If you have an extra day in Turkey and you wish to explore an offbeat place then look no further than Bursa. This city is located near to Eskisehir in the north-west region of Turkey, away from the eyes of the outsiders. It is rich in history and is also one of the largest cities in Turkey.
HOW TO REACH BURSA:
Bursa is easily accessible by road, ferries and airways. Hence, it becomes all the more convenient to reach this city. However, there are no trains to Bursa from any of the major cities. The best way would be to travel by Bus, as I had mentioned in my earlier blog post about Cappadocia about the highly efficient bus system in Turkey.
In almost every blog post I have mentioned about the highly efficient bus system in Turkey. And that’s exactly the same thing I would repeat. Buses are the most easiest and the most convenient way to travel to Bursa either from Istanbul, Izmir or from Eskisehir. Make sure you travel by Kamil Koc, from any of the major cities. I traveled to Bursa from Eskisehir by bus & it was just 3-4 hours journey.
All the Airports in Turkey have low carrier flights to this city. The name of the airport is Yenişehir Airport. If you’re arriving from outside Turkey then you will have to take a halt at an International Airport. The nearest one being the Istanbul Airport. Airways is the fastest way to reach Bursa from where you can hire a taxi or mini buses to reach your desired locality.
Istanbul operates regular ferries to Bursa. Hence this is another option for people who wish to arrive through Istanbul. However, It can get pretty hectic as one has to opt for several modes of transportation to reach Bursa after the ferry drops you off at the ferry station. Here are the ferry routes from Istanbul:
- Kabataş to Mudanya, from where you have to opt for a bus and then the tram to reach Bursa center.
- Istanbul Yenikapı terminal to Güzelyalı, from where you have to opt for a bus and then metro to reach Bursa.
- Istanbul to Yalova, after which a bus to Bursa.
Although, the time taken will be lesser, but the cost will be equal compared to the direct buses. And there are chances that you will not be able to explore this city in just one day due to tiredness or missing of any single mode of transportation.
Things To Do In Bursa:
1) Visit The Grand Mosque:
The grand mosque in Bursa is one of the architectural marvels during the ottoman times. There are several mosques in Turkey, however this particular mosque has a fountain inside for worshipers, which makes it unique and it stands out from the rest. One can find beautiful Islāmic calligraphy on the walls and the pillars, written during the ottoman times. The architecture inside the mosque is such that, there’s a huge transparent dome which throws soft light, which inturn dimly illuminates the entire mosque. This main aim for such a construction is to offer peace and a bit of privacy to the worshipers.
2) Tophane Park
For the beautiful view of the city of Bursa, Tophane Park is where you need to be. You can just stay here for sometime overlooking the city, with cool wind blowing over your face and observe the pace of the city. The mountains in the background add to the WOW factor, making it an ideal place to chill. Sometimes doing nothing is also doing something, agreed?
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This park also houses the tomb of osman gazi & his son orhan gazi, who were the founders of the ottoman empire. Turkish people visit this place from all over the country and pay respect to these tombs. These tombs are situated at the entrance of the tophane park, which makes it easier to explore the park as well as pay respect to the founders of ottoman empire.
Golyazi is a small village in Bursa away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. The people here are usually laid back and so is the vibe. There’s a beautiful lake, overlooking the mountains, where one can undertake boating or simply explore the ruins of the fort. Honestly, if you think that exploring all the places would be hectic then you can skip golyazi as there’s nothing much to do here except for a newly constructed mosque, a lake and a fort which is completely ruined & where you cannot go inside.
If you opt to arrive by ferry from Istanbul to mudanya, you will get a chance to chill by the sea for a while and explore this region of Bursa which is generally away from the Public eye. A nice stroll by the sea is all the therapy one needs to refresh the minds. Mudanya is a historically important town in Bursa, as a peace treaty was signed between Turkey and other European Countries in this place. You can spot the building where this treaty was signed. The cobblestone streets of Mudanya will take you to several historical buildings which were constructed during the Ottoman Empire. This city is picturesque so make sure to click lots many pictures.
The best is reserved for the last. This village which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must visit place and my favourite out of all the other places in Bursa. The architecture of the village is spell-binding as they have still maintained the construction beautifully. The entire village was made up of wood & stone during the ottoman empire i.e many years ago, and even today it remains the same. The houses, shops and even the routes in this village are all constructed with the help of wood & stones. This village has been an important historical site for the ottoman empire. Although the houses need to be restored from time to time, but even today you can find people living in those old houses.
HOW TO SPEND THE DAY:
- Start early in the morning at around 6-7 am.
- If you’re coming from Eskisehir or Izmir then first start exploring Golyazi. This place would take not more than an hour to explore. If you’re coming from Istanbul, then start from Mudanya. Allot one hour for Mudanya.
- After exploring Golyazi, head straight to Mudanya, where you can relax by the sea face. There are plenty of cafes right opposite the sea front to gorge on some food for lunch.
- On leaving Mudanya, head to the Bursa city center, where the Tophane Park & the Grand Mosque is located. The great thing about these places are that they are situated near to each other & hence you can walk down to both these places amidst the bustling city of Bursa. An hour is all that you’ll need to explore the city center.
- At the end, head to Cumalikizik village. This village will take almost 2 hours to explore as one has to walk everywhere in the village. There are no modes of transport inside this village as streets are narrow and only one person can walk through the streets at a time.
- On exploring all these places, you can continue with your journey.
Accommodation: There will be no accommodation cost.
Transportation: As exploring Bursa takes just one day, the major cost will only be the transportation cost. Bursa has a train which takes you to most of the places and is a cheapest way to explore the city. Get the metro map here. Don’t be overwhelmed by the map as Bursa city center is located on the blue & the green line as per the map. However, to to visit the Cumalikizik village one has to take a dolmus (mini buses) which can be found at Bursa City Center Kent Meydani, next to Kent Mall.
To arrive from Mudanya ferry point, use Bus 1/M till the metro station at Emek (Check the map) and get down at Şehreküstü Bursaray station.
Food: Cost of food will be approx from $5 to $10. Make sure to try the Iskender Kebap as it is unique to the city of Bursa. Check out my post about things to eat in Turkey for details. There are several street food stalls especially in the city center where you can find lots of options at a cheap rate.
Activities: Except at the city center (i.e. at the tophane park) all the places have free entry.
HOW TO ALLOCATE THE BUDGET:
Since you’re only here for a day, there are no costs incurred on accommodation. Also, the entrance to almost all the places are free of cost.
The best way to save money on the food is to eat at the local stalls. That is also what the locals do. However make sure to try their Iskender Kebap.
Buy the Bursa city transportation pass which will be useful for buses as well as trams and metro, and will cut the overall cost of travelling inside the city. This pass will help in saving money. These passes can be found at kiosks near to the stations.
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