The Turkish port of Kusadasi
is the gateway to one of the most impressive Greek and Roman sites anywhere: Ephesus, famed for the Temple of Diana, one of the wonders of the ancient world. It no longer stands having been destroyed in an earthquake, though it’s possible to view the foundations of the temple and sections of some columns.
Azamara offers a number of different excursions to Ephesus. The Highlights of Ephesus tour begins at what is believed by many to be the House of the Virgin Mary and where she spent the end of her life after the death of Jesus. The tour then continues to Ephesus itself, where highlights include the Celsus Library and the Grand Theater, where St. Paul preached. The tour concludes with a visit to the Cittantica Ephesus Park, a recreation of the ancient city with shopping, restaurants, and interactive experiences. For a more customized experience, guests can opt instead for a full-day private car with a guide. How long you spend at Ephesus and whether you also visit other nearby sites, like the remains of the Byzantine-era Basilica of St. John, will be up to you.
Travelers interested in local cuisine and culture will want to consider the Cruise Global, Meet Local
: Taste of Turkish Country Life excursion instead. You’ll travel through the countryside to the home of a local family who will greet you with fresh lemonade. In their kitchen, you’ll learn the secrets of meze, the small dishes of pickled vegetables, cheeses, yogurts, and grilled meats typically begin any Turkish meal. Afterwards, everyone will sit down to a feast you’ve just helped prepare.