Ephesus Ancient City: Our Trip


Ephesus: this Ancient Greek city is a history enthusiast’s immersive playground. Most will make the journey to Selçuk with the sole purpose of visiting Ephesus. Can’t say we blame them. In this post, we’ll tell you what you can expect to see as well as how to get there – all of the useful bits.

What We Saw

Walk through the turnstiles and five minutes later you’ll see the Grand Theatre. The amphitheatre once accommodated around 25,000 spectators who would watch gladiator events, theatre performances. Move over Wembley Stadium. Climb to the top and you’ll get a great panoramic view.

The Library of Celsus was built by Gaius Iulius Aquila for his father and dates back to 2nd century AD. It was a date that we kept trying to wrap our heads around. Constant declarations of ‘this is so old’ just didn’t cut it. The library is really well preserved with lots of the intricate carvings still intact.

Walk a bit further and you’ll come to the Temple Of Artemis which was once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – why it was knocked off this chart and who made that decision, we have no idea but we’re not ok with it. All that’s left are some crumbling columns but that’s exactly why we liked it so much – or maybe we can just relate to crumbling wrecks. Dreadful jokes aside, you can definitely get an appreciation for how this colossal structure would’ve once looked.

If you want to see the Terrace Houses then it’ll come at the cost of an extra 100 TRY (3,5 euro). Is it worth it? We paid extra and though we were impressed, we could’ve quite easily given it a miss having had a fill of ancient wonders. The houses have been restored and give an idea of what it would’ve been like to live in Ephesus as a wealthy citizen. If you’re visiting on the weekend then try not to get stuck behind the mass of guided tours as it’ll make for very slow walking – as we found out firsthand.

Costs

The price for entrance to Ephesus depends on what ticket you purchase. We went for the ticket which include entrance to the Terrace Houses alongside entrance to the Ephesus archaeological site. Together it came to 500 TRY (17,4 euro). Entrance to the archaeological site is 400 TRY (13,9 euro).

If you’re planning on staying in Turkey for a long time and doing a museum crawl then it may be worth spending 2500 TRY (87,4 euro) on a 15 day museum pass that covers a ton of museums across the country.

Getting to Ephesus

We were based in Antalya and booked an overnight bus to Selçuk. It worked out pretty well. We managed to snatch a few hours sleep, and not lose any of the daylight hours to travelling before another overnight bus in the evening to Istanbul. A ticket cost 15.7 euro with a 23:30 departure from Antalya bus station and an arrival time of 5:30 a.m to Selçuk bus station. Yes, caffeine intake was higher than usual for the rest of the day.

Selçuk is the closest bus station. From here to Ephesus it’s around 2 km. We walked the way preferring to move our legs after the long journey. Annoyingly, there’s nowhere to store luggage at the bus station, but fortunately for us, a cafe owner said he’d keep hold of our luggage for the day. Selcuk is easy enough to reach from the major cities. We’ve broken it down to make it easier. You can thank us later.

Ephesus: From Istanbul

Plane – fly to Izmir Airport (ADB) from Istanbul Airport IST or Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) and then take a shuttle bus or taxi to Selçuk. The drive will take around 1 hour.
Train – leave from Istanbul Halkali station and arrive at Selçuk train station. The journey will take 8-9 hours.
Bus – buses depart from all of the major terminals in Istanbul and will take you to Selçuk bus station. The journey is around 7-8 hours

Ephesus: From Ankara

Plane – fly to Izmir Airport (ADB) from Ankara Esenboğa Airport (ESB) and then take a shuttle bus or taxi to Selçuk. The drive will take around 1 hour.
Bus – buses depart from all of the major terminals in Ankara and will take you to Selçuk bus station. The journey is around 9-10 hours

Ephesus: From Antalya

Plane – fly to Izmir Airport (ADB) from Antalya Airport (AYT) and then take a shuttle bus or taxi to Selçuk. The drive will take around 1 hour.
Bus – buses depart from Antalya Otogar terminal and will take you to Selçuk bus station. The journey is around 5-7 hours.

Wrap Up

There you have it. Our day trip to Ephesus Ancient City. Would we recommend it? Absolutely. Being a couple of history enthusiasts, seeing well-preserved ruins which dated back to as early as the 1st century was definitely a must for us. We didn’t have the time (or energy) to see many of the other sights in the area with the exception of the bazaar and Isabey Mosque, so we’d like to hear if you have any recommendations. You know what to do – drop a comment below.

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