The Best 2 Days Ephesus Itinerary

Turkey travel planner visiting the Celcus Library Ephesus

How to Travel the Ancient Ephesus Maps

The Ancient Greek city of Ephesus is a remarkable historical place and one of the seven wonders of the Ancient world. After exploring Ephesus for a second time, I’ve compiled this Travel Guide to Ephesus to assist you in exploring the Ancient Ephesus maps. Not only is Ephesus one of the best-preserved Roman sites in the world, but walking back in time promises an unforgettable experience. Read all about the best things to do in Ephesus; as well as why you need to visit Selçuk and Sirinçe Village.

Once known for its significant commercial seaport in antiquity, the world-renowned harbour was forsaken beneath rubble and soil. The harbour, where the Küçük Menderes (Kaistros) river once flew into the sea, was rediscovered in 1860. This happened after more than 2000 years of population and multiple earthquakes. Today, the devastating robust hub is one of the top Turkey tourist attractions. The Ephesus Turkey tourist attractions are difficult to fit into only one day, therefore, I recommend you stay 2-3 days.

The ancient Temple of Hadrian Ephesus on Ancient Ephesus map
Temple of Hadrian Ephesus

The 2000-year-old ruins of Efes, also spelt Ephesos or Ephessos are where the apostle St. John spread the word of Jesus Christ. Ephesus is one of the best-preserved Roman sites in the worldIt’s said that this is where Virgin Mary spent the last years of her life.

Where is Ephesus

This well-preserved international tourist attraction is located only 3 kilometres south of Selcuk, in the Mediterranean region of Western Turkey. In Roman times, Ephesus was situated on the northern slopes of Coressus and Pion, south of the Cayster River.

What happened to the Theatre at Ephesus

The Goths sacked Ephesus City in A.D.262 and destroyed the temple. With time, Silt formed a fertile plain that caused the coastline to recede further west. As a result, the sea moved so far away that Ephesus was abandoned, and today is left with the old port dry.

How to Get to Ephesus Turkey

There are many ways how to get to Ephesus ruins. Besides joining one of the Ephesus tours, the Adnan Menderes Airport and railway station served regional trains heading to southwestern Turkey with connections between the airport and Izmir.

Istanbul to Ephesus

Ephesus quickly reached Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport. Flights from Istanbul Ataturk Airport using Turkish Airlines are your fastest and most convenient way to get to Ephesus. By car, 690 kilometres will take about 6 hours and 30 minutes.

Buses in Turkey are pretty comfortable and frequent and are the cheapest way to get from Istanbul to Ephesus, taking just under 12 hours. Unfortunately, there are no trains between Istanbul and Selcuk. If you’re short on time, I suggest you Book a Istanbul to Ephesus day trip.

Woman in short and red top exploring Ancient Ephesus maps
Exploring Ancient Ephesus

Izmir to Ephesus

Some Companies offer an Ephesus 1-day Itinerary from Izmir. The best way to travel from Izmir to Ephesus is by car or Dolmus (small taxi-bus). Efes map shows the distance between Izmir and Ephesus at 90 kilometres with a driving time of 1 hour and 20 minutes by car. Should you fly out to Izmir,

The 60 km drive from Adnan Menderes Airport to Ephesus will take 45 minutes. Some Ephesus tour companies will include transport from the airport or your hotel should you book an Ephesus one-day tour. However, one day in Ephesus is too short to experience all the gems in this part of Turkey.

Some airlines have free shuttle services to and from the airport. Therefore, before you book your flight ticket, check with the airlines. We used Atlasjet, and they provide a shuttle free of charge.

Kusadasi to Ephesus

The Kusadasi resort town, located on the Aegean coast of Turkey, is only 19 Kilometers from Ephesus, with about 25 minutes of drive time. The coastal town of Kusadasi is a famous gateway to Ephesus. Many visitors to the ancient City of Efes arrive via cruise ships or Ferries from the Greek islands or Ephesus day tour from Kusadasi.

