South of Izmir and just east of the coastal town of Kuşadası, Selçuk is visited mostly because of its close proximity to the ruins of the Roman city of Ephesus—some of the best preserved in the country—and the services the town has to offer, although the town centre has some historical sights to spend some time at.
Although there is a small airport in Selçuk, it is only open for private planes. So the nearest option for commercial flights is Adnan Menderes Airport in Izmir, which lies 55 km north of Selçuk.
From the airport, you have two options for getting to Selçuk: you can take trains which call at the station directly on the airport grounds (4 TL), and which connect airport with Selçuk and points south 6 times daily (see "By train" below for a timetable). The train can be very packed, though, so be ready for the possibility of having to stand or not being able to get on.
A quicker but more expensive option is to take a dolmuş, which is more like a big van rather than a bus. They depart from Selçuk – Ephesus Otogar, which lies 2 km away from the airport (a taxi ride from the airport there costs 10 TL). This otogar is not of the bus station type found in the rest of the country—it's just a bus stop with some benches. Take the minivan signed Selçuk – Ephesus on its front. Ask around if someone in charge is nearby. From here, a ride to Selçuk costs 7 TL, and takes around an hour. The van will stop in many stops along the way, including some remote areas, and just stay on till the very end.
If you arrive in Adnan Menderes by Atlas Jet, they provide free shuttles to Selçuk from the airport.
The TCDD train runs from Izmir's Basmane Station daily at 07:40, 08:52, 11:25, 15:35, 16:45, 18:23, and 19:25 - 6.50 TL one-way (Nov 2017). The first six trains are marked to Denizli, while the final one runs to Söke. All trains, which call at the airport station about 20 minutes later, arrive at Selçuk station about 1½ hours after their departure (Selçuk is not their last station, though, so be sure not to miss it).
There are several trains a day from Denizli (near Pamukkale) to Selçuk at 04:19, 05:45, 08:25, 12:45, 14:35 and 17:30 - about 3 hr, 16.50 TL one-way (Nov 2017).
The local otogar of Selçuk is located in the center of the town.
It is possible to take an overnight bus that departs from Istanbul at midnight and arrives here at ~08:00. This service is run by Varan bus lines and costs 70 TL (2011).
Rented motorbikes or scooters can be a fun way to discover the surroundings of Selçuk. If you rent a bike be prepared as Şirince and the House of Mary are up in the hills.
Legend of the Seven Sleepers
The outline of the story is that during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Decius, around 250 AD, seven young men were accused of Christianity. They were given some time to recant their faith, but instead gave their worldly goods to the poor and retired to a mountain to pray, where they fell asleep. The emperor, seeing that their attitude towards paganism had not improved, ordered the mouth of the cave to be sealed. Decius died in 251 and many years passed during which Christianity went from being persecuted to being the major religion of the Roman Empire. At some later time — usually, during the reign of Theodosius II (408 - 450) — the landowner decided to open up the sealed mouth of the cave, thinking to use it as a cattle pen. He opened it and found the sleepers inside. They awoke, imagining that they had slept but one day. One of their number returned to Ephesus. He was astounded to find buildings with crosses attached; the townspeople were astounded to find a man trying to spend old coins from the reign of Decius. The bishop was summoned to interview the sleepers; they told him their miracle story, and died praising God.
Selçuk is a good starting place for many excursions and visits in the area.
- A major attraction is the ancient Greek city of Ephesus which is located 4 km away from the center of the town.
- The promenade will also take you to the Temple of Artemis (Artemision). Although it was one of the "Seven Wonders" of the Ancient world, nowadays only a column is left.
- On the way there you can also visit the Cave of the Seven Sleepers (see the infobox at right).
- The picturesque village of Şirince is located 9 km east to Selcuk up in the hills. It offers wonderful views among olive and peach trees as well as several excellent country hotels.
- House of the Virgin Mary (Meryem Ana Evi), 10 km south on the hills, is claimed to have been the house where Virgin Mary spend her last days in Ephesus. The Vatican declared this place as an official Catholic pilgrimage site.
- Pamucak beach
In the city center there are other very interesting spots:
- Byzantine Citadel and the St. John Basilica (enter from the south side of the basilica, by the Aqueduct). 08:30-17:00. The Byzantine Citadel on Ayasuluk hill, built for defensive purposes in the 6th century and also used during the early Turkish period, has been reconstructed in the 21st century. Thete is a small Byzantine basilica that was converted to a cistern during the Turkish period, and a small mosque. thanks This hill is supposedly where St. John wrote his scriptures. It provides views of the surrounding area. St. John's Basilica, built in the 7th century, is a well-maintained and partly reconstructed site. You can look west from the site to see the single rebuilt column of the Temple of Artemis. St. John's tomb is here. Both parts of the site can be explored in an hour. 20 TL.
- The Aqueduct, which runs perpendicular to the train station.
- Museum of Ephesus, Atatürk Mh., Uğur Mumcu Sevgi Yolu, ☎ . Apr 15-Oct 2: daily 08:00-19:00; Oct 3-Apr 14: 08:00-17:00. An excellent collection of statues, pottery, glass, sarcophagi, and coins found in the Ephesus excavation at the site. It also had an exhibition on the cult of the mother goddess up to and including Artemis. Shop and café. 10 TL.
