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Ephesus Day Tour from Istanbul - How much walking is required?

Hi - My wife and I are planning a day trip to Ephesus. We will have a toddler and my 68 year old dad who has had knee replacement. My question is how much walking is needed to see the ancient site? Are there benches/other spots to rest?

Posted by
4853 posts

I visited Ephesus as part of the Rick Steves Best of Turkey tour, stopping regularly for the guide to describe what we were seeing. We spent 2 hours, walking mostly downhill from the entrance we used down to and past the stadium to the exit. The walkway was a mix of crushed rock and uneven paving stones.

If you visit the residences, there are uneven stairs and metal walkways. One of our tour members had a great deal of difficulty walking through there and had to be taken to sit down.

I don't recall many places to sit and rest, except for the rough rock seating in the ancient theaters and ancient stadium. If you go into the stadium, you can stay at the lower level, or climb the uneven stairs to get a view from the top.

My travel friend, who is a bit younger than your Dad and had 2 knee replacements in the 12 months prior to our visit, did just fine.

Posted by
4010 posts

A day trip from Istanbul? It’s maybe 5 1/2 to 6 hour drive each way depending upon where in Istanbul you are. There is a lot of walking as Ephesus is absolutely fascinating yet I think the entire day would be too much for a toddler and especially the parent in charge of the toddler.

Would your father be comfortable in a car or bus that long after knee replacement surgery? There is uneven pavement too.

Posted by
6788 posts

A day trip from Istanbul?

I'm guessing OP meant a day trip from...maybe Izmir? Kusadasi? A day trip from Istanbul might require a flight...

To the question, like most large ancient sites, there's going to be more than a little walking. Ephesus is probably the largest, most visited ancient site in Turkey outside of Istanbul (and it's easy to see why). Lots of tour buses, people coming off cruise ships at nearby ports, they are set up to handle crowds. Most of the required walking is on mostly-level paths paved with loose gravel and large slabs of ancient marble (those might be a tad slippery if it's rained recently). The walking surfaces are not entirely uniform. It's not quite "ADA" accessible, but it's probably better than many famous ancient sites. There will be some stairs/steps and non-level surfaces. It's a pretty large site.

Posted by
255 posts

A daytrip to Ephesus from Istanbul can be done -- I have. You do need to fly. It's a very long day (and we did not have a toddler!), but if you get an early flight to Izmir and an evening flight back, it's possible, and I'm glad to have done it, having had limited time in Turkey and really wanting to see Ephesus. We arranged for a private driver to pick us up at Izmir airport and then return us to airport. What the others say about amount of walking is consistent with my recollection. If you have time try to see the museum in the nearby town of Selcuk as well as the site itself, as many of the artifacts are there. I should note that my trip used Istanbul's former airport which I think is closer to the center city than the new one is.

Posted by
239 posts

There are 2 entrances, one at the top and one at the bottom. People walk downhill through the site. Except for the Residences, the whole site is outdoors exposed to the sun. The Library, church ruins, and Stadium are closer to the lower entrance. Seemed like it was 2+ miles from top to bottom.

Posted by
7496 posts

I would say that Pompeii (which is even bigger) is more difficult, because of the chariot ruts in the old, uneven anyway, paving stones. But Ephesus is a close second for walking difficulty. I would imagine that a stroller, especially a folding -stroller (I mean with small diameter and tread-width wheels) would be difficult to roll while loaded. I would expect a lot of sun exposure, and few shady spots. I don't remember about water vendors.

I'm inclined to say there are some old walls to sit on, and I certainly remember sitting in the Roman public toilets (!) at Ephesus.

Like someone said, six hours each way in your rental car? Not a day trip. Our cruise ship stopped in Ephesus and in Bodrum, as well as Istanbul.

Posted by
22 posts

Hi all - Thanks so much for your responses. I meant day trip from Istanbul, which would require taking a same day flight.

Based on everything I read here, it sounds like it would be a fairly long day and given the uneven path, it may not be stroller friendly either. We decided to skip visiting Ephesus.

Thanks!