Priene, Aristotle’s ideal city and a wonderful day out!

Priene is an ancient city located between Lake Bafa or Didim and the Dilek Peninsula. It’s a beautiful place to visit, and usually not too crowded — a perfect place to combine with a stop at Eski Doğanbey.

Priene Temple of Athena

Priene Temple of Athena

A little bit of history

The ruins at Priene may not be on top of many Turkey traveler’s lists; they are a fascinating source of information for anyone interested in city planning. Priene’s ruins have been studied all over the world, as they provide an unparalleled insight into what Hellenistic model city planning looked like. This city has been rebuilt from scratch in its current location at around 350BC. It was previously a harbor city that was no longer connected to the sea, due to the silting of the Büyük Menderes River Delta. The city plan follows the principle of the planning used by Hippodamus of Miletus. It is said that Aristotle himself thought of this system as being the ultimate plan for the ideal city. So, what if your primary interest isn’t city planning? Not to worry, Priene remains a fascinating place to visit for us humans who merely like to enjoy the peaceful setting and the spectacular ruins.

A Different Perspective

A Different Perspective

Inside The Episcopal Church

Inside The Episcopal Church

The Priene ruins consist of four terraces with an orderly grid plan facing the river valley, located on a slope of Mykale Mountain. These must be the densest ruins we’ve ever visited, probably because the enormous amount of buildings, public houses, and temples, were built on relatively small and challenging terrain. To give you a good idea of what this revolutionary city planning looked like, we’ve embedded a virtual walk-through of Priene, courtesy of the Foundation of the Hellenic World ©.

Priene today

If you visit Priene, you’ll see that most of the remaining ruins are visible on the second and third terrace of the city. And while plenty of buildings may have fallen to pieces, the original layout of the town is still evident. The ruins that are still standing are fascinating, and in between, it’s serenity at its best! The second terrace used the be the city center, with a marvelous square Bouleuterion, and the Agora as the main landmarks. While the Bouleuterion may look rather small, it had a seating capacity of 640 people. It is one of the best-preserved structures in Priene today. Past the Agora the West Street is fully preserved and features a substantial central drain.

Square Shaped Bouleuterion

Square Shaped Bouleuterion

West Street With Central Drain

West Street With Central Drain

You’ll find the most photographed ruins of Priene on the third terrace where the temple of Athena Polias is located, as well as the upper gymnasium, the Episcopal Church and the Theater. Alexander the Great paid for the Athena Temple, and during restoration works in the past century, five of the 66 columns were reconstructed, providing an impressive sight.

Temple Of Athena With Mykale Mountain As A Backdrop

Temple Of Athena With Mykale Mountain As A Backdrop

Pillars At The Athena Temple And The Büyük Menderes Valley Below

Pillars At The Athena Temple And The Büyük Menderes Valley Below

The Theater at Priene looks very well-preserved, although research indicates that there used to be 50 seating rows for up to 5.000 people. Nowadays, only the lower rows are still visible. Still, the Theater is a beautiful example of Hellenistic architecture and also showcases some individual seats with backrests for prominent citizens.

Priene Theater

Priene Theater

Detail Of The Honorary Guest Seats At The Theater

Detail Of The Honorary Guest Seats At The Theater

Practical information for your Priene visit

Priene lies close to the village of Güllübahçe, which is a small and pretty Turkish village where you’ll also find restaurants and even a bed for the night. Priene can be visited daily after paying a small entrance fee. The ruins are accessible from 8:30 am all year, closing at 7:30 pm from April to October and at 5:00 pm the rest of the year. The paths are well way-marked, and you’ll find information boards near most of the ruins. As the ruins are located on a rather steep hill, it is wise to wear good walking shoes and bring protection against the sun, as well as food and plenty of drinking water.

You reach Priene by car following direction Söke after leaving the İzmir-Aydın main road. Then drive on to Güllübahçe by following the brown signs to Priene. If you’re relying on public transport, check public transport to Priene options here. This is a perfect day trip from Kuşadası, Didim, or Bodrum. Combine it with lovely Eski Doğanbey and a visit to the Aziz Nikolaos Church in Güllübahçe.

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Remember:

  • Access to Priene is via a steep road. Wear good shoes and bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
  • Open from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm from April to October and till 5:00 pm the rest of the year. 

We’re all different people, so checking reviews on TripAdvisor is always a good idea! Just know we’ve visited each place personally and all photos are our own. So, basically, what you see is what you get. If you have any questions about a place, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Turkey is a perfectly safe country to travel, except for these risks. Still, you should never travel without proper insurance. We love World Nomads’ travel insurance. We love their philosophy and their take on responsible travel, but also the fact that they cover popular activities in Turkey such as paragliding or balloon rides.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

This is a perfect day trip from Kuşadası, Didim, or Bodrum. Combine it with lovely Eski Doğanbey and a visit to the Aziz Nikolaos Church in Güllübahçe.

Would you like to visit the area with a local guide? It’s a great way to have a guided tour while enjoying a more personal approach. Check out local guides for tours to Priene and surroundings here.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Some guesthouses are more special than others. Bahab Guesthouse combines a lovely setting with distant views and beautiful and clean rooms in a restored stone house. If you like a lovely sunset dinner, we loved the fresh fish at Gümrük restaurant!

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Remember:

  • Access to Priene is via a steep road. Wear good shoes and bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
  • Open from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm from April to October and till 5:00 pm the rest of the year. 

We’re all different people, so checking reviews on TripAdvisor is always a good idea! Just know we’ve visited each place personally and all photos are our own. So, basically, what you see is what you get. If you have any questions about a place, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Turkey is a perfectly safe country to travel, except for these risks. Still, you should never travel without proper insurance. We love World Nomads’ travel insurance. We love their philosophy and their take on responsible travel, but also the fact that they cover popular activities in Turkey such as paragliding or balloon rides.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

This is a perfect day trip from Kuşadası, Didim, or Bodrum. Combine it with lovely Eski Doğanbey and a visit to the Aziz Nikolaos Church in Güllübahçe.

Would you like to visit the area with a local guide? It’s a great way to have a guided tour while enjoying a more personal approach. Check out local guides for tours to Priene and surroundings here.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Some guesthouses are more special than others. Bahab Guesthouse combines a lovely setting with distant views and beautiful and clean rooms in a restored stone house. If you like a lovely sunset dinner, we loved the fresh fish at Gümrük restaurant!

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

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Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

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