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From Istanbul for 1- 2- 3 days: what to visit, see and where to go (independently and with excursions)

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, which has a rich history and is famous for its sights.

When you have fully enjoyed the grandeur and diversity of Istanbul, a: visited, its palaces, mosques, fortresses, towers and museums, have a walk in parks and gardens, picturesque streets, squares and souks, down and examined the dungeons, admire the city from the viewing platforms, walked along the Golden horn and the Bosphorus, relax in the Hammam, rested in family parks and places of entertainment, before you there will be a question - "Where to go from Istanbul?". Hotels in Istanbul booking

Turkey is full of beautiful and interesting places, so Istanbul can be a good starting point for traveling, both in the nearby surroundings and places more remote from Istanbul, and throughout the country.

In this article we will tell you about the most interesting places where you can go from Istanbul for 1, 2, 3 or more days, both in summer or winter, and in the off-season.

You can travel around the country from Istanbul by plane, public buses, trains, rented car or taxi, as well as with organized excursions.

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Excursions from Istanbul

Where to go from Istanbul (independently and with excursions)

Princes' Islands

The Prince Islands (Kızıl Adalar, "Red Islands") are considered a suburb of Istanbul and are a group of islands located near the coast of the city in the Marmara Sea.

The largest are the four islands of the archipelago: Buyukada (Büyükada), Heybeliada (Heybeliada), Burgazada (Burgazada) and Kınalıada (Kınalıada).

There are attractions and beaches on the islands.

The islands can be reached from Istanbul by ferry.

Accommodation facilities (hotels, apartments, etc.) on the Prince Islands can be viewed and booked here booking

Belgrade Forest and Lake Sapandzha

For those who want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can go to the Belgrade forest or to Lake Sapandzha.

The Belgrade Forest (Belgrad Ormanı) is a large nature reserve located near the northwest of Istanbul.

Lake Sapanca (Sapanca Gölü) is a large freshwater lake that was a water channel connecting the Black and Marmara Seas.

On the shores of the lake there are settlements, including the town of the same name Sapanca with cozy streets.

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Anadolukavagi (Anadolukavağı) is a small village that is a suburb (district) Istanbul and located on the hilly green shore of the Bosphorus Strait.

Anadolukavagi is known for its fish restaurants, the remains of the fortress of Yoros (Yoros Kalesi) and the tomb of Yushi (Yuşa Hazretleri Tepesi), located nearby.

Accommodation facilities in Anadolukavagi booking

Coastal resort of Kilyos (Kumköy)

The coastal resort of Kilyos (Kumköy) is a coastal resort located on the Black Sea coast of Turkey.

The resort is considered the northern gateway of Istanbul.

The resort has sandy beaches with all the necessary infrastructure. The most popular is the Solar Beach beach club with a swimming pool, a cafe and where various events are held.

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Schiele and Agwa

Schiele (Şile) and Agva (Ağva) are two small resort villages located not far from each other, on the Black Sea coast of Turkey.

There are beaches, some attractions and museums in Shila, Agva and the surrounding area.

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Yalova and Yalova Thermal resorts

Yalova and Yalova Termal are two resorts in northwestern Turkey, in the province of Yalova.

The city of Yalova is located on the shore of the Marmara Sea and is primarily known as the thermal resort of Yalova Thermal, which is located in a mountain gorge and is famous for its springs with outdoor and indoor pools.

The basis of the Yalova Thermal resort is an arboretum park with rare plant species. The resort is also famous for the mansion built in 1929, where the first president of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, lived (now it is a museum).

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Bursa is a picturesque picturesque town located near Yalova, at the foot of Mount Uludag.

Bursa is famous for its mosques, monuments of the early Ottoman Empire, the Koza Khan silk market, parks and picturesque foothill forests.

The mosque of the city of Ulu-Jami (Grand Mosque) of the 14th century attracts attention with 20 domes and arches in the Seljuk style.

There is a small zoo and a water park in Bursa. You can climb the 15-meter clock tower of Nusretie and enjoy panoramic views of the city. It will also bring variety to a walk around the city and a visit to the village of Jumalykyzyk in the Yildirim district in Bursa, where the traditional village lifestyle and authentic architecture have been preserved.

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Mountain Uludag

Uludag (Ulu Dağları) is a mountain range located near Bursa. The maximum height reaches 2,543 meters (Mount Small Olympus or Uludag, also Keshishdag), which makes it the highest in Western Turkey.

In summer, hiking trails run through the mountain range, and in winter it is a major ski resort in Turkey.

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A trip to Yalova Thermal, Bursa and Uludag is good to combine and plan for a few days or even arrange a full-fledged separate vacation, since these places are located nearby and harmoniously complement each other, which will make your vacation more attractive and fulfilling.

So, in winter you can go skiing in the ski resort of Uludag, then stroll through the historical Bursa and finish the trip with a rest in the relaxing thermal resort of Yalova. In summer, - take a walk in the mountain range, then see the sights of Bursa and also complete the rest in the thermal baths.

There is a small airport near Bursa. Flights to Bursa →


Iznik, formerly known as Nikea, is a small town located on the eastern shore of the lake of the same name Iznik.

This former fortified settlement and its current main attraction are the remains of Byzantine fortress walls.

There are also mosques in the city, including the old Ottoman one.

It may not be worth going to this city specifically, but if there is time and you are passing somewhere nearby, then you can look in.

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Cappadocia (Kapadokya) is the historical name of a locality in the east of Asia Minor in Turkey.

Cappadocia is famous for its bizarre landscape of volcanic origin with rock formations, observation points, rock monasteries and former underground cities (Derinkuyu is the largest cave city, Kaymakly and Ozkonak), created in the I millennium BC.

