Travelers tired of the bustle of Istanbul can visit one of the nearby equally interesting towns or villages. You can get to the destinations described in the article by ferry, rental car or as part of an organized tour. We tried to find options for one-day trips, taking into account the different interests of tourists – the list includes both towns with history, as well as cute fishing villages and places for good shopping.

I will not advise you to go to Cappadocia, Troy or Canakkale, which is remote from Istanbul, since at least three days must be allocated for these trips. Instead, I will recommend those places that can be easily explored in 1 day.


Name in Turkish: Edirne

Distance from Istanbul: 235 km west

How to get there: by morning bus from the bus station in Istanbul Büyük Otogar, travel time – 2.5 hours. Buses depart every 15-20 minutes between morning and afternoon

Edirne – the second capital of the Ottoman Empire, formerly known as Adrianople – in honor of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Edirne is located near the border with Greece and Bulgaria. The city is home to the Selimiye Mosque, listed by UNESCO as the mosque with the tallest minarets in Turkey. The mosque was designed by the same architect who built the majestic Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul. The inner dome of the mosque is wider than the dome of the famous Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. On the territory of the mosque there is a museum of Islamic art with ceramics, clothing and woodwork of the Ottoman Empire.

Be sure to stroll along the streets of the old town of Edirne with cute wooden houses, and also go down to the Maritsa River to enjoy the views of the stone bridges and have a cup of tea. Worthy of mention is the local synagogue – the largest of its kind in the Balkans. At one time, the synagogue was abandoned, but the Turkish government allocated more than $ 2 million for its renovation, after which the synagogue reopened its doors in 2015. The undoubted plus of Edirne is a small number of tourists. You can find out about the most interesting places to visit in the city at the tourist information office on the main square of Hürriyet Meydanı.


Name in Turkish: Bursa

Distance from Istanbul: 155 km south

How to get there: by BUDO ferry to Güzelyalı, Mudanya or Yalova, and from there by bus to Bursa

A trip to Bursa allows you to combine a pleasant boat trip along the Sea of Marmara with a visit to the first and main capital of the Ottoman Empire – Bursa. Ferries from Istanbul to Bursa are comfortable, it is possible to travel by ferry with a car. Today Bursa is the 4th largest city in Turkey and the center of its automotive industry. Located near Bursa, Uludag Mountain is the center of attraction for skiers and snowboarders from Turkey and other countries. In summer, you can climb the mountain by funicular and enjoy the views from it.

Bursa is also known as a “green city” due to its abundance of parks and gardens. The old city of Bursa will please the eye with buildings from the time of the empire. We advise you to definitely visit the largest market in the city – Kapalı Çarşı, where you can find towels, bed linen and other textiles of excellent quality. Bursa is a non-tourist city, so be prepared to speak on your fingers – almost no one here speaks English. Restaurants and cafes here are much cheaper than Istanbul ones, and you can have a good and satisfying lunch for only 10-15 lira. The main attraction of the city is the Ulu-Jami mosque with 2 minarets and 20 domes.


Name in Turkish: Anadolu Kavağı

Distance from Istanbul: 42 km north

How to get there: by ferry from Eminönü port in Istanbul

Anadolukavagy is a small seaside village located at the intersection of the Marmara and Black Seas.

Its main asset is the small multi-colored wooden houses along the coast, as well as the ruins of the Yoros fortress. Here you can go hiking and climb to the historic fortress built in 1190 by the Genoese to protect the straits. After hiking, stop by one of the coastal restaurants for a delicious fish dish. A trip to the village of Anadolukavagy allows you to combine a fascinating walk along the Bosphorus with a tour of this place, which is so different from noisy Istanbul.

Cruise on the Bosphorus

Starting point: Eminönü port in Istanbul

If you don’t want to be too far away from Istanbul, take a day cruise on the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus Strait divides Istanbul into two parts – European and Asian. Bosphorus cruises allow you to explore Istanbul from the water and enjoy unique views of its minarets and palaces. The Bosphorus cruise can be taken for half a day or for 1 day.

Useful links for Istanbul travel