Ephesus Wheelchair Access Review
Ephesus is one of the more challenging Europe tourist destinations I have ever visited in my wheelchair. The uneven ground that slopes 1.3 km from the entrance to the exit is quite a challenge!
Ephesus wheelchair access ended up being so difficult that it was tough to enjoy it. I was so focused on not falling (and tightly gripping my handrims) that I couldn’t pay much attention to the sights around me.
I was the only wheelchair user I saw when I visited. We saw one completely able-bodied person fall to the ground (although I never did!) If I knew how tough it was going to be, I definitely would have hired someone to assist me….and Tiffany and I rarely need assistance.
Each tourist with a mobility impairment should decide for themselves how they want to visit….either
1) enter at the upper gate and travel the 1.3 km to the exit (route described below) OR
2) enter at the lower gate and travel over the relatively flat ground to the Library of Celsus and back.
My advice is that manual wheelchair users should only enter at the upper gate if they have 1 or 2 people to assist them. Electric wheelchair users should enter from the lower gate.
I gave the Ephesus ruins a 2.5 Star Sage Accessibility Rating. I rated it higher than a 2 star rating, because technically there are no steps. Because there is severely uneven terrain which makes it very unfriendly to wheelchairs I could not give it a 3 star accessibility rating. There are also very large tourist crowds, especially when there is a cruise ship in port.
to the lower gate (1.3 km or 0.8 miles)
The dropoff at the upper gate is 20 meters from entrance and costs 15 Lira per person. There is an accessible ticket gate (shown in the photo on the right).
The first part of the site, where the terra cotta pipes are found, is fairly flat.
The first 250 meters or so is over flat, smooth ground shown below. The gravel is firm and easy for wheelchair users.
Disabled access to the Ephesus Odeon is accessed by a large step…
….then followed by extemely wheelchair un-friendly ground and more steps. Disabled visitors can stay on the Curetes Street and skip the Odeon.
After the first wooden ramp the downhill begins and doesn’t stop until you reach the Library of Celcus which is 350 meters away. This 350 meter Curetes Street is the toughest part of the journey from the upper gate to the lower gate. You should probably stay on this street the whole time…there are plenty of areas off the street that are totally wheelchair inaccessible.
In both directions off of the Curetes street are uneven ground and/or steps. Fortunately, you can see the majority of the sights from the street.
You not only need to deal with a downhill slope and rough terrain, but there are also hundreds of other tourists including tour groups that stop while the guide is explaining something, often on the smoothest part of the road.
This video was taken on one of the smoother sections.
There are multiple ramps and they can get crowded.
These photos were taken about halfway down the Curetes Street.
The photo below gives an idea of the steepness of the street. The walls are level and the street slopes down to the left.
Approaching the Library of Celcus, there is a steep wooden ramp down to the ruins.
Disabled visitors have step-free access to get pretty close to the Library of Celcus (shown in the picture of me below!)
After visiting the Library of Celculs, you will turn right. After continuing 300 meters, you will need to go up the steep ramp shown below.
There is another ramp down, then a 100 meter street which is relatively smooth,
The last stretch is a 300 meter street with relatively smooth cobblestone leading uphill to the exit.
There is a wheelchair accessible bathroom near the lower gate.
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