What is the best way to visit Ephasus?
IN SEPTEMBER WE PLAN TO TRAVEL FROM RHODES TO ISTANBUL BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT. CAN YOU ADVISE US ON THE BEST WAY TO VISIT EPHESUS? SHOULD WE BASE OUR VISIT ON IZMIR OR KUSADASI? WE WILL TRAVEL TO CANNAKALE TO VISIT GALLIPOLI. WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HOW BEST TO EXPLORE THIS IMPORTANT SITE?
Izmir is around 85 kilometres north of Ephesus and unless you have another reason for being there, it’s not well placed for visiting this superb archaeological site. Kusadasi is a bit of a dump, and it’s a fair way off the main route you’ll be taking from Rhodes. Selcuk is the closest major town, just a few kilometres from Ephesus, but I’ve got a better idea. Tucked into the hills 10 kilometres to the east of Selcuk is the town of Sirince and it’s gorgeous, a former Greek village that was deserted following the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-22. When Turks who had been expelled from Greece took their place, they simply picked up where the Greeks left off. Apart from a new mosque, little has changed since. Set on a pine-covered hillside, overlooking vineyards and olive groves, Sirince’s whitewashed walls, ochre tiled roofs, tiny squares and knotted alleyways are an irresistible attraction and the town is a tourist magnet, but apart from when the tour buses arrive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. it’s peaceful and quiet.
The place to stay is the Terrace Houses , a small collection of stone houses that have been renovated to offer self-contained accommodation with just the right touches of luxury, each one set into its own private garden. A substantial breakfast is served on the terrace and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in the town so self-catering is really optional. You’d need to get a taxi there from Selcuk and on to Ephesus, and that’s easy.
From Canakkale you’ll need to go with a guide to visit the battlefields of the Gallipoli Peninsula, access is difficult without a vehicle. RSL Tours is one of a number of operators that can arrange a tour for you. RSL Tours is based in Eceabat, on the other side of the Dardanelles from Canakkale, and reached via a short ferry ride. They can also arrange your onward transport to Istanbul.
This question and answer first appeared in The Tripologist column of Fairfax’s Traveller. Read more at www.traveller.com.au