Home » Top Tips for Visiting Ephesus, Turkey

Top Tips for Visiting Ephesus, Turkey

Visiting Ephesus Turkey is high on the list for a lot of travellers to this beautiful country. The ancient historic ruins near to Izmir are one of the main attractions in Turkey, seeing more than 2 million visitors some years.

It’s taken more than 150 years of evacuation (and currently, only 20% has been excavated!), but Ephesus is Europe’s most complete ancient city. It sure is a sight to behold!

visiting ephesus turkey

The great city of Ephesus was built in the 10th century BC during the Classical Greek Era and at one point, an estimated 225,000 people lived there.

Some of its main features, including the marble Temple of Artemis, the Basilica and the Library of Celcus are considered some of finest archeological sites in the world.

visiting ephesus turkey

The archaeological site is an absolute must-see in Turkey yet there’s a real issue with crowds and tourists, particularly from the daily cruise ships that dock in nearby Kusadasi.

Having visited just a couple of weeks ago in the height of the summer season, I managed a completely tourist-free day and enjoyed one of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

visiting ephesus turkey

visiting ephesus turkey

Visiting Ephesus Turkey – My top tips for a successful visit:

1. Arrive early

I mean like 8am early when the gates open. Because the other day trippers and cruise ship tourists won’t get there until 10/11am or even later. I enjoyed the whole area to myself for around 2 hours before there were many other tourists.

visiting ephesus turkey

Alternatively, you could go late in the day as the crowds begin to thin out.

In the summer months (April to October), Ephesus is open from 8am – 7pm and in the winter, from 8am to 5pm.

Aside from avoiding crowds, it also helps to avoid the sizzling midday temperatures. The heat just reflects off the light-coloured rock and makes for quite the toasty experience.


ephesus turkey

visiting ephesus turkey

2. Stay the night before

A stay in Selçuk, or perhaps Kusadasi makes for an ideal base to visit from. Selçuk is a simple 5 minute dolmuş journey and means a less early start, ideal!

visiting ephesus turkey

3. Make a beeline for the main sites

Seeing these first means that once the crowds do start to arrive, you’ll have already seen the main sites and can focus on the lesser visited spots. You can take the photos you want, enjoy the sites probably to yourselves and not have to jostle for space with the tourists with their selfie sticks! UGH!

Oh, and you have time to make friends with the resident cats!

visiting ephesus turkey

visiting ephesus turkey

4. Start at the lower gate

This is the gate you come to first if coming via dolmus from Selçuk. It is very close to the Library of Celsus and the bigger of the two amphitheatres. The other gate is where the coaches park up and the hordes of tourists arrive.

visiting ephesus turkey

5. Dress suitably

If you visit Ephesus in the summer months, it’s gonna be hot. There’s not a lot of shade and I’m sure it’s a few degrees steamier inside. You don’t need to be covered up for religious reasons or anything, but I highly recommend a hat!

Also, for footwear, the rocks are very smooth and a quite slippy so wear some grippy shoes. I wore flip flops and was sliding everywhere!

visiting ephesus turkey

6. Take water and snacks

Of course you need ample water for any day out in Turkey but there’s really no stalls inside or anywhere to buy water at all, except for by the gates where there are two cafes. So once you walk inside, you’re just walking away from all amenities (there are also toilets there).

So there you have it – some essential tips that could hopefully lead to a more successful day visiting a tourist hotspot that can really draw the crowds!

visiting ephesus turkey

Where to stay

If you’re thinking of visiting soon then I’d love to share where I stayed – the beautiful Saint John Boutique hotel.

I found it through hotels.com and absolutely loved it. It was a little further from the centre of town than some of the options, but was right next to St John’s Basilica.

The beautiful building is family-owned and run, and I had the pleasure to meet the father, the mother, the daughters, the sons, the in-laws.. basically everyone! It was an amazingly friendly environment and they made me feel really at home.

visiting ephesus turkey

My room was beautifully appointed with air con and a TV. I ate both breakfast and dinner downstairs around the pool which was rather romantic for one!

After my morning exploring Ephesus, I came back to swim and relax around the pool. Even though they weren’t officially serving food, the family were more than happy to rustle up a delicious lunch for me and we relaxed together as the hotel was quite quiet while everyone was out sightseeing.

visiting ephesus turkey

Ömer, one of the sons, spoke great English and was SO kind and helpful. Especially with helping me decide my onwards travel!

visiting ephesus turkey

So these are my top tips for a successful visit to this incredible site!

Have you been to Ephesus? Do you have any other tips for visitors to this amazing place? I’d love to hear if so – drop a comment below!

If you’re considering a longer Turkey adventure, you might find my itinerary here useful, as well as my guides to Pamukkale, Bodrum, sailing the famous Turquoise Coast, Istanbul and Cappadocia here.

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visiting ephesus turkey




  1. Danik
    September 25, 2017 / 12:09 pm

    This place looks totally amazing and would hit this up as soon as I make my first visit to Turkey. I love visiting ancient sites like those in Greece, but for me, Ephesus looks like to be on top of my list when I eventually get there. Its amazing that some of these ruins are still in very good condition. Love reading this post.

  2. Rachelle
    September 25, 2017 / 4:28 pm

    I remember my friend visiting Ephesus on a cruise and I admittedly didn’t know too much about the area. It looks like another world, for sure. I like your tips, and especially the one about arriving early. Those precious hours before the cruise ship tourists arrive are key!

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