A day trip to Şirince (8 km out of Selçuk). Nestled in the hills, small little village, narrow winding streets, great wines and lots of small cosy wine bars to try them all out in. Accommodation is very expensive, except for the camping spots.
- Pamucak. The beach of Pamucak is pretty and worth a trip. A dolmuş from the otogar will take you there for 3 TL.
- Double Knot Carpets, Corner of Cangiz Topel Cad and Namik Kemal Cad. Run by 20-something locals, this carpet shop is a great place to find a carpet for cheap (prices start under €100) or just to have a cup of tea. Unlike the shops of Istanbul, the shopkeepers won't pressure you into buying anything, and are glad to offer recommendations on local restaurants and bars or just have a chat.
Mehmet and Alibaba's carpet shop, right next to the Ephesus Museum. At this family run business, you will find high-quality carpets with personable sales people - no pressure here.
- Amazon Cafe Bistro
- Ejder Restaurant, Cengiz Topel Cad. no.9 E PTT Karsisi (in the centre of the town), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Very friendly place with homemade vegetarian food. Delicious.
- Mehmet and Ali Baba Kebab House, Ataturk mah. 1047 Sok. no: 4 (just across the road from the otogar), ☎ . Cheap, big portions and very tasty kebabs and desserts. Also complimentary tea and they serve beer. 5-15 TL.
- Dolphin Bar. This is a really cool place. Talip is a great guy & the beer is good.
- Pink Bistro Cafe. Ask Mesut the bartender to show you some magic tricks and you'll be entertained for hours. And try some of Simone's famous çay!
- Rumeli, 25 Ataturk Mah Cengiz Topel Cadessi., ☎ . 24. A fantastic 24-hour restaurant serving traditional Turkish food, normally for Turkish people. It isn't in any guide books as the owner relies on a heavy after midnight trade of locals - but it is a must see. Different corners are assigned different specialities, soup corner, vegetarian corner, etc. The mushroom pide is especially good! cheap!.
Since 2013, prices have risen greatly. Expect to pay about triple the prices mentioned here.
Free shuttles arranged by various hotels usually include a visit to a carpet or Turkish delight shop that pay commission to cover the costs of the transport.
- Urkmez hotel, ☎ . Namik Kemal Cad. 20. The Ürkmez Hotel is run by the multi-lingual Ozkan Brothers (English, German, Spanish). All rooms are newly decorated and comes with orthopaedic mattresses and most have A/C and private balconies. Starting from €11 per person incl. breakfast buffet on the roof terrace.
- [dead link]Amazon Pension, ☎ . Ataturk Mah 1054. Breakfast in the garden, free daily shuttle rides to Ephesus, Internet and book exchange. Free use of bicycle.
- The Australia New Zealand (Turkish) Guesthouse. Check-out: 10:30. Has clean rooms with private bathrooms. Very calm & great atmosphere, drinks and dinner on the roof-top terrace. Price includes breakfast. Offers complimentary pick-up from Kusadasi and rides to Ephesus. Wifi free, laundry 20 TL per load, bikes 2 TL/h or 15 TL/day. €20 (single), €25 (double).
- Homeros Pension is an old house converted into a pension which has been richly decorated by the owner, who is a carpenter. The rooms are full of charm and the meals, prepared by the sister and mother of the owner, are very good. They also provide free transportation to Ephesus and back. +90 892 3995. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- [dead link]Bella Hotel, Ataturk Mah. St. John Street No:7 Selcuk (200 m from Otogar), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Small family run hotel with wonderful ceramic and carpet/textile decorations. Very convenient location. Excellent dinner on the roof terrace. Free transport to and from Ephesus.
- Atilla’s Getaway, firstname.lastname@example.org (2 km from Selçuk centre in the village of Acarlar), ☎ . Has a spring water swimming pool surrounded by fruit trees and gardens. Free shuttle buses to Selçuk and Ephesus, and free pick up from Kuşadasi Ferry Port. €12.
- Izmir — enroute to Istanbul
- Bergama — Ancient Pergamon. Tours popularly include Ephesus and Bergama together.
- Sardis — Former capital of Lydia, and like Ephesus and Pergamon, one of the Seven Churches of Asia, today notable for its Temple of Artemis, gymnasium, and synagogue.
- Çamlık — 12 km south of Selçuk, the old station of the village now hosts the Çamlık Train Museum, which has one of the largest steam engine collections in Europe on its grounds and is a must-see for any rail enthusiast in the area. Trains and minibuses head there from Selçuk.
- Didim where one can visit the three archeological sites of Priene, Miletus, and Didyma, all Greek or Roman cities located a little bit south in the coast. Several hotels and pensions offer this tour or you can also rent a van, with driver or not, on your own.
- Denizli — en route to Pamukkale and Antalya
- Bodrum — seaside route to Marmaris and Fethiye
- Aphrodisias — To go by public transport, catch a bus to Nazilli to arrive as early in the morning as possible. There's plenty of bus traffic along the highway between Izmir, Aydin and Denizli all day long. From Nazilli, catch a minibus to Karacasu—they leave about every 30 minutes, and are especially reliable in the morning. From Karacasu there are several minibuses a day to Aphrodisias, leaving about every 1½ to 2 hours.
|Routes through Selçuk|
|Çanakkale ← Izmir ←||N S||→ Denizli → Antalya|