Is Ephesus and Selcuk Safe? 16 Travel Tips to Know


Selcuk is home to Ephesus, St. John’s Church, Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of The World.  

Before the pandemic, in 2019, around 2 million tourists visited Ephesus, not counting the other tourist attractions in Selcuk. 

Millions of people visit Selcuk and its attractions and leave the town with good memories without any bad experiences. This guide aims to help you be one of them. 

As a Turkish local, I will give you a few tips on safely visiting this historical town with maximum fun and zero hassle.

Is Selcuk and Ephesus Safe?

Selcuk and the area around Ephesus are safe. In the daytime, you would encounter no problem. Yet, most tourists visit the Ephesus site in the daylight and leave. 

At night, some areas of the town feel deserted, and you would not be able to visit the attractions.

For nightly stays, I would recommend Sirince or Kusadasi. Not for safety reasons, but because they are more fun places to spend a night.

Selcuk is famous for its Çöp Şis, a smaller version of shish kebab made with lamb meat. We love it 🙂

Ephesus and Selcuk Safety Facts -Three Major Tips

While the Ephesus and Selcuk area is safe, there are three major safety tips that you should know.

Visit the Attractions Early in the Morning or Late in the Afternoon

Even in the winter, the ancient city attracts a high number of tourists, but every day after it opens, you will have a time when only a handful of visitors will be in the city.

The best time to visit Ephesus is early in the morning, around 9 AM, before tour busses arrive. 

If you miss the morning time, you may try late afternoon after most tourist busses leave.

Hot Temperatures

In Ephesus and around the Selcuk area, shades are rare. Especially in the summer heat, wear clothes to protect you from the sun and excessive heat. While visiting tourist attractions, there are no places to buy water. 

Bring some extra water with you, because ruins cover a large area and you may feel dehydrated.

Con Men

While pickpockets are rare in the Selcuk and Ephesus area, seasonal con men are operating around these places.

These men offer to sell ancient coins for a couple of hundred Euros or Dollars. While it is illegal to buy these artifacts, all of these artifacts are fake anyway. 

The coins are homemade artifacts with no worth. Yet, victims are hesitant to report them because this is an illegal activity and con men continue to operate by praying on the greedy tourists.

Ephesus is one of the biggest excavations in the world. Check my Ephesus guide to learn more.

Is Selcuk and Ephesus Safe to Travel for Solo Female Travelers?

During the daytime, you would encounter no problem in Selcuk and Ephesus as a solo female traveler. Turkey is generally a woman-friendly country, but Selcuk people usually are more hospitable and welcoming than Turkish cities. 

Is Selcuk and Ephesus Safe to Travel for Families?

Selcuk and the old town area are perfectly safe to travel for families. With many cafes, shops, and indoor attractions, you will face no problem in the Selcuk area. 

Yet, when visiting the Ephesus and other tourist attractions, I would not visit with my family, especially with children under a certain age.

Especially in the summer, heat will be excessive in Ephesus, and the cobblestone streets of Ephesus are not suitable for baby carriages.

If your children are not interested in historical marvels of ancient times, it would be better to select another activity. 

Camel Beauty Contest – Check my guide to learn more about Camel Contests in Selcuk.

Is it Safe to Drive in Selcuk?

Most tourists arrive in Selcuk and Ephesus by tourist busses. Driving in the Selcuk area is very pleasurable, safe, and opens more possibilities to explore. 

You may encounter traffic jams around the area on Sunday and Friday evenings because locals drive to their summer houses for a weekend retreat. 

The road conditions are near excellent throughout Selcuk district. It is very pleasurable to drive, and by driving, you access Ephesus early in the morning and rest on one of the beaches of Kusadasi when it is hot in the midday. 

If you wish to learn more about driving in Turkey, check my articles on 

The Temple of Artemis was one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Check my Temple of Artemis Guide to learn more.

Public Transport to Selcuk and Ephesus

You can travel to Selcuk and Ephesus with the Izmir Metro System. The metro is accessible from many locations in Izmir, including Izmir Airport.

If you have an electric scooter or folded bike, you explore the area without tiring yourself very much. Ephesus ruins are around 2 miles (3 km) from ancient ruins. Bikes or electric scooters may be a convenient way to explore the area.

