Turkey offers visitors a variety of attractions and activities thanks to its long history and rich culture. The charming city of Istanbul boasts numerous historical sights, museums, cozy pubs, and vibrant clubs. But after a few days in Istanbul, you might be curious to see what else is there to explore.
For instance, Princes’ Islands, Anadolu Kavagi, and Şile provide a perfect escape from the popular tourist spots. It’s also a good idea to take a trip to the ancient city of Ephesus, the vibrant Bursa, Pamukkale, and Çanakkale. See our guide below for more information on these beautiful locations!
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The Greco-Roman ruins of Ephesus, an ancient city, are located near today’s Selçuk. A legend says that prince Androclos built Ephesus to turn it into a new Greek settlement. According to a different tale, the Amazons, female warriors, were credited for creating Ephesus. Moreover, Ephesia who was the Amazons’ queen, was the inspiration for the name of the city.
Ephesus is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the massive Temple of Artemis. It’s one of the top-rated historical attractions in Turkey! Plus, the House of the Virgin Mary, found a few kilometers from the city, is a popular destination among Christians.
The Princes’ Islands are an archipelago southeast of Istanbul. The four main islands: Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, and Kinaliada are only about an hour away by ferry. For those who want to escape Istanbul’s bustling streets, this location is just perfect. There are no fuel-driven vehicles, so you’ll get to enjoy the silence and smell of the pine forests.
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One and a half hour away from central Istanbul, the charming fishing village called Anadolu Kavagi boasts a beautiful view of the intersection of the Marmara and the Black Sea. With its fishing boats, green hills, and wooden homes, Anadolu Kavagi offers a tranquil environment. What to do here? Take a stroll by the water, purchase delicious local products, relish freshly caught fried calamari at one of the restaurants, and climb Yuşa Hill to get a better view of the intersections’ blue and green colors.
It’s a good idea to visit the nearby city of Bursa which was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. Its main highlight is the gorgeous Grand Mosque from 1399. It showcases Seljuk architecture with 20 jaw-dropping domes and three doors. The central dome of this mosque has glazing covering it and a large fountain is located beneath it.
Looking for something more adventurous? You can ride the Bursa Teleferik up the Uludağ mountain. This place has a wonderful ski center you can visit if you’re traveling during the winter months. Along the journey, you can view the rocky mountain tops on one side and Bursa city on the other. The perfect activity for families!
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You simply have to visit the wonderful hot springs of Pamukkale. In the past, the area was used as a spa and a healing center and today, it’s one of the most visited locations in Turkey. How did the thermal pools form? Well, the presence of underlying volcanic activity caused hot water to rise to the surface. Furthermore, the minerals in the water solidified and ran down the hillside to form the white calcium ponds.
After seeing this wonder of nature, roam around the ancient ruins nearby. Check out the Necropolis, Temple of Apollo, Shrine of the Nymphs, Sanctuary to Pluto, the Theater, and St. Philip Martyrium.
If you want to take a break from city life, stop by Sile – the charming fishing town in Istanbul Province. It has gorgeous scenery, beaches, and restaurants that make a wonderful day trip. The old lighthouse from the Ottoman era is another thing that makes Sile popular. You can also visit the Castle of Sile, Kumbaba Hill, Aglayankaya Beach, and a hidden lake called Sakligol.
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Canakkale is a thriving seaside town in the Marmara region. It’s close to the archaeological ruins of Troy and the Museum of Troy. The site mostly consists of foundations, but the museum really helps you understand the complicated history of the ancient city. Nevertheless, movie lovers must visit the town square which displays the Trojan Horse monument that was used in the movie Troy.
Located less than four hours from Istanbul’s city center, Gallipoli Historical National Park near Canakkale was created as a way to honor the soldiers from the First World War. It’s situated on a clifftop with a view of the sea and is dedicated to both Turkish soldiers and Allied forces from Australia and New Zealand. The park features monuments, cemeteries, memorials, Ariburnu Cliffs, and Tuz Golu.
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Where can you go from Istanbul?
Top-rated day trips from Istanbul include:
Can you do a day trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia?
Yes, you can take a round-trip flight from Istanbul.
What is the closest city to Istanbul?
The closest city to Istanbul is Bursa.
How many days are enough for Istanbul?
Three days are enough.
What time do balloons fly in Cappadocia?
Before or after sunrise, usually around 5 am.
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