12 of the best day trips in the countryside of Istanbul
With thousands of years of culture and contemporary history, Istanbul is an attractive and enjoyable destination for tourists. During a one-day trip to the beaches of Istanbul, tranquil forests near the city and along the Marmara and Black Seas, and visits to two historic Ottoman capitals, you can create unforgettable moments. In the following, we discuss the best one-day trips for adventure outside of Istanbul.
A pleasant boat trip away from the city to the Princes Islands (known as Prince in English and Adalar in Turkish), popular with Istanbul residents and tourists alike with its historic mansions, beautiful views, small beaches, beach restaurants, seafood and laid-back island beach life Buyuk Ada is the largest and most popular of the four main islands Its hilltop St.
George Church and Monastery have their own charms, with its exquisite Greek Orthodox iconography and panoramic views of the grounds. Heybeli Ada, a neighbor with coniferous forests, greenery and its famous monastery. Burgaz Ada, with a beautiful view and Kinali Ada with beautiful beaches, although they receive fewer visitors, they have their own attractions. No cars are allowed on the Princes Islands, so be prepared to walk the quiet (but hilly) streets or rent a bike.
There are beach cafes and ice cream parlors and restaurants around the port of each island. Kalpazankaya, situated behind BurgaZ Ada, is known for its unique atmosphere, colorful tasting table, and delicious seafood. Yet, Heyamola Ada Lokantasi in Heybeli Ada is recognized as one of the best restaurants on the islands.
How to get to the Princes Islands: Municipally managed ferries depart from Kabatas Port to the four main islands of the Princes Islands and run from about 7am to 11 or 12pm in summer (less often than in winter). There are also several daily departures from Besiktas. Travel time depends on your destination and takes about one to one and a half hours. If possible, avoid visiting on summer holidays and weekends, as the ferries and islands can be crowded.
With an area of 13,590 hectares on the northern outskirts of the city, the Belgrade Forest (Belgrad Ormani) is popular with those who book a cheap Istanbul tour for walking, running, mountain biking and sightseeing. Most visitors stay near one of the nine nature parks within the forest, such as picnic areas, parking and other facilities. Exploring any of the dozens of trails will immerse you in the soothing green ambiance. Bring a GPS device with you while exploring, as the trails are not guided. Among the trees, you will see seven Ottoman dams, some of them very magnificent, dating back to 1620. Atatürk Arboretum in the heart of the forest has lakes, hiking trails and nearly 2000 different types of trees and plants.
Within the natural parks in the forest, such as “Ayvat Bendi” and “Falih Rifki Atay”, you’ll find traditional cafe restaurants and you will find very suitable places for family picnics. Ataturk Arboretum has a strict no food and drink policy.
How to get to Belgrade Forest: Start your journey by taking the M2 metro line from Taksim to Hacıosman station. From there, board bus 42HM to Bahcekoy, which will take you to the nearest forest. pon reaching Bahcekoy, you can explore the nearby forest or take a taxi to access more popular picnic areas. Keep in mind that arranging a taxi for the return journey might be challenging. To get to Ataturk Arboretum, get off at the Kemerburgaz Yolu bus stop, just before the village center. The entire journey, starting from Taksim metro station to the destination, takes about an hour.
Situated approximately 22 miles (35 km) north of Istanbul’s historic districts, Kilyos is a Black Sea seaside village surrounded by sandy stretches, drawing urban crowds, especially on summer weekends. The main beach, located at the bottom of the center of Kilyos, is lined with fish restaurants, cafes and ice cream shops. While the beach is free for public use, cleanliness can be variable. Efforts are being made to improve and maintain cleanliness.
Several beach clubs in the area charge a daily fee, providing amenities such as sun umbrellas and parking. Additionally, indoor restaurants and bars sometimes feature lively DJs at night. For tourists and budget-conscious visitors in Istanbul, Borc Beach stands out as one of the top options.
To reach Kilyos, take Bus 151 from Haciosman metro station; buses depart approximately every 30 minutes, and the journey takes about minutes. You can also use the bus to go from Taksim to Sariyer or from Haciosman Metro, from Kabatas and from Besiktas and then take Dolmus (shared taxi) to Kilyos Beach. If there is not heavy traffic, this journey takes about 1.5 hours.
Sile and Agva
The coastal towns of Sile and Agva, on the Black Sea coast, east of Istanbul, are a charming and peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The unique and prominent 19th-century lighthouse of Sile watches over the coastline close to the town center with its active fishing port and beaches on either side. Apart from the beach, Agva is best known for its two meandering rivers where you can go canoeing or fishing. The green forests around Agva have many hiking trails and waterfalls. If you want to experience more than a day of exemplary relaxation, both cities offer a variety of accommodations, including guesthouses, hotels, cabins, and camping.
How to get to sile and Agva: By taking a local boat from Eminunu, Karakoy, Kabatas, or Besiktas to Uskudar, you can travel from there by bus 139 to Sile or by bus 139A (via Sile) Buses depart approximately every hour. From Istanbul, it takes approximately three hours to reach Sile and 3.25 hours to reach Agva.
The mountain town of Termal is about 25 miles (40 km) away from the Sea of Marmara. It is known as one of the best places because of its hot springs. In the forests around this area, there are waterfalls, lakes and hiking trails. Thermal baths and other sauna and hydrotherapy facilities are among its main attractions. In the nearby town of Yalova, you can visit the Karaca Zoo and Euro Kusak, and a small seaside mansion that was once used as a summer home by Ataturk, the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey.
How to get to Termal: İstanbul Deniz Otobusleri offers several daily car transfers from Yenikapi to Yalova (approximately every two hours between 7:45 am and 9:45 pm). From Yalova, it is 8.5 miles (14 km) to Termal, which can be traveled by minibus or taxi. Travel time is about 1.5 hours.
The western border city of Edirne is the capital of the Ottoman Empire after Bursa and before Istanbul. This city has famous architectural works, and the design of many famous mosques and works of Istanbul were done by a famous architect named Mimar Sinan. In addition to the Suleymaniye Mosque on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Edirne’s cultural heritage includes a 15th-century hospital and medical school, a beautiful synagogue that was restored in 1906, and many other large mosques and small museums. The city is famous for the Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival, a very special Turkish sporting competition that takes place every year in late June or early July. There are also many hotels in Edirne to extend your stay.
How to get to Edirne: Many travel companies offer multiple bus services to Edirne from Istanbul’s main bus station (above the Otogar metro station on the M1 line). Travel time is about three hours.
Anadolu Kavagı, an old fishing village located on the water’s edge. To reach the final station of the Bosphorus tour, you must use the Istanbul crossing boats to Ozon Bosphorus Tour. The trip is about two hours, and on each side of the route, you can see an incredibly beautiful view of palaces, mansions, and coastal forts. Upon arrival, travelers have roughly under three hours to explore Anadolu Kavağı. Before returning, there is plenty of time for tourists to walk around and visit the remaining parts of the castle overlooking the windy Black Sea, as well as stroll through town for a bite to eat at one of the town’s harborside fish restaurants
How to get to Anadolu Kavagi: Daily tours with city boat company “Sehir Hatlari” start from Eminunu at 10:35 AM and return from Anadolu Kavagi at 3:00 PM.
A beautiful forest with lush trees is located in the middle of a natural park. The “Polish Village” in Istanbul was established by Polish immigrants in the mid-19th century and still has a small population of Polish speakers. Village attractions include a Polish church (St. Mary) and a cemetery along with a historic house that has been converted into a small museum of local memorabilia. Most buyers of Istanbul plane tickets come here to have breakfast or a picnic and barbecue at one of the many restaurants in Polonezkoy. There are several restaurants with Polish specialties such as pierogi alongside Turkish dishes. Walking through the woods on the parkour Yuruyus that starts at the edge of town is a great way to work up an appetite.
How to get to Polonezkoy: Depending on the traffic, it takes about an hour by car from the center of Istanbul to Polonezkoy. The nearest public transportation center is Kavacik, which is located on the Asian side of the city and near the second bridge. The taxi takes about 20 minutes from this point of origin to the final destination.
Yesilkoy and Florya
The coastal neighborhood of Florya is the location of Atatürk’s naval base. An eye-catching modern building with its foundations in the sea, it was used as a summer home for Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and now operates as a small museum. Nearby is the Florya Gunes Beach Club, and a little closer is the Florya Ataturk Forest, a large public park with plenty of play areas, picnic tables, trees, and walking and biking trails.
To the east of Florya, along the Sea of Marmara, lies the charming, village-like neighborhood of Yesilköy, a charming harbor on the outskirts of the city that hides historic wooden houses and churches in its small streets. (The 19th-century Latin Catholic Church of St. Etienne welcomes visitors daily.) The Istanbul Aviation Museum in Yesilkoy, on the edge of the old Atatürk Airport, has mostly open-air displays of aircraft and military equipment.
Yesilkoy and Florya are connected by a beach promenade and park where local families go for picnics or walks. This route passes through the Istanbul Aquarium, which exhibits more than 1,500 aquatic and terrestrial species; an old amusement park (Lunapark); and two small public beaches with minimal facilities and various places to rent bicycles, scooters, and pedal cars.
Yesilkoy and Florya Route: From Taksim to Yenikapi, take the M2 metro line and then take the Marmaray railway line, stopping at Yesilkoy (in front of the Aviation Museum), Florya Aquarium (near the aquarium), and Florya (near the Ataturk Sea Palace) stations. The entire trip takes less than an hour at most
Rumeli feneri and Garipce
Rumelifeneri fishing village is located at the northernmost point of Istanbul, where the Bosphorus strait reaches the Black Sea. The famous lighthouse of this village was built in 1856 to monitor the strait during the Crimean War. Nearby, there are the enduring remains of a 17th-century castle with waves lapping beneath its twin turrets and the remains of its walls. It is less distant from the castle in the village of Garipce, about two miles to the south. These two villages are popular spots for a leisurely breakfast or fishing for dinner by the beach for Istanbulites. Both villages also have small beaches, which may not be very attractive, but you will definitely see a lot of surfers on the beaches of Rumelifeneri.
The route to Rumelifeneri and Garipce: Bus 40 goes from Taksim to Rumelifeneri and stops at Garipce on the way. In addition, you can travel by metro line M2 from Taksim to Hacıosman station and then take bus 150 to both Rumelifeneri and Garipce. The one-way trip takes about 1.5 hours, but in case of heavy traffic (which is often), the second option is likely to be faster.”
Bursa is a large, modern, densely populated city and the fourth largest city in Turkey. A collection that preserves the important works of the first era of the capital of the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century, including large mosques, historical markets, and beautiful tombs of the first sultans. The hot springs of the area are transferred to some baths and spa hotels in Bursa. Uludag, or ‘The Big Mountain,’ looms over the city, offering skiing in the winter, hiking in the forests in the summer, and riding the world’s longest cable car at any time of the year. You can also take a one-day trip to Bursa; just read the travel guide to Bursa to make the most of your limited time during your stay. It must be said that the attractions of Bursa are enough to make a night’s stay in one of the city’s hotels necessary.
How to get to Bursa: Once you cross from Istanbul (from Eminonu and Yenikapi) with BUDO and İDO ferries, you will reach Mudanya in about two hours by sea. From Mudanya, take a bus or taxi about twenty miles to the center of Bursa.
Trakya Bağ Rotası
Black grapes have been cultivated since ancient times in Thrace, a region that today spans Turkey, Bulgaria, and Greece, and producers of Turkish grape-related products have kept this tradition alive. Twelve historic vineyards have been merged together to create the Trakya Bag Rotası as a way to draw attention to the region’s produce, as well as its cuisine, history, and natural landscapes.
Directions to the Thrace Vineyards Route: The main vineyard routes are around Tekirdag, Sarkoy, Kırklareli, each within a three- to four-hour drive from Istanbul. Several vineyards, including Arcadia, Barbara, and Vino Dessera, have boutique-style accommodations, and their lodging packages include food and drink.
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