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Ephesus: Day Trips and Tours from Istanbul

Ephesus is one of the largest open-air museums in Turkey. The impressive UNESCO World Heritage site features over 30 well-preserved buildings and monuments. Inside the ruins lie remarkable relics of the ancient world such as the Library of Celsus, the third-largest library in the Roman world.

Witness awe-inspiring architecture influenced by the great empires who conquered the city. Then stroll the wethered boulevards where chariots once rode and explore grand Roman baths and terrace houses.

How to get to Ephesus from Istanbul?

Ephesus is located in Selçuk, a coastal town in Turkey's Aegean region. The city is the hub for all tours, transportation, and accommodations around Ephesus. There are several travel options for Istanbul-based tourists who want to visit the ancient city.

Istanbul to Ephesus by car

The quickest way to get from Istanbul to Ephesus is by car. The drive takes about 6 hours and will cost you about $70 - $110 in fuel. Keep in mind this route includes toll roads.

Istanbul to Ephesus by bus/public transport

Travelers with time to spare can take a non-stop bus from Istanbul Otogari to Selçuk. The trip is 9-hours long and costs between $13 and $21. The luxury buses are quite comfortable and stop every two to three hours for a quick pit-stop.

Guided tour to Ephesus from Istanbul

Guided tours from Istanbul to Ephesus are a cost-effective and convenient option for tourists. Many tours offer round-trip flights to Izmir and shuttle connection to and from Ephesus. The average duration of day tours is anywhere from 9 to 15 hours. Tours by plane are the fastest way to see Ephesus in a day.

How much does the entrance ticket to Ephesus cost?

Entry to the ancient city Ephesus costs 100₺ ($15) per person. The ticket allows entry to the archeological enclosure, which includes the famed Library of Celsus, and Artemision (The Temple of Artemis), as well as various other cultural remnants. There is no admission fee for children under 12 years old.

Entry to the newest excavation site on the grounds, the Terrace Houses is 100₺ ($7) per person and free for kids under 6.

The Archaeological Museum of Ephesus houses all the excavated artifacts of Ephesus and tickets cost 25₺ ($4).

What is the typical itinerary of a day tour to Ephesus from Istanbul?

Most day trips to Ephesus follow a variation of the same itinerary. From Istanbul airport, you'll fly to Izmir, where a driver or guide will greet you at the gate. An air-conditioned bus will take you to the ancient city, where you will be led around by an expert guide. Learn the history of Ephesus and the successive empires that lived there. We will make stops at the most iconic city sites, including the Temple of Artemis and the Library of Celsus. The tour wraps with a visit to the House of Virgin Mary, her final resting place.

Multi-day tours include the visit to other beautiful places in Turkey, such as Pamukkale, Cappadocia and Troy.

What kinds of tours are available to go to Ephesus?

Guided tours are the best way to explore Ephesus from Istanbul. Tour providers ensure a seamless journey from start to finish. Browse our excursions, which offer day tours, private tours, and multi-day trips.

Guided Group Tours to Ephesus from Istanbul

Enjoy a budget guided tour of Ephesus with round trip flights from Istanbul to Izmir included. Walk the ancient ruins of the city, accompanied by an expert guide. This 9-hour excursion provides guests with airport pick-up and drop-off, lunch, and a certified guide. For travelers who want to see more sites check out the Day Trip to Ephesus Plus Pamukkale from Istanbul and visit two UNESCO World Heritage cities.

Private Tour to Ephesus from Istanbul

Discover the Ancient World of Ephesus on a bespoke private experience. Enjoy the flexibility to explore the ancient city, St. Mary's House, and the Basilica of St. John without the restrictions of a group itinerary. This customizable tour includes a round-trip flight, lunch, private airport transfer service from your hotel, and personal tour guide. For visitors who have some more time to spare, check out the 2-day private tour to Ephesus and Pamukkale.

