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How to go from Istanbul to Ephesus: Tour, Backpack by Bus or Plane

To visit the archeological site ofEphesus, you have to go to the town of Selçuk, which is just belowEphesus, 2-3km away

You have different options to go there

On an organized tour

This is the option that I do not recommend because it is so easy to move around on your own.

All the agencies in downtown Istanbul will offer you organized tours (with transportation) from Istanbul to Ephesus (with tour, guide, transportation included) for one day

  • Either you opt for night buses (cheaper)
  • Either you opt for the (more expensive) plane: departure from the hotel at 5 am and return to Istanbul at 11 pm

Please note that tour operators also offer 2-day trips from Istanbul to visit Ephesus and Pamukkale (with one night in Pamukkale included in the rates).

How to get to Selçuk

By bus

It takes about 8h45 to go from Istanbul to Selçuk. Be careful, there are many bus stations in Istanbul, soit is better to choose the station closest to your hotel (google maps is your friend)

There are night buses if you want to save a night in a hotel

Look for bus schedules on: http: // (which sells tickets from different companies) and (which sells tickets from Metro Turizm). Both sites have English versions, so you can buy your tickets online

The ticket costs between 100 and 115 TL

Then, once there (in Istanbul), find one of the offices of these companies and buy the tickets (their websites aren’t translated into English)

By plane

Istanbul => Izmir

The closest airport to Selçuk is IZMIR

To get there, you can fly from Istanbul, from 14€ one way (between 98TL and 105TL one way)

Becareful, there are two airports in Istanbul, the closest is IST (7km from the city) and the farthest (30km from the city) is SAW

It’s up to you to see which airport and which flight suits you best

Izmir => Selçuk

From Izmir, you can take the Havas shuttle bus which is right in front of Izmir airport, to : KUŞADASI – SÖKE

The Havas shuttle bus is just outside the Izmir airport

The trip takes about 1 hour. Tell the driver that you are stopping in Selçuk (the bus will stop in Selçuk anyway, but it is better to tell the driver). The trip will cost you 30TL. You can check the schedule of this bus by clicking on the image below

Havas bus schedules


Le Routard mentions that there is a train that goes directly from Izmir airport to Selçuk but in 2018 this line is no longer available.

Either you opt for a cab (count 100TL for the trip), but ask beforehand if the driver agrees to go, it is still far

Option 2: Istanbul => Izmir => Selçuk

Another, simpler option is to opt for a flight with Atlas Global
This company offers free buses to their customers, whether it is for

  • go to the airport and take a flight with them (from one of the pick-up points specified on their site, at the time they indicate here)
  • or depart from the airport to one of the destinations mentioned here

Unfortunately, for Selçuk, there is only one flight from Istanbul which leaves at 8:20 pm and arrives at 9:20 pm (implying that you are obliged to sleep in Selçuk and visit Ephesus the next day). Also, fares are more expensive (161TL vs. a hundred TL with other companies)

How to go from Selçuk to Ephesus?

  • Either you walk (about 3km uphill for about 45 minutes)
  • Either you take a cab (if the driver puts the meter on it must cost you max 12TL)
  • Either you take, from the Selçuk otogar (otogar Selcuk on Google Maps to know where it is), one of the many mini buses (dolmus) for 3TL/person. Departure every 20 minutes. Note: the dolmus (pronounced dolmouche) can be turquoise like this, or white. You have to look at the names of the destinations marked on the windshield

What to visit in Ephesus?

Check out our Ephesus trip logbook here to see pictures of places of interest

Ephesus (Turkey) in a backpack – Travel Diary


And after Ephesus?

Here are the bus schedules for the other destinations

Have a nice trip!

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