Check Prices and read reviews of Ephesus Tours

  • Antalya to Ephesus:  560 kilometres and travel time about 9.5 hours.
  • Bodrum to Ephesus journey is 160 kilometres and takes 2 hours and 30 minutes,
  • Cappadocia to Ephesus:  825 kilometres, travel time about 13 hours,
  • Fethiye to İzmir: distance is 306 kilometres with a 4,6 hours travel time,
  • Selcuk to Ephesus: 3 km and is a 6 min drive, or travel by foot, about 30 minutes,
  • Sirince to Ephesus: 7 km and takes about 15 minutes (by Dolmus).  
  • Marmaris to Ephesus: About 215 kilometres by car, which will take roughly 3 hours, and by bus for about 5 hours 40 minutes.

2 Day Ephesus Itinerary

Explore Map of Ancient Ephesus

2 Day Ephesus Itinerary

Today, you will Delve deeper into history by exploring Ephesus’ archaeological site with its extensive collection of Roman ruins. One needs a few hours or at least half a day to thoroughly explore the Ancient Ephesus map. Although some Guides can take you through the ancient Ephesus Map, audio guides are available for rent. For the best Ephesus tours with professional guides, I recommend you check out the following Guided Ephesus.

As it gets pretty hot in the Ancient city, take sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, your camera, and water. The scorching sun against the white marble cobbled road and ruins makes seeing it challenging.

2020 Ephesus Opening Hours

For visitors with a Museum Pass, there is no entry fee, and it includes many other Turkey tourist attractions. Ephesus opening times to Ephesus Ancient City, the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus, and the Basilica of St. John are as follows. The opening time for most of the Ephesus tourist attractions is 08h00 throughout the year.  However, closing times vary from November to March, at 17h00, and from April until October, it closes at 19h00. Remember that the Terrace Houses and The House of the Virgin Mary close earlier.

Ephesus entrance fee 2023 is 400 Turkish Liras, and children under 12 can enter for free, providing you can provide a passport as proof. The entrance fee to the ancient city of Ephesus is 400 Turkish Liras as of 2023. Museum Pass Turkey is valid for entrance to Ephesus Ruins. Your journey starts in Curetes, the main street in ancient Ephesus. Explore Ephesus on your own using an old Ephesus map, obtainable at the entrance.

If not, you can book a full-day Ephesus tour, which includes lunch at the local Village. There are two entrances to the Ephesus ruins, and depending on where you start and your pace, you might explore the ruins in Ephesus City in any order you want. However, it gets overwhelming as you might not see all the ruins in one day. Don’t forget to obtain an Ancient Ephesus map in Selçuk or at the gate, showing a layout of the historical ruins in Ephesus city.

Ancient Ephesus Map

Ephesus Turkey map of Ephesus ruins is available at the entrance gate.

The layout of Ephesus on an Ancient Ephesus map
The layout of Ephesus on an Ancient Ephesus map

The Library of Celsus

It was built in 117 AD and is the main centrepiece house of more than 12000 scrolls, the third largest library in ancient times. Library of Celso inside Ephesus, built in 100 A.D. This monument is incredibly preserved, becoming the most stable so far. It is one of the favourite attractions and the perfect place to capture a good snapshot.

Ephesus Temple of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis, also known as the Greek Temple of Diana, was dedicated to the goddess Artemis and is one of the most famous ruins in Ephesus City. This temple, recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was destroyed and rebuilt twice. The first time was after a devastating flood, and the second time, three hundred years later, after an act of arson.

Imposing Grand Theater

The impressive Ephesus Antique Theatre is one of the largest arenas, located on the slope of Panayir Hill, with a capacity of 25,000 people, and used for concerts, gladiator and animal fights, religious sermons, and political discussions.

The great Ephesus theatre in ancient Ephesus
Ephesus theatre in ancient Ephesus

Odean Theatre

The enclosed underground theatre used for meetings and concerts moves to the above-ground after excavation. I wish I could post all the photos, as deciding which ones they left out is challenging.

