An Ancient and Delicious Road Trip From Bodrum to Ephesus
Going for a quick jog in the ruins of Ephesus (Gif: Annemarie Dooling)
Driving in Turkey is like playing a constant game of chicken. The right of way is almost always granted to whoever is the bravest (or the stupidest) driver on the road, and so renting a car is not necessarily an option for everyone.
But I live in New York, and I am a bad driver even in Manhattan, so I figured it couldn’t possibly be any worse to hit the road on Turkey’s southwestern coast. Besides, driving is truly one of the best ways to explore this country, which has surprises tucked on back roads and within valleys stretching to the sea — places you would never encounter on an organized bus tour.
It was the ancient city of Ephesus that I most wanted to see during my recent trip to the Bodrum peninsula—the Riviera of Turkey. While I did a round-trip drive in the middle of my five-day visit to the country, I would highly recommend that visitors to Bodrum do Ephesus on their way out. You can easily fly into the Milas-Bodrum AIrport and out of the domestic airport at Izmir, just 45 minutes from the ruins of Ephesus.
I left from the Maçakizi Hotel in the small (but insanely chic) village of Turkbuku around 7:30 in the morning.
It’s hard to leave such a beautiful place, but I was willing to do it for the allure of ancient ruins. (Photo: Jo Piazza)
My first stop was in the neighboring town of Torba, a tranquil seaside village with a sparkling sapphire bay. Breakfast begins at the Casa dell’Arte restaurant at 8 a.m. (practically dawn for visitors to Bodrum, who often dance until sunup). Enjoy a Turkish breakfast of cheese, olives, boiled eggs, sausage, tomatoes, and fresh bread with a strong black tea (coffee is often drunk only in the afternoon) as you take in the incredible view of the Aegean Sea. The hotel hosts artists from all over the world for a month at a time and allows them to work and exhibit their work throughout the property, so it is worth a stroll around.
When you get back on the road, it isn’t long before your sweeping views of the sea are eclipsed by winding mountain roads as you make your way into the foothills of the Beşparmak Mountains.