We went on a Mediterranean cruise that stopped in Izmir, we booked the Best of Ephesus private tour through Daily Istanbul Tours. Daily Istanbul Tours arranged our transportation to and from the port in Izmir, the driver and van (very comfortable Mercedes van), and a private guide. The communication via email before we arrived was great, prompt responses, and we were quoted what we felt was a reasonable cost for a full day private tour. Our tour guide (Hasan) and our driver were waiting for us at the port, Hasan was personable and very knowledgeable while he accompanied us to each site, thoroughly sharing as much history as the day would allow. Unlike some other tour companies, entrance fees and lunch were NOT included, but Hasan had already purchased all of our tickets in advance so we didn't have to wait in ticket lines and we just reimbursed him. Our first stop was the House of the Virgin Mary where Hasan gave us some really interesting inside facts and tips about the candles and the holy spring water. After the House of the Virgin Mary, we stopped at the ancient City of Ephesus, the Terrace Houses, and the Temple of Artemis. All fascinating and not to be missed. Hasan allowed us to set our own pace, told us many very interesting facts, and showed us things we would not have known or noticed without him; we would highly recommend using a guide to get the most out of your visit. Hasan gave us some great picture ideas and was always willing to take our picture together which was nice. Hasan asked us where we would like to eat lunch, after making a few suggestions he brought us to a special place for a delicious Turkish lunch. While it was clear that Hasan gets a kick-back from the restaurant in the form of his lunch being free, we didn't care because it was more food than we could eat, tasted great, and it only cost us $10. We highly recommend Daily Istanbul Tours/Best of Ephesus.
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