Turkey // The central and southern Aegean //


One has to admire little SELÇUK. No more than a farming town only a generation ago, it has been catapulted into the limelight of premier-league tourism by its proximity to the ruins of Ephesus, the second most visited site in the whole of Turkey. Despite this, and its status as the burial place of St John the Evangelist, Selçuk remains an incredibly relaxed, easy-going place – swallows squeal and wheel from eave to eave, storks build nests atop Roman columns, and life dawdles by at a snail’s pace.

Selçuk has maintained its relaxed air largely because Ephesus is also very close to the coast – the overwhelming majority of visitors to the ruins base themselves in nearby Kuşadası. Unless you absolutely need to be by the sea (which, in any case, is less than half an hour away), Selçuk is an excellent travel base, with super-cheap accommodation, good restaurants and a pleasing, backpackery feel.

As far as sightseeing goes, Ephesus is not the end of the story – stay a couple of days here (or in Kuşadası) and you’ll be able to see the hill village of Şirince, the shrine at Meryemana, and Selçuk’s own array of antiquities, most pertinently those in its excellent museum.


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