Healthcare in Selcuk

Selcuk has a state hospital, fully adequate for all emergencies, and many clinics and pharmacies. The area around Selcuk is also well developed.

One of the best places to visit around Selcuk is Sirince. Check my Sirince Guide to learn more.

Dangerous Parts of Selcuk and Ephesus

Most of the dangerous part of Selcuk is its shop, with a diverse selection of souvenirs. You may buy more than you need. I, as a local, sometimes could not resist buying art pieces from local artisans.

Is Tap Water Safe?

Tap water is safe but is not accessible near tourist attractions. Also, as usual, tap water is highly chlorinated and mineralized. For this reason, it has a bland taste. 

You can use tap water to brush your teeth, clean yourself, and cook, but carry bottled water with you for taste and accessibility reasons.

You can check my article on the safety of Turkish tap water to learn more.

Security Risks

Ephesus and Selcuk are safe and approximately 1000 km away from the conflict zones of the Middle East. In my lifetime, I have not seen any conflict or terrorism fear in this area.

Turkish security forces have protected the area with extra care for many years because it is a vital place for Turkey’s tourism industry. You will see many police stops, not because there is a danger but to prevent the slightest risks in the area.

Natural Disaster Risks

Other than excessive heat in the summertime, there are no natural risks in the area. 

Turkey, in general, is in earthquake zones. In Selcuk, you may feel small earthquakes in rare times, but these earthquakes generally have no impact on daily life.

Is Food Safe around Selcuk and Ephesus?

Food is safe and good around the town, yet some restaurants do not have the taste that I am used to.

Do not use restaurants with no customers.  Good restaurants are easy to find because you will notice they are full of customers. Cop Shish is a delicacy of this town. It is made with sheep meat and oil slices. 

Check my other guide if you wish to learn more about Turkish Food and What to expect in Turkish Cuisine. 

Taxis

Taxis are safe in Selcuk. You may encounter some greedy taxi drivers. Some taxi drivers may resort to cheating tactics to increase their fees and even try to confuse you with exchange rates. But most taxi drivers are honest in Selcuk.

The most common taxi destinations from Selcuk are Izmir, Izmir Airport. Ephesus, Sirince, and Virgin Mary.

However, you only need a taxi ride to the House of  Virgin Mary, which is located on the hills.

You can go to Izmir Airport or Izmir with the Izmir Metro much more comfortably.

Ephesus is within walking distance. There are things to see on your way to Ephesus, but if you take a taxi, do not forget Ephesus 3 km (2 mi) away from the town center.

There are regular minibuses (dolmus) to Sirince. The fare is around 1-2 USD per person, depending on the exchange rate.

Check my other guide if you wish to learn more about Taxis in Turkey and the cost of taxis in Turkish cities, common taxi scams, and more tips.

How Much Taxis Cost in Selcuk

The starting fee of taxis in Selcuk is 5,50 TL (0,66 USD) and you will pay an additional 5,80 TL (0,70 USD) per kilometer. The minimum fee applied is 15 TL (1,80 USD).

The Turkish Lira value will change due to inflation, but you can always calculate a rough estimate of your taxi travel.

You can check the distance with Google maps and use the USD numbers above to calculate your rough taxi fare.

Example cost taxi calculation.

A 20 km taxi ride in Selcuk will cost you around 14,66 USD. 0,66 USD (starting fee) plus 14 USD (20 km x 0,70) for 20 km.

Taxi fees do not change day or night or for any other reason. [Source]

Last Word About Travel Warnings about Turkey

You may also wish to check the United Kingdom, United States Government, Australian Government’s travel warnings. 

Remember, these warnings are not prepared city-specific, and they are written for Turkey as a whole.

I do not agree with them because the warnings exaggerate rare instances and fail to provide basic advice specific to the location.

I tried to give you a local’s perspective on safety in Selcuk, which is home to Ephesus, St. John’s Church, Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of The World.  If you liked this guide, you wish to check other guides about Selcuk.

Efe Genit

I am a father, a passionate traveler, and a Turkish lawyer. You can enjoy my guides and tips about Turkey that only Turkish locals would know.

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