Ephesus Terraced Houses

The Terraces Houses in Ephesus City, also called ‘Houses of Rich,’ are located on the northern slope of Bülbüldağı Hill, opposite the Hadrian Temple. This Ephesus row house design is in the middle of Curetes Street, each terraced house building and room impressively decorated with frescoes and astonishing mosaics. Visit the terrace houses on the first day of your two-day Ephesus Itinerary, as shown on the ancient Ephesus map.

The architecture of a terrace house was the same as those of the baths, built with a heating system by installing clay pipes beneath the floor. As seen in the image below, some luxurious imposing mosaic floors remain intact in these Ephesus houses. Unfortunately, there is an entrance fee, and the Terrace houses are open daily from 8h00 until 17h00.

Beautiful Mosaic on the floors of the Terrace houses in Ancient Ephesus
Mosaic Terrace houses Ephesus


The Prytaneion, which symbolizes the heart of Ephesus, was used for religious ceremonies during the third century B.C. Moreover, the altar is still visible today, indicating the location on the floor marked with red. Pope Benedict XVI, who became a Pilgrim in the Aegean town of Selcuk, visited the House of the Virgin Mary just as Paul VI and John Paul II did before him.

A view of ruins in Curetes Street in Ephesus. This street took its name from the priests who were called Curetes.
A view of ruins in Curetes Street in Ephesus

Day 2 – Explore Ancient Ephesus Turkey Map

On the second day of your 2 days Ephesus Itinerary using one of the ancient Ephesus maps, visit the following sites in the morning. After that, visit the quaint village of Sirinçe, where I suggest you enjoy lunch and spend the afternoon.

Cave of the Seven Sleepers

The story of the seven sleepers is allegedly about a group of young men who sought refuge in a cave to escape persecution and emerged 300 years later.

House of Virgin Mary

Now a place for Pilgrimage, the House of the Virgin Mary is where Virgin Mary and Saint John spent their last years spreading the word of Jesus Christ. Behind the house of stone is a spring of water that people believe has healing properties.

Isa Bey Mosque

Situated on the outskirts of Selçuk, on the Ayasluğ Hills, the impressive İsa Bey Mosque was constructed in 1374–75 and is one of the oldest works of architectural art.

The Agora Market

This sizeable commercial Agora market offers sustainable products, including handmade items and a variety of typical meals, which is a big favourite among tourists.

Ephesus Tours

Explore Selçuk Town

Best Things to Do in Selçuk

During our three days in Ephesus, we stayed in Selçuk town. We had a fantastic time exploring the streets and fascinating little shops selling Ephesus ceramics and many other things. I bought myself the most beautiful antique jewellery. We enjoy experiencing the locals and their culture and seeing how they live.

The fruit trees on the pavements had so many fruits they fell off. Besides Turkish hospitality, another great thing in Turkey is its fresh fruits, especially fresh cherries, an abundance of olives, cheeses, and fresh bread.

A cyclist on his bicycle on the cobbled street in town of Selçuk in Turkey
Cyclist on his bicycle Selçuk, Turkey
The Basilica of St. John in Selcuk town in Turkey
The Basilica of St. John in Selcuk town in Turkey
A Tourist in the cobble street of Sirinçe village in Turkey
Johan in the cobble street of Sirinçe Village

Basilica of St. John Ephesus

The Basilica of St.John in Ephesus was built on the slopes of Ayasuluk Hill, near the centre of Selçuk.

Ayasuluk Castle

During your 2 days Ephesus Itinerary, you can also visit Ayasuluk Castle, locally known as Ayasuluk Kalesi or Selçuk Kalesi. Selcuk is on the ancient Ephesus map, with the Basilica of St. John ruins within walking distance and easy to find in Selçuk town on the Ancient Ephesus map.

Ephesus is also where the Apostle Paul preached Christianity, and fought the Wild beasts, as per 1 Cor. 15:32. Moreover, it was God’s time for the evangelization of Asia, and it all seems to have started from the city of Ephesus.  Besides, all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews, and Greeks.”

Selçuk is an exciting town with cosy shops and heartwarming people. Cafe Carpouza, one of the oldest buildings in Selçuk, is famous for its exquisite Turkish Coffee and tea. A funny thing was seeing chickens and cats roaming around in town.

