Terrace Houses

Sirince Aegean Coast, Turkey Book from Book from £99 per night

Delightfully restored cottages and terrace café in the leafy hill town of Sirince, near Ephesus and beaches
This place charmed us to bits. Why? Firstly, the houses: a cluster of 19th century cottages built by the Greeks before they abandoned this pretty hill town, and restored with lashings of love and personality by Anglo-Turkish owners Charlotte and Omer. You'll find reclaimed marble basins and claw-footed tubs, vast sleigh beds and snuggly sleeping lofts, cool Chinese lanterns and wrought iron chandeliers, strings of drying red peppers in the kitchens and clutches of fresh pink oleander by the bedside. These are cosy homes with character and history (which Omer can, if you want, tell you all about).

Secondly, the town: Sirince (pronounced shirinjé) is a cool, pine-ringed Eden perched 500m above (and several degrees below) stifling Seljuk and concrete Kusadasi. Admire stately crumbling townhouses, explore cool footpaths, barter for lace doilies, fruit liqueurs and painted ceramics with the gentle townsfolk - one of whom, the charming Aysel, serves silver-domed dinners and savoury breakfasts on the magical terrace. Oh, and one more reason: you're just 10km from the eastern Med's most impressive ancient city, Ephesus.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.

Highs

  • Its proximity to Ephesus is reason alone to stop over here; but come for a week, explore the beaches of Dilek and the markets of Tire, and you will really get under the skin of this fascinating area
  • You could not feel better cared for: Omer and Charlotte offer fresh elderflower juice on arrival, all manner of sightseeing advice, and personal introductions to Sirince's most trustworthy shopkeepers
  • Skip the self-catering: breakfast sets you up for the day, and the baked aubergines, stuffed peppers and tragana suppers round it off perfectly
  • The Clockmakers cottage can be booked exclusively or by the suite; allowing flexibility

Lows

  • Some cruise-boat coaches visit Sirince for lunch and souvenir-hunting, but mornings and evenings are all yours
  • The lanes round here are donkey-sized, not for the fainthearted and you can't drive to the front door
  • Rooms are snug and a bit wonky, but that's part of their charm (and of the strict preservation laws)
  • This is village living: no swimming pools, high-tech kitchens or TVs, but you do get WiFi, CDs and books
  • The Garden House is suitable for ages 10+ only

Best time to go

Spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) are ideal for, respectively, wild flowers and leafy hillsides, and warm seas without the crowds. Summer is also quite pleasant up here (500m altitude), though you do get more day trippers. And don't rule out winter: all houses have heating.

If you do come in winter, try and coincide with the January camel wrestling competition (no kidding) in Ephesus' ancient theatre: after processing through Selcuk to musical accompaniment, pairs of ceremonially decorated male camels wrestle for a female in heat!

Our top tips

Stay for anything from 3 days to a week, depending on whether you just want to visit Ephesus (allow the best part of a day for this, plus a day of leisure in and around Sirince), or to explore the area in depth.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Cottages
  • 4 cottages
  • Seasonal meals + basic self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Cooking lessons
Room: Grapevine

Rooms

Grapevine is the largest cottage and slightly more secluded than others (its setting allows residents to drive right to the door). A suitably vine-shaded terrace overlooks a leafy garden and a covered walkway divides the sitting room from the rest of the house, where a cosy kitchen awaits. The vast shower room is reminiscent of a hammam with cushioned seating, widely spaced basins and cymbal-sized shower beside a smooth marble wall. Upstairs the bright main bedroom’s panelled walls evoke a wooden rood-screen. Across the way is a second bedroom with twin wrought-iron beds and a ladder up to a snug kids' lair.

Fig, a stone's throw above the terrace café, has 2 bedrooms and 4 handsome shuttered windows looking out over the town. You enter via a private, fig-shaded terrace (set on 2 levels) and inside there’s a lovely ground-floor living-dining room with kitchenette (the smallest of all the houses). Leading off it, the bathroom is a good size with a claw-footed tub and a beautiful marble basin.

Clockmakers cottage, next to Olive, can be rented exclusively or by floor. Upstairs is the Harem Suite, which has a generous bedroom with sliding doors to the bathroom - gorgeous claw-foot tub. It has no cooking facilities but there is a small roof terrace. Downstairs the open-plan Hamam Suite features a large bedroom with steps up to a kitchen area, and a separate marble shower room.

