I've been twice in Ephesus: the last one as part of a circuit across Anatolia, the first one in a short visit coming from Greece.
I was in Samos and found that it was available a day tour to Ephesus, and Selçuk.
We did it and enjoyed. So, if you want to see Ephesus in a glimpse, and rather stay in Greece, this trip is easy and cheap (from Samos, not from Athens, of course!).
I recently organised a tour for myself, my husband and his brother and sister-in-law who came over from Melbourne, Australia to see us in the UK. As they had never been to Greece we booked a holiday taking in Athens and some the Greek Islands. As I had been to both Greece and Turkey before, I persuaded them that it was worth heading to Samos and then crossing over to Turkey to see Ephesus - certainly a "must-see" for anyone exploring that part of the world! My concern was that we would have very little time in Turkey and that in my own experience, as well as endless reviews online, most tours to Ephesus included an almost obligatory shopping trip. This was fine for people who wanted to shop (there are some lovely things to buy at very good prices) however we wanted to spend every minute exploring the historical sites rather than sit in some shop drinking apple tea and looking at wares. I did some searches on Google for "Ephesus without shopping" and up popped "No Frills Ephesus Tours" and thank goodness it did! From the outset, Christine was very helpful in providing me with the various options available. As our ferry from Samos would arrive after the usual tour start time of 9am she put together a private tour just for the four of us at an exceptionally reasonable price. We had some difficulty getting in touch while travelling and I also went into holiday mode and got some dates wrong but Christine was very patient and called me in Greece to make sure we had the correct details. On arrival in Turkey we were met by Christine's husband Mehmet and we later picked up our highly knowledgeable guide Oktay. Mehmet and Oktay provided us with a jam-packed, informative and well-organised tour which took in the Temple of Artemis, Ephesus, the Virgin Mary's house and a visit to the museum in Kusadasi. All our tickets were pre-bought so there was no waiting in queues and the price also included a delicious buffet lunch. Oktay was a qualified guide with an obvious passion about his subject and he managed to be both informative and amusing. We were very glad we were receiving his personal attention when we saw some of the huge groups being herded around Ephesus in a very non-personal way. We were totally overwhelmed by the places we visited and are still talking about it a month later. All in all we had a fantastic day and when we got back to the ferry, the four of us agreed that the tour had been one of the absolute highlights of our whole trip. We cannot recommend them highly enough - nothing was too much trouble, our expectations about what we would see was exceeded and the level of service was professional and friendly. There is so much to see and enjoy in this part of the world that we are already planning to go back - and we will definitely use No Frills Ephesus and its sister company Sea Spirit Travel when we do so. The only tiny quibble I have is the name of the company - because this tour certainly offers plenty of frills! Well done for catering to those in the market who don't want to just climb off a cruise liner and shop!
I was in Ephesus last week and it was amazing.!! We went there with celebrity cruise line. Cruise shuttle's was very expensive and i did reservation with one local company from internet. They had reliable prices and good services.If you want contact to them , you can enter htttp://www.taxiephesus.com . or 0090 554 5217063. They took us from port and we went to ephesus. They wait us 2 hours in car park.After we went port again :)
If you want to visit Ephesus, you best stay in one of that cheaper accomodations in Selcuk. You may be offered a room immediately at your arrival at the bus station.
From there, minibuses go to Ephesus (Efes).
The ride to (including the way back) Mary's House costs about 30 Euro by taxi, so if you are planning to use it share it whith 2 or 3 persons!
Best alternative is going there by feet.
Leave for Efes not too late in the morning (entrance about 10 Euro). Leave Efes by the upper gate, and go on walking upwards (about 4-6 kilometers and not 10 or more like some people pretend to say) until the end of the street. They will charge you 2 Euro entrance, but not 6 as if you would have arrived by taxi.
Enjoy the nice park and fresh water of the ayazma- spring. But don't go there at night because the gate is closed at 19.00h! On your way back, some hundred meters after passing the upper entrance of Efes, take the sideway to Yedi uyuyanlar (a ruin of a bizantine worship church) and rest at the shady foodpost serving tasty and not expensive meals located nearby.
You may walk back to Selcuk through the peach plantations.
I have read many questions in several travel forums about this route from Izmir to Selcuk/Ephesus because Izmir airport doesn't have much of a public transport option like Istanbul's metro/tram - to get to the city or to reach Selcuk/Ephesus or Kusadasi. And so I tried it this time and it's indeed easier done than figuring it out. A combination of taxi and minibus, here's how it's done:
From the small domestic airport of Izmir (Adnan Menderes airport), take your luggage from the small conveyor - if you have one - then exit to your left you'll find taxis there.
Ask the drivers to take u to Gaziemir. While driving, he will ask you if you're going to Selcuk or Kusadasi, tell him your friends are waiting for you at Gaziemir.