Charming Śirinçe

The beautiful, quaint village of Sirinçe stole my heart with its simplicity and tranquillity. Sirinçe has only about 600 inhabitants. It is surrounded by imposing natural valleys with beautiful houses. The old orthodox buildings with cobblestone streets feel like a hidden gem, and the name of this unique Greek conservative village was first known as Cirkince’s. Cirkince’s name meaning ugly, was to keep tourists away. In 1926 the name changed to Şirince.

View over Śirince köyü town with green trees and mountains in thebackground
View over Śirince köyü town

The Greek village of Śirinçe, surrounded by nature, is located on a hill in the outskirts close to Selcuk. Their primary income, except for tourism, is from producing quality olives, fruit, and vineyards. Besides making wine, they sell handmade products like pure silk scarves alongside canned fruit and olives. I envy that they live a simple, uncomplicated life that differs from most of us. 

Where to Eat in Śirinçe

5 Top Sirinçe Restaurants

Sirincem Sirince Restaurant

The cosy Sirincem restaurant serves various Mediterranean Turkish dishes. Please do yourself a favour and order their famous Walnut baklava with Turkish coffee. You will find them at Sehit Yuksel Ozulku Cad, Selcuk 220 Sokak no 6, Sirince +90 537 831 82 97

Colourful cosy Sirinçe restaurant with tables outside in the cobbled alley.
Colourful cosy Sirinçe restaurant with tables outside in the cobbled alley.

Sirince Yorem Restaurant

Turkish-, Vegetarian- & Gluten-free meals Sirince Mahallesi, 220 SK. no.33, Sirince 35927 +90 506 514 04 21

Sedir Manti Ve Borek Evi

Turkish-, Vegetarian-, and Vegan-friendly dishes. “Hidden gem” Selcuk, Sirince Koyu, Sirince 35920 +90 535 480 98 73

Kirkinca Arsipel Restaurant

The lovely Kirkinca Arsipel Restaurant is located at Istihlas Mahallesi, Sirince 35920. They serve Mediterranean- and Turkish dishes. People like their Méze & excellent service. +90 232 898 31 33

Cirkinçe Helen Cafe

The Cirkinçe Helen Cafe serves Turkish and Vegetarian-friendly dishes; it is located at Sirinçe May, Carpi Sok no 4, Sirince +90 543 305 42 14

2 kittens on a wall in Sirinçe village şirince köyü
2 kittens in şirince köyü Sirinçe Village
Lady sitting on chair in front of a Turkish şirince otel and restaurant
Turkish şirince otel

Where to Stay in Ephesus

I recommend you stay in Selçuk as it’s very central. Wherever we travel, we always book accommodation with reliable with a free cancellation option. Check prices and read reviews below for the best compromise when travelling the ancient Ephesus Map in and around Ephesus.
A ruin in Ancient Ephesus map ruins
Ancient Ephesus Map ruins
Beautiful Sirinçe village in Ephesus
Sirinçe village Ephesus

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  1. Love this amazing 2 day itinerary to help people discover the ancient city of Ephesus! I had done a bit of research a year or so ago about Turkey and this city became an interesting focus for me as I am catholic. Of course I love all of the ancient Greek and Roman influences that can be seen throughout the ruins and town. But it was the House of Mary that intrigued me the most. Since I have take the Camino de Santiago I figured that this would be a natural pilgrimage for me. But I think it shocked me that I never associated my faith with Turkey or may be I just never connected the dots of Letters to the Ephesians with Ephesus.
    Don’t get me wrong, I want to explore the Ephesus Antique theatre and of course the temple to Artemis too but I think the #1 is Mary’s House for me.

  2. I have been to Turkey several times but never heard about Ephesus. My bad that I missed out this gem of a destination that an important commercial seaport in antiquity. Will add Ephesus to my next tour to Turkey.

  3. Wow I only visited Istanbul in Turkey. I should have added Ephesus to our tour especially House of Mama Mary.