3-Day Bus Tour to Ephesus Plus Gallipoli, Troy, and Pergamum

Discover both the ancient and modern history of Turkey with this jam-packed itinerary. The small-group tour buses you from Istanbul to Kusadasi, with stops at Gallipoli, Troy, Pergamum, and Ephesus. Guests are provided with hotel pick-up and drop-off, accommodations, and meals.

7-Day Turkey Classic Tours from Istanbul

Explore the best attractions Turkey has to offer during this 7-day tour. Aboard an air-conditioned coach, you will visit Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Cappadocia, and Ankara. Travelers who prefer to fly will enjoy the 7-day best of Turkey tour, which hits the same major sites.

How much does a tour to Ephesus from Istanbul cost?

At first glance, tours from Istanbul to Ephesus can seem pricey - but they are actually a bargain! Tour prices range depending on the duration, sites, transportation, accommodation, and private versus group.

Private day tours hover around $300, and group day tours are about $200 unless additional sites are included.

Two-day tours can range from $400 for group tours to $1,000 for private tours. The difference between private and group day tour prices is smaller.

Multi-day or multi-site tours range from $400-$600 if you travel by bus. If you prefer to travel by plane, prices range from $700 to $2,000.

What will you see and do in Ephesus?

The ancient city of Ephesus is one of the most important ancient cities in the world. The well-preserved and restored open-air museum is a window into the civilizations that occupied the city. Inhabited for approximately 9000 years, the city was shaped by the Hellenistic Era, Roman Period, Byzantine Era, the Period of Principalities and the Ottoman Era. Tourists can spend an entire day walking the winding streets of the ancient city, passing remnants of fountains, gates, gymnasiums, city gates, theaters, statues, houses, and Roman baths.

Roman Terrace Houses

The Roman Terrace Houses are impressive excavated houses that show how wealthy Romans lived. Split into several units, the walls are decorated in restored marble and mosaics.

Library of Celsus

The Library of Celsus is one of the most famous relics of the Ancient World. The capacity of the library was once over 12,000 scrolls - making it the third biggest library in Roman Times.

The Great Theatre

This spectacular theater was constructed in the Hellenistic period and was remodeled during the Roman period. It served as the arena for performances, gladiator battles, and political, social, and religious demonstrations. It is the largest theater in Asia Minor, with a capacity of 25,000 people.

The Temple of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Sculpted in 6th century BC, the temple was built entirely out of marble. The most magnificent feature of the temple was a statue of the many-breasted Artemis, which is now exhibited in the Ephesus Museum.

Important faith tourism sites, including The House of the Virgin Mary, St. John Basilica, and İsa Bey Mosque, are located a short walk from the ancient city.

What are the opening times?

Ephesus opens up to tourists year-round, however, hours of operation change with the season.

  • Summer Period (1 April - 30 September) - Opening time: 10:00; Closing time: 19:00
  • Winter Period (1 October - 30 Marchl) - Opening time: 08:30; Closing time: 18:00

When is the best time to visit Ephesus?

The best time to visit Ephesus is April, May, October, and November. During these months, the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. Summer is a popular time for tourists due to vacation time-off - but be warned in July and August midday temperatures can rise up to 110°F / 43 °C.

Are there any tours to Ephesus from other cities in Turkey?

If you are visiting other cities in Turkey, you might be interested in checking out the tours to Ephesus departing from other cities. Take a look at our pages.

If you are reaching Selçuk by car, bus or plane and you are looking for a guided tour of the city and the archeological site, take a look at our page of Ephesus Tours from Selçuk.

Travel tips

  • Ephesus is a walk-heavy attraction, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes with good support.
  • There are two entry/exit points. Enter from the Upper Gate and you'll be walking downhill, which makes for an easier trek.
  • Do not buy "Roman coins" offered to you by men working at or walking around the site. If you are caught with coins (real or fake) at the airport, you might get held by customs until they are verified as fake.
  • When visiting places of worship, avoid wearing flip-flops, shorts, sleeveless shirts, skirts below the knee or any clothes that might be deemed inappropriate to the location.
  • Ephesus is wheelchair accessible, but surfaces are uneven and bouncy. Wheelchair persons will need a companion to push them.