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“I said 'no rugs'!”

Ephesus Deluxe Tours
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Half-Day, Small-Group Tour From Kusadasi Port to Ephesus
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Deluxe Ephesus: Full Day Semi-Private Tour
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Private Half-Day Tour to Ephesus From Kusadasi Port
Ranked #2 of 34 Tours in Izmir
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Gilbert, Arizona
Level 6 Contributor
95 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“I said 'no rugs'!”
Reviewed July 7, 2014

I learned of this company here. Good reviews. The comparable cruise excursions involved "rug demonstrations" both in Istanbul and Kusadasi. Reviews of those indicated they literally locked you in a room for 90 minutes trying to sell you rugs. No thank you!! I don't want to waste valuable shore time saying "no" repeatedly to high-pressure sales people.

So I contact Ephesus Deluxe Tours, and they are very nice and accommodating. I'm assured there won't be any sales talks. Price is quite reasonable. So we go for it.

So first day is Istanbul. Guide is a little brusque, but I think that's more cultural than anything. He seemed to know about the sites we were visiting, and answered questions. Then towards the end of the tour he asked if we wanted to see pottery. Sure, why not. Well...we get a pottery demo and then an invitation to go downstairs to see their "collection". Uh...no. I can smell a sales pitch coming. We get out of there. The guide doesn't try to dissuade us, which is good. And he found us a decent place to eat lunch outside the Spice Market. Nothing fancy, but I liked it.

Second day is Kusadasi. Lunch is supposed to be included this day. So we go through the Ephesus site, and all is well. Until I ask about lunch. Care to guess where "lunch" was? At the rug store. And their idea of lunch was a glass of tea (which was pretty good, actually), and these fried bread things (which also weren't bad, but this is NOT a proper lunch). And of course an opportunity to "learn about rugs". The guide claimed that this is where they bring people for lunch on this tour.

Which part of "no rug demonstrations" didn't they understand? We were able to leave, but they never should have brought us there. They should have taken us someplace else to eat that didn't involve any sales talks. I'd go with four stars if it wasn't for this. The rest of the tour was interesting and enjoyable. But they must receive a deduction for, in effect, lying to us when we asked to be spared all sales talks.

Visited June 2014
4 Thank 1poorguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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130 reviews from our community

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Coral Springs, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
44 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Excellent Value”
Reviewed July 2, 2014

We booked the Semi-Private Tour from Kusadasi Port. This tour is a guaranteed departure tour, which means even if you are the only ones who booked it, they will leave. It can have up to 14 people on the tour, but our day there were only 7. When we arrived at the port, our tour guide had my name on a board so it was easy to find her. A great thing about this company is that they take your reservation, but do not collect any money until after the tour. So you have no upfront costs. The tour guide was lovely and the tour included all of the highlight sights of the area and lunch. The lunch was really good. (Make sure you bring money for drinks, they are not included) They did take us to a pottery place and a rug place for presentations, and did try to sell items, however, I did not at all feel pressured to buy anything from either place and actually no one in our group purchased and they seemed fine with that. I've heard a lot about the high pressure sales in Turkey and was pleasantly surprised. We had an amazing day, and I still have memories of the highlight of my cruise Ephesus. Do not hesitate to book with this company, they are the most reasonably priced and gave an excellent tour!

Visited June 2014
Thank Bribart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
148 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Enjoyable Afternoon, Excellent Guide”
Reviewed June 28, 2014

We booked a private tour for four from the port of Kusadasi to Ephesus. We were met at the boat by our guide, Gizem Cakirgoz, and driver. Gizem was delightful and extremely knowledgeable. On the drive to Ephesus, she began by explaining modern day Turkey - geography, culture and problems. Very interesting and helpful. We started at The House of the Virgin Mary, then proceeded to tour Ephesus and the Terrace Houses. Her guided narration along the way was excellent. The day was hot, so we merely stopped at a spot where we could view The Temple of Artemis and St. John's Basilica from the comfort of the air conditioned bus. We ended the day at lunch at the government sponsored carpet co-op. While I didn't realize this would be part of the tour, we enjoyed seeing the demonstrations and viewing the rugs for sale. I hadn't intended to come home from Turkey with a rug, but did in fact buy a runner. It was a low pressure sales situation that I was comfortable with. I believe this stop added to the pleasure of the tour experience.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank hmbkatz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lisbellaw, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
240 reviews
164 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Value for money but cut out the rugs”
Reviewed June 25, 2014 via mobile

