The Ultimate Travel Guide to Bursa, Turkey

Recently, we had a trip to Bursa for the weekend. We had a very productive and enjoyable trip in two days, and I will try to help you prepare a full Bursa travel itinerary by sharing all the details of our trip with you. It will be a Bursa travel guide that includes not only places to visit in Bursa, but also transportation to Bursa, shopping in Bursa, eating and drinking in Bursa. I think those who will plan a trip to Bursa should definitely read this article, here is the ultimate travel guide to Bursa, Turkey.

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Bursa travel guide

How to get to Bursa? Bursa Transportation Guide

If you are planning to go to Bursa by car, there are two shortest ways to get there. The first method is to take the Yenikapı-Mudanya ferry and the second method is to use the Osmangazi bridge. We prefer to use the Osmangazi bridge, but we can divide these two methods as follows: Those who live on the European side can choose the ferry and those who live on the Anatolian side can choose the bridge. If you are not going with your own car, many bus companies have services to Bursa. It is also possible to reach Bursa by sea without a car; you can reach Mudanya by BUDO from Eminönü or Büyükçekmece. Since Mudanya is also one of the most interesting districts to visit, you can visit there and then take minibuses or buses to other places. IDO also has sea buses from Yenikapı and Kadıköy to Bursa. You can choose one of these options. 🙂

Bursa Travel Guide: When to go to Bursa? How many days to visit Bursa?

Like many places, I think spring is the best time to visit Bursa. On this trip we went to Bursa in the last week of February. The weather was incredibly cold, I think it was in the minus, and we also had some snow and rain. The weather conditions were quite challenging and I was constantly getting tears in my eyes from the cold and I could not feel my fingers and toes. Maybe if I had prepared as if I was going to Finland, I wouldn’t have had such a hard time. If you go in winter, dress like you are going skiing. The only good thing about the cold weather was that the streets were not so crowded, so we could take photos in many places easily. When we went at the end of May last year, we had returned from the entrance of Cumalıkızık, the crowd was incredible. The summer months can be hot and crowded, so if you are going during these months, I recommend you to prefer weekdays or you should start sightseeing early in the morning. If you ask how long to stay in Bursa, I think two nights and three days is enough if you want to visit Bursa and the beautiful places around it. I think you can visit the city center, Mudanya, Trilye, Misi, Gölyazı and İznik during this time. We traveled for one night and two days, we could not go to Misi and Gölyazı. I will explain our route below.

Bursa 2 days travel itinerary: Places to visit in and around Bursa

Our weekend Bursa trip itinerary: Cumalıkızık in the morning on the first day and Bursa city center in the afternoon. On the first day, we went to Mudanya for dinner and accommodation. We visited Mudanya early in the morning next day and then continued to Trilye. After visiting Trilye, we went to Iznik and returned to Istanbul in the evening. Although the schedule seemed very tight, I can say that we actually visited everywhere without rushing too much. Let me tell you the details of the places we visited in order to follow this route.

Cumalıkızık Travel Guide

Cumalıkızık is a village in the Yıldırım district of Bursa. It is one of the five Kizık villages established on the northern slopes of Uludağ and survived to the present day. Kizık is one of the 24 tribes of Oghuz Turks. The other Kizık villages dating back to the 1300s are Değirmenlikızık, Fidyekızık, Hamanlıkızık and Derekızık. Cumalıkızık is the best preserved among them. As you walk through the streets, you see wooden, adobe and stone houses, mostly painted in blue and yellow tones. Some of these are still inhabited by people, some are under restoration. The houses usually have bay windows and many of them have courtyards. The courtyards of some houses were transformed into restaurants. By the way, Cumalıkızık is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Places to visit in Cumalıkızık

After arriving in Cumalıkızık, the first thing you will see is a square like a market place. Skip browsing the stalls in the square until the very end because you wouldn’t want to walk around with your hands full. There are fresh fruits, vegetables, jams, honey, homemade breads, tarhana, noodles and many other things that you might expect from a village market. First, have breakfast in one of the mansions that have been converted into a cafe. Breakfast is very popular in Cumalıkızık, so it makes sense to come early in the morning to have breakfast and also to catch the streets relatively empty. The main breakfast places are Narlıbahçe Cumalıkızık Breakfast House and Taşev Restaurant. After breakfast, you can start exploring the stone-lined, narrow, hilly streets of Cumalıkızık.

Bursa travel guide

Places to visit in Cumalıkızık

Here is a list of the main places you should see on the streets of Cumalıkızık. The three-storey, 700-year-old wooden Küpeli House, has been transformed into a museum and the entrance is 5 TL. You can also visit the Cin Gap near the Küpeli House, which is very narrow and only one person can pass through. Finally, the Cumalıkızık Mosque, which has a history of 300 years and was built on the site of the village’s first mosque, is also worth seeing.