Garden House is in keeping with the general tone of the houses but feels a little more modern. The comfy open-plan living-dining area has a well-equipped kitchen and a beautiful wooden staircase. Upstairs, each of the 2 double bedrooms has an ensuite shower or bathroom.

Olive is a 2-bedroom house is next to the main terrace (available winter only). Inside, a well-equipped kitchen and cosy sitting room offer thick stone walls and a hearty fireplace. The master bedroom has a grand four-poster bed, but the second bedroom is small, so we’d say it’s best for couples. The bathroom is downstairs, and features a limestone-faced wet room and unexpected corner tub and lions-head spout.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • CD player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Internet access
  • Radio
  • WiFi

Eating

Sitting down at the candlelit terrace table for dinner, with the sun setting behind an amphitheatre of tiled townhouses, and a gleaming spread of painted ceramic plates in the foreground, we knew that self-catering had gone out of the window. Aysel, the smiling magicienne of the kitchen, lifted the lids and - hey presto! We were assailed by delicious wafts of haloumi salad with pomegranate dressing, stuffed peppers, samphire, butter beans with tomato, fresh tzatziki and local bread (baked in the village). The beauty of mezze is that even if there's one dish you don't like, there are 5 you will (but, since they discuss menus with you, that's unlikely). Just remember to request dinner a day in advance.

Breakfast fresh and savoury - nothing fancy, just carefully sliced tomatoes and cucumbers sprinkled with oregano, crumbly cökelek cheese, ramekins of olives and jam, warm corn bread and brioches, plus Aysel's irresistible menemen (scrambled eggs with pepper and tomato). If that doesn't fuel you through Ephesus, nothing will.

Each cottage does have a kitchen, but given the terrace café’s delicious offerings (in season), we ended up preparing little more than the occasional coffee and snack. Note that the Harem suite lacks any cooking facilities, Clockmakers has no indoor dining area, and Fig only has a small kitchenette, but other than that all houses have well-equipped kitchens for when culinary inspiration does strikes.

If you fancy eating out, Sirince has lots of restaurants, from the pretty terrace of Ocakbasi to the grander Artemis, housed in an old school on the edge of the village. Ask Charlotte and Omer for their latest recommendations.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity: from pixabay, no credit required

Activities

  • Ephesus is what you've probably come for, and it's worth every mile of the journey: a huge rambling ruin of a 2500-year-old city which once stood on the seashore, boasting a huge theatre, the famous Roman Celsus library façade, fabulous villa mosaics, and countless temples, statues and monumental gates. Allow at least half a day
  • The Magnesia ruins are smaller and a bit further away, but still fascinating and much quieter
  • The nearest decent beach is at Pamucak, 5km beyond Ephesus - sandy, shallow and child-friendly, with drinks, snacks and showers available at the Dereli campsite
  • But, if you have the energy, it's worth driving the extra 45 minutes to Dilek peninsula and national park, which has 4 secluded, pebbly beaches and signed hiking trails through dense pine forests and across a mini-canyon
  • In and around Sirince, you can take a cooking lesson, go pony trekking, take a ride on a tractor, follow footpaths past friendly farmers, taste fruit liqueurs and browse beautiful ceramics
  • Midway from Sirince to Ephesus is the town of Selcuk: stop to visit the 6th-century basilica of St. John the Apostle, the museum (if you're keen), and the storks nesting on telegraph poles
  • Nearby is House of the Virgin Mary, a popular pilgrimage for devout Christians and Muslims alike

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Children are welcome; Turkey is a very child friendly and there is a very safe beach at Pamucak (25km).

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Olive and Fig would suit a couple with 1 or 2 children, while Grapevine and Clockmakers (exclusive rental), could take 3 or even 4 children at a squeeze. The Harem Suite can fit an extra child.

Baby equipment:

Baby cot available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Families Should Know:

The Garden House is suitable for ages 10+ only. There is 1 cot available but bear in mind that the houses are not really toddler-proof: no doors on the stairs, some stone edges etc.

Kid Friendly:

Location

The houses are in the small town of Sirince, which is 7km uphill from the market town of Selcuk. It's 10km from Ephesus and 80km from Izmir.

By Air:
Fly into Izmir Airport (90km), Bodrum-Milas Airport (140km) or, if it's part of a longer tour, you could fly into Dalaman (250km) or the Greek island of Samos (40km plus boat trip).

