Quick Guide to Western Turkey

A short guide to the historic western coast of Turkey

Where to Stay

Selcuk

Selçuk is a town in the İzmir Province of Turkey, not far from the ancient city of Ephesus. It is a pleasant Turkish town where you can do things like eat at the foot of an ancient aqua duct, on which storks make their home. Selçuk is also a great base from which one can visit Roman era sites, such as Ephesus, or even take a day trip to Greece!

Homeros Pension

A small family run pension, Homeros was a fantastic place to stay. The host was amazingly welcoming, the pension itself is beautiful with all its textiles and antiques, and the roof top terrace has fantastic views of Selcuk and the surrounding landscapes. Highly recommended.

Pamukkale

A small town, Pamukkale pretty much only exists to service the tourists who are here to see the travertines and Hierapolis. There are shops, restaurants, tour and bus offices, and many places to stay.

Melrose House Hotel

A small hotel, about a 10 minute walk from the travertines and the town centre. As such, it is wonderfully quiet. The hotel offers good sized rooms, a pool, and fantastic traditional meals served on an outdoor terrace. Definitely Recommended.

What to Eat

There are many delicious Turkish dishes such as pide, kebabs, sweet fruits, olives, various fishes, and freshly made gozleme. There is even a Turkish beer called Efes (Turkish for Ephesus).

Hello

Merhaba

MEHR-hah-bah

Please

Lütfen

LEWT-fehn

Goodbye

Allaha ısmarladık

ah-LAHS-mahr-lah-duhk

Yes / No

Evet / Hayir

eh-VEHT/HAH-yuhr

Thank you

Teşekkür ederim

tesh-ek-KEWR eh-dehr-eem

Do you speak English?

İngilizce biliyor musunuz?

eeng-ee-leez-jay koh-noo-shoo-yor moo-soo-nooz

My name is...
Adim ….
Ah-DUHM…

Suggested Itinerary

Day One:

Morning – explore Pamukkale’s town centre or nap after a probably tiring overnight bus ride.

Mid-afternoon – explore Pamukkale and Hieropolis. Later in the afternoon makes for better light in which to photograph the ruins and the setting sun makes the calcified landscape glow quite prettily.

Day Two:

Take a day trip to Aphrodisias – unless you rent a car, the only practical way to get to Aphrodisias is via a tour. It is unlikely, however, that the group will be big (mine consisted of three of us). Bonus if you can get Laodicea included as a stop!

Note: The tour company you choose should be able to arrange your bus ticket to Selçuk. I highly suggest you make use of this as the tour guide would drop you directly at the bus station in the town of Denizli. This way you avoid going back to Pamukkale town centre where you would then take a local bus (which only leaves once full) to Denzili. It is a three hour comfortable bus ride from Denzili to Selçuk. I was even served ice cream as a snack!

Day Three:

Morning – explore the town of Selçuk or visit the nearby Pamucak Beach

Afternoon – take a dolmus (a minibus) from the bus station to Ephesus. They are clearly marked and only take about five minutes to get to the site!

Day Four:

Take a day trip to Priene, Miletus, and Didyma. You can do this via tour or by renting a car for the day. Several companies offer this day trip.

Day Five:

Take a day trip to the Greek island of Samos via ferry. However, if you have extra time, it is worth spending two days and one night here. At least!

OR

Visit the hill town of Sirince (famous for olive oil and other natural products) and the House of the Virgin Mary (both a Catholic and a Muslim shrine where Mary is supposed to have spent her last days).

Day Six or more:

Move further down the coast to visit Bodrum in order to get your beach fix!

 

Important Logistics

How to Get There

From Cappadocia, take the overnight bus to Pamukkale. Confirm where the bus will drop you as Pamukkale is sometimes serviced by a shuttle instead (i.e you’d be dropped off at the side of a highway. Be ready to jump quickly onto the shuttle if you want a seat. Slow movers have to stand slightly hunched for the ride to Pamukkale).

Traveling Solo

Western Turkey is very easy and safe to visit as a solo female. If you’re on a budget (i.e. renting a car is not feasible), there are day tours available.

When to Visit

April to June and September to November are the best times to visit – temperatures are more moderate and the crowds will be a little less.

Leaving Western Turkey

The closest airport to get to Istanbul or Cappadocia is Adnan Menderes Airport in Izmir. It lies about 55km north of Selçuk. The best way to get there from Selçuk is via train. It’s pretty comfortable and fairly cheap so it is a good option. The route passes through farming towns and pretty countryside. The train will drop you off right by the airport.