Located on a peninsula where the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas meet, Cesme translates as “fountain”, perhaps referring to the many Ottoman fountains that are found throughout this picturesque resort town. Its impressive castle serves as the focal point, now home to a fascinating museum that delves into the region’s rich history. It was built in the early 16th century by Ottoman Sultan Bayezid ll to defend the city from pirates, and its fortifications have been beautifully preserved and offer stunning views across Cesme. It exhibits classic Ottoman architecture, with six towers the three moats, and is guarded by a statue of one of the Battle of Cesme's most prominent figures - Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasha.
Beautiful Alacati is another worthy destination near Cesme, renowned for its traditional stone built houses, surrounded by vineyards. You can wander its atmospheric cobblestone streets and shop for antiques, then visit the Aios Constantinos Church, or “Market-square Mosque”, which dates to the late 19th century. Or head to the picturesque village of Ildiri, once home to the ancient Greek city of Erythrai whose ruins are still visible within the modern-day village. It has been declared a National Heritage Site, with intact city walls and stunning Hellenistic floor mosaics.
Many cruise ship guests use Cesme as a base for visiting the Ancient City of Ephesus, one of the world’s most beautifully preserved Roman cities. It dates to the 10th century BC and is home to an impressive theatre and Celsius library, as well as the famed Terrace Houses. You can easily combine a shore excursion to Ephesus with a visit to the House of the Virgin Mary which overlooks Selcuk, the world-renowned Temple of Artemis, listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, or the charming Greek village of Sirince.
With so much to see and do in this beautiful resort town, make the most of your available time by joining one of our Cesme shore excursions. Not only will you uncover the region’s ancient history, but experience its traditional rural villages.