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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Selcuk

Selcuk is home to many historic and cultural sites such as Ephesus and Remains of the Basilica of St. John. It's also a small and quaint town that's easy to explore with many affordable places to stay. 


Selcuk The Wandering Juan

I spent a couple of days here to explore all that Selcuk has to offer


Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Selcuk

Secluk is a town that is part of Izmir province. I was attracted to this town because of its proximity to many historic and cultural sites such as Ephesus, the Basilica of St. John, House of the Virgin Mary and other significant places in Turkey. It has a long and interesting history that mixes various influences from Greek to Byzantine to Turkish despite its small size. The town is small enough to walk around in and accessible to public transportation, which made it a convenient base to explore some of Izmir's attractions. It may be a tourist town, but I enjoyed the couple of days I spent here away from Turkey's big cities. It was definitely different from the bigger and busier city of Izmir, which I also went to as a day trip.  



Getting a Visa

A tourist visa for Turkey is relatively easy to get because of the straightforward process. I got mine at the embassy in Metro Manila. I also got an e-visa because I had a valid Schengen visa when I entered Turkey a second time. 


Here's a guide for your reference: how to get a Turkey tourist visa for Filipinos



Things to Do and Places to See

These are some of the things you can do and see when you plan your budget and itinerary for Selcuk.


Ephesus


Ephesus The Wandering Juan


Ephesus is one of the main reasons people visit Selcuk. This historic site is on UNESCO's heritage list. The Library of Celsus is a striking site to behold. I liked walking around the complex to admire the ruins. There is a theater that had a capacity of more than 20,000 and several statues and columns in various states of disrepair. Ephesus is also an important Christian site as it was cited in the Book of Revelation. 


How to go: Take the van or mini bus at the station, it has a sign that says 'Ephesus'. Fare is 5 lira one way.


Entrance fee: 120 lira


Terrace Houses


budget and itinerary for Selcuk


This complex provides you with a glimpse of how people used to live centuries ago. You can see remnants of rooms, decorations, art and others as you explore the museum. 


How to go: The Terrace Houses are in the same area as Ephesus. Take the van or mini bus in Selcuk station boud for Ephesus. Fare is 5 lira one way.


Entrance fee: 55 lira


Ruins of the Basilica of St. John


budget and itinerary for Selcuk


This Byzantine era church is centuries old. The ruins provide visitors with a glimpse of the past. The church was turned into a mosque when Ephesus was captured by the Seljuks in the 1100s. The ruins are only partially restored but it gives visitors a general look of its former glory. 


Entrance fee: 30 lira


Ruins of the Temple of Artemis


budget and itinerary for Selcuk


A bunch of rocks and one column are all that's left of this ancient temple in Selcuk. The temple dates back to the 6th century BC. 



House of the Virgin Mary


budget and itinerary for Selcuk


Located on a hill in the outskirts of Selcuk, the House of the Virgin Mary is a popular tourist and pilgrimage site. Traditional accounts cite that the Virgin Mary traveled to Ephesus along with St. John. The building dates back to the Byzantine epoch. The associations of the area to the Virgin Mary only started in the 19th century. Katharina Emerich, a German nun, had vivid dreams and visions of the house's location. She provided a precise location and appearance of the house. A French priest traveled to the said location and discovered the ruins of a church. The house then became a pilgrimage site.


How to go: I booked a taxi from Selcuk. I paid 160 lira for a round trip ride.


Entrance fee: I paid 60 lira to enter the complex, you can also leave a donation of whatever amount.


Ayasuluk Fortress


budget and itinerary for Selcuk


The fortress is just above the Ruins of the Basilica of St. John. This fortress dates back to Byzantine times. Other than the walls, the inside of the fortress is in a ruinous state. The fort provides visitors with good overlooking views of Selcuk and the basilica just below it. 



Bey Mosque


Bey Mosque The Wandering Juan


Selcuk is home to many Christian, Greek and Islam sites. Bey Mosque is an example of Seljuk-epoch architecture. 


Other sites you might want to visit when planning your budget and itinerary for Selcuk include:

  • Grotto of the Seven Sleepers
  • Remnants of the Byzantine Aqueduct
  • Ephesus Museum
  • Pamucak Beach 


Selcuk is an interesting place to visit, especially if you like history. 


I check updates regarding Covid rules here: https://www.turkishairlines.com/en-tr/announcements/coronavirus-outbreak/turkey-travel-rules/



Day Trips

You can use Selcuk as a base to go on day trips. The town is small and most accommodations are within walking distance of the bus station.


Sirince


Sirince The Wandering Juan



Sirince The Wandering Juan


Sirince is a quaint town that has a long history. I liked the ambience of Sirince. The cobblestone streets and traditional houses were picturesque. There are many cafes, restaurants and guest houses in this village. I hung out here for a few hours before my night bus bound for Istanbul.