We were met by our guide, Mert, at the port of kusadasi, and very quickly he located our minibus. It was very comfortable for the 12 people on the trip, our driver was excellent, but the air conditioning was not great. The microphone also did not work but Mert did a great job of explaining everything to us.
First we were taken to the site at Ephesus, entrance was easy, and Mert steered us through the ruins and avoided the crowds by finding places of shade to brief us. The highlights were the terraced houses, the library, and also the huge amphitheatre. Despite warnings about the steepness and smoothness of the steps, I managed to slip and take the skin of my elbow
Next, we were taken to a ceramics shop for a restroom break. Here we got a free drink, a pottery demonstration, and the opportunity to buy local pottery - no hard see here
Next, we climbed the mountain in the van to the House of the Virgin Mary. I would have preferred to have seen the view instead of the site as I found it to be a disappointment - the contrast of a house of prayer and a wishing wall just makes no sense to me at all
Next, Mert, took us to a Turkish Delight shop and this was a great surprise. Many of the varieties could be tasted and sampled, and the costs for a box was only 4 euro. Probably everyone bought something here, and again there was no hard sell
Finally, it was lunchtime, and we were taken to the Rug Store. We had a nice 2 course lunch followed by an excellent demonstration on how hand made rugs were made. However, we were then ushered into a large room were 2 men unfolded somewhere between 50-70 rugs of different shapes, sizes, and quality, and the pressure was on. Next we were given a free drink so that we could consider which one we wanted to buy. I immediately left the room to wait for the others. After 25 mins some of the others began to appear, with one couple saying that their small purchase had got the rest of us off the hook. Eventually we left but it had left its mark on everyone.
Instead of running to the ship for 3pm, it was nearer 5pm.
It was definitely a good value tour. For 40 euros I got a great guide, entrance to Ephesus and the terraced houses, a nice lunch, etc.. But the rug stop I could well do without. I will never agree to a rug stop again.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Ashley A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barrie, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great company and guide!”
Reviewed June 25, 2014

I had pre-booked the 7 hour Ephesus tour online before leaving on our cruise. I had been looking for a company that would show us the sights that we wanted without the shopping that's usually included on the ship's excursions. I sent emails to the company manager, Denis, several times and always received a prompt reply. I was assured that the tour would leave on time and that we would have a modern bus with AC that could seat 18 but he would only have 14 maximum in our group. I had recruited some fellow passengers to join the tour and the price was very reasonable considering the length of the tour, the sights to be covered and also it included an authentic Turkish lunch.
The guide, Gizem, met us right on time and she was a lovely girl. Very well spoken and intelligent and it was obvious she knew her stuff! We were disappointed that we had been assigned a group of 21, instead of the promised smaller group of 14 and thus needed a larger vehicle on which the AC and speaker system needed some updating. Those in the back had a harder time hearing until adjustments were made to the bus system. Gizem did a great job covering the sights and between points of interest she gave us background info and prepared us for what we would see. Lunch was at a carpet factory co-operative and the meal was delicious...lots of tasty food and you only had to pay for beverages. After the meal, we had the carpet demo, which wasn't in my original itinerary but was definitely interesting until the big sell. There was no obligation to stay so at that point I wandered outdoors to enjoy the breeze!
Although it was a long day and the weather was pretty hot, Gizem made the tour and sights interesting and did her best to answer any and all questions. I would definitely recommend this company again although if you're looking for a small group experience you need to stress that more strongly than I obviously did....luckily everyone in our group got along really well and we had a great time!

Visited June 2014
Thank BarwickCruiser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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