Istanbul, a vibrant city steeped in history, is undeniably a must-visit destination. However, the allure of the surrounding areas is not to be underestimated. In this comprehensive guide, we will uncover the best day trips from Istanbul, all easily accessible by public transport. With enchanting landscapes, picturesque villages, and breathtaking coastlines, these excursions will provide an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking a break from the bustling city streets.
Read also: Best Day Trips from Istanbul: Explore the Outside Beauty in 24 hours
Belgrad Forest: A Verdant Oasis
The Belgrad Forest is a sprawling, verdant oasis located on the outskirts of Istanbul. This lush forest offers serene walking trails, picnic areas, and an abundance of natural beauty, including numerous species of flora and fauna. The forest is a perfect escape from the urban jungle, offering visitors a chance to reconnect with nature and enjoy some peace and quiet.
Getting there: Take the M2 line to Hacıosman, and then change to the bus 42HM, 59RK, or 42 towards Bahçeköy.
Prince Islands: A Timeless Paradise
The Prince Islands are a tranquil archipelago in the Sea of Marmara, renowned for their car-free streets, charming architecture, and pristine beaches. Each island has its own unique charm, with beautiful Ottoman-era houses, historic churches, and monasteries. The islands also offer excellent opportunities for swimming, cycling, and horse-drawn carriage rides, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in this timeless paradise. Read more…
Getting there: You can reach the Prince Islands by ferry from multiple locations in the city.
Read our full guide to learn how to get to Princes’ Islands >>
Sail Away on a Dream: Princes’ Islands Cruise
Embark on an enchanting journey across the azure waves. A Princes’ Islands cruise offers resplendent vistas and the allure of the open sea. Revel in the luxury of a guided tour, eschewing bustling public ferries for the tranquility of a private vessel.
Kilyos: A Seaside Haven
Kilyos is a coastal village situated on the Black Sea, just a short distance from Istanbul. The village boasts beautiful sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife, and delicious seafood restaurants. During the summer months, Kilyos transforms into a lively resort town, with numerous beach clubs and events drawing crowds from all over the region.
Getting there: Take the M2 Line to Hacıosman, and then change to minibus SRY-04 or bus 151 towards Kilyos Merkez.
Find more beaches in Istanbul >>
Anadolu Kavağı: A Gateway to the Black Sea
Anadolu Kavağı is a quaint fishing village situated at the edge of the Bosphorus Strait, where it meets the Black Sea. This picturesque village offers a mix of stunning natural landscapes, historical sites, and fresh seafood. The village is also home to the impressive Yoros Castle, which sits atop a hill and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Getting there: Take the Marmaray to Üsküdar and then board a ferry towards Anadolu Kavağı.
Şile and Ağva: Coastal Gems
Şile and Ağva are two charming coastal towns on the Black Sea, located a short distance from Istanbul. Both towns promise pristine beaches, lush forests, and historical landmarks. Şile is famous for its iconic lighthouse and traditional handicrafts, while Ağva is known for its tranquil river, scenic boat tours, and lush greenery.
Getting there: Take the Marmaray to Üsküdar, change to bus 139A, and disembark at Ağva Yolu or Şile Üsküdar Caddesi. Fee is 60,50 TL.
Sapanca: A Lakeside Retreat
Sapanca is a picturesque lakeside town nestled between lush forests and the stunning Sapanca Lake. The town offers a tranquil retreat with stunning natural beauty, a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling, and soothing thermal spas. Sapanca is also home to the magnificent Kırkpınar Meadow, an idyllic spot for picnicking, taking leisurely strolls, or simply soaking in the serene atmosphere.
Getting there: Board an intercity tourism bus from Esenler Bus Station.
Polonezköy: A Slice of Poland in Turkey
Polonezköy, a small village with a unique Polish heritage, is a fascinating destination located just outside Istanbul. Established by Polish immigrants in the 19th century, the village has retained its distinct character, with traditional Polish architecture and charming streets. Visitors can explore the village’s history at the Polonezköy Museum, sample traditional Polish cuisine, and enjoy the surrounding nature and wildlife.
Getting there: Take bus 14M from Kadıköy Port Bus Station, switch to bus 137 at Kavacık Sapağı, and disembark at Polonezköy Muhtarlığı.
A Delightful Escape: Day Trip Tours From Istanbul
Yearning for an enchanting escapade away from the hustle and bustle? Choose day trip tours from Istanbul for an unforgettable experience.