Places to visit in Bursa Center

I’ll start the list of places to visit in the center of Bursa, with Ulu Cami. This historical building, which Evliya Çelebi described as the Hagia Sophia of Bursa, was built in 1400 during the period of Yıldırım Beyazıt. Don’t forget to visit Koza Han near Ulu Cami. It was built in 1492 by Bayezıt II to provide income for his mosque and madrasah in Istanbul and survived until today. Especially after the visit of Queen Elizabeth II of England and her husband, it became a star again. 🙂 After these, I recommend you to see the most enjoyable place in Bursa: Irgandı Bridge. It is one of the only four bazaar bridges in the world and was built in 1442 during the reign of Murad II.

Bursa travel guide

Things to do in Bursa Center

Head to the Tophane district, where several places to visit in Bursa are gathered. Here you will first see the Sultanate Gate, also known as Hisar Gate. Then you move on and arrive at Tophane Park. Here, Orhan Gazi Tomb and Osman Gazi Tomb are among the places you should visit. Every day between 09.00 and 17.00, soldiers dressed in the alpine attire of the period keep watch for the banner and respect, and the exchange of guard duty takes place every hour. You can go a little further and see the Tophane Clock Tower, built by Sultan Abdülmecid in the second half of the 19th century. A little further on, you can see a panoramic view of Bursa.

Places to Visit in Bursa Center

Although there is no green at all, the name of the mosque known as the Green Mosque actually comes from its domes and minarets. The minarets and domes of the mosque, which was built by Çelebi Sultan Mehmed in 1419, used to be covered with green tiles, but unfortunately there are no signs of these tiles now. There is also a Green Tomb near the mosque where Çelebi Mehmed and his children lie. The Green Mosque and the Green Tomb gave the neighborhood its name. To see some real green while visiting Bursa, you can go to Soğanlı Botanical Park or Hüdavendigar City Park. For another green address, you can visit the historical Inkaya Sycamore. The world famous sycamore is said to be 600 years old, 3 meters in diameter and 35 meters high. I would like to list the main museums you can visit in Bursa: Bursa Archeology Museum, Bursa City Museum, Karagöz Museum, Muradiye Manuscript Museum and Anatolian Car Museum.

Places to visit in Mudanya

Mudanya is a district of Bursa, which dates back to the 7th century BC and was first founded by the Colophonians. In 1321, it was conquered by Orhan Bey and joined the Ottoman lands. The real importance of Mudanya is that the agreement that ended the Turkish War of Independence was signed here as a result of the conference held between October 3-11, 1922. For this reason, one of the top places to visit in Mudanya is the Mudanya Armistice House Museum, where this agreement was signed.

Things to do in Mudanya

After visiting the museum, take a tour through the Old Cretan Quarter, also known as the Greek Quarter. This neighborhood has the most photogenic streets of Mudanya. You can walk among the historic houses with colorful bay windows and take lots of photos. Most of the mansions have been restored, some of them are still in their original state, they will probably be renovated too. This neighborhood is located right by the sea, so if you go in winter it gets incredibly cold, keep that in mind. I think this place is best for visiting in summer, in fact, this neighborhood is a summer vacation spot for those who live in Bursa.

Things to do in Mudanya

Actually, there is not much else to do in Mudanya. You might prefer Mudanya for accommodation like we did during our trip to Bursa. You can have dinner at one of the fish restaurants by the sea. In the morning, you can visit the Cretan Quarter and the Armistice House and then move on to another neighborhood. I can recommend the following fish restaurants in Mudanya; Kıyı Balık in the center and Beyaz Kayalar near the ferry pier, which is a little out of the center.

Where to stay in Bursa? Bursa Accommodation

I will make some hotel recommendations for both Mudanya and other locations. I can say that I have an expert knowledge of accommodation since I stay in different hotels every time I go.

Mudanya: Montania Special Class Hotel (Old Railway Station)

Bursa Center: Kitapevi Hotel

Iznik: Eleia Hotel

Trilye: Trilye Bay C Konak

To enjoy a thermal hotel with your family: Almira Hotel Thermal Spa & Convention Center

Bursa travel guide

Places to visit in Trilye

Trilye dates back to the 5th century BC and was named after the red mullet fish abundant on these shores. It is related to the Latin word “Trigleia” meaning red fish. Another name given later is Zeytinbağı, so don’t be surprised if you see this name too. Having breakfast is a popular activity in Trilye, so I suggest you start your visit here with breakfast. Çamlı Kahve is the first name that comes to mind for breakfast in Trilye, the breakfast of the place with a sea view is very famous. After breakfast, you can start touring the streets of Trilye. Taş Mektep, one of the historical heritages of Trilye, was built in 1909 as a school building in Neoclassical style. This last time we visited, restoration work was in progress.

