Ephesus Terrace Houses
Clear signage helps piece together the confusing layout of the houses, which were in use for over 1,000 years. Particular highlights include: the grand marble hall with slender columns; bright frescoes of the Muses, the god Apollo, and the lesbian poet Sappho; gorgeous glass and ceramic mosaics; and elegant bathrooms and central heating systems.
Ephesus group tours and shore excursions generally don’t visit the Terrace Houses as the pathways are a little tight for large groups. A private guide can put the site in context and makes a worthwhile investment if you’re serious about discovering Ephesus.
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Things to know before you go
- Entrance to the terrace houses is not included with the main Ephesus archaeological site ticket. Pay the small additional charge on arrival or book a tour that includes it.
- The terrace houses are accessed by steps. Back carriers, not strollers, are the way forward when visiting with kids.
- While there is wheelchair access to much of the Ephesus site, the terraced houses are not accessible.
How to get there
The houses sit on Ephesus’ main hill, opposite the Temple of Hadrian, inside the Ephesus archaeological site. That’s just outside the little town of Selcuk, about a 12-mile (20-kilometer) drive northeast of the Aegean coast cruise port and resort town of Kusadasi. The nearest airport, Izmir, lies about a 37-mile (60-kilometer) drive to the north.
When to get there
Like the rest of Ephesus, the Terrace Houses are open seven days a week, closing in the early evening during the summer season (April–October) and late afternoon in low season. They are less busy than more photogenic sights such as the Library of Celsus, so plan your Ephesus route around the bigger ticket attractions.
Other Ancient Cities Near Ephesus
Three other Greco-Roman cities with UNESCO World Heritage status lie within easy reach of Ephesus. Hierapolis, a sacred spa town above the Pamukkale travertine hot springs, is around a 2.5-hour drive; the temples and theater of Aphrodisias, once capital of Lydia, can be reached in two hours; the hilltop city of Pergamon and its ancient medical center are also around a 2-hour drive away.
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