The type of vacation we typically choose is luxury. For our activities, we like luxury and often stay at the finest hotels, but we are also adventurous and love off the beaten path types of experiences and always seek them out. We aren’t bothered by very “local” experiences anywhere and think these are very important to our vacation. We love adventure. We also like a mixture of regular, touristic and organized places. We enjoy hiking and outdoorsy activities. We enjoy museums, markets and other activities geared towards children. We like to maximize each day by seeing as much as possible.
Our children at the time of this itinerary: 6 children- Boy age 13, Girl age 13, Girl age 13, Girl age 9, Boy age 6, & Girl age 1.
Address: Ephesus, Turkey
Website: Choose one of many that can be found online.
Admission: Please check website; additional entrance fee to terrace houses is charged
Description: The city of Ephesus, Turkey is one with a very long history and an extreme importance in the past. First a powerful Greek city and then one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire, Ephesus has always played a large role in the region and has had a lot of influence. There are many attractions to see in this ancient city. The Terrace Houses, the Amphitheater, the Great Theater, and the other artifacts and archeological sites make it a top tourist attraction for visitors around the world.
Our Experience: Ephesus was great. Our family really enjoyed seeing and learning all about the history. It is very hot in the summer and this stop can become fairly crowded, but it was very worthwhile and great for kids to explore. They especially liked being in the amphitheater. They enjoyed climbing up and down the steps many times. It is definitely worth having a guide so you can understand what you are seeing and kids can learn more. Note about tour companies: Be careful because many insist that you must take a carpet tour, and then they bring you to a tourist trap store where they try to pressure you to buy carpets. We found a guide who didn’t insist we go to one of these.
Address: İzmir Province, Turkey
Website: Pick from several on the web
Description: Sirince is an ancient village that is situated roughly 12 kilometers from the city of Ephesus, and this names means pretty in the local language. For a long time the villagers who lived here kept their village a secret from the world to minimize visitors and tourism but that has changed considerably and today visitors are warmly welcomed to this spot. The streets are lined with vendors who are selling a wide range of items.
Our Experience: We traveled about 12 kilometers from Ephesus to the village of Sirince. This town has lots of shops selling locally produced crafts such as oils, soaps, and wine. Lots and lots of counterfeit goods, which we didn’t buy. Everyone enjoyed wandering this cute though somewhat touristy village for about an hour or so, and we recommend it to families who like to see the local culture or enjoy shopping for unusual items.
Address: Kusadasi, Turkey
Admission: The cost will vary, depending on what you want to have done, and your negotiating skills.
Description: A hamam is a traditional Turkish bath, a ritual that the population of this country has engaged in for hundreds of years. Many tourists and visitors enjoy the experience as much as the locals, and Turkey offers many hamams in most of the larger cities. Long soaks, massages on marble tables, and many other amenities make the experience one that many choose to repeat every time they visit Turkey.
Our Experience: We decided to try a traditional Hamam in Kusadasi. Everyone loved this but it is not for the feint of heart. Very un-touristy if you go to the right place. The hamam we chose had a very local vibe and feel. Not luxury, we had scratchy towels but the facility was reasonably clean, but one might not think as clean as it could be depending on who is on duty. You never know who will rub and scrub you down. We had 1 young man who looked to be about 20 but said he had 3 kids. He was friendly. We also had a 65+ or so heavy man. They rub and scrub most of your body, so if that makes you uncomfortable don’t go or be careful to set guidelines up front. We wore our bathing suits and they were respectful, not to touching any areas covered by our bathing suits. That said we had young girls with us and always made sure to keep an eye out just in case. We felt the tension melt away during this stop. You will get splashed by cold water, submerged in hot water, rubbed (very scratchy!) with rough bristles, soaped with a pillow case type cloth that is filled with air, etc. From youngest to oldest we all enjoyed the experience and would go back. Price was fair and tips were expected. Definitely a highlight for our kids and adults. One more word of caution: I returned from our trip with a bad rash all over my chest and back. My doctor thought it was contact dermatitis. I have no way of knowing where I picked it up, but since the hamam was one of our last stops and I didn’t have a rash until after the hamam, it is likely from there. That said, my rash cleared up quickly and I would still do it again.
*This review is the subjective opinion of someone who submitted this itinerary and not the owner of Real Family Trips