If you’re looking for a change of scenery from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, then look no further. Istanbul is surrounded by incredible natural and cultural destinations that are perfect for a day trip. We’ve got you covered with our top recommendations for day trips from Istanbul.
Not Far from Istanbul (within 100 Kilometres)
Also, we have a guide that will help you to use public transport for day trips. Find the routes, schedules, and tips here: The Ultimate Guide to Day Trips from Istanbul with Public Transport: How to Get & Schedules (2023).
Belgrad Forest – A Green Oasis Near the City
Located only 30 kilometers north of Istanbul, Belgrad Forest is a perfect escape from the city. This lush forest spans over 5,000 hectares and was once the hunting grounds of the Ottoman Sultans. It is now a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a peaceful respite from the busy city.
The forest is home to numerous species of flora and fauna, making it a perfect spot for hiking, cycling, or simply taking a relaxing stroll. You can also enjoy a picnic in the designated areas, or have a meal or a cup of coffee at one of the cafes.
Princes’ Islands – A Glimpse of Paradise Near Istanbul
The Prince Islands, located off the coast of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara, are a group of nine small islands that offer a glimpse of paradise near the city. The islands are car-free, making them an ideal destination for cycling, walking, or taking a horse-drawn carriage ride. Visitors can also swim in the crystal-clear waters of the sea or relax on the sandy beaches.
The islands have a rich history, with many buildings dating back to the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. You can visit historic monasteries and churches, such as the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. George, or explore the grand mansions built by wealthy Istanbulites in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Want to find more things to do on Princess Islands and choose the right island? Read our guide. To find info on how to get to Princes’ Islands, click here.
Kilyos – A Seaside Resort Near Istanbul
Kilyos is a small seaside resort town located on the Black Sea coast, about 35 kilometers north of Istanbul. It is known for its long sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, which make it a popular destination for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Kilyos has a rich history, with archaeological finds suggesting that it was inhabited as early as the 7th century BC.
You can visit the Kilyos Castle, which was built by the Byzantines in the 12th century and later rebuilt by the Ottomans. The castle offers a panoramic view of the coastline and the sea.
Anadolu Kavagi – A Picturesque Fishing Village
Anadolu Kavagi is a charming fishing village located on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, about 30 kilometers from Istanbul. It is known for its picturesque scenery, with traditional wooden houses lining the narrow streets and fishing boats bobbing in the harbor.
The village has a long history, with many ancient ruins and historic landmarks, such as the Yoros Castle, a Byzantine fortress that dates back to the 5th century. You can also take a hike up to the hilltop, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Bosphorus and the Black Sea.
Sile and Ağva – Coastal Towns with a Rich History
Sile and Ağva are two coastal towns located on the Black Sea coast, about 70 kilometers east of Istanbul. Sile is known for its lighthouse, which was built in the early 19th century and is one of the oldest lighthouses in Turkey. The town is also famous for its handmade lace, which is produced by local women using traditional techniques.
Ağva is a small town located at the confluence of two rivers, and it is known for its natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere. You can take a walk along the riverside, explore the ancient ruins, or simply relax in one of the many cafes and restaurants.
Golden Horn – A Natural Harbor with a Rich History
The Golden Horn is a natural harbor located on the European side of Istanbul. It is shaped like a horn and has been an important waterway throughout history, serving as a strategic location for trade and transportation.
Not sure what to do near Golden Horn? We have a guide!
The Bosphorus is a narrow strait that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, separating the European and Asian sides of Istanbul. A Bosphorus cruise is one of the most popular things to do in Istanbul, and for good reason. The cruise offers stunning views of the city and its famous landmarks, including the Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, and the Maiden’s Tower.
Discover Istanbul with Unique Bosphorus Experiences
Indulge in the captivating beauty of Istanbul with one-of-a-kind Bosphorus experiences, such as a luxurious private yacht tour or a mesmerizing sunset cruise, providing an unparalleled opportunity to appreciate the city’s stunning skyline and rich cultural heritage.
Sapanca is a small town located about 2 hours east of Istanbul, nestled in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains. It’s a popular day trip destination for locals and tourists alike, known for its natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere. The town is situated around a beautiful lake, where visitors can enjoy activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming.
In addition to its natural beauty, Sapanca is also known for its traditional Turkish houses and rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore the town’s historic streets and buildings, including the Ottoman-era Sapanca Mansion and the Sapanca Culture and Tourism Center.
Polonezkoy is a small village located on the Asian side of Istanbul, about 40 kilometers from the city center. The village was founded by Polish immigrants in the early 19th century, and it still retains much of its unique cultural heritage. Visitors to Polonezkoy can explore the village’s charming streets and buildings, including the historic wooden houses and the beautiful St. Mary’s Church.