From the airport
You'll almost certainly want to hire a car for the duration of your stay (n.b. you can't take hire cars from Greece to Turkey). Alternatively, it's possible to book a transfer through the owners, and then to use the Selcuk-Sirince dolmus (minibus) for any local transport, or of course taxis.

Detailed directions will be provided when you book through i-escape.

More on getting to Turkey and getting around

Airports:

  • Izmir Adnan Menderes 90.0 km ADB
  • Bodrum Imsik 140.0 km BXN

Other:

  • Beach 12.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 5 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

If COVID has made you yearn for tranquil repose with space of your own, look no further. Each of the Terrace Houses is independent and you have outside space with a beautiful view over this pretty village, falling away as it does in a jumble of rooftops. Charlotte and Omar, the owners, have ensured there's plenty of time to sanitise the houses between bookings. The fresh, generous breakfast served on the terrace, is a definite highlight - mine included freshly squeezed pomegranate juice and a hot and spicy dish of eggs with peppers - and social distancing does nothing to diminish the warmth of their welcome. They're attentive but discreet and an invaluable source of suggestions and advice. If, like me, self-catering feels like hard work, the village has plenty of good places to eat. The local town is a 20 minute mini bus ride away (new buses with seatbelts) and from there it's a short journey to Ephesos, an archaeological gateway to the ancient world. Well beyond trite description, and I won't even begin to try. I have nothing negative to report about my stay, just lovely memories. Thank you to all concerned,

10/10,

We stayed in Fig Cottage in September 2020. There were very few foreigners in Turkey due to Covid, and we felt very fortunate to be amongst them. Sirinje is popular with staycationing Turks, so there were lots of day visitors but not many staying in the village overnight. The Terrace Houses are a labour of love - beautifully restored and cleverly adapted. Omar and Charlotte are delightful and well-informed hosts and even though the Terrace Houses restaurant is not open due to the small number of guests, Omar was able to recommend an excellent restaurant a few hundred yards away. Sirinje is a beautiful village and it was glorious to sit under the fig tree with a glass of wine before dinner. Wonderful breakfast too...

10/10,

We were there in October, a great time to travel in Turkey, with less intense crowds and heat. We loved everything about Terrace Houses. The owners, Charlotte and Omer, were very available and helpful, especially with the drive in, as the streets are narrow, crowded, and sometimes seem (but aren’t!) impossibly steep. We also enjoyed chatting with them in the mornings over a very delicious and classic Turkish breakfast. They gave us great advice about Ephesus; for example, go to the museum first! And don’t miss the Ephesus Terrace Houses within the site (an extra ticket), where we spent a good hour or more, awed by the well preserved details. They also recommended other nearby sites, such as a beautiful beach on the coast, or the astonishing and overlooked oracle of Apollo at Claros. The Clockmaker’s Cottage was lovingly restored, really beautifully decorated, cosy and filled with charming and sometimes quirky antiques. The bath was a rare luxury. Sirince village is a lovely alternative to the rather unremarkable Selchuk, but it is way overrun with tourists during the day. Enjoy it in the evenings, when you can eat well and explore the maze of streets. Don’t miss the partially restored Dimitros Church, a perfect look-out at sunset.

10/10,

We had a wonderful stay in this beautifully restored cottage. The breakfast is fabulous, as are the views. The owners are charming and really helpful. There is so much to explore in the village and surrounding area. It is a short drive to Ephesus.

10/10,

We (a group of 4 adults) stayed at the Clockhouse. We had driven from Izmir, and had no problems following the directions to the location, as given to us with the confirmation of our booking. Sirince is a very popular village for tourists (hence, crowded), and the “paths” around the village are very narrow for cars, which may prove to be a little difficult for some drivers. As advised by the hotel, we had parked at one of the public car park (“Otopark” in Turkish) upon our arrival at the village, and walked through the open-air bazaar/ shops to find the hotel.
The beds and rooms are comfortable. The room upstairs is a little quirky. It has a sliding door leading to the ensuite, with a toilet and bath, complete with a fireplace and shelves of books. The only “inconvenience” for us was the bath, as we prefer a standing shower. Other than this, everything else about the room and the hotel was perfect. Breakfast was included in our rate, and we find the traditional Turkish breakfast to be very fresh and delicious. The staff were very courteous, the view was amazing, and Omer was very friendly, and shared the same interest as us in all the amazing archaeological sites nearby. We have no qualms in recommending this delightful place to others who want a unique experience in their travels to this part of the world.

10/10,

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