My husband and I booked a group tour with No Frills Ephesus Tours last July. We had an amazing time. We were staying in Izmir, but Christine from No Frills arranged for us to be picked up at our hotel in Izmir. When the van arrived on the morning of our tour, we were pleasantly surprised to see that we were going to be the only ones on the tour. It would be just us, our guide, Oktay, and the driver of the van (which was air conditioned). Oktay spent the drive to Selcuk telling us about Turkey and even teaching us some Turkish. When we arrived we visited the Temple of Artemis and then drove up to see the House of the Virgin Mary. Oktay had lots of great information to share and these sites were definitely worth seeing. Then we headed to Ephesus. Oktay walked us through the city and told us all the history of the different sites we were seeing. He had an amazing amount of knowledge about the city and its history. At each building we came to, he had another story to tell us about how it was used by the ancient people that used to live here. We paid extra so that we could see the Terrace Houses as we passed through the city- these are not to be missed. They are totally worth any extra fee to see them. They are the houses of the rich and famous of Ephesus and are in great condition. Oktay walked us through the houses and explained what the daily lives of Ephesians would have been like. It is amazing to imagine the view that these houses would have had of the city and the harbor. From there were able to see the rest of the sites in the city. Oktay made sure that we started our tour at the top of the hill so that we could be walking down to the other entrance as the day got hotter. This was much appreciated! If you do this in the summer, make sure to bring water! After we finished walking through the city, Oktay took us to a small town in the hills outside of Selcuk called Sirince. We were able to eat lunch (Turkish "pancakes") at an authentic restaurant and then wander around the village. There was a small bazaar and lots of places to taste the locally made fruit wine. When we had had our fill, we headed back to Selcuk to the Ephesus museum. This is where many of the artifacts from Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis are held and it was a nice way to end the day and tie everything together. All in all, Oktay was an AMAZING guide. We learned so much and had a wonderful time visiting Ephesus and we were so pleased that there were no sales stops at all during the day. I highly recommend No Frills to anyone planning on visiting Ephesus!
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