Discover Northern Turkey: Day Trips From Istanbul | The huge city of Istanbul is hugely diverse and thereâ€™s plenty to see within the city, but hereâ€™s some sites to visit if you have an extra day or two.
From the northwestern city of Edirne to the fishing towns on the black sea and historic monuments on the Dardanelle Strait, there is a lot to discover in Northern Turkey. Many tours of Turkey leave from Istanbul to explore the southwest and central Anatolian region but if you prefer to base your vacation in the multicultural city of Istanbul then you will still be able to make day trips to other attractions in Northern Turkey.
The first major city you will come to when entering Turkey overland from Greece or Bulgaria, Edirne was among the first capitals of the Ottoman Empire and was known as Adrianople under the rule of the Roman Empire. This historic city is home one of Turkeyâ€™s grandest mosques, Selimiye Mosque, and many decorative domes and minarets dominate the skyline, filling the city with the echo of their call to prayer. The city is just a few hours drive from Istanbul and hosts an extensive medical museum, Beyazid II Kulliyesi Health Museum, and oil-wrestling takes place during the month of June, which is a fairly odd spectacle that will make the journey from Istanbul well worthwhile.
Black Sea Villages
For a day out of the city you can head north to the quiet fishing villages and beach towns on the Black Sea. Either join a Black sea village tour from Istanbul or rent a car and cruise the scenic coastal road between Garipce, Rumelifeneri and Rumeli Kavagi at your own leisure. Rumelifeneri sits on the western banks of the Bosphorus Strait at the point where the channel meats the Black sea, so you can also travel by ferry from Eminonu along the Bosphorus Strait, there are some fantastic photo spots in this interesting location. The humble villages in this area survive mostly on sea trade and fishing and you can taste some local dishes in one of the basic seaside restaurants.
Kilyos & Suma Beach
During the hot summer months the best day trip from Istanbul is to the refreshing Black Sea beaches, sunbathing and swimming on chilled out Kilyos Beach. Popular among local Istanbulites who flock to the golden sand beaches each weekend. Suma Beach is also located on the Black Sea but with a lively beach club and dance floor in the evening the vibe is a little more party than tranquil. Young Turks and students come for the live DJ and all night beach parties.
In the middle of the Sea of Marmara and a scenic ferry ride from the centre of Istanbul are nine small Islands known as the Princes Islands. Now a popular weekend getaway or summer time day trip. These islands were once used to house disobedient princes who were sent to the islands by their fathers. Buyukada is the best known and largest of the islands, where Leon Trotsky was exiled to in 1929. The Princes islands feel like they belong to another era, with no motor vehicles and horse drawn carriages trotting past victorian cottages and 6th century monasteries. A day trip to the Princes Islands can be a welcome break from the chaotic city of Istanbul.
A visit to the Green City is quite a long one if you plan to return to Istanbul the same day, however the journey is a pleasant one, taking a ferry from Eminonu port in the centre of Istanbul and cruising across the Sea of Marmara as the lush green slopes of Mt. Olympos appear in the distance. Bursa was another early Ottoman settlement and the countryâ€™s main textile producer. With one day in Bursa you can browse vibrant bazaars for fine silk scarves and handmade textiles, enjoy a glass of Turkish Cay in the city centre and take a stroll through one of the large botanic gardens.
Ancient City of Troy
On the eastern banks of the Dardanelle Strait is an archeological site which is estimated to date back to the 3rd century BC. According to Homerâ€™s poem this ancient city, which has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times, is the same Trojan city where the Battle of Troy took place after Helena, the beautiful Roman Queen fell in loved ran away with her Trojan Prince. The ruined site is still under excavation and new layers of this ancient city are found each year. At the entrance is a huge wooden horse, the same one that starred in the Troy movie alongside Brad Pitt.
Anzac Day Tours 2017 can take you from Istanbul to the famous Gallipoli Peninsula where the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli took place in 1915. Traveling by bus to Canakkale then by ferry across the Dardanelle Strait you will arrive at the hilly peninsular where so many Turkish, Australian and New Zealand fighters lost their lives. On April 25th each year a memorial service begins at dawn, with tourists, relatives and political leaders gathering at the Lone Pine, Chunuk Bair and Turkish 57th Regiment Memorials to commemorate the WW1 battle. The rest of the year the Gallipoli Peninsula is uncrowded and on a day trip from Istanbul you can visit the main monuments and burial grounds, as well as original trenches and battlefields and even take a boat out of Anzac Cove to see an ANZAC warcraft rusting on the seabed.