Best 2024 Ephesus Travel Guide From A Local

Ephesus Travel Guide-Ling

Turkey attracts millions of foreign tourists each year and the ancient Ephesus city is among the top-visited historical places.

If you have already visited other ancient cities in Turkey such as Persepolis or Patara, Ephesus will not disappoint you! If you haven’t heard much about this ancient city, don’t worry! This Ephesus travel guide written by a Turkish native speaker, will give you all the insight you need!

Ephesus Travel Guide

You must have a few questions in mind like what Ephesus is and what some must-see places are, etc. No worries, because this Ephesus travel guide will enlighten you!

But first, hear my small advice right here! Learn some basic Turkish phrases to find your way around as a foreign traveler. And Ling is the best app that can teach you conversational Turkish in a short time! All you have to do is download the Ling app from the App Store or Play Store and start your free trial today!

How to Get to Ephesus?

The most convenient way to get to Ephesus from Istanbul is by air. You can fly from Istanbul to Izmir airport in just one hour. From the Izmir airport, you can rent a car, take a taxi, or Uber to get to Selçuk, where the ancient Ephesus city is located. It takes about 45 minutes by car.

As an alternative, you can take the train to get to Selçuk from the airport and then take a dolmuş (shuttle) to get to Ephesus historical site.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Ephesus?

The summer season is pretty busy for Ephesus since all tourists come to Izmir for summer vacation. So, I’d say it’s best to visit in the spring months to avoid crowds and summer heat. For example, April and May are the ideal months to explore the ruins without the crowds.

How Much Does It Cost To Tour Ephesus In 2024?

Here is a list of entrance fees for Ephesus and nearby attractions:

  • Ephesus Ancient City and the Museum: 40 Euro
  • House of Virgin Mary: 12 Euro
  • Temple of Artemis: Free of Charge
  • St. John’s Basilica: 6 Euro
  • Ephesus, Terrace Houses, and the Museum: 52 Euro
  • Ephesus Museum: 10 Euro

Keep in mind that Euro cash is not accepted. So, you should bring Turkish Lira with you or you can pay with a Credit card.

Children under 8 years old are free of charge. However, you should show your kid’s ID or passport as proof of age.

Magnesian Gate-Ephesus Travel Guide-Ling

6 Must See Places In Ephesus

You will be surprised to learn that there are a lot of places to see in the Ephesus area. But if you don’t want to spend your whole day here, these are the most popular attractions you should see:

1. Magnesian Gate Ephesus – Magnesian Kapısı Efes

The first ruin that welcomes you as soon as you enter the historical site is the Magnesian Gate. It is located in the southeast of the ancient city. It was constructed in the 3rd century BCE together with the city wall. However, there are still ongoing archeological investigations around this gate.

Great Theater-Ephesus Travel Guide-Ling

2. Ephesus Great Theater – Efes Büyük Tiyatrosu

The Great Theater is the most popular attraction in Ephesus. It is such a large theater that it can host 25,000 visitors at once. The theater features ornate details and huge columns. When you climb the stairs to the top you can see an incredible view of the harbor. Sadly, the theater is not totally preserved until today.

Terraced Houses-Ephesus Travel Guide-Ling

3. Terraced Houses Complex – Sıra Evler Kompleksi

The terraced houses were built on an area of 3000 m2 and had 6 houses attached to each other. Research shows that wealthy Roman families used these houses until the 7th century AD.

These houses give us many clues about the lifestyles of the rich Roman families of Ephesus. The floors of the houses are covered with beautiful mosaic art, and the walls are covered with fresco paintings which are features of a luxurious house. I want to share some interesting information about these houses; their bathrooms have an underfloor heating system. I was surprised to hear that because I had no idea the heating system was invented in such old times!

Ephesus Museum-Ephesus Travel Guide-Ling

4. Ephesus Museum – Efes Müzesi

For visitors passionate about ancient finds and artifacts, Ephesus Museum is the place to go! I know you are used to seeing museums that use chronological order to display artifacts, but this one is different. Ephesus Museum uses thematic order which helps you better understand the context and features of a specific era. Here are some pieces you can see inside the Ephesus Museum:

  • Fountain finds
  • Finds of the terraced houses
  • Coins
  • Ephesus through the ages
  • Central garden
  • Cult of Kybele
  • The Temple of Artemis finds
  • Artemis of Ephesus
  • Cult of the Emperor
Temple of Artemis-Ephesus Travel Guide-Ling

5. The Temple of Artemis – Artemis Tapınağı

As you know, the Temple of Artemis is one of the World’s Seven Wonders. Unfortunately, the area where the temple is located turned into a swamp over time. Thus today, we can see only a few ruins of this magnificent marble structure from the Hellenistic period. However, you can see the most beautiful parts of this temple in the British Museum in London.

Library of Celsus-Ephesus Travel Guide-Ling

6. Library Of Celsus – Celsus Kütüphanesi

Last but not least we have the Library of Celsus! It was found almost completely ruined during the Ephesus excavations and in 1970, a team of international archaeologists worked hard to rebuild it. The restoration process took seven years!

The front side of the library has an impressive architecture. They played an architectural game to make the building look grand. They created a height difference between the lower columns and the upper columns so the building appears higher than it is.

When you look carefully at the second-floor arches of the building, you can see the relief of Medusa (the snake-headed woman). Besides Medusa, there are four female statues on the library’s ground floor. These women symbolize the important values of ancient philosophy; Sophia (wisdom), Episteme (knowledge), Ennoia (intelligence), and Arete (virtue).

Travel GuideGezi Rehberi
Tour GuideTur Tehberi
Library Of CelsusCelsus Kütüphanesi
The Temple of ArtemisArtemis Tapınağı
Ephesus MuseumEfes Müzesi
Terraced Houses ComlexSıra Evler Kompleksi
Ephesus Great TheaterEfes Büyük Tiyatrosu
Magnesian Gate EphesusMagnesian Kapısı Efes

Ready To Visit Ephesus?

Ephesus is the pearl of the Aegean side of Turkey and is the perfect place for archeology lovers! Sparing only a couple hours will be enough to discover this ancient city and while you’re here, why don’t you consider visiting Pamukkale too? It’s about 2 hours by car from Ephesus. That’s all from me for this blog post, see you in the next one, bye hoşçakal!

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