I am planning a long weekend where I plan to visit Ephesus and Pamukkale. I am looking for recommendations of places in that area that would make for a great backdoor experience.
Will you have a car or will you use public transport?This will make a difference to what you can do.Assuming you have a car(or bike?) you should defo include a visit to lovely Aphrodisias which lies an hour southwest of Denizli.This is much quieter than Eophesus,very interesting and the on site museum is superb.
The travertines of Pamukkale are backed with the ruins of Hierapolis as you probably know ,but just north of Denizli is the important site of Leodecia which you can now visit.
When you visit Ephesus be sure to spend some time in Selçuk itself.This idea lovely relaxed friendly town and the newly reopened Ephesus Museum is a real must see.Also in the town are Isa Bey Mosque,St.John's Basilica and the Roman aqueduct.From either of the first two one has excellent birds eye view over the site of the Temple of Artemisia and can understand the site far better than actually walking around it.
Saturday is market day in Selçuk and this is an enjoyable and colourful spectacle but the town will be very busy so you may want to save Selçuk Ephesus for Sunday instead.
15 minutes from Selçuk is the old Greek village of Şirince which is very pretty with it's mellow stone houses(many of which are boutique hotels now).However, this is a favourite for coach parties so maybe wait until mid afternoon to visit when all the buses have gone :)
Depending on how you do for time I highly recommend a visit to Birgi and Ödemiş,two small non-touristy towns lying along the Meander River.You can see some lovely examples of traditional wooden Ottoman houses here in the local style.
Assuming you start from Izmir your route could be ...
Izmir>>Selçuk Ephesus>>Karacasu for Aphrodisias>>Pamukkale>>Return route;Pamukkale to Ödemiş and Birgi via Sarıgöl and Kıraz>>Back to Izmir via Torbalı.
This would give you a nice,scenic circular route to follow.
Now you are going to reply this will be public transport aren't you haa haa!If it is then I can give you a workable plan for that too but it would not be quite as diverse as with your own wheels.
Thank you so much! This sounds perfect. We are arriving from Samos at Kusadasi and renting a car and will drop it off at the Izmir airport before we fly to Istanbul. I am a pastor so visiting Laodecia sounds superb! I am thinking a night in Selcuk, one in Pammukale and not sure the last night. Perhaps two in Pammukale to look around. Or two in Pammukale. I appreciate this so very much.
You're very welcome,glad it made sense to you :) I am pleased to read you'll hire a car;fuel is expensive here but rental charges are moderate and you will get so much benefit from a car so it'll be worth every cent.
As a pastor you'll find much to interest you around this area of the Aegean.Whilst at Ephesus you may be interested in visiting the House of the Virgin Mary which is located about 10 minutes drive from Ephesus up in Bülbül Dağı(Nightingale Mountain).I imagine you will have heard about this place of pilgrimage and,even though some may doubt it's authenticity there is no doubting about it's cool,shady,tree lined serenity.It will be very hot inside Ephesus site so this would be a nice place to spend half an hour cooling off.
Ignoring what I said about Birgi and Ödemiş for a moment;perhaps you may like to visit Sardis instead.This can easily be fitted into your route as it is located in Sart village close by the town of Salih which is on the main road half way between Pamukkale and Izmir.This is quite a large site and very interesting.
So this could still give you a circular route,just going to the north rather than the south of the Menderes River.Check all this route and the various place names on a map and you'll see they are all clearly marked and the route is very straight forward.
You'd be on good roads all the time,well maintained,well signposted(often in English)and easy to follow.
Thank you so much for your help. It has been invaluable.