a VirtualTourist member
Hotel Bella has many, many positive reviews. Has anyone stayed there? Also the hotel offers free trips to Ephesus, and tours to other places such as Pergamum. I am not sure of the fee for these tours. How can I judge if the fee they ask is reasonable?
Ephesus is no more than 2 km from anywhere in selcuk, so a free trip is not a big deal. frankly, i would recommend you hire a guide to go thru the site so that the visit becomes more than "looking at things" and instead is a learning experience with explanations of what you are seeing. And DO pay the extra fee to go into the terrace houses, for which I have two travelogues on my page.
Agree with Nicolaitan, Efes is juz a stone-throw away from Selcuk.
We were in Ephesus the other year and since we have limited time, we did it on our own, but as mentioned a guide to explain the stories of the numerous highlights of Ephesus would be a good idea. We merely looked at those sights - we've read about it in wikipedia anyhow but a local's insight would be a great help and more historically enjoyable.
We walked from Selcuk to the back entrance of Ephesus - about 20 minutes - but finding out that it would take us a long time to start from the front entrance and a great hike to reach the House of Virgin Mary on the top of the mountain (never a good idea) - we saw this taxi driver who offered his service for YTL40 to take us (3 of us) to the House of Virgin Mary, Ephesus ruins and St. John Basilica - and he waited for us to finish all of those which takes about 5 to 6 hours.
Ephesus tour normally is free of charge from most pensions, hostels or hotels in Selcuk. We stayed at Cem & Cucu's friendly Urkmez Hotel and they too are offering this free tour, though we prefer to do it on our own.
Pergamum or Bergama is far from Selcuk/Ephesus, trip would be more than 3 hours and quite a nice place to visit, I was there too last year (or the other year?) and most of the time overlooked by tourists but a good place that has a lot to offer. Take a hike to the top of the hill passing by remarkable sights of the ancient ruin of Pergamum. Is it a free tour? Hmmm.. too far from Efes to be free?
Pamukkale/Hierapolis is nearer to Selcuk and also we did it, it's 2-hour minibus ride (available at the bus depot or from your hotel, ask for it, in fact they might offer it to you). The cotton castle of Pamukkale and the ancient city on the top of it is quite amazing, don't miss that if you have more time. Checkout my pages and some travelogues for details of our trip to those places.
We stayed here in Jan 2008 and we did enjoy it as a reasonably cheap but clean place to stay. We were picked and dropped off at the bus station which was good given that we did have a lot of luggage. The couple who ran it were very friendly and they did give us a free ride to Ephesus and to Sirince. We did not take any other tours with them so I cannot comment about the fees involved.
The best part of staying here was the fantastic breakfasts (I think the cook was a New Zealander) and the proximity to the main part of the town. We did walk to a number of good restaurants that were nearby. They have an upstairs section which had a couple of computers for internet use and you could sit up there by the fire and relax.
All in all I would recommend this as a reasonable place to stay.
PS I am sorry will have to put in my tips about this place.
We stayed there last year and will go back. The breakfast and dinner was very good. The owner will drive you to Epheseus and we just walked back through the orchard via the Seven Sleepers (we took the horse cart from Epheseus to the Seven Sleepers). We had a great day because we did it at our own pace.
Lunch at the one of the stands at the Seven Sleepers was very good.