Turkey: Kusadasi, Ephesus, and Istanbul


We were in Kusadasi in late 2019 and were so impressed with the cleanliness and safety. We took the Magical Steps tour and were very pleased. The tour included a wonderful luncheon at a restaurant outside the city. Here is my review:

Review of Kusadasi, Turkey December 2019

Before our trip, I have to admit to being a bit concerned about our safety in Turkey. We hired a great company Magic Steps Tours for their “Enjoy Roman Ephesus and Its Christian Heritage” tour at 55 Euro per person. That included a full day and a delightful buffet lunch at a Turkish restaurant. All tickets were included. We had a great guide name Ugar Duman who met us promptly at the terminal.

We went first to the House of the Virgin Mary, where tradition says Mary went to live after Jesus died. Then, we spent several hours at the ruins of ancient Ephesus and the Terrace Step Houses. After that, we went to the Basilica of St. John, which is an amazing ruin with a baptismal area with steps for full emersion.

Friends who went on the ship excursions usually saw just the main ruins but just walked or drove past the Terrace Steps and Basilica and didn’t go to the House of the Virgin Mary. We got it all on this tour!  Excellent guide!

April 2022 update: When choosing a tour for Ephesus, there are three sites that would be helpful to understand. The House of the Virgin Mary is based on an 1800 century vision a nun had and the archaeology and history don’t support its validity. Believing is a matter of faith and might be better suited for those who follow the Roman Catholic Faith. The Temple of Artemis, while interesting, has been largely dismantled as people in the last 2000 years have looked upon it as a great source of fine stonework to repurpose. The Terrace Steps are a wonderful experience and usually cost extra. Be aware that the stairs leaving the Terrace houses are for the sure of foot and there is no railing.



Other companies to consider:






We selected this tour because it hits all the sites we hope to see and is priced right.