Sirince, Turkey: Not Just A Pretty Base For Visiting Ephesus

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.

View of the hills surrounding Sirince, Turkey

This view is why Sirince is often called Turkey’s Tuscany

Mandarins in Sirince Turkey

Olives grown in Sirince Turkey

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.

Scene of tourists visiting Sirince Turkey

This is a Saturday in November, it would be much busier in the summer months.

Village streest in Sirince Turkey

Restaurant in Sirince Turkey

Shop in Sirince Turkey

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.

Entrance to Gullu Konaklari Boutique hotel in Sirince, Turkey

One of the suites at Gullu Konaklari Boutique Hotel

Every room is unique but each one is charming, luxurious comfort

Common dinign and living room at Gullu Konaklari

Beautiful lounge for guests of the hotel

Liunge at teh Gullu Konaklari hotel in Sirince Turkey

There is a fire lit every night in the cooler months which make a great spot to relax in the evening

The table is set for a romantic dinner

Dinner at the Gullu Konaklari hotel is a romantic and delicious experience

Dinner at teh Gullu Konaklari hotel

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.

 

Gullu Konaklari hotel pool

Gullu Konaklari Sirince Turkey

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

Market day at Sirince Turkey

Market at Sirince Turkey

Wine tasting at Sirince Turkey

Old world cooking at Sirince Turkey

Old world cooking at Sirince Turkey

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.

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