We believe that our children are more adventurous and capable than others would think which is why we decided to do a tour of Ephesus with kids.
We also think that having children need not mean the end of travel – if anything, there’s more incentive to travel after having children – now is the time for making memories and sharing experiences that will bond you together for life.
We recently travelled to Turkey and met some strong opinions about what we shouldn’t do with our kids, as well as with some of the best places to visit in Turkey.
We were advised against doing a 8km walk with our kids in Turkey, on the grounds that they were too young. We didn’t listen and our 4, 6 and 8 year olds absolutely smashed it. We took our time, set off early to avoid the heat, and bribed them with the reward of ice cream and a splash in the sea. On the last day of the holiday, our kids actually requested doing the same walk again!
We were also advised that a trip to the ancient city of Ephesus wouldn’t be suitable for our kids, on the grounds that the coach journey would be too long; the 5.15am collection time too early; and the weather too hot. We didn’t listen to the naysayers – and we smugly enjoyed getting multiple compliments that our kids are great travellers.
Before you click x on the cocky blogger, please understand that we’re just normal parents with normal kids. We had occasional hangry moments, whiney words and sibling bickering while on our Ephesus trip, but we refuse to let having kids stop us from adventuring – now is the age of opportunity. If we wait till the perfect time, or the perfect age, we’ll never get round to it.
So, if you have young kids, here’s your encouragement that they are never too young to adventure with you, and with a bit of preparation, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy culture, exploration and even a 6 hour coach ride with your kids while on your package deal holiday to Turkey. If you have older kids and haven’t got off the beaten track before – now’s the perfect time to start.
Here’s our top tips and experience of Ephesus with kids and Happy Tours Turkey…
Itinerary – Ephesus Tour
5.15am collection from our hotel in a comfortable air conditioned coach (we were the very first to be collected, so you may have a slightly later time, depending on the location of your hotel). Take kindles and charged tablets with plenty of downloaded films on.
Breakfast box to be eaten on the bus. The breakfast box included a cake, fresh Turkish bagel (like a big doughy pretzel with sesame seeds), a collection of spreads and fruit juice.
Comfort break after an hour or so on the coach. Our children enjoyed seeing the chickens and cows and playing on the play equipment while us adults grabbed a coffee.
Continue onward journey. The total travel time from Marmaris to Ephesus is roughly 3 hours.
Second comfort break where you can purchase refreshments and watch a demonstration of pottery making and painting and purchase them if you wish.
Arrive at Ancient city of Ephesus – roughly 11pm
If you have kids that like archaeology, then they will love the ancient city of Ephesus – which actually is a whole city – not just a collection of scattered ruins. You can literally walk down the ancient marble street (which is lined with pillars) from Roman baths, past residential housing, a mosaic sidewalk, the temple of Artemis, two amphitheatres and Celsus library, and I’ve only mentioned the highlights there.
Ephesus is vast – in the 2.5 hours that we spent there, we didn’t even manage to see it all as it just keeps going as far as far as the eye can see.
On our tour, exploring the city runs over lunchtime and our breakfast box was a long time ago – we took plenty of snacks and drinks into Ephesus to fuel us.
With Happy Tours Turkey there is a English speaking tour guide who can take you around the site, but there’s no obligation to stay with them. We dipped in and out of the tour – with my husband eavesdropping some interesting facts and then passing them onto the rest of the family. The children and I mainly explored by ourselves – what child can resist exploring the nooks and crannies of ancient ruins? They loved letting their imaginations run wild and re-enacting being ancient Romans.
There is an extra charge to get into Ephesus – for this we paid the tour guide and he got the customers on our coach straight into the site without queuing at the entrance. This is great given that we wanted to spend as much time exploring the site. At the time of writing the entrance fee was 400 turkish lira (roughly £16) for children over the age of 8-adult, and children aged 7 and under were free.
We visited Ephesus with kids in May, and it was a comfortable 25 degrees for exploring. If you are going in the summertime, make sure you take plenty of suncream, sunglasses, sunhats (there’s not much shade) and fluids. I would recommend checking the weather forecast for Selcuk – not every day of your holiday will be the same temperature, so aim for a cooler day if possible.
Lunchtime (roughly 1.45pm)
We went to a Turkish restaurant for a buffet style lunch which was included in the price of our Ephesus tour ticket. It was busy with various coach trips so my top tip would be to get in the queue as quickly as possible and get your desert at the same time as your main course. The local cuisine didn’t include western fast food, but salads, rice, pasta, meat, vegetables and breads. Our children were happy with that as there was something they all liked.
The house of the Virgin Mary or visit to Selcuk
There is an optional trip to the House of the Virgin Mary which is believed to be where the Virgin Mary spent her last years, it has a Catholic shrine and has a church which you can visit. There is an additional entrance fee of 200 TL (roughly £8).
Alternatively, you can spend an hour in Selcuk and visit the Ephesus Archaeological museum where you can see artifacts taken from in and around Ephesus. There is an additional entrance fee of 100 TL (roughly £4).
Conscious that our children had coped really well so far, but still had a 3 hour coach ride back home, we opted to get iced coffees and ice creams and enjoy them in a grassy square. The children we free to play with each other and keep cool under the shade.
Demonstration at Turkish delight factory
There is a brief stop at a Turkish delight factory where you can purchase fresh Turkish delight and use the loo before the homeward journey
Comfort Break with opportunity to buy cheap clothing and refreshments
Hotel Drop off – roughly 7.30pm
Price of Ephesus with Kids
Happy Tours Turkey run the Ephesus tour on Thursdays and Sundays and includes transportation from your hotel to Ephesus, tour guide and breakfast and lunch. Entrance fees into the sites are extra, as are drinks.
Schedule – approx. 5.30am-7.30pm
CHILD £12 (8-12)
INFANT £0 (0-7)
If you like the sound of this trip why don’t you do an overnight trip and take in the sights of Pamukale and Cleopatra’s pool the next day? That means that during your holiday, you can get a little overnight mini-break and see Ephesus and Pamukkale on the same excursion. If the tour had been running while we were there (we went out of season) then we definitely would have done this trip instead. All details of the Ephesus/ Pamukale trip can be found on the Happy Tours Website.
Why book with Happy Tours
I would wholeheartedly recommend Happy Tours for being able to book tours online at great prices – cut out the bartering, save time and enjoy great customer service.