Once the ancient city of Smyrna, Izmir stands as Turkey’s third largest city and one of its most important ports. It has transformed into a modern and bustling commercial centre, with its sweeping Kordon esplanade the perfect place to soak up the Aegean coastal views and a nightlife that is second to none. In addition to exploring its famous Kemeralti Bazaar, Izmir is also on the doorstep of some of Turkey’s most impressive ancient sites, including the World Heritage listed city of Ephesus, the Temple of Artemis, the House of the Virgin Mary and the Basilica of St John.
Izmir’s Archaeological Museum is a good first port of call, overflowing with exhibits and artefacts that reveal the city’s ancient history. You can then see first hand the ruins of Smyrna at the Agora marketplace, now an important excavation site, which dates as far back as 3000 BC.
Most visitors docking in Izmir don’t miss the chance to visit the Ancient City of Ephesus, considered one of the most impressive and well-preserved ancient sites in the world. Tour its fascinating ruins, including the Great Theatre, Library of Celsius and Temple of Hadrian, and witness its famed Terrace Houses, before continuing on to the House of the Virgin Mary.
For those with more time, the ancient cities of Pergamon, Miletos, Priene and Didyma all boast impressive ruins and intriguing histories, which can be easily explored on shore excursions from Izmir. Or take the picturesque drive to the “cotton cliffs” of Pamukkale that cascade down a hillside below the ancient ruins of Hierapolis.
Not only is Izmir a vibrant destination in itself, but its proximity to some of Turkey’s most impressive ancient wonders make it a deservedly popular destination. Our selection of Izmir shore excursions will enable you to see as much as possible during your stay and have you back at the port well in time for your cruise ship’s departure.