One of the most popular things to do in Polonezkoy is to explore the surrounding countryside. The village is located in a beautiful forested area, and there are many hiking and biking trails that visitors can explore. There are also several restaurants and cafes where visitors can sample traditional Polish and Turkish cuisine.
Termal is a small town located about 2 hours south of Istanbul, known for its hot springs and beautiful natural scenery. The town has been a popular spa destination for centuries, and visitors can enjoy relaxing in the natural hot springs and taking in the beautiful surroundings.
In addition to its natural beauty, Termal is also known for its rich cultural heritage. The town is home to several historic buildings, including the Termal Ottoman Baths and the Termal Turkish Bath Museum. Visitors can also explore the nearby Cumalikizik Village, which is known for its beautiful traditional houses and historic streets.
Long Trip from Istanbul:
Edirne is a city located in the western part of Turkey, near the border with Greece and Bulgaria. It was once the capital city of the Ottoman Empire and has a rich history and culture. Visitors can explore the many Ottoman-era mosques, palaces, and other buildings throughout the city, including the Selimiye Mosque, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In addition to its historical significance, Edirne is also known for its delicious cuisine, particularly its traditional Ottoman dishes.
Kilitbahir Fortress is located on the Asian side of the Dardanelles Strait, across from the European side where Çanakkale is situated. Built in the 15th century during the Ottoman era, the fortress was designed to protect the strait from enemy ships. Visitors can explore the fortress and learn about its history, as well as enjoy stunning views of the strait.
Bursa is a city located in northwestern Turkey, known for its rich history and beautiful natural surroundings. It was once the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and is home to many significant historical sites, such as the Green Mosque and the Bursa Castle. Visitors can also relax in one of the many hot springs and thermal baths located in the city, or take a scenic hike through the nearby Uludağ National Park.
To get around Bursa and don’t miss interesting things to do read our guide!
Unforgettable Bursa Day Trips from Istanbul with Local Guides
Iznik is a small town located on the eastern shore of Lake İznik in northwestern Turkey. It is known for its rich history, particularly its association with the Byzantine Empire. Visitors can explore the town’s many historical sites, including the ancient city walls and the ruins of the Iznik Tile Kiln, which produced the famous Iznik tiles. The town is also a center for ceramics and pottery, and visitors can learn about traditional techniques and purchase handmade items.
Selçuk is a small town located in the western part of Turkey, near the Aegean Sea. It is known for its rich history and many significant historical sites, including the ancient city of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Visitors can explore these sites and learn about their significance, as well as enjoy the town’s traditional Turkish cuisine and handicrafts.
Gallipoli War Cemeteries
The Gallipoli War Cemeteries are located on the Gallipoli Peninsula in northwestern Turkey, where a significant battle took place during World War I. The cemeteries contain the graves of soldiers from various nations who fought in the battle, and visitors can pay their respects and learn about the history of the conflict. The site also offers stunning views of the Aegean Sea and the surrounding landscape.
Çanakkale is a city located on the western coast of Turkey, near the Dardanelles Strait. It is known for its rich history and many significant historical sites, including the Çanakkale Martyrs’ Memorial, which commemorates the soldiers who fought in the Gallipoli Campaign during World War I. Visitors can explore the city’s many museums and historical sites, as well as enjoy the beautiful beaches and scenic countryside.
The Best Day Trips to Gallipoli and Çanakkale: All Is Planned for You!
Troy is an ancient city located in northwestern Turkey, near the Dardanelles Strait. It is known for its association with the Trojan War, as described in Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad. Visitors can explore the ruins of the ancient city and learn about its history, as well as visit the Troy Museum, which houses artifacts from the site. The city is also located near many beautiful beaches and natural attractions.
Şarköy is a small coastal town situated on the Marmara Sea, approximately 150 kilometers away from Istanbul. The town is known for its beautiful sandy beaches, clear waters, and rich history. Şarköy was founded during the Ottoman period and played a crucial role in the transportation of goods between Istanbul and other cities in the region. Today, visitors can explore the remnants of the town’s Ottoman past, including old mosques and markets.
Istanbul.Tips: Our Conclusion
In conclusion, Istanbul is not only a great city to explore but also serves as a gateway to some of the most fascinating destinations in Turkey. From the historical marvels of Edirne and Troy to the picturesque beauty of Sapanca and Şarköy, there is no shortage of options for a day trip or an excursion from Istanbul. Whether you’re looking to relax by the beach, immerse yourself in history, or simply enjoy the scenic beauty of the countryside, there’s something for everyone near Istanbul.
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