Things to do in Trilye

Another one of the historical buildings of Trilye, which was an important religious settlement for Greek Orthodox Christians for many years, is Aya Todori Church built in 1560. After the conquest, it was converted into a mosque and named Fatih Mosque. There are two other religious buildings in Trilye that have survived till today: the Arched Church, which is said to be the first time in history that paintings were painted on its walls, and the Dündar House, or Yuannes Church, which is now a private property.

Bursa travel guide

Things to do in Trilye

As you wander through the small streets you will come across a very narrow building, locals call it the Coffin House, it’s a really interesting house 🙂 If you have finished the backstreets, now it’s time to visit the downtown shopping area. In the markets, you can visit olive sellers and souvenir shops among the old Ottoman-Greek houses. There are some beautiful houses for photography, but unfortunately, there are also some crooked constructions.

Places to visit in Iznik

Iznik, the first Turkish capital of Anatolia, is unfortunately a district that has not been preserved much considering its history. The history of Iznik dates back to the 7th century BC. The name Iznik comes from the old name of the city, “Nikea”. According to a common conversion rule of the time, the Greek name was prefixed with the suffix “is”, meaning “within the city wall”, and the name Isnikea was given, which later became İznik in Turkish. The First Council of Iznik was convened in Iznik in 325, therefore it is of great importance for Christianity.

Things to do in Iznik

One of the most important historical buildings of the city, Iznik Hagia Sophia Mosque was built at the intersection of the roads coming from the four gates of the town surrounded by walls. The 7th council, where important decisions about Christianity were taken, convened in this church in 787. It was converted into a mosque by Orhan Gazi after 1331. Some of the important historical places you should see in the city are the gates; Lefke Gate and Istanbul Gate. In fact, there are four main gates, but I can say that these gates are the ones that have survived most clearly. The other gates are Göl Kapı and Yenişehir Kapı.

Things to do in Iznik

The Nilüfer Hatun Imaret, which is currently functioning as the Iznik Museum, is one of the historical buildings of Iznik, built by Murat I between 1362-1389. The Green Mosque, which is located just across the museum, is a historical building that is the symbol of Iznik with its turquoise and purple tiled minaret, and its construction was completed in 1379. Finally, the Süleyman Pasha Madrasah, built between 1335 and 1359 by Orhan Gazi’s eldest son Şehzade Süleyman, with its beautiful courtyard, is one of the places you should see.

What to buy in Bursa? Shopping in Bursa

I think our Bursa trip was one of our most productive trips in terms of shopping. I mean, for the first time in a long time, I came back from a trip with a lot of things. We ended up with different packages from each district we visited. Let me start with the center of Bursa. I bought a scarf and a shawl from the silk shops in Kozahan, and I recommend you to visit these shops. The prices seemed reasonable to me personally, even though I don’t know much about the market. 🙂 Another thing I bought in the center was chestnut candy, of course, you can’t leave Bursa without buying it. Kafkas is the brand we all know, but it is really quite expensive compared to the others. We shopped at Dağlı and Ferah in Tophane district. I loved the leblebi cookies at Dağlı and bought three packages of them, I recommend you to at least taste them.

Bursa travel guide

What to buy in Bursa? Shopping in Bursa

In Trilye, they sell rock salt soap and lamps in the historical bazaar. These soaps are both very good for skin diseases and very useful for washing our faces. I bought two of them but I haven’t tried them yet, no lie. The other famous thing in Trilye is olives and olive oil. I like large olives, so I couldn’t find what I was looking for here, but they sell acuka in some shops, if you like spicy, you should definitely try it. I want to go back to Trilye just to buy more of that paste.

What to buy in Bursa? Shopping in Bursa

If you go to Iznik, you will probably stop by the tile shops, I bought some small snack plates with tiles, there are other things that are much more beautiful, but they are a bit expensive. Some of the tile shops also sell paintings, we liked them too, I suggest you take a look. There are many things for sale at the market in the square in Cumalıkızık, but we were most interested in the tahini bread, it was fresh and delicious.

What to eat in Bursa? Bursa food and drink guide

When you think of Bursa, everyone’s first thought is sure the iskender. So, if you ask where to eat iskender, there are a few places that stand out. I have eaten iskender in many places in Bursa over the years, yes, the famous ones are not famous for nothing, but if you see too many queues in these places, don’t worry, you can find similar flavors in other places. 😉 Now I’m listing the best iskender places in Bursa. Here’s where to eat iskender in Bursa! 😉

The best iskender places in Bursa

Kebapçı İskender – Mavi Dükkan: One of the two most popular iskender places in Bursa. I had the opportunity to eat there once in my life, it was really delicious, but waiting in that queue is really challenging.

