Is it possible to visit Ephesus as a day-trip from Istanbul? If so, do you have any recommendations about how to organize the day and/or any recommended tour guides?
Hi Molly - The short answer is no.
I suppose its possible....flying into Izmir and then renting a car to go to Ephesus. The traveling alone...probably 12 hours.
I wouldn't even attempt it for less than for a 3 night stay.....otherwise you're spending too much time traveling....and too much hassle.
My family and I did take a cheap flight from Istanbul to Izmir and then rented a car. We enjoyed that part of the trip very much.
Ephesus Ruins located 359miles south of Istanbul and you have twho choices;
By overnight bus; There are overnight buses from Istanbul to Kusadasi and it takes 10-11 hours. Return bus ticket is around 55 Euro. Regular tours starts at 8:30am. Full Day Tour finish at 4:30pm. Price around 40 - 45 Euro
By plane; You can fly to Izmir Airport where is the closest airport to Ephesus Ruins. Then you can meet your guide and drive 1 hour to reach the Ruins. 7-8 hours enough to see Ephesus and area and to have your lunch then you can catch an eveing flight to Istanbul. Return flight is approx 80 Euro.
You can google search "ephesus tours from izmir airport" to find local companies for the tour and Anker Travel or Osman Turizm can organise your flight tickets.
If you choose an overnight bus, don't expect any more comfort than just a reclining seat.
So how do you manage to book a tour to Ephesus, but insist on avoiding the rug+souvenir nightmare?
I'm ready to book for a group of 8, but we might just go it alone since none of us would tolerate those shenanigans.