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Visiting Ephesus In İzmir: Crucial Tips For Travelers

Visiting Ephesus In İzmir: Crucial Tips For Travelers

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Discover the essential tips for visiting Ephesus in İzmir. Get the most out of your trip with our expert travel advice.


Ephesus is a must-see on any vacation to Turkey because it is one of the country’s most well-known archaeological monuments and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ephesus is one of Turkey’s most well-known sights, but there’s more to seeing it than just paying a ticket and turning up.


To have the best time possible, you’ll need to put in a lot of work beforehand in the form of preparation and planning. This article on the Ephesus Archaeological site was produced so that you might have a richer and more informative visit to this historical site in Turkey.


Let’s discuss the history of Ephesus before we get into the specifics of planning a trip there. Even if you don’t go on a guided tour, it’s still worth it to learn about the site’s past so you can better appreciate it. Inside the archaeological site, information can be scarce.


Legend has it that in the eleventh century B.C., the Ionian Greeks established the city of Ephesus. Throughout its existence, the city served as a vital commercial hub and military stronghold. At one time, it was widely regarded as the capital of Greece and the principal commercial hub of the entire Mediterranean.


Many of the greatest structures ever constructed were erected in Ephesus during its heyday. One of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis, was constructed there. At a minimum, it was thought to be four times as large as the Parthenon in Athens.


Ephesus’ strategic positioning allowed it to flourish economically and become a world-famous metropolis. This used to be the location where the River Kaystros emptied into the Aegean Sea. But the River Kaystros became dry, and Ephesus lost its importance as a commercial center.

During the Byzantine Era, Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Eastern Empire from Rome to Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), leaving Ephesus in a precarious position.


The final straw was a catastrophic earthquake that destroyed much of the area between the sixth and seventh century. People fled Ephesus along with the Arab assault, leaving it in ruins.


Nonetheless, many notable people, like the Virgin Mary and St. John, called Ephesus home at some point over the city’s lengthy history. The New Testament makes reference to the city.

While most of the once-great ancient civilisation of Ephesus has been destroyed, certain ruins can still be viewed at the site’s primary use today: archaeology.



Ephesus Archaeological Site charges a modest admission fee of 200 TL (about 11 USD). Not included in this price is the cost of a guided tour or audio guide, which can be purchased separately.


Opening times for Ephesus change with the seasons. Ephesus welcomes visitors every day from 8 AM to 6:30 PM during the winter. Ephesus is open from 8 AM to 8 PM daily during the summer. Please note that the box office closes 30 minutes prior to the theater’s scheduled closing time.



Since Ephesus was once such a major metropolis, the archaeological site that has been uncovered here is rather extensive. Most visitors may see the site’s highlights simply by strolling about, while some hidden gems may be missed if you’re not careful.


A few of Ephesus’ most notable landmarks are as follows:

1. Library of Celsus

Ephesus’s most well-known landmark is the Library of Celsus. This library is often highlighted as an example of Ephesus’s beauty and scale in promotional materials.

The Library of Celsus, a huge tomb constructed between 114 and 117 AD for Roman senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, once housed up to 12,000 scrolls including the writings of authors such as Homer, Plato, Aristotle, and more.


Only the three-story exterior of the Library of Celsus survives. Beautiful Corinthian columns are still on display for guests. However, the upper-floor reading area that was once adorned with marble statues and wall murals is no longer accessible.

Visitors can get a sense of the building’s impressive Roman design and engineering merely by looking at its exterior.

2. Temple of Artemis

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is the Temple of Artemis. Although not much of the edifice is still standing now, it is possible to imagine how magnificent it once was.

It was constructed in honor of Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt, virginity, and childbirth, and is also known as the temple of Diana.


Please take note that the Temple of Artemis is located about 1.86 miles (1 km) apart from the main complex. Travelers can also get there from Selcuk, which is not far from the Temple.

3. Curetes Street

Hercules Gate and the Library of Celsus are both on Curetes Street, the city’s primary thoroughfare. Historic cobblestones testify to its past life as a thriving commercial district. As you stroll around this old city, keep an eye out for the columns, statues, and stores that line the street.

4. Terraced Houses

These residences were situated across from Hadrian Gate, on the other side of Curetes Street. Some of Ephesus’ most prominent citizens and business owners once resided in these mansions, it is said. The frescoes, wall paintings, and floor mosaics of these residences are works of art in and of themselves.


Please be aware that there is a separate admission price for the Terraced Houses.

5. Ephesus Ancient Greek Theatre

The Ancient Greek Theater at Ephesus is the city’s first and largest theater, having been constructed in the first century AD. Once, up to 25,000 people could fit inside to watch plays, listen to concerts, or participate in religious rituals.

It was the largest theater in all of Anatolia and is today one of Ephesus’ most famous landmarks.

6. The Odeon Theatre

The Odeon Theatre may be newer and smaller than the Ancient Greek Theatre, but it is just as spectacular. It was constructed in the second century AD and served as a venue for public assemblies, social events, musical performances, and even plays.

7. Temple of Hadrian

In honor of Emperor Hadrian, construction of the Temple of Hadrian began in the second century AD. The statues, friezes, and columns that adorned its facade gave it a striking appearance.



When planning a trip to Ephesus, there are three hotels to select.

  • Izmir 
  • Kuşadası
  • Selçuk

The nearest airport to Ephesus is located in Izmir, and from there, travellers can take a train to Selcuk without ever leaving the city. Ephesus is a short cab ride or minivan ride away from Selcuk.


Kusadasi is an alternative destination worth considering, especially for those who value seaside stays. If you take a minibus from Kusadasi’s bus terminal to Selcuk, you’ll be in a great position to reach Ephesus.


Those who don’t have time for an overnight excursion to Ephesus can consider staying in Selcuk instead. If you stay there, you can get to Ephesus first thing in the morning, before the crowds and the heat of the day.



As Ephesus does not have a mandatory dress code, tourists can feel free to show up in anything they choose. Nonetheless, due to the sun’s reflection off the white buildings, we advise you to bring along a hat and plenty of sunscreen. This holds truer if your trip takes place during the warmer months.


There is a lot of walking involved in exploring the site, so make sure you have on some sturdy footwear. To avoid overheating in the sun, it’s also a good idea to wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.



Aside from the Ephesus Archaeological Site, there are many more interesting places and things to do in the area. Nearly all of them are at Selcuk, a town only around 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Ephesus.


These are some activities that are available in the vicinity of Ephesus:


1. House Of The Virgin Mary

The House of the Virgin Mary is about 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) from Selcuk and Ephesus. It is thought that St. John brought Mary here to live out her last days on earth. The small complex is on top of Mount Koressos, on a hillside with a nice view of a green valley.


Since it was found in the 19th century, it has been a place where people go to pray.


The complex has a small house that serves as a chapel, but the Wishing Wall, where you can write your prayers and wishes, might be the most interesting part.


The House of the Virgin Mary charges a fee to get in. At the time this was written, it cost 150 TL, which is about 8 USD, to get in.

2. Basilica Of St. John

At the center of Selcuk is the magnificent Basilica of St. John. Both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic faithful consider this to be a sacred location. St. John the Apostle, who lived and preached in the area during his lifetime, inspired Emperor Justinian I to commission its construction in the sixth century AD.


One of the chapels still contains a tomb thought to be St. John’s, adding to the building’s historical significance.


As a result, Christians from all over the world come here annually to honor this wonderful apostle of Jesus Christ.


Although much of the site is in ruins, what remains shows evidence of the site’s once-proud history. The Basilica of St. John requires a nominal donation to enter.

3. Şirince

Located just 15 minutes from Selcuk, the picturesque village of Sirince is one of Turkey’s most interesting and unusual destinations. Spectacular scenery, historic homes, and charming alleyways are its calling cards.


The village enjoys a picture-perfect location on a hillside amidst olive groves, vineyards, and orchards. Traditional stone buildings are given a modern makeover by adding splashes of color, elaborate mosaics, and patterns that add to the town’s quaint character.

Sirince is famous for its wine, and this is arguably the city’s largest draw. In the many tiny vineyards scattered across the hamlet, locals and visitors alike have come to expect nothing but the finest in handcrafted vino. Wines from Turkey are available for tasting, and tourists often take a few bottles back home as mementos of their time in Turkey.

Minibuses departing from the Selcuk bus station transport passengers between Ephesus and Sirince.

4. Ephesus Archaeology Museum

In Selcuk, not far from both the bus station and the train station, you’ll find the Ephesus Archaeology Museum. Artifacts discovered in and around the ancient city of Ephesus are on show in the museum. Coins, sculptures, and other works of art are included here.


It also features a one-of-a-kind film that simulates the old city in 3D, so guests can get an idea of what it looked like during its heyday. The Ephesus Archaeology Museum requires visitors to pay a nominal charge in order to enter, but the trip there is well worth the investment.



It might seem like a simple thing to do, but there are many things you can do to make sure your trip to Ephesus is both pleasurable and educational. Following our own experiences there, we offer the following guidance and recommendations to you:


  • Arrive Early In The Morning Getting to Ephesus as early as possible in the morning will allow you to avoid the heat of the midday, which can be particularly oppressive during the summer months. You won’t encounter any of the tour buses that come during the middle of the day and make the area quite crowded.
  • There Are Two Ways To Leave And Enter Ephesus: If you are taking a minibus from Selcuk to Ephesus, you will be dropped off at the northern entrance. Ephesus has two ways to leave and enter. You are required to board a bus at the northern entrance in order to make your way back. At the south entrance, you will find nothing but cabs waiting for you.
  • You Should Avoid Getting A Tour Guide At The Gate If you did not book a guided tour online, you may potentially get a guide at the entrance of Ephesus. However, this would be something you should try to avoid doing. However, it is likely that significantly higher fees will be assessed to you. Someone we spoke to told us that a tour would cost them two hundred dollars.
  • Check the Timetable to Ensure You Don’t Miss the Final Train or Bus If you are going to Ephesus for the day, you will want to check the schedule to ensure you don’t miss the last train or bus back to your hotel.
  • Do Not Eat At Any Of The Restaurants In Ephesus – If at all possible, you should try to avoid eating at any of the restaurants that are located at the entrances of Ephesus. They are not of the highest quality, and the prices that they charge tourists are frequently excessive. In the city of Selcuk, there is an abundance of excellent dining establishments where you might have lunch or dinner. Ali Baba and Mehmet Kebab House was one of our favorites in the area.

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