When we look back at our European travels I think it’s safe to say that Sirince, Turkey will make our top 10 list for charming towns. What we can already say without a doubt is that it would definitely be our first choice as a home base from which to visit the ancient site of Ephesus and the unique natural beauty of Pamukkale.
As with many events in life it is often the things we don’t plan or the places we don’t research that turn out to be our favorite memories. Is it because we have no expectations or is it just serendipity? I love that word btw and I don’t get to use it nearly enough!
Whatever the case, we are so grateful to have been invited to stay at the beautiful Gullu Konaklari boutique hotel on our visit to Ephesus last November. If we hadn’t been we would likely have stayed in the not nearly so quaint town of Selcuk and may have completely missed the lovely village of Sirince.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” ~ Shakespeare
Sirince means ‘pretty’ and it more than lives up to its name, although that was not always the case. The settlement dates back to the times of Ephesus and when people fled from the ancient city they settled in this area and named their village Cirkince which translates to ‘ugly’. It is said that they did this in an effort to keep others from coming to their new found utopia. Though this is a story that is not validated, what is known is that the Turks that were relocated from Thessaloniki, during the exchange following World War I, did indeed see the beauty and changed the name to Sirince.
These days there is no hiding the fact that it is indeed a very pretty place to visit. Sitting on top of a hill, surrounded by vineyards and orchards, it boasts exceptional views which often cause it to be called Turkey’s Tuscany. Also, like Tuscany, it too is known for wine and olive oil production which you can purchase and taste at stands throughout the village. The area is also a big producer of citrus fruits. We were there in the month of November and the trees were overflowing with delicious mandarins of which we ate our fill daily.
This view is why Sirince is often called Turkey’s Tuscany
Of course, as with many destinations, the downside to that beauty is that in the peak season summer months and on most weekends throughout the year the village is somewhat over run by day tripping tourists. At these times the sleepy little village turns into a buzzing hive of activity and can be somewhat disappointing if you were hoping for the former. To combat this avoid the weekends and stay overnight rather than just visiting for the day. Regardless of the time of year the evenings tend to revert back to the quiet village life of old and the charm once again shines along with the night stars.
This is a Saturday in November, it would be much busier in the summer months.
How To Get There
Sirince is only 8 km from the town of Selcuk which itself is an easy train ride from Izmir. There are minibuses which run hourly between the two and as there are also numerous buses that run from Selcuk to Pammukale and Ephesus, Sirince makes a perfect spot to relax overnight after a day of sightseeing. Of course if you have a car it is even easier.
Where To Stay
There are several choices for accommodation ranging from basic to deluxe and from B&B to hotels and most can be booked on your favorite booking site.
We were guests at the Gullu Konaklari boutique hotel which is tucked away in a peaceful corner of the village amongst gardens and fruit trees. There are three main buildings on the grounds. Two of which house guest 12 unique suites and a third which is home to the gourmet restaurant and common living room with stone fireplace. It is here where the included delicious breakfast is served every morning.
Every room is unique but each one is charming, luxurious comfort
Beautiful lounge for guests of the hotel
There is a fire lit every night in the cooler months which make a great spot to relax in the evening
Dinner at the Gullu Konaklari hotel is a romantic and delicious experience
Additionally, up on a hill 1.5 km away from the village is a small farm which is owned by Gullu Konaklari and is where much of the food is grown that arrives at your table. Here there is a pool for guest use and also a cozy stone cottage perfect for a quiet retreat. There is transportation provided between the two locations.
Many of the food items served at breakfast and dinner are grown and/or made at the Gullu Konaklari farm
What To Do
- Explore the village with its charming little streets full of stands, shops and restaurants and historic buildings
- Indulge in some wine tasting at several tasting rooms and stands throughout the village
- Shop for locally made wine, olive oil, spices and other food and crafts
- Visit Saint Johns Church on the hill
- Go for a walking or cycling tour of the surrounding countryside
- Just relax and enjoy the village life
Good To Know
Sirince is a small village and is easily walked but it is quite hilly and the streets are often cobblestone or uneven dirt. That being so it may not the best destination for people with physical challenges.
Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.