How to go: There are regular mini buses or vans that travel from Selcuk bus station to Sirince. You can't miss them because they have a sign. Fare is 6 lira one way.  


Izmir


Izmir The Wandering Juan



Izmir The Wandering Juan


Izmir is one of the most populated cities in Turkey. It has a recorded history that spans thousands of years. It used to be called Smyrna. I enjoyed my day trip to this city. I went ot the bazaar and the Agora Park with ancient Greek ruins. The entrance fee for the park is 25 lira. The square and bazaar are lively areas where many locals and visitors go to. There are plenty of shops, hole-in-the-wall cafes, and restaurants.


How to go: You can take a direct bus from Istanbul, Goreme or Denizli to Izmir, but you can also take one from Selcuk. I paid 23 lira one way for a bus to Izmir. 



Getting around Selcuk

Selcuk is small enough to see most of the main attractions on foot. If you stay near the bus station, it's also easy to visit Ephesus and go on a day trip to nearby Sirince or go to other cities in Turkey such as Pamukkale, Izmir, Istanbul and others. There are also taxis which can take you to wherever you want to go. 



Where to Stay in Selcuk

You have options when it comes to accommodation during your stay in Selcuk. Private rooms are cheap and dorm beds are available as well. I stayed in Nicea Hotel, I booked a private room because it was just slightly more expensive than a dorm bed. The room came with free breakfast.


Here are some accommodation options during your stay.


Nicea Hotel: Rates and Availability

ENA Serenity Butik Otel: Rates and Availability

Ibri Hotel: Rates and Availability

Ephesus Palace: Rates and Availability

Urkmez Hotel: Rates and Availability

Rebetika Hotel: Rates and Availability

Ayasoluk Boutique Hotel: Rates and Availability

Boomerang Guest House: Rates and Availability


You can look for more accommodations in Agoda:





How to Get to Selcuk

By Air

The closest airport to Selcuk is in Izmir. There are regular flights from Istanbul to Izmir whether you choose Turkish Airlines or Pegasus. Tickets are affordable even if you buy them 24 hours before your flight. That's one of the perks of domestic flights in Turkey. Once in the city, go to the bus station, there are buses and vans that go to Selcuk regularly, fare varies from 35-50 lira. The trip takes around an hour or so.


By Land

You can also go directly to Selcuk from Istanbul. Fare is around 300 lira or so depending on the bus company. You can take the day bus or book an overnight ticket to save some money on accommodation. 


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Budget for Selcuk

Selcuk is an affordable place to visit and stay in. I decided to stay here instead of Izmir because of the lower prices and proximity to the places I wanted to visit. I stayed in front of the bus station which made it easy to go on day trips or leave for other places.


Here's a list of my expenses that might help you plan your budget and itinerary for Turkey.


Everything's in Turkish lira:


337 - 2 nights in Nicea Hotel

10 - Bus to Ephesus round trip (5 per way)

120 - Ticket for Ephesus

55 - Ticket for Terrace Houses

170 - Bus to Istanbul

14 - Souvenir

229 - Food and drinks

46 - Round trip bus fare to Izmir

145 - Taxi (Izmir)

25 - Ticket for Agora Park Izmir

30 - Ticket for Ruins of Basilica of St. John

60 - House of Virgin Mary

160 - Round trip taxi to House of Virgin Mary

12 - Round trip van ride to Sirince                           

1413 - Total for 3 days and 2 nights 


I had three full days in Selcuk because I took the day bus from Pamukkale and took the night bus to Istanbul. Selcuk is easy to navigate because of its small size. The attractions in town are within walking distance from each other with the exception of the House of Virgin Mary and Ephesus. I had enough time to go on a short day trip to Izmir to see some of the highlights of the city. Izmir is one of the biggest cities in Turkey with some noteworthy historic sites and a bustling bazaar. 


***Selcuk was part of a longer trip around Turkey. 


You might want to check out my other posts about Turkey:



Itinerary for Selcuk

Here's a sample itinerary for your trip to Selcuk.


*This sample Selcuk itinerary assumes you have four full days.


Day 1

Ephesus

Terrace Houses


Day 2

Day trip to Izmir


Day 3

Ruins of Basilica of St. John

Ayasuluk Fortress

House of the Virgin Mary

Ruins of the Temple of Artemis

Bey Mosque


Day 4

Day trip to Sirince


You can add or remove places from this suggested Selcuk itinerary, it all depends on your interests and how much time you have. It's possible to do Sirince as a half day trip after you see Ephesus or the other attractions in town. Sirince is a quaint small town that has traditional houses and shops, some guesthouses, and restaurants. The cobblestone streets and old world charm make it a noteworthy destination. You could also use Izmir as your base instead of Selcuk. It's a bigger city though with more options for entertainment, dining, shopping and others. You can just do two days, if you just want to see the highlights.




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