As wonderful as Istanbul is, sometimes you may desire a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Also, you may want to make the most of your time in Turkey by seeing some other incredible sights near the city. Here's a list of some of the best day trips from Istanbul, with a little something for everyone, from sun lounger to history buff.
Beaches Near Istanbul
There are a number of nice beaches that are an easy day trip from Istanbul. On very warm days they will be more crowded, especially many closer to the city. Kilyos can be reached by taking a boat to Sarıyer, then hopping a short bus ride from there. The beach at Kilyos has restaurants and facilities, as well as a lifeguard because it does sometimes have an undertow and riptides.
Şile & Ağva are about 90 minutes from the city. Our concierge at Hotel Büyük Keban can help you arrange transportation there or give you directions for the public bus. You may enjoy these broad beaches where you can walk the shoreline of the Black Sea.
The Princes' Islands
There are also beaches on the Princes' Islands, known as the Adalar, which have long been a popular respite from the city in the Sea of Marmara. No cars are allowed on the nine islands, but you can rent bikes or take a horse-drawn carriage ride for a relaxing, old-fashioned tour. Four of the islands are open to the public and accessible by ferryboat. In addition to fun in the sun, you can see architectural landmarks, walk in old pine forests and live life the way vacationers did hundreds of years ago.
Bursa, sometimes also called "the Royal Springs," is a modern city drenched in history in northwest Anatolia. It has been a bath retreat for its healing mineral waters for centuries, and Bursa was also once the seat of the Ottoman Empire. You can read more about Bursa on our special blog post devoted to this popular day trip from Istanbul and have our concierge help you with any travel arrangements to get there and back in one day.
Many people enjoy the ruins and history of İznik on their return from Bursa. İznik was known as Nicaea under the Greeks, and it is home to many old mosques and churches and a rich source of information about the Byzantine Empire.
Between Bursa and Istanbul, Edirne, formerly known as Adrianople, was also the capital of the Ottoman Empire. As a result, there are many beautiful mosques there. Edirne is also home to the Great Synagogue, recently reopened for worship. Savor a meal at a riverside restaurant along the Meriç River, take in the classic stone bridges and bargain to your heart's content at the Edirne bazaar.
Many people know the story of the siege of Troy and the famous Trojan horse, thanks to Homer's epic poem "The Iliad." The city of Troy was destroyed and built back up several times and still remains an active archaeological dig, as the city's layers keep being uncovered. This site is a must-see for history fans.
Another ongoing archaeological site is the ancient Roman city of Ephesus on the west coast of Turkey south of Izmir. The city was founded in the 13th Century B.C., and it was at one time a major Aegean port. There are numerous stunning arches and columns in Ephesus, as well as a stadium where gladiators battled and a tiered theater carved into the mountain. You'll want to allow a full day to see everything there.
If you have an interest in World War I, a trip to Turkey's Gallipoli Peninsula is definitely in order. It was the site of a huge battle for possession of the Dardanelles, a strait that controlled traffic between the East and the West. The battlefields are part of a national historic park commemorating the 100,000 men killed there. To reach both the Gallipoli historical sights and Troy, the town of Çanakkale is a good place to start.
With so much to see around Istanbul, you'll probably wish you had weeks longer to stay here. Never fear, Hotel Büyük Keban can be your home away from home whenever you come to tour the amazing sights of Istanbul and beyond. Contact us today to book your reservation, and we'll help you get set up for day trips around Istanbul that will provide memories of a lifetime!