Bursa Turkey is located about 50 miles south of Istanbul. This is often one of the Istanbul shore excursions taken by vacationers while their cruise ship is anchored. You can also take the ferry from Istanbul for a day trip; there are two high-speed catamarans from Istanbul that take you to either of the ports in Guzelyali or Yalova. From Guzelyali, you can take a dolmus (shared mini bus taxi) or take the BursaRay metro; from here, Bursa travel is only a 15 mile journey. There are several sandy beaches along this stretch of coastline. While not as beautiful or popular as those beaches on the lovely Turquoise Coast, they are still quite nice.
If you drive from Istanbul you can make a stop in the city of Iznik, the source of the beautiful blue Iznik tiles that adorn the Blue Mosque and other mosques throughout Turkey. If you break up your Bursa travel with a visit here, you will find a lovely medieval town set beside a large lake. A longer stay in the city will also give you time to take the cable car to the summit of (8,343 feet) of Uludag (Great Mountain) for a panoramic view of the city below. There is skiing on this mountain during the winter months.
Bursa Turkey is often one of the overnight stops on the itineraries of tours that are on the way to or coming from Canakkale. While few people engage in Bursa travel for more than one overnight, there are plenty of things to do in Bursa that certainly justify a longer visit.
Things to do in Bursa include a visit to the city’s renowned Turkish baths and thermal spas. The minerals (primarily sulfur and iron) in the baths of Bursa are reputed to have health giving properties, and visitors have been coming here to “take the cure” for centuries. In the suburb of Cekirge are many baths dating to Roman times, as well as many Bursa hotels with spas.
Other things to do in Bursa include getting in some shopping in the many bazaars. Look especially for silk products for which the city is known. This city was the westernmost end of the fabled Silk Road trading route, and as such became one of the greatest medieval silk trading centers in the world, importing raw silk from Iran and as far away as China. If dining on traditional Turkish food is important to you, try the local specialty Iskender kebab, grilled lamb with spicy tomato and brown butter. While this dish is now served in restaurants all over Turkey, it originated in Bursa (Iskender is the name of the local chef who first created it) and this is where the best is found. You might also try the local candied chestnuts, peaches, and specialty fruit juices for which the city is known.
Bursa Turkey was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, and the grand Ottoman architecture that you see all over the country originated here. While sightseeing in Bursa you will see this architecture, especially in its mosques. Most beautiful is the Yesil Cami (Green Mosque) with its magnificent carved marble door. The largest mosque in the city is the Uli Cami (Great Mosque), which is one of the earliest known examples of Ottoman Architecture. There are also several excellent museums, including the Bursa Archeology Museum, Bursa Turkish Architecture Museum, and the Iznik Museum.