Address: Tayyare Cultural Center Near Atatürk Caddesi No:60 Osmangazi

Uludağ Kebab Cemal & Cemil Usta: This is the second of the two most popular iskender places in Bursa that I mentioned above. Again, the queues are annoying, but the taste is really good.

Address: Ulu Mahallesi 16. Şirin Sk. No:12 Osmangazi

Iskender Efendi Mansion: If you want to eat iskender in a spacious place away from the crowds of the city, this place should be your address, I think both the iskender and desserts are very successful. This place is also known as Kebapçı İskender Yavuz İskenderoğlu. It has also a tiny museum inside.

Address: Soğanlı Botanik Park No:1 Osmangazi

Beşyol Kebab Restaurant: Even though it’s not on the lists, I think the iskender is quite good and the fact that we can easily find a seat is a plus point for me. We ate here on our last visit.

Address: Yeni Yalova Yolu No:434 Osmangazi

By the way, in Bursa they usually drink Şıra with iskender. If you ask what şıra is, it is grape juice that has not fermented yet.

What to eat in Bursa? Bursa food and drink guide

To continue with meat products; meatballs with pita bread(Pideli köfte) and inegöl meatballs, which are common in Bursa, are some of the flavors you should eat. Pideli köfte is the version of iskender with meatballs instead of doner. If you want to eat the best, I recommend you to go to Idris Pideli Köfte. Inegol meatballs are thin and long, finger-shaped meatballs named from Bursa’s Inegol district. Moving on to desserts… Even though everyone knows chestnut candy, it should be on the list anyway. Even I, who normally don’t like sherbet desserts, am a fan of chestnut candies. Although chestnut candies are sold everywhere nowadays, the chestnuts seem to be fresher in the shops in Bursa since there is a lot of circulation, and since you can also taste them, I recommend you to try them here. Tahini pita, known as tahanli among the people of Bursa that gets its flavor from being cooked in a stone oven, is also one of the leading dessert flavors of Bursa. If you ask where to eat this tahanli, Abdal Fırın, Tarihi Taş Fırın and İnanç Fırın are the best addresses.

What to eat in Bursa? Bursa food and drink guide

Kemalpaşa dessert is a type of dessert that was first produced in Mustafakemalpaşa district of Bursa. It is a dessert of which consumption increases especially during Ramadan due to its easy preparation. It is sold ready-made in the markets and you only need to add syrup. Semolina halva is one of my favorite desserts. Especially when it is served with ice cream. Hacı Şerif in Kozahan has almost turned it into fast food, they are in mass production. As such, you don’t expect the taste and quality to be that good. It’s not, I don’t know how they do it, but they do it really well. When you go to Kozahan, please don’t leave without buying an ice cream semolina here. While you’re here, I also recommend you to have a simit at Hamdi Efendi, the historical Kozahan simit maker.

What to eat in Bursa? Bursa food and drink guide

Let’s list the other unique flavors you should eat in Bursa below:

Cantık: It’s like pita bread with minced meat, but with a little more chubby bread and smaller, rounder. I recommend Pidecioğlu Pide Bakery and Acı Dayı for the best.
Milk halva Also known as Bursa halva, this is a milk dessert with a slightly burnt top and fluid inside. You can eat this dessert at Hayat Lokantası, where it was first served in Bursa.
Turkish delight with walnuts: A pastry special to Bursa, it is made by rolling dough with cinnamon, tahini and walnuts.
Baghdad date dessert: This dessert has survived from the Ottoman cuisine and was named after the date dessert produced by a factory named Baghdad.
Gedelek pickles: The pickles made in the Gedelek village of Orhangazi district of Bursa have become famous even around the world, so don’t return without tasting them.

Apart from all these, let me share a few restaurants where you can have a nice dinner in Bursa: Zennup, Fasülyeli Odun Ateşi, 21 Masa and Kayhan Köftecisi. For breakfast, Pasto, Kadim (Khayal) Restaurant and Derebahçe Restaurant are good choices.

As I am Turkis, I have been to Bursa many times but this was the first time I was there to create content. I hope my Bursa travel notes will hopefully be a guide for you while making plans to Bursa. Don’t forget to follow me to be informed about my future posts and for lots of photos and videos from my upcoming travels!


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  1. March 13, 2023

    […] The Ultimate Travel Guide to Bursa, Turkey […]

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