Ephesus, located between Selcuk and Kusadasi in modern Turkey, was once a thriving metropolis in the Roman Empire and is now a popular tourist destination for its well-preserved ruins and rich history. Here’s a guide on how to get Ephesus from Istanbul and make the most of your day trip.
How far is Istanbul to Ephesus?
Ephesus is approximately 550 kilometers (340 miles) south of Istanbul. The journey by car takes about 5 hours and 30 minutes, while the public bus ride takes a little longer at around 10 hours.
How to get to Ephesus from Istanbul?
The city is easily accessible by flight, car, and with regular bus service available from Istanbul. The most common way to travel from Istanbul to Ephesus is by taking a domestic flight from Istanbul to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport.
Transportation with Domestic Flight
To travel from Istanbul to Ephesus by flight, you will first need to book a flight to the city of Izmir, which is the closest airport to Ephesus. There are several airlines that offer flights from Istanbul to Izmir, including Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, and Anadolujet. You can find flights from Istanbul to Izmir on various travel booking websites or through the airlines’ websites. Check our Turkiye domestic flight search tool to get the best rate.
Once you arrive in Izmir, you will have a few options for getting to Ephesus from Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport:
- Book a private transfer: You can book a private transfer from Izmir Airport to Ephesus Ancient City.
- Hire a taxi: You can hire a taxi at the airport to take you directly to Ephesus. This will be the most convenient option, but it will also be the most expensive.
- Take a bus: You can also take a bus from the airport to the city of Selçuk, which is located near Ephesus. From Selçuk, you can take a taxi or a local bus to the ancient city Ephesus Ancient City: How to get from Selcuk? – Transportation Guide.
- Rent a car: If you prefer to have more flexibility and independence during your trip, you can rent a car at the airport and drive to Ephesus on your own. This option will give you the freedom to explore the area at your own pace, but you will need to have a valid driver’s license and be comfortable driving in Turkey.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to plan your transportation in advance and leave enough time to get to Ephesus, as the journey from Izmir can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours depending on the mode of transport and the traffic.
Public Bus Transportation
To travel from Istanbul to Ephesus by bus, you will need to take a long-distance bus from Istanbul’s main bus terminal (called “Otogar” in Turkish). There are several bus companies that operate regular services from Istanbul to Ephesus, and you can find schedules and book tickets through their websites or at the bus terminal.
The journey from Istanbul to Ephesus by bus takes around 7-8 hours, depending on the route and traffic. The buses are usually modern and comfortable, with amenities such as air conditioning and onboard toilets.
To get to the bus terminal from the city center, you can take the metro to the “Otogar” station or hail a taxi. When you arrive in Ephesus, the bus will drop you off at the bus station in the town of Selçuk, which is located near the ancient city. From there, you can take a taxi or a local bus to Ephesus.
It’s a good idea to book your bus tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist season, to ensure that you get a seat and avoid any delays.
Can I get a train from Istanbul to Ephesus?
It is not possible to take a direct train from Istanbul to Ephesus or its nearby towns of Selcuk or Izmir, there is a ferry service that runs from Istanbul to Bandirma City. From there, you can catch a train to Izmir, which is just a short distance away from Ephesus.
If you are planning to visit the ancient city of Ephesus by train, you will need to take a few extra steps. While it is possible to travel from Istanbul to Bandirma by ferry, the journey takes around 2.5 – 3 hours and can be expensive, costing around $15 (2023). Additionally, once you arrive in Bandirma, you will need to either wait for the 6 September Express train or take a bus to Izmir, which can take up to 4.5 hours. CDD (Turkish State Railways) is operating this line and you can book your train ticket online via its official website. After reaching the Izmir train station, you can take the Izmir-Selçuk train to go to Ephesus.
Visiting Ephesus with a day tour from Istanbul
One of the easiest ways to visit Ephesus from Istanbul is to book an Ephesus tour through a reputable tour operator. This will ensure that all transportation and admission fees are taken care of, and you’ll have the added bonus of a knowledgeable guide to explain the history and significance of the site. There are a variety of tour options available, including half-day and full-day tours, and you can choose a tour that fits your interests and schedule.
How to get Ephesus from Istanbul by car?
To get to Ephesus from Istanbul by car, you can choose between a private transfer with a chauffeur, a rental car, or a yellow taxi hire.
If you are struggling to decide on the best mode of transportation for your trip from Istanbul to Ephesus, we have prepared easy answers based on the recommendations of our travel specialists. Our specialists have many years of experience planning trips to Ephesus and have carefully considered the pros and cons of each transportation option to help you make an informed decision. Whether you are looking for the most convenient, affordable, or fastest way to get to Ephesus, we have an answer for you.
What is the easiest way to get Ephesus from Istanbul?
The easiest way to visit Ephesus from Istanbul is by taking a private tour. It offers a tailored itinerary, a guide, door-to-door transportation, convenience, but may be more expensive than other transportation options.
What is the cheapest way to get Ephesus from Istanbul?
The cheapest way to visit Ephesus from Istanbul is probably by taking the public bus. Public bus transportation is generally less expensive than other options, it passes through beautiful landscapes. A bus ride may be longer than other options.
What is the fastest way to get Ephesus from Istanbul?
The fastest way to visit Ephesus from Istanbul is by taking a domestic flight, which takes about 1 hour. However, cost and airport transfer time should also be considered.
Ephesus is a large site with many different attractions to see, so it’s a good idea to plan your itinerary in advance to make the most of your time. Some of the must-see attractions at Ephesus include the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Artemis, and the Great Theater. You should also make sure to visit the Ephesus Museum, which houses a collection of artifacts and relics from the site. Do not forget to read Selcuk Attractions – 12 things to do – Selcuk Travel Guide before your planning.
Overall, a day trip to Ephesus from Istanbul is a must-do for any history buff or lover of ancient ruins. With a little planning and some careful consideration of your transportation and itinerary, you can easily make the most of your visit to this fascinating ancient city.
Check our The Entrance Gates of Ephesus Today guide before planning your Ephesus Trip!