Arriving at Gaziemir - Tansas, you'll find an ATM, and a small store along the road or highway and many people waiting for buses. Several benches are also available where you could relax and wait for your bus. Ask the man from the small store and he will ask you to just stand there beside the store or sit at the benches and wait for the minibus to Selcuk. He will also refer you to the man who seems like a bus dispatcher, he's normally sitting just at the side of the store and he will give you notice when the bus arrive - with the Selcuk sign in it.
It's very easy, no sweat at all. I'm afraid at first that we might get lost, but really not, it's a very remote possibility.
We've waited for i think less than half an hour before the minibus arrived (we reached Gaziemir at about 5pm), and minibuses to Selcuk are running every 30 minutes or so.
Taxi cab fare from Izmir airport to Gaziemir/Tansas Supermarket = TL10 (1 upto 4 passengers)
Minibus from Gaziemir to Selcuk = TL7
But if you're pressed for time, taxi fare from Izmir airport to Selcuk or Kusadasi is around TL100 or contact some taxi companies available online costs Euro50, some Euro40 but what's not mention online and they will tell you that if u email them that there is a Euro10 additional charge for parking/waiting at the airport.
The way I got to and from Ephesus was by booking a Hotel which included the FREE TRANSFER. I thought this was great value. It was so easy. I told the Receptionist when I wanted to go, a local man came and took me to his shop (No, didn't try to sell me anything) then to his Car and to Ephesus. He dropped me at the top gate, and met me at the bottom gate at a time agreed by both of us. I could have had a cup of Apple Tea at the end of the day back at his shop, but I had to move on.
Ephesus is located 3 km from Selcuk and 17 km from Kusadasi.
You can reach it by Dolmus. But it’s better to use an excursion bus from the port of Kusadasi.
We got to Ephesus by our excursion bus on our way from Pamukkale.
You can watch my 2 min 15 sec Video clip Pamukkale Ephesus road with Nalan – Cayir-Cayir Turkish pop music.
I booked a full day tour for €35 = 68YTL per person to Ephesus from Kusadasi. I wish we had done it independently and purchased audio guides and a guide book.
To do Ephesus independently from Kusadasi: make your way to the otogar (bus station) in Kusadasi. You can do this by boarding a dolmus (minibus) that is going on the "Ladies Beach" route. Minibuses have this written on the front and back. Hail from anywhere on the road. For example, hail from outside the Scala Nuova ferry port (the port where ferries from Samos in Greece arrive). At the Kusadasi otogar, board another dolmus going to Selcuk, frequent departures, 4YTL, 30 - 45 mins. Selcuk destination will be written on the front of the minibus. Get off at the Selcuk otogar. From there you can take a short taxi ride to Ephesus. Pay 10YTL entry fee, approximately 5YTL for an audio guide and take your time exploring the ruins.
We were rushed through our Ephesus tour and taken to ceramic and leather factories along the way, and wished we had done it independently instead.
Walk, it takes about 20 - 30 minutes, and the Temple of Artemis is on the way, so visit that on your way home. Be warned however, that when you leave the Ephesus area you will have to either walk through the grounds back to the entrance or take a taxi back around to the front entrance to re-orient yourself on how to get back to Selcuk. There are lots of signs to point you in the right direction, it's easy.
Getting to Ephesus is pretty easy. After landing in istanbul, you can take a plane to izmir for about 25-45$ US (45 mins.) or take a bus for 15-25$ US (9-10 hours)
Once you are in izmir you can take a bus to Selcuk for 5-8$ US. The trip takes about 1.5 hours.
Another way to get to Ephesus is through Kusadasi. From one of the close Greek islands you can take a ferry to Kusadasi and then take a bus to Ephesus. The trip from Kusadasi to Ephesus takes about 30-45 mins.
We (family of 4) booked via the net for a public tour package with one company, (which i cant remember) and turned out to be upon our arrival in Kusadasi (where we put up our nights) by an overnight bus,the minivan which picked us up served only us,coz there are no other tourists for that day.(they run the tour daily)
So its just like hiring private car,with a guide (although i must admit the Guide was rather boring, monotonous person.) :-)
Hiring a taxi to take you to the ruins of Ephesus from Kusadasi should not cost more than $40 US. Add $5-10 to visit Selcuk and the ruins of Temple of Artemis. Some drivers will ask for upwards of $100--don't be fooled!
Since we had a car, we chose to drive from Selcuk. As I recall, it was a very short drive of about three or four kilometers. We parked at the parking lot near the exit and took a taxi to the entrance on the other side.
The road pictured here is actually in Ephesus and it is off limits to cars.
The only way to see the ancient city is by foot, so bring comfortable walking shoes! You start at the top of the hill and walk down the street of the Curettes to the Library of Celsus and finally to the Coliseum. You can comfortably see the sites in around three hours.
The best way to get there is by car, either from Izmir which is relatively close or from any other more or less close location (we drove there from Bodrum, for inst.).
Nedless to tell you that having a car you have a lot of flexibility, coz if you decide to get to the tomb of seven sleepers or to Mother Mary house, the car will help you to get there, coz it is a looot of walking, and of course you can make your own schedule of visiting...