Yalova and Termal: Thermal Springs and Natural Beauty
Yalova is a coastal city known for its beautiful beaches, lush forests, and most notably, its thermal springs. The nearby town of Termal is home to some of the most famous hot springs in Turkey, attracting visitors seeking relaxation and therapeutic benefits. In addition to the soothing hot springs, Yalova and Termal also offer historical sites such as the Yalova Atatürk Mansion and the ancient city of Argyria.
Getting there: Take an IDO ferry from Yenikapı or Pendik to reach Yalova, and then hire a cab to Termal.
İzmit: A Blend of History and Nature
İzmit, a charming city situated on the eastern shore of the Sea of Marmara, is an ideal destination for those interested in history and natural beauty. The city boasts numerous historical sites, including the ancient city of Nicomedia, the Orhan Gazi Mosque, and the İzmit Clock Tower. İzmit is also surrounded by lush forests and offers access to the breathtaking Sapanca Lake, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
Getting there: Take the M4 line from Kadıköy (Ayrılık Çeşmesi) to Tavşantepe, change to bus 200, and get off at Kandıra Sapağı 1.
Bursa: A Historic City and the Birthplace of Ottoman Empire
Bursa, a historically significant city nestled between the Sea of Marmara and the Uludağ Mountain, is renowned for its rich Ottoman heritage. As the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire, Bursa is home to numerous architectural marvels, including the Grand Mosque, the Green Mosque, and the Green Tomb.
The city is also famous for its ancient silk market and the healing thermal spas at Çekirge. Bursa’s location at the foot of Uludağ Mountain also makes it a popular destination for skiing and trekking. Read more…
How to get there: BUDO and İDO ferries operate approximately six daily trips from Istanbul (departing from Eminönü and Yenikapı, respectively) to Mudanya, taking around two hours. From Mudanya, take a bus or taxi for the final 20 miles to central Bursa.
Rumelifeneri and Garipçe: Coastal Villages with a Rustic Charm
Rumelifeneri and Garipçe are two enchanting coastal villages located on the European side of Istanbul, offering a rustic charm that is sure to captivate any visitor. These picturesque villages, nestled at the edge of the Bosphorus Strait, boast stunning views of the Black Sea, historic lighthouses, and tranquil harbors. The Rumeli Feneri Lighthouse and the Garipçe Castle are must-visit attractions that provide a glimpse into the region’s fascinating history.
How to get there: The 40 bus runs from Taksim to Rumelifeneri, stopping in Garipçe en route. Alternatively, take the M2 metro line from Taksim to Hacıosman station, and then transfer to the 150 bus, which also goes to both villages. The one-way journey takes approximately 1.5 hours either way, but the second option may be quicker if traffic is heavy.
Istanbul’s surroundings offer a treasure trove of exciting day trips for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion. With our comprehensive guide, you can now effortlessly explore the very best of what lies beyond the city limits using public transport. So why wait? Embark on your journey and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Q: How do I get to Belgrad Forest?
A: Take the M2 line to Hacıosman, and then change to bus 42HM, 59RK, or 42 towards Bahçeköy.
Q: How can I visit the Prince Islands?
A: You can reach the Prince Islands by ferry from multiple locations in the city.
Q: What is the best way to travel to Kilyos?
A: Take the M2 Line to Hacıosman, and then change to minibus SRY-04 or bus 151 towards Kilyos Merkez.
Q: How do I reach Anadolu Kavağı?
A: Take the Marmaray to Üsküdar and then board a ferry towards Anadolu Kavağı.
Q: What is the best route to Şile and Ağva?
A: Take the Marmaray to Üsküdar, change to bus 139A, and disembark at Ağva Yolu or Şile Üsküdar Caddesi.
Q: How can I get to Sapanca?
A: Board an intercity tourism bus from Esenler Bus Station.
Q: What is the best way to travel to Polonezköy?
A: Take bus 14M from Kadıköy Port Bus Station, switch to bus 137 at Kavacık Sapağı, and disembark at Polonezköy Muhtarlığı.
Q: How do I get to Yalova and Termal?
A: Take an IDO ferry from Yenikapı or Pendik to reach Yalova, and then hire a cab to Termal.
Q: What is the best route to İzmit?
A: Take the M4 line from Kadıköy (Ayrılık Çeşmesi) to Tavşantepe, change to bus 200, and get off at Kandıra Sapağı 1.
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