Guests traveling by cruise can choose to make the most of their time at Turkish ports of call with our private programs designed to simultaneously help you see the amazing sights while experiencing the vibrant, hospitable culture. Whether stopping at the harbor for a short time, or as a pre- or post-cruise stay to begin or end a longer itinerary, we are here to make your experience in Turkey as comfortable and as full of warm memories as possible.
Danytur’s Shore Excursion packages offer privately-guided tours, private airport or cruise ship port transfers, a choice of select hotels, and arrangements for entertainment and activities – or any combination that fits your needs. Our minimum option is:
3-hour customizable city/port area tour with a local guide: $69 per person (minimum of 2 people)
Please note that all private tours are conducted by a professional, English-speaking guide (or in any language required, by special request). You can add on airport/port transfers, hotel stays and/or longer city tours to the minimum basic option above.
Above all else, we put your interests as our guest first and foremost. Tell us your preferences with a quick Email, and we will deliver the perfect program for you. Please use this page to get an idea of some of the top attractions and experiences each Turkish port has to offer.
Airport or Port Transfers (Private)
We can provide your private arrival and departure transfers between the city and the airport or cruise ship port. All transfers and travel transportation takes place using non-smoking, modern, air-conditioned vehicles (sedan car or van) with a driver, always at a reasonable cost. All arrival transfers include an English-speaking assistant to greet you at your point of arrival, holding a “Danytur” sign with your name.
For your city/port area discovery, you can choose the amount of walking you prefer. Depending on the docking location of your ship, or the location of your hotel and the sights you would like to see, your guide may make use of some modes of public transportation. In Istanbul, you could be using a ferry or private boat to cruise along the Bosphorus or reach the city’s opposite continent. We can also arrange a private driver for a full or half-day exploration at a reasonable cost.
Port Attractions and Activities
Cruise ship visitors to Istanbul will be greeted with an exotic skyline of minarets, domes and the beautiful Galata Tower as you approach the city at the Golden Horn and the district of Karakoy. From here, the city where continents and cultures collide is at your fingertips. You can begin with the trendy cafes and shops in Karakoy, then go up the hill to Galata and the modern area of Taksim, or you could head across Galata Bridge with its fishermen and balik ekmek (fish and bread) vendors. Across this bridge you will come to the bustling harbor area of Eminonu with its street markets selling everything, and the colorful Ottoman-era Spice Market that still provides residents with spices and ingredients from all over the world. On this route, you could continue to Sultanahmet (the Old City) for classic Istanbul sights like the Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace and the Hippodrome. With all Istanbul has to offer, it can be overwhelming without a friendly local guide to show you the best spots. Please have a look at our “City Sightseeing” page for even more great ideas
On the Aegean coast, the city of Izmir is another possible base from which you can explore ancient Ephesus (about 1 hour away). Named Smyrna by the ancient Greeks, the city also features its own collection of historical attractions, including the open-air museum at the former Roman Agora of Smyrna and the hilltop Velvet Castle (Kadifekale) built during the reign of Alexander the Great. In the Konak neighborhood, you can see the marble clock tower from 1901 (an icon of the city), and stroll the waterfront promenade with outdoor bars and cafes. The Asansör (Elevator), built in 1907, offers a café and viewing platform with stunning panoramic views. A favorite day-trip is to the charming seaside town of Alaçatı, known for old stone houses, windsurfing and cozy, captivating street scenes.
Kuşadası is a coastal resort town, most significant as the gateway to the ancient site of Ephesus and Turkey’s busiest cruise ship port. In about 25 minutes from the port, you can drive into Izmir province to visit Ephesus (Efes) and its Archaeological Museum. Also don’t miss the Ephesus Terrace Houses, the House of the Virgin Mary, and St. John’s Basilica. With more time, you could visit the pretty old Orthodox Greek village of Şirince and also learn about traditional rug-making methods in Sultankoy. If you’re staying longer in Kuşadası, you can discover the walled defense castle, dating from Byzantine times, on Pigeon Island. Besides Ephesus, other day-trips include the beaches and hiking at Dilek Peninsula National Park, visiting the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, and the ancient Greek ruins at Priene and Miletus, both with impressive Hellenistic theatres.
The port city of Bodrum is one of Turkey’s most popular vacation spots, with beautiful beaches, whitewashed buildings dripping with colorful bougainvillea, friendly residents, trendy restaurants and clubs with an exciting nightlife. Known in the ancient world as Halicarnassus of Caria, it boasts a 15th-century castle (now home to the Museum of Underwater Archaeology) built by the Knights Hospitaller, and was the famed location of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (now in ruins), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Other ancient architectural remains include the Myndos Gate and a restored 4th-century amphitheatre. On the peninsula, you can explore other beautiful beaches and characteristic Aegean towns such as Gumbet, Turkbuku, Turgutreis, Gumusluk, Golturkbuku, Yalikavak and more. The Greek island of Kos is just a 50-minute ferry ride away.
This resort town on the Turquoise Coast sparkles with dark blue waters, pine-clad mountain slopes and a lively nightlife and harbor. Surrounded by numerous areas of immense natural beauty, Marmaris is a true jewel of Turkey. If you are lucky enough to have Marmaris on your cruise itinerary, you can spend time to enjoy its clear waters, ideal for snorkeling and diving, and go out to sample the nightlife in the open-air clubs and bars. For a bit of history, visit the 16th-century Marmaris Castle, where you can also see archaeological artifacts. The historian Herodotus wrote that the Carians, coming from Crete, took over the city of Physkos (Marmaris) in the 6th century BC. The natural harbor was, and still is, an important passage area between the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. Marmaris is also a popular spot for Turkish Turquoise Coast sailing itineraries.
The southern city of Antalya is Turkey's principal holiday resort on the Mediterranean coast. Disembarking your cruise ship, you can spend some time outside the city to explore the magnificent ruins at Perge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a history dating back to the Bronze Age. There’s also ancient Aspendos, home to the best-preserved theater in the entire Mediterranean region (the Aspendos International Opera & Ballet Festival takes place here every summer). Other historical highlights include Hadrian’s Gate, the 2nd-century Hidirlik Tower, the Antalya Museum and clifftop Kaleiçi, the city’s historic quarter with numerous structures reflecting the region’s rich Roman, Byzantine, Selcuk and Ottoman heritage. For beaches and nature, Antalya offers long and pebbly Konyaalti Beach, Lara Beach and Duden Waterfalls for families, and lovely Cirali Beach (outside of the city) within walking distance to ancient Olympos. The region is full of outdoor activities such as golfing, diving and hiking (the Lycian Way).