Cappadocia is also a place where numerous balloons take off into the sky at dawn, creating a unique and charming atmosphere. Anyone can climb over Cappadocia by balloon.

The center of Cappadocia is the town of Goreme, around which the Goreme National Park and the cave settlements of Cappadocia are located, which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In addition to Goreme, tourists also stop in small nearby towns, such as Uchkhisar, Avanos, Ortakhisar, Urgup and others.

It is most interesting to live in Cappadocia in cave hotels, which are easy to find - the word "Cave" will be in the name of the hotel (but it is better to check this fact by the description and photos of the rooms).

It is better to visit Cappadocia for a few days.

It is more convenient to get from Istanbul by plane. It is necessary to fly to Kayseri (Kayseri Havalimanı) or Nevşehir (Nevşehir Kapadokya Havalimanı), and from there by taxi or public transport to the hotel. Flights to Cappadocia →

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Ankara is the capital of the Republic of Turkey and the second city in the country by population after Istanbul.

The city was founded in the 7th century BC, under the name of Ankira or Angora, and is one of the oldest cities in Asia Minor.

In Ankara , especially noteworthy:

- mausoleum, tomb of the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk;

- Hisar Fortress - built during the Roman Empire;

- the Kojatepe Mosque, built in the Ottoman classical style and has become the main symbol of the Turkish capital;

- Ulus district - the old city of Ankara with ancient mosques, ancient buildings and the rhythm of modern life;

- ruins of Roman baths and numerous museums;

- Atakule Tower, which is equipped with a restaurant and an observation deck.

Near the city there are the famous ruins of Gordion - now the museum "Gordion Museum".

There is a train station, a bus station in the city, and the Esenboga International Airport (Ankara Esenboğa Havalimanı) is located nearby. Ankara is connected by direct rail with Istanbul.

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Edirne, once known as Adrianapole, is located near the border with Greece.

The most important symbol of Edirne is the grandiose Selimiye Mosque (Selimiye Camii), which the great architect Sinan called "a diploma of his skill". Surrounded by a blooming garden, it includes madrasas, libraries, hospitals and baths.

Also notable in Edirne are the remains of the Edirne Palace (Edirne Sarayı); an ancient medical center built in the image and likeness of the Pergamon Asclepion; oriental bazaars and colorful streets.

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Izmir is a Turkish port city on the Aegean coast, which for a long time was called Smyrna.

Izmir is famous for its archaeological complexes, including the ruins of the Smyrna Agora (market square) erected by the Romans. Located on a hill, Kadifekale Castle (Velvet Castle), built in the time of Alexander the Great, offers a view of the city. And the main symbol of the city is the historical clock tower.

The city is home to the Adnan Menderes International Airport (Adnan Menderes Havalimanı).

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Troy is the ruins (excavations of an ancient city) on the site of ancient Troy: stone ruins and a copy of the Trojan Horse.

The ruins are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are located near the Aegean coast.

This is the city where the legendary Trojan War took place before our era. The city sung in his epics by Homer. A legend city and a monument city.

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The ancient city of Ephesus (Efes Antik Kenti) is located near the Aegean coast

Ephesus attracts attention with the majestic ruins of an ancient city with Roman and Greek temples, a theater and a library.

The most iconic object of Ephesus is the former temple of Artemis of Ephesus or Artemis Tapınağı, also known as the Temple of Diana, and included in the list of the Seven Wonders of the World.

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Travertines of Pamukkale, Hierapolis and Cleopatra's Pool

Pamukkale Travertines (Pamukkale Travertenleri) are natural thermal springs in limestone rock, erected on the site of ancient Roman baths. There are white terraces with fancy pools where you can relax in the hot thermal waters.

Hierapolis is the archeology of an ancient ancient city with ancient streets, ruins of an amphitheater, shopping areas, temples and educational institutions.

Cleopatra's Pool (Antik Yüzme Havuzu) is a thermal public outdoor swimming pool. According to legend, Cleopatra herself took healing and rejuvenating baths here, and now they say bathing in this pool rejuvenates for 10 years.

Three attractions are located nearby (in Pamukkalla) and it is convenient to explore them together.

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Pamukkale, as well as Troy, Izmir, Ephesus and other cities and attractions of Turkey, located near the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, are more convenient to visit from coastal cities and resorts, such as Marmaris, Bodrum, Antalya, Alanya, Side, Kemer, etc.

Bodrum is home to another of the Seven ancient Wonders of the world - the Halikarnassus Mausoleum (Halikarnas Mozolesi), which is the tomb of the Carian satrap Mausolus, built in the middle of the 4th century BC by order of his wife Artemisia II in Halikarnassus (now the city of Bodrum in Turkey).

Trabzon (Karadeniz) - Turkish Norway or Switzerland

The Karadeniz region is located far from Istanbul (in the northeast of the country), but it is impossible not to mention it.

It is famous for its green mountains, plateaus, tea plantations, small villages, fjords, waterfalls, the thermal mountain resort of Ayder and the former Orthodox monastery of Panagia Sumela (Sümela Manastırı), built in the late 4th - early 5th centuries AD on the chalk cliff of Trabzon (today it is a museum).

Of the dishes of the region, Muhlama - cheese fondue in Turkish attracts special attention.

Some tourists call the region Turkish Norway and Switzerland or the Turkish Alps.

It is most convenient to get to the region by arriving at the airport of the city of Trabzon (Trabzon Uluslararası Havalimanı).

Traveling around the region is more comfortable by car.

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Have a happy and memorable holiday in Turkey!

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