Cruise Port Atlas | Cesme, Turkey Day Trips | Attractions

Cesme, Turkey Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Cesme: Windstar, Seabourn, Holland America

Key Attractions: Cesme Castle, Cesme Marina, Dalyan, Chios ferry, Izmir Kordon, Izmir Agora, Kadifekale (Castle), Karatas, Asansor Tower, Ancient Ephesus, Ephesus Museum, Mary's House, Aya Yorgi Beach, Altinkum Beach, Pirlanta Beach, Ilica Thermal Springs, Alacati, Alacati Windmills, Alacati Windsurfing Center

Cesme Area Attractions

Tender Berth to Cesme Castle - 1.2 KM, 2 minutes, 14 minute walk
Tender Berth to Dalyan - 6.6 KM, 11 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The main attraction in the city is the Castle which was built in 1508 and now houses two historical museums and offers nice views of the surrounding area. The yacht harbor was recently redeveloped and offers an attractive waterfront with restaurants, shops and cafes just down the street from the main square which has also been spruced up. Next to the castle is the Caravanserai, which is also from the 16th century has been converted to the hotel. If you want a local seafood lunch, you might want to take a short trip to the small fishing village of Dalyan. Daily ferry service to the Greek island of Chios is available from Cesme.

           

   

Photo of City Square by Homosapiens1, Photo of Cesme Castle by Enderender

Izmir

Tender Berth to Izmir - 86 KM, 1 hour
Link to Full-Page Google Map

One of the most popular sites in Izmir is the thoroughly modern Kordon, a park created along the water where locals and tourists promenade beside the beautiful bay. The historic sites of Izmir are limited, but a few remain. Kadifekale Castle was built during the rule of Lysimachos, successor to Alexander the Great, as the new center of the city. The high promontory offers incredible views of the city and bay below. The Agora was the center of commercial and political life during the Classical Greek era. In combination with a visit to the Izmir Archaeological Museum, the city's vibrant past comes to life. Several synagogues of the 19th century are part of the Karatas district. The nearby Asansor Tower offers a popular and free elevator to great views of the city and several restaurants. The central meeting place for the city is Konak Square with the Ottoman clock tower. Nearby is the Kemeralti Market.

        

   

Photo of Izmir Clocktower by Klingsor, Photo of Kadifekale by JoJan

Ancient Ephesus, Ephesus Museum and Mary's House

Tender Berth to Ephesus - 161 KM, 1 hour 40 minutes
Tender Berth to Mary's House - 165 KM, 1 hour 45 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Beginning in the Bronze Age, Ephesus was an important harbor for the region, but through a slow silting process the remains of the city are now several kilometers from the Aegean. The original Greek settlement was east of the main ruins tourist visit today, nearer the city of Selcuk. In Selcuk you can visit the spot where the Temple of Artemis once stood. Though virtually nothing remains, this was one of the world's largest temples and was built, destroyed, and rebuilt over many centuries. About 15% of the Ephesus site has been excavated thus far, but in this area are some of the Mediterranean's most impressive ruins. The most important attractions in the main site are the Celsus Library (built during the 2nd century AD), the theater (once the largest in the world) which still hosts concerts, the baths (including a public toilet), the terrace houses (where the wealthy lived) with their mosaics, the Odeon theater, and the Temples of Hadrian and Domitian. Another important attraction from the 6th century AD is the Basilica of St. John, near the center of Selcuk and the museum.

Though a good number of the artifacts from Ephesus were moved to the Ephesus Museum in Vienna early in the 20th century, more recent discoveries are housed in nearby Selcuk in a small but impressive exhibit. The most famous items in the collection are two statues portraying a many breasted Artemis (sister of Apollo and named Diana in Rome). Outside in a courtyard are more monumental items including a reconstruction of the Temple of Augustus built with the original sculptures from the frieze. When we visited, there was a special display of gladiator artifacts and explanations of the sporting events (some very sporting by today's standards) in which they participated.

Many Christian and Muslim pilgrims consider Mary's house a mystical site. Numerous Popes have also visited, starting in the late 19th century. Whether or not this is the actual last home of Mary is a point of debate, but it is certainly a lovely spot with great views and an air of mystery. The story behind the house is fascinating. Jesus is reputed to have asked Paul to take care of Mary and around 50 AD Paul probably lived in Ephesus. In the early 19th century a German Roman Catholic nun was visited with visions which she narrated to an author who published his transcriptions of the visions after her death. She said that Mary had lived in a small stone house on a hill above Ephesus. About 50 years later a French priest went searching for the house and found a stone building fitting the description and declared it to be the real thing. Over the years more and more people have come to regard the legend as true. Interestingly, the foundation of the house has been dated to the 1st century AD. The area is beautiful and really worth a short visit, no matter what your faith.

     

   

Photo of Ephesus Terrace Houses by Rita1234

Ilica

Tender Berth to Ilica - 9 KM, 12 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The town of Ilica is modern and new but the area has long been known for its thermal springs including some in the sea just off the coast. Besides the spas in the area, it is also known for its lovely 1.5 kilometer long beach and windsurfing facilities. Because of the springs the sea waters are unusually warm.

           

   

Photo of Ilica by Elelicht

Alacati

Tender Berth to Alacati - 13 KM, 9 minutes
Tender Berth to Alacati Windsurfing Center - 14 KM, 19 minutes
Tender Berth to Alacati Beach - 17 KM, 26 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The village of Alacati is the first outside Cesme on the road to Izmir and is now famous for windsurfing. The cove just to the south of the village has clear waters and steady winds making it an ideal location for the sport. The town of Alacati is famous for its Greek style architecture and windmills. As in Cesme, wealthy Turks and Europeans have built seasonal homes in the area.

              

   

Photo of Alacati Street by OscarKosy, Photo of Alacati Windsurfing Center by Orcun Dalarslan

Cesme Area Beaches

Tender Berth to Aya Yorgi Beach - 4.4 KM, 7 minutes
Tender Berth to Pirlanta Beach - 7 KM, 11 minutes
Tender Berth to Altinkum Beach - 8 KM, 14 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Because of their steady winds the beaches at Alacati and Ilica are wonderful for windsurfers but not an ideal choice for many beachgoers. However, there are several protected beach areas on the Cesme peninsula that offer calmer conditions. Just to the north of Cesme is the popular cove of Aya Yorgi which is popular with the young party crowd and offers Beach clubs and bars with names like Paparazzi and Marrakech. The waters are calm due to the protected cove. On the south side of the Cesme peninsula is Altinkum Beach which is calmer since the winds come from the north over the land. The area is in a government preserve and so far development has been limited. The waters in the area are famous for being cold. Just to the north of Altinkum is Pirlanta beach which has the winds that kite surfers like, warmer waters and a nice long beach and a view of the Greek island of Chios. There are smaller, more residential beaches at Boyalik Bay and the peninsula called Pasa Limani surrounded by vacation homes.

        

   

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible