We get many inquiries about what people can do outside of Istanbul – in particular for those who have visited this great city in the past. We have a whole host of ideas for unique getaways within a few hours of Istanbul; just let us know what your clients are interested in and we will work with you to create a wonderful, custom excursion tailored for them. Below is a sampling of ideas around Istanbul:
Near the Greek and Bulgarian borders and the previous capital of the Ottoman Empire, Edirne is known for some of the most beautiful mosques in the country. The Selimiye Mosque, which is one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture and considered by the most famous Ottoman architect, Sinan, to be his masterpiece design, is certainly a must see. As is the Sultan Bayezid II hospital and asylum, which is famous for the unique and advanced treatment methods for mental disorders that it pioneered over 500 years ago, featuring soothing water sounds, scents, and music.
The beautiful and green city of Bursa is the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and the place that gave the world the Doner and Iskender Kebap (a must try for foodies!). Bursa, which is surrounded by mountains, is within close proximity to Nicaea, of the “Nicaean Creed” fame, and easily accessible from Istanbul via a scenic ferry or a newly opened motorway which utilizes the world’s fourth longest suspension bridge (1.6 miles) over the Sea of Marmara.
Polonezkoy is a unique village founded by Polish immigrants and nestled in the hilly forests outside of Istanbul. It is a great place to spend the day horseback riding, biking, walking, hiking, and being with nature, away from the humdrum of the city life in this pastoral landscape. Beautiful boutiques with local artisanal crafts are a must-see for shoppers.
LAKE ABANT AND SURROUNDINGS:
Just two hours away from Istanbul is the serene Lake Sapanca, which is known for its great shoreline. Nearby, is the world’s second largest underwater forest where one can see the wildlife just under the surface. Further on from there is the pristine Lake Abant. If the locals are to be believed, Prince Charles and Camilla holidayed here for a little peace and quiet. Just half-an-hour further is the quaint town of Mudurnu, where the ruins of a Byzantine castle tower above the historic houses in this old village. You can even stay at a 160-year old, three-story residence as you take it all in!