimwear and sunscreen with them. The journey to the Sheraton Hotel in Çeşme takes approximately 1¼ hours each way. This tour does not include lunch or refreshments. The use of the spa is not included in the cost of this tour but can be paid directly by cash (major currencies accepted) or credit card. Please refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages prior to swimming. There may be independent suppliers on the beach that offer water sports. These are provided by parties unconnected to P&O Cruises.

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