While living abroad in Istanbul, my friend and I decided to take a little side trip to Izmir and make our way down to Ephesus.

In a nutshell, I really didn’t like Izmir. Izmir is just another city – tall buildings, crowded streets, and nothing much after that. Sure it has its little gems, but it wasn’t for me. I’m so happy we stayed one night.

Ephesus, on the other hand, I liked a lot and if I could go back I would spend more time in the area. There’s just so much I missed out on seeing.

So if after reading this post you choose not to go to Izmir (I really don’t make a strong case for it), well let me tell you, the best way to get to Ephesus is to fly to Izmir.

Izmir

Izmir is about an hour plane flight from Istanbul and if bought early, flight tickets can be as cheap $40.

 

Izmir is Turkey’s third largest city, one of its more modern cities, and has almost 4,000 years of recorded urban history.

 

Izmir Park

Soooooo this is one of a few pictures I took of Izmir. A random picture of a park. Like I said, I just didn’t like the city but looking back I should’ve taken more pictures so you can see the city for yourself. Sawry!

Ephesus · Efes

So happy to see an old structure. Built in 10th century BC, Ephesus was an ancient Greek city said to have had a population of 56,000 inhabitants. It is one of the seven churches of Asia cited in the Book of Revelation.

The Library of Celsus
The Library of Celsus

Good to Know

From Izmir to Selçuk (where Ephesus is located) is an hour car ride south.

A student at the time, I wasn’t going to spend money on a rental car or tour, which would’ve made things a bit easier. Instead, my friend and I decided to take public transportation. Merp!

To put directions simply, we went to the Izmir bus station and took the bus headed to Selçuk bus station (drinks and snacks were served along the way), from there we took a 10-minute minibus to Ephesus.

Entrance to Ephesus is 30 TL ($8 USD).

Ephesus Amphitheatre
Ephesus Amphitheatre

Visiting ruins like this make me wish of having time-machine glasses that show me the past of how things were.

The theater (above) was capable of holding 25,000 spectators.

Temple of Hadrian
Temple of Hadrian

Ephesus is not crowded and I really liked that. Sure, there are huge tour groups but the area is pretty big and there’s a lot of different places to wander. With many structures and streets, it is one of the best ruins I’ve visited in Turkey.

Ephesus Far View

Şirince

Şirince is a small village famous for its wine and houses. It is very small and easy to walk around the village.

Since we had some time to spare before heading back to Izmir AND my friend is a huge wine lover, we decided to take one of the minibusses to this small town. (3 TL, less than a $1 dollar to get there)

Sirince Store

We enjoyed strolling through the empty streets and looking at wine store after wine store after wine store. Oh, look! More wine!

Bottles Of Wine

All this alcohol is just torture for a craft beer lover.

Bottles And Leaf Hearts

Ending

I mentioned above I wish I had more time to spend in the area, at least one night, and here’s why.

  • Site of the Temple Of Artemis – believed to be the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
  • House of the Virgin Mary – believed to be where Mary was taken by Saint John and is said to have died
  • Basilica of St. John – ruins of a 6th-century mosque and believed to be the burial site of John the Apostle
  • Ayasuluk Fortress – its a fortress!

All these places are in and around Selçuk.

Next time I decide to go to Turkey I will not miss out on visiting